Performance Driving = Safe Driving...
Let's face it, the driver's education we all received back in High School was minimalist, focusing primarily on the rules of the road outlined in the State's Driver Handbook. We learned little about the physics of driving, car control & self-preservation. Lack of skill is one of the primary causes behind teen auto accidents & the white knuckle driving that occurs during snowstorms here in the North East. When we exceed the performance envelope of our vehicle due to factors such as slippery conditions or too much speed, how do we regain control and avoid an accident? Drivers can't be expected to react properly when things go wrong if they never been taught, or haven't ever practiced, the skills of car control and accident avoidance.
So where does one obtain these skills? Fortunately, organizations such as the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) and the Sports Car Driving Association (SCDA), among others, offer Driver Education Programs that focus on the physics of driving, car control and accident avoidance. Moreover, drivers can practice these skills.
Drivers under the age of 18 and those interested in developing car control skills can attend either a driver skill or Street Survival School. There, drivers will learn & practice threshold braking, object avoidance & skid pad maneuvers. These exercises develop car control skills by allowing the driver to experience a vehicle that is near and sometimes beyond the edge of its performance limit (usually tire grip). Skid pad exercises are particularly good at developing skills necessary to bring a sliding vehicle back under control, a very useful skill to posses on our slippery winter roads. To learn more about, or to enroll your newly licensed driver in the Street Survival Program click on this link http://streetsurvival.org/.
If you'd like to improve your driving skills even more & have a lot of fun in the process, check out a High Performance Driving School sponsored by either the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) or the Sports Car Driving Association of America (SCDA). Limited to driver's age 18 and older, students begin the day with a classroom discussion involving such topics as vehicle dynamics & the physics behind driving, as well as how to properly approach, enter & exit a turn, among other topics. Then it's out to a closed circuit road course with you and your own personal instructor to practice what you've learned. Over time, the BMW CCA program advances drivers through a number of experience levels, ranging from novice to advanced. Students can eventually become High Performance Driving Instructors themselves, or even a licensed Race Car Driver if desired. Check it out & be prepared to have a great time:
New England & Canadian Closed Circuit Road Courses
Where do we drive & race? Compared to other areas of the country, New England has 4 great road courses within a day's drive. Courses range in length from 1.6 miles (1 lap) at Lime Rock Park in Ct, to 3.4 Miles (1 lap) at Watkins Glen in upstate NY. Unlike circle tracks, road courses combine a variety of turns with fast straights and elevation changes. Cars (and drivers) need to be able to brake, turn (right & left!) and accelerate.
BMW CCA and SCDA hold driving events at these courses & others. Follow the links below if you'd like to learn more about these Northeast Circuits.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Lime Rock Park, CT
Mt Trembant, Canada
Watkins Glen, NY