Hudson Flom, 14, drove cautiously out on Sixth Avenue, N. He sat up straight in the driver training car.
His instructor, Dan Carlson, told him to go right on Harvard Street. He asked him to pull up alongside a car. Then park behind it.
Flom was doing well by the third time he practiced parallel parking. The other student was Mason Reynolds.
Both are 14. They are among 260 students who have been taking driver training classes running from June 3 to July 12. Dan Carlson is one of 13 instructors.
He is calm as he guides students around Grand Forks. But then, he has his own set of brakes in case things go awry.
I sat quietly as an observer in the back seat.
While both of the students had some driving experience beforehand, Carlson said he works with many who have had none.
“You need to have control of the vehicle and what you are doing,” he said, as he took Mason Reynolds through the parallel parking routine. “I suggest you guys go out and practice before taking your driving tests,’’ he said.
Heavy traffic, construction
This hour-long driving lesson took the students on side roads where there are no stop signs. They practiced scanning both ways. The lesson also took them into heavy traffic on South Washington Street and DeMers Avenue.
“Construction is a challenge,” Carlson said, “but valuable too.”
He told them how to glance both ways before entering unmarked crossings in residential areas.
Two solid lines
The driving session followed an hour of instruction with film viewing. The instructor for this session was Dave Vonesh.
He told the students, “There’s a lot of trucks on the road right now. Construction makes roads hazardous.
“We’ve got to be ready,” Vonesh said. He talked about safe following distance and watching for sudden stops. “When you see two solid lines, you can’t pass.
“Remember your bad habits can affect others. It only takes a split second. On the other hand, good habits are easy to develop. Look ahead. Keep your eyes moving. Use your mirrors. Anticipate others.”
With films and advice, Vonesh described entering freeways. He said, “You have to be courteous. Let cars merge in on ramps. Plan your route ahead of time.”
When it comes to gravel roads, Vonesh said 55 miles per hour or even 40 may be the maximum.
“The number one decision on passing should be if it is safe. Then if it is legal. And is it necessary?”
Terry Bohan is director of the driver training sessions which operate out of the Community Education building. There are 13 instructors.
Sessions continue to July 12 and started on June 3
Only a few of those who take the driving training classes fail. From the training, they are able to get a permit and go on to the Motor Vehicle department for testing before the age of 16.