In the whirlwind of high school marching band season and homeschooling siblings, we parents forced an opportunity upon our eldest child recently. Teens Drive Smart offers a driving experience for teen drivers that combines sit-down classroom time with real-life driving experiences in a controlled environment. If you are in the United States, go to http://www.teensdrivesmart.com/ and get yourself on the email list to be notified of the schedule for 2013. Teens Drive Smart has a facebook page and twitter page as well.
Hard for mom to watch: the pavement was flooded and the kids were taught how to navigate skidding *in a BMW*. The students got a second opportunity to drive a BMW during another driving portion of the program where they activated the anti-lock braking system and swerved to avoid an object at high speed. (Lookie-loos in vehicles on the highway beside us were stopping to watch this.)
A course of cones to navigate on golf carts gave students the ability to see the wheels and how a turn from the steering wheel affects what the back wheels do. The course was designed to be quite tight and we saw quite a few cones taken out. During this part of the course, we learned proper steering wheel techniques (something new to me!) and the kids were asked to navigate the course once while texting, something that was both hilarious and sobering, all at the same time. Not only did they knock over cones, but they ran the stop signs on the course as well.
The four hour experience was positive, well-organized, the instructors were upbeat and enthusiastic. I met a number of parents who were back with a younger child, having completed a similar program with an older child in past years. I learned something new about steering and we parents were reminded to be good role models for our kids while driving.
The kids left with lots of swag that included a jump drive that contains video of them in the cars, a t-shirt and cap, a lanyard, a water bottle, and a car kit that includes jumper cables and gloves but (oddly) no tire pressure gauge.
I wasn't asked to blog about our experience. I'm simply a mom who wants to pass along to you what was a super opportunity for us. Participate at your own risk (you'll have to sign waivers upon check-in). All of the rules and information are available on the Teens Drive Smart web site.