Teen Drivers Become Safer Drivers at The Glen
Unique Driving School Teaches Teen Drivers how to Properly Handle Real Life Situations
By: WGI Staff on 11/7/2009
A student challenges the circle course to test the limits of their minivan. The sawdust on the ground helps simulate a sudden change in road conditions.
The sound of screeching tires is a normal one at historic Watkins Glen International but the cause is typically some of the most advanced and powerful cars in motorsports. This was not the case on Saturday, November 7, as the Tire Rack Street Survival driving course took over the main paddock area to put teens in real life driving situations to help them become safer and smarter drivers. As during the racing events at The Glen, screeching tires mean a car is being pushed to its limit but in this case it was for the purpose of teaching safety and not trying to set a new qualifying record. This is the third year in a row that The Soul of America Road Racing has hosted this event in an effort to give teen’s practical experience beyond that of normal drivers’ education.
A total of 30 students from cities across New York State including Horseheads, Burdett, Ithaca, Trumansburg, Albany, and Webster participated in the day of instruction at the legendary road course. The day started with a half hour classroom session in The Glen’s state-of-the-art Media Center. Following the classroom session, each student was paired with an instructor from the Genesee Valley BMW Club. The students then rotated through several drill stations that included a braking test to experience how their cars reacted to sudden stops, a cone course to practice accident avoidance, and a circle course with a section covered in sawdust to simulate a sudden change in road conditions. Students completed each exercise in their own personal vehicle so as to understand the limitations of their vehicle and know exactly how they would respond in each situation. The day ended with another quick classroom session to sum up all of the lessons.
“I really hope to take control of my car and know that entire spectrum of its abilities,” said Anna Pausch of Trumansburg. “I expect that this will make me a more aware driver and help me better avoid putting myself in dangerous situations while driving my car.”
Keith McMillen, also of Trumansburg, thought very highly of the instructors in each car. “I am very impressed with how this program is setup. The instructors are very friendly and you are able to really talk with them honestly about your driving abilities which will help me continue to improve even after today.”
The Tire Rack Street Survival School was once again able to be held at WGI due to Watkins Glen International and the Genesee Valley BMW Club teaming up to support the Trumansburg schools’ committee for Teen Driver Safety.
Tire Rack Street Survival programs are held nationwide with 56 such schools being held in 2007. The schools are open to any person between the ages of 16 and 21. Parents or students looking for more information about this program should visit www.streetsurvival.org.
Tickets for the entire 2010 season will go on sale to the general public (non-renewal customers) November 14, 2009. For more information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or log on to the official website at www.TheGlen.com.