Tire Rack Street Survival Takes To The Glen

Teen Drivers Learn how to Handle Real-life Driving Situations at WGI

Tire Rack Street Survival

Thirty students participated in the Tire Rack Street Survival Driving School at Watkins Glen International on Saturday.


WATKINS GLEN, NY – For the fifth-consecutive year, Tire Rack Street Survival Driving School took to the twists and turns of Watkins Glen International on Saturday. Students from the Upstate New York area, including Horseheads, Ithaca, Trumansburg, Vestal, Endicott, Rochester and Penn Yan, participated in the all-day event. The smell of burnt rubber and the sound of squealing tires were in the air, but it came from the main paddock area as students learned the proper response to real-life driving situations behind the wheel of their own vehicles.

“This is a school for early drivers to learn car control skills that will help them stay out of accidents in the future,” Rick Zimmerman, Program Director said. “It makes driving safer for them and safe for others. If they are a timid driver, it will help them become more secure about the driving experience. If they are an aggressive driver, it will help them develop more respect for driving. For all teen drivers, it is an experience that will help them become better drivers.”

Thirty students ranging in age from 16 to 20 learned the maneuvers of hard braking, skid control and accident avoidance from in-car coaches from the Genesee Valley BMW Club. Prior to jumping behind the wheel, students completed a half-hour training session in the WGI Media Center. Several students expressed the value of the experience and lessons learned in this environment.

“I am really glad I took it because now I am a lot more knowledgeable of what to do in a difficult situation,” Arianna Scaptura of Horseheads said. “Before any of this, I had no idea on what I would do. I would have just hit the brakes or swerved to avoid it and not have done any of this stuff that they are teaching me now.”

Students completed a variety of exercises in their own vehicles to ensure they drove away with the understanding of their vehicle’s limitations. New drivers went through a cone course to practice accident avoidance, a braking test to experience how their cars react to sudden stops and a circle course covered in sawdust to mimic a sudden change in road conditions.

“You can’t replicate this education unless you go to a course like this, it is impossible for us to teach our kids and give them this kind of exposure,” Diane Van Delden, Volunteer Coordinator and parent of a participant said. “They will gain a lot of information about how the car feels and maneuvers and apply that knowledge while they are on the road sharing it with the rest of us.”

Following lunch and during a break of the Tire Rack Street Survival School, students took to The Glen’s legendary twists and turns for a Thunder Road Tour.

They were afforded the opportunity thanks to the organizational efforts of VanDelden as well as the Trumansburg Committee for Teen Driver Safety, who collectively spearheaded pulling together the program and enables the local high school students to learn how to drive beyond traditional driving school lessons. Watkins Glen International and the Genesee Valley BMW Club have teamed up each year to help provide the facilities and instructors necessary to make this event successful and a mainstay of the WGI off-season.

Held nationwide with 81 schools taking place in 50 locations in 2010, the Tire Rack Street Survival program is open to any person between the ages of 16 and 21. Parents or students looking for more information about this program are encouraged to visit www.streetsurvival.org.

Tickets for the 2012 race season at Watkins Glen International go on sale this December. Fans can learn more about the upcoming race season by calling the WGI 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 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is closed on Sunday.  Keep up with the latest happenings at The Glen by visiting the official Watkins Glen International Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/watkinsgleninternational, and following WGI on Twitter, @WGI.

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