DARIEN, Conn. – Students at Darien’s newest driving school have the opportunity to experience what it is like to drive under any conditions without risk. Fresh Green Light features driving simulators that can recreate a wide range of scenarios one might encounter on the road.
“With this technology, we can teach kids things that they can’t safely learn behind the wheel,” said Laura Shuler, who owns the school with her husband, Steve Mochel.
The simulator recreates what it’s like to drive at night, with distractions, in hazardous weather and what’s it’s like to drive impaired. Every student is required to go through the simulation for texting while driving, to learn how accidents can occur.
“You run off the road, police cars come and you get airlifted to the hospital. You even go through the whole court experience. It’s frightening,” Shuler said. “At the minimum we want kids to experience that, so they know how dangerous it is to text and drive.”
The school also offers classroom instruction, and actual on-the-road driving. The cars that the students take out on the road have video cameras inside and out, which record the drives and allow students to observe how they drive.
This is the third Fresh Green Light Shuler and Mochel have opened. They also have locations in Greenwich and Rye. Shuler said that most statistics show one out of two kids get into an accident their first year of driving. Fresh Green Light has kept track of its students and said their accident rates are around 10 percent.
“We hire teachers or people with coaching experience and then train them how to teach driving. First and foremost we want them to have the competence to teach.”