NicoleTropea Intern
11/24/14 1:23 p.m.

I am not a car person. I have never claimed to be one. Sure, I spend a lot of time around car lovers, but when I accidentally ripped the bumper off my first car by catching it on a curb, I was as scared and clueless as any other young driver.

That’s probably why several people–whose names I will not mention–recently decided to sign me up for Tire Rack’s Street Survival school, a one-day class that’s somewhere between a high school driver’s ed course and the racing schools of the motorsport world.

Of course, I was resistant to the idea: How bad at driving did they think I was? But when I arrived at the First Coast Technical College campus near St. Augustine, Florida, and found out just what this school would be teaching, I realized it was exactly the driver’s education class I needed–and should have gotten when I first started driving.

When I got the email that I’d been signed up for a driving class, I immediately started having flashbacks to high school driver’s ed–a twice-weekly, after-school snorefest filled with textbooks, written tests, and sweaty gym teachers who’d volunteered to yell at teenagers for an extra 6 hours a week. It was, to say the least, an uncomfortable environment.

Although I did learn proper procedure for parking my car on an imaginary Florida hill, I never once learned how to check tire pressure, how to adjust mirrors, or even what ABS feels like when it’s working.

I left that class almost exactly as nervous and incompetent as before, so I ended up turning to other people in my life to fill in the blanks as I experienced problems. That strategy wasn’t very helpful, either, since my dad was short-tempered, my boyfriend kept telling me I was ruining the car, and my mom preferred the abstinence approach to car accident prevention. After a few weeks of enduring this “advice,” I decided that I would tune them all out and settle for the minimal learning experiences offered by my 5-mile commute to work.

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car39 HalfDork
11/24/14 2:03 p.m.

I've been involved in a program like this for several years. The students all look like they're about to be sentenced to hard labor in the morning, and are loving life by the end of it. Even the timid driver comes out with a little more confidence at the end. The best reward of the program from a provided end is hearing more than once from a parent that their child avoided an accident after attending and they credit the course for the knowledge. Small plug for the program I was with:

Will SuperDork
11/24/14 2:16 p.m.

I wish all students were into it by the end of the day. I've had several Street Survival students who just didn't care at all, even during/after the wet skid pad fun stuff. I don't expect them to love it so much they come back again, but if I can keep them from killing themselves/you/me later on, then I did my job as an instructor.

M2Pilot HalfDork
11/24/14 10:06 p.m.

Not a valid sample size, but my son did Street Survival (in a lifted Jeep) around 15 years or so back. One of my nephews did it a couple of years later. 2 other nephews had the opportunity but didn't partake.

My son & the nephew who did Street Survival have never had an automotive accident. The other 2 nephews have had 4 or 5 accidents between the 2 of them over the past 12 years or so.

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