Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Driver in the family!

Well, it had to happen sooner or later...My son Michael passed his drivers road test today and is an officially licensed driver in Pennsylvania. I don't have any gray hairs at this point in my life, but having a teen driver is bound to turn a few. As my parents always say, "having kids is payback for all the grief you put us through when you were a kid"! Hopefully we have taught him well and given him a sense of responsibility that will keep him out of trouble.

One of the things that I was determined to do before he went on the road, was for him to attend a high performance driving school. After investigating driving schools at BeaveRun Racetrack and Mid-Ohio race course, we choose BeaveRun for it's close proximity to home and owner Scott Slibaugh's commitment to making safer teen drivers. This school is NOT your typical "Drivers-Ed" classes given by tired instructors in compact cars teaching what shape a stop sign is, or parallel parking. It is a combination of classroom work that discusses vehicle dynamics, physics, physical conditioning, weather conditions, and driver psychology. Then out on a full blown race track where Ex-police cruisers with Corvette LT-1 engines and Mazda 6 sports sedans are put through the paces at highway speeds.
Cars are driven around the skid pad, thrown out of control and gathered back up, driving the race course in reverse at speeds approaching 30MPH, panic stops and swerving, dealing with road rage exercises, and many other maneuvers that teens typically never get into until it is TOO LATE, and often with disastrous and tragic results. The professional instructors, many with auto racing experience made the class fun and informative, along with the obligatory PA State Policeman to discuss drinking, drugs, and speeding. I'm glad we used the school cars instead of my vehicle, because by the end of the day tires on many of the cars were worn down to the cords!

If you have a teen who is of driving age, I highly recommend looking into a class that teaches real world road skills. I'm glad we did and I might even be able to keep those grays away a while longer! These photos are of Micheal on the skid pad trying to keep up with the steering, as the instructor controls the accelerator and brake. Also a sequence where he learns that it is tough to steer a car when the front brakes are locked up as he hustles a Mazda 6 on the Wilson Circuit at BeaveRun.

1 comment: said...

Hi Mark, glad the BeaveRun program was a hit with your son! Would it be OK to link to your blog post from the BeaveRun website? We like to highlight any articles or commentary about the complex and the programs on the site.