Florida is third in the nation for teen car crash fatalities1, while it is first in the country for mature driver deaths for ages 65 and older2 startling statistics Mercury Insurance and the Tampa Bay Lightning want to reduce.
Mercury partnered with the Lightning to host its second Florida-based “Mercury Insurance Drive Safe Challenge,” a one-day driving school immersion course designed to equip inexperienced and experienced drivers with the knowledge and skills they need to be safe on the road.
“Virtually all auto collisions are preventable,” said Erik Thompson, vice president of advertising and public relations at Mercury Insurance. “The Drive Safe Challenge initiative was created to help educate drivers of all ages on the importance of being alert while behind the wheel and gives them the skills to avoid potentially dangerous situations. We want Floridians of all ages to challenge themselves to be safer drivers, because safer drivers lead to fewer accidents and that’s good for everyone.”
Participants, parents and their teens ages 15-19, along with mature drivers ages 55 and older, took part in the event on the University of South Florida campus where they learned collision avoidance, car-handling maneuvers on slippery surfaces, emergency braking procedures and the dangers of driving distracted, all with the help of professional instructors.
“I’m getting firsthand training and it’s really going to do me wonders,” said Harold Bice. “It’s been a long time since I took a driving course and this was a great experience for me and my granddaughter.”
“I only hit one cone,” said teen participant Gabrielle Bice. “Learning about how to handle dangerous driving situations as well as simple things like where to put my hands on the steering wheel is what I needed to boost my confidence because the first time I ever drove, I almost got in an accident.”
Sometimes it takes a different voice outside of the home to be more impactful and that’s why Hall of Famers, Dave Andreychuk (Lightning) and Derrick Brooks (Buccaneers), also joined the Drive Safe Challenge.
“Driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility and it starts with parents setting a good example for teens,” said Dave Andreychuk. “With my kids, I knew how important it was to coach them while they’re behind the wheel.
“The teens who participated in the Mercury Insurance Drive Safe Challenge today learned valuable knowledge and tools that will help them be safer drivers. So we’re happy to be able to lend a hand.”
“Teens have a lot to distract them on the road,” said Derrick Brooks. “Today’s event is helping teens to become more responsible drivers.
“When you have organizations such as ours [Tampa Bay Lightning] and Mercury Insurance that are community minded, you want everyone to benefit. So, I’m excited to see mature drivers at every station.”
The Drive Safe Challenge, initially launched in 2016, is a free defensive driving program that includes hands-on driving skills training and an interactive classroom session. The program was originally developed for teen drivers, but Mercury expanded it this year to also include mature drivers.
Mercury Insurance has created a wealth of free information and tools that Floridians can use to help prepare for life behind the wheel. Visit http://drivesafe.mercuryinsurance.com to access tips, videos, quizzes and much more.
The Mercury Insurance Drive Safe Challenge event was held on November 4, 2018 at the University of South Florida’s Yuengling Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com
About the Tampa Bay Lightning
The 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the leasehold rights to AMALIE Arena were purchased by an entity controlled by Jeff Vinik in March, 2010. Since acquiring these assets, Vinik has spearheaded a complete brand and business transformation of the team and the arena under the banner of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC. The Lightning made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. The Bolts won the Stanley Cup in 2004 in a thrilling seven game series against the Calgary Flames. Vinik and the rest of his management team continue to move the organization forward with eyes on success on the ice as well as a world class organization off of it.