May 08, 2024, Durham, NC – iRT is dedicated to preventing distracted and impaired driving and helping drivers, prevention professionals, and community members protect themselves and others on the road. Plan My Ride is iRT’s interactive, multimedia, eLearning program developed with and for young drivers to teach safe driving skills to prevent distracted and impaired driving. Unlike other safe driving educational programs, Plan My Ride uses a science-backed and theory-driven approach to change behavior by teaching concrete, practical strategies to avoid impaired and distracted driving, and providing opportunities for young drivers to practice the skills they have learned in 360-degree virtual scenarios.

This article is the second in a series of articles describing how each lesson of the Plan My Ride program was strategically designed to help young drivers learn important information and strategies to prevent distracted and impaired driving.

Plan My Ride Lesson 2: Signature Strategies

Young people are often bombarded with messages about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving, and often receive frightening, or even threatening, warnings to drive safely. However, young drivers are not always taught practical ways to prevent distracted or impaired driving or tips to drive safely. Lesson 2 of Plan My Ride explains concrete strategies, the Signature Strategies, they can use before and during their drive, so they can remain safe on the road.

Strategies to Use Before and During a Drive

The lesson provides tips that drivers can use both before and during their drive to make sure they wear their seatbelt every time they are in a car. For example, the lesson contains engaging videos demonstrating how drivers should put their seatbelt on immediately after getting in the car, so they can begin to form a habit of doing so. The lessons suggests that drivers ensure that all passengers are wearing their seatbelts before starting the car and put reminders in their car to buckle their seatbelt if they tend to forget. Young people also learn what to do if a passenger unbuckles their seatbelt while they are driving and the importance of pulling over on the side of the road, instead of unbuckling while driving, if they need to reach for something in their car or complete a task.

Lesson 2 provides examples of ways young people can plan ahead of time, communicate with people they may be meeting with, and check in with how they are feeling before driving to avoid speeding. Drivers learn to pay attention to speed limits to monitor their speed, use tools like cruise control to maintain a speed under the speed limit, and acknowledge their feelings while driving to analyze why they are speeding and maintain focus.

Strategies to Manage Emotions While Driving

Lesson 2 also describes how driving can trigger emotions such as anxiety or anger in drivers, and it is important to manage these emotions to prevent crashing or driving dangerously. The program contains examples of driving situations that may evoke strong emotions so that young people can learn to identify situations that may make them angry or upset while driving. In addition, Plan My Ride explains that most drivers have their own “unwritten rules” about driving, which are ways that people believe other drivers should make choices and behave on the road. Breaking one another’s unwritten rules can cause drivers to become angry at one another, potentially leading to aggressive driving and dangerous situations.

Young people who complete the lesson also learn to be mindful and empathize whenever they are faced with situations that evoke strong emotions while driving. For example, they learn to pause, take a breath, and observe their situation before acting in a stressful driving situation. In addition, the lesson encourages young people to imagine that drivers around them are their friends and family members. This mindset may help them become more empathic and patient while driving to make safe decisions.

Analyzing and Improving Daily Driving Behaviors

Reflective questions and activities at the end of the lesson motivate young people to apply what they have learned throughout the lesson to their own life to become safer drivers. Drivers complete Lesson 2 by analyzing their own driving behaviors and reflecting on what strategies they learned from the lesson that they believe they should improve upon. They select specific strategies that they want to practice in the future before and during their drive to be sure they wear their seatbelt, ensure their passengers are wearing their seatbelts, and avoid speeding. Then, drivers complete a brief knowledge-check quiz to test their knowledge of the safe driving strategies they learned throughout the lesson. The knowledge-check quiz is designed to promote reflection and retention of information within the program in learners. The number of correct and incorrect answers to the knowledge-check quiz questions can be viewed by teachers or other program administrators to determine if additional instruction or follow-up training is needed to build mastery of the knowledge taught in the program.

If you are interested in offering the Plan My Ride program to young drivers to promote safe driving, visit to learn more and get started.