THE age old adage of being safe behind the wheel had some extra oomph behind it this week.
Students from across the region converged on the Yanco Agricultural Institute over three days to learn not just the ins and outs of safe driving, but the serious consequences of a car accident.
The Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) once again targeted students who are about to, or have just gotten, their driver's licence.
The idea is to promote safety behind the wheel, but delivering the message in a way the students will remember in the years to come.
Among the many sessions as part of RYDA is the crash survivor presentation.
This year Matt Whiteman and Jon McWilliam told the stories of their respective accidents, the long-reaching and ever-lasting consequences and why they want young drivers to be mindful behind the wheel.
Both men live with a brain injury and are painfully aware how much a split second can change their lives.
Mr Whiteman was just 11 when he was involved in a car accident on his family's farm. So serious were his injuries, doctors didn't think he would survive.
While he is now actively making progress in his life, there's no doubting his life has dramatically changed and it will never be the same.
He told the students he's lost friends and can no longer play football after being a young representative player.
His mother also takes part in the address to the students and aims to make them painfully aware the consequences of an accident can have on the family dynamic and their finances.
"I just want to share my story in the hope it stops even one person from having an accident," Mr Whiteman said.
"It can happen so fast and your life will never be the same again.
"You just don't realise how many people it impacts. It's not just you."
Students also learned about safe stopping distances in a demonstration from police, showing first hand the damage that can be done even at low speeds.
"I hope it's something they always remember," Mr Whiteman said. "That's why I do it."
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