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Motion Skills Teach Teens How to Avoid Driving Distractions

Motion Skills for Teens Inspired
by Every Parents' Worst Nightmare

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in America, and with all of the distractions teens experience today, the number of accidents is destined to rise. This alarming statistic sparked Kris Rolfson and his wife, Christy Rolfson to do something about this tragic reality, so they set out to create a beacon of hope for parents and teen drivers. Through pure passion and determination, Motion Skills was born.

Kris Rolfson, CEO and founder of Motion Skills, was inspired by every parent's nightmare, when his son was able to get behind the wheel of his car after only completing a simple multiple choice driving test. Kris realized his son had absolutely no knowledge in regards to driving, beyond having memorized the answers to state laws and basic driving rules. Though his son knew the basic rules of the road, the multiple choice test did not prepare him to handle a multi-ton automobile in traffic on an open road. The main focus for Kris is to save lives by teaching skills that address the most frequent types of accidents today’s teen drivers are involved in. Motion Skills hopes to be another voice of reason that stresses the importance of being able to handle common driving distractions.

While Kris spent many years as an engineer in San Diego, he always found time to race go-karts and cars, both off-road and motocross. For the past eight years he’s focused teaching in public schools and as a youth minister at his church. His wife Christy has worked in the bio tech industry for the past twenty years. Together, they have two children. Christy noted that “Kris’ years teaching in public school and youth ministry provides the knowledge to connect with teens and to be an effective instructor when it comes to classroom education, comprehension and retention.”

The classes taught at Motion Skills are interesting, factual and entertaining to teens that would otherwise turn their ear to their parent's advice. They are focused on teaching the skills with hands-on methods, not online. Students come to Motion Skills whether they are about to get their license, or already have their license in order to learn the driving skills that the current system doesn’t teach them. With instructions on how to reduce accidents, increase fuel economy, avoid traffic citations, handle emergency driving situations, take care of mechanical breakdowns, save money and minimize potential injury, students are exposed to an entirely different side of the fast paced driving world.

Motion Skills is not a driving school, nor do students coming through the program receive a driver’s license after completing the course. What they do receive are thirty-six critical skills that Kris feels are essential for every young driver. "I learned many tips and life saving things that I didn't learn from my driving class” said Chris, a seventeen-year-old Motion Skills student.

At the Motion Skills facility students learn comprehensive training in safety. Kris built a car simulator that was developed specifically to help teach and retain the skills learned. The simulator is not only a major hit with the students, but an integral component of their training program.

In addition to the simulator, students go through a series of hands-on drills, including the texting drill, how to change a tire, how to jump start a car and how to check fluid levels. Most adults don’t know how to do these simple car mechanics and often rely on AAA. Motion Skills emphasizes the importance of being able to handle emergency situations before it’s too late.

A key theme that is heavily stressed upon at Motion Skills is how to limit distractions while driving. It seems like every teenager has a cell phone from which they can often be seen talking on or texting from. Kris understands this is a huge concern for most parents as more and more teens are getting in car accidents after sending a single text. The texting drill is unique in the way it allows students the opportunity to text while having to focus on something else. The end result is the same every time as students are never able to do two things at once. The goal of this drill is to let the students see for themselves how easy it is to lose focus while driving and that texting is not worth the risk.

As parents themselves, the Rolfson’s are passionate about educating other parents about the fact that that additional safety training pays back exponentially over time. Teenage drivers that are taught ways to avoid tickets, accidents and injuries are more likely to become safer drivers. Understanding that teens may come into contact with alcohol or medications, Kris has his students where a pair of “drunk goggles” during a drill in order to highlight what the world looks like when you are intoxicated, so that they think twice before “drinking and driving.” Telling teenagers not to do something may not be as effective as showing them the repercussions.

At the end of every class, students must pass an evaluation in the vehicle in which they arrived in. This reinforcement is fun for the students and helps apply an immediate application of skills. Kris will ask the students questions such as, "how would you check your oil?" or "where is your spare tire and jack located?" The students are then responsible to answer the questions by pointing them out to Kris on their cars. Kris believes that having the students demonstrate the points they learned in class will plant the seeds they need to prepare them to handle a list of emergency situations.  

The students that go through Motion Skills have fun while learning hands-on techniques in order to become more confident on the road. The Rolfson’s main goal when creating Motion Skills was to give new drivers an opportunity to gain more experience before heading out on the road, by giving them useful skills to keep them safe.

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