Having witnessed the tragic consequences of teen drivers too many times, I was overjoyed to read about a defensive driving course being offered at the Watkins Glen International Racetrack in Watkins Glen, NY. The full story is pasted below but essentially it describes a course offered to local teens who learn the practical skills of avoiding accidents by simulating real-life situations– sudden stops on slick roads, avoidance maneuvers, safe cornering, etc. This is great stuff and I am going to check in to how we can offer this program at my kids’ high school here in Elmira. Hats off to Tire Rack, the BMW Club and the folks at Watkins Glen Racetrack for offering this great program.theglen

Thanks for reading,
Jim Reed
New York & Pennsylvania Car Crash Lawyer

Teens Learn How to be Safer Drivers
Reported by: Camille Williams, WETM-TV, Elmira, NY

Watkins Glen

Some Southern Tier teen drivers put the pedal to the metal at Watkins Glen International Saturday.

But they weren’t racing; instead they were learning how to stay safe on the road.

It’s part of a Tire Rack Street Survival program, where teenagers learned how to avoid accidents and how to be good drivers.

Around 30 different teens took part in the training event in Watkins Glen.

4 different stations taught the teens how to deal with real-life situations.

For example, they learned how to make sudden stops on slick roads and how to make sudden moves to avoid accidents.

Parents say they’re glad their kids were a part of the experience.

“This is different than what a driver’s education program would provide any way it’s not really what you’d experience on closed public roads that we teach our kids to drive on.” Says Diane Van Delden, Parent

Watkins Glen International officials say the race track teamed up with the Genesee Valley BMW Club for the event.

This is the second year for the program.


Teen Drivers Survive the Street at The Glen

Most people that visit historic Watkins Glen International usually come for one reason and one reason only; speed. All of that changed on Saturday, November 8, as the Tire Rack Street Survival driving course took over the main paddock area to help teach teens how to “put on the brakes” and become safer and smarter drivers. This is the second 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 as close as Elmira, NY, Trumansburg, NY, and Sayre, PA and as far away as Princeton, NJ attended 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 figure-eight course to teach how to deal with oversteer and understeer experiences. The blacktop of the paddock was wet from rain which helped better simulate difficult driving conditions such as snow and ice. Students completed each exercise in their own personal vehicle so as to understand how they would respond in each situation. The day ended with another quick classroom session to sum up all of the lessons. “This class has showed me what to do in emergency situations and allowed me to practice reaction skills that I would not be able to practice on the road,” said Kyle Vandelden, a driving school participant and student at nearby Trumansburg High School. “It’s good to know how my car reacts and to learn the car’s limits by pushing it past them with an instructor telling me how to handle things.” Watkins Glen International and the Genesee Valley BMW Club teamed up to support the Trumansburg schools’ committee for Teen Driver Safety. Many area businesses supported the school including McDonald’s, Glen Mountain Market, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wal-Mart, all in Watkins Glen, NY.

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.