CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Throughout October, WCIA is highlighting outstanding teachers in Central Illinois. Some are leading classes like English and math, others are taking a more hands-on approach while hitting the road.
Tony Martin, a drivers ed instructor, is teaching kids not to hit the brakes too hard, the correct way to switch lanes and even how to change a tire.
“Stop behind the line. Now, whether or not you go right on red is your choice…good choice,” Martin explains while behind the wheel with one of his St. Thomas More students.
He’s a pro behind the wheel, and teaching people how to drive from point A to point B safely. But, it’s a job Martin never imagined himself doing until he had kids of his own.
“Our youngest son was a sophomore at Central High School and his birthday fell in a time frame where he wasn’t able to get in drivers ed,” Martin said. “We were scrambling trying to find some way to get into drivers ed.”
So, he called the state and opened M&M Driving School in 2000.
“We go all over town. We’ll go on campus, go scare some college students, go to North Prospect and experience that. Take them a bit everywhere,” he said.
Martin is teaching them important lessons like how to use their blinkers or approach a stop sign.
It’s a job that has connected him to thousands of students across Central Illinois. Martin has driven hundreds of thousands of miles with many teens.
“We’ve gone through 6 cars,” he explained.
It’s a job he takes seriously every step of the way, hoping he’s encouraging them to drive safer and be more aware on the roads.
Martin said parents have a big responsibility too when it comes to teaching teens how to drive. Instructors can only do so much and students are required to have 50 hours behind the wheel outside of drivers ed class.