Area Teens Learn About Safe Driving at The Glen

Tire Rack Street Survival Returns to WGI for Sixth Consecutive Year

Tire Rack Street Survival

WATKINS GLEN, NY – The sound of squealing tires and the smell of burnt rubber were in the air at Watkins Glen International Saturday – all in the name of safe driving. For the sixth-consecutive year, the Tire Rack Street Survival Driving School brought local teens to WGI to learn the proper response to real-life driving situations behind the wheel of their own vehicles.

Students from all across Upstate New York, including Corning, Rochester, Poughkeepsie, Ithaca and Vestal, participated in the all-day event.

“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 18 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.

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 nearly one hundred schools taking place in 50 locations in 2012, 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

Tickets sales for the 2013 race season begin December 3. Keep up with The Glen this off-season by visiting the official website,, liking The Glen on Facebook and following The Glen on Twitter. Be sure to stop by The Shop, at 2 North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Download The Glen’s free mobile app available in both iTunes store and Android marketplace.

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