On average 1.3 million people die in road crashes every year, and additionally 20-50 million people are injured or disabled. This isn’t necessarily surprising, as there is so much attention and knowledge going into driving a motor vehicle. If we throw some dangerous conditions in the mix – rain, snow, mistakes of others – we are at even more of a risk to be in a road crash. With more than half of these crashes falling in the range of 15 years old up to 44 years old, it’s important to teach safe driving skills for dangerous situations as early as possible.
Tire Rack’s Street Survival School knows exactly how to teach these skills to young drivers. In July, I spent one of my days as a student in the TireRack.com Street Survival Course.
I arrived in my own vehicle to see instructors, students, and an entire course designed for the day. The cool thing about this was that I got to use my own vehicle, something that proved more useful than I ever thought. I learned my car and the limitations of my car – something I couldn’t have learned if I had driven a car that I didn’t know. The instructors were knowledgeable about every type of car.
The first run with an instructor was a straight shot – floor it and slam on the brakes. This was entirely to determine which car had Anti-Lock Brakes, and which did not. With Anti-Lock, cars will come to a complete stop, while cars without it will slide and skid and swerve – which is exactly what my beautiful 2002 Honda Accord did. It swerved right through cones; I was completely powerless in controlling my car once I slammed on the brakes. The instructors ensured I was able to be in control: once I braked, I needed to let off the brake a tiny bit to stop the skid, and put it down again, enabling a complete and safe stop.
Every part of the course cycled through different instructors, which was great to hear from different perspectives. Everything was a simulation.
There are also two in-classroom sessions during the day where we learned different things about being in cars, road crashes, how to get out of situations, wheel traction. These lessons were taught by Steve Ducharme, the director from Nebraska.
After lunch (pizza!) and the last classroom session, we met with Officer Hellmuth, who talked to us about his experiences. He was insightful, as he’s seen so many teen drivers in action.
Finishing the day, I absolutely loved the course. It was such a fun day. It was really cool to begin the day taking out an entire wall of cones, to end the day speeding my car around cones over top of a ground covered in soap and water. Not to mention – completely nailing it.
This course is something I believe every new driver should enroll in. Already I’ve seen the things I’ve learned in action. Check out this awesome event coming near you at streetsurvival.org
I first learned about this course back in May and logged in and immediately set up Audrey to take this course. Audrey had just bought her first car and I wanted to know that she understood what safe driving was. As a father, you will always worry but putting the tools in your child’s hands and allowing them to learn from experience is the best way to teach them the realities of defensive driving.
Audrey came out of this course brimming with confidence. Within the week on a dirt road in Nebraska, an animal jumped out in front of her car. She panicked and slammed the breaks. As soon as she felt the car break loose, she lifted off the brake and reapplied pressure just like she had learned in class. While her car drifted off the road, it did not flip or roll out of control. She realizes how lucky she is and how important those lessons really were. I am thankful that she had some real-world training in her tool kit.
The Tire Rack Street Survival Course costs $75.00 for a full day of training. I would love to see this course offered monthly here in Nebraska. Find a way to enroll your kids into this course.