Teen Drivers Push Their Cars to the Limit at The Glen to Become Safer Drivers
Unique Driving School Teachers Teen Drivers how to Properly Handle Real-Life Situations
By: WGI Staff on 11/6/2010
A student tests the turning radius of their car on the circle course during the Tire Rack Street Survival driving school held at Watkins Glen International.
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 6, as the Tire Rack Street Survival driving course once again 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 beat Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon to the finish line. This is the fourth 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 31 students from cities across New York State including Big Flats, Ithaca, Trumansburg, Vestal, Pittsford, and Fairport 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. In addition to the drills, each student got to take their cars out on the track to test the twists and turns of The Glen behind a pace car during a 3-lap Thunder Road Tour. The day ended with another quick classroom session to sum up all of the lessons.
“I am hoping that after today I will know how to better control my car and know how much it can handle so that I don’t put myself in a bad situation,” said Peter Addiego, a Big Flats resident and student in this year’s school. “I had been to the track before for a scouting event but it’s pretty cool to be doing a driving school here now.”
“It has been a lot of fun but I was really nervous before I got here. My brother is a crazy driver and he enjoyed doing the program last year so I didn’t know what to expect,“ said Caitlin Crossett, a senior at Trumansburg High School. “I think I’m going to be better at getting out of bad situations especially around here with the winter and the slipping and sliding that happens.”
The Tire Rack Street Survival School was able to be held at WGI due to Watkins Glen International and the Genesee Valley BMW Club teaming up to support the Trumansburg 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 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International go on sale November 26, 2010. Fans can learn more about the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Gift certificates and track merchandise can all be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4.