Street Survival® Safe Driving Class for Your Teen

tws 06.3 truck

Street Survival® Safe Driving Class for Your Teen

By Laura Carson Miller


Do you have a new teen driver or one that could use a refresher course on the in’s and out’s of being behind the wheel? If so, the upcoming Street Survival course might be just what you and your teen are looking for.

Street Survival was founded in 2002 by the BMW Car Club of America Foundation. Street Survival® is built upon the premise that ‘safe driving is learned by doing.’ From the outset, Street Survival® has always been a “hands on” program and it is designed to go beyond the typical high school driver’s education program. The program teaches students to avoid accidents by thinking and looking ahead. Street Survival® is unique in that it offers students instruction in their own cars so that they learn the limitations of their ‘daily drivers’ and that information is transferred immediately to what they drive every day, whether it’s a new Accord, pick-up truck, 5 year old Minivan, or the hand-me –down 15 year old Volvo station wagon.

National Program Director Bill Wade filled me in on some specifics about the class:

The day is a mixture of classroom and in-car exercises with a coach in the car at all times with the student.  The student is put though a collection of exercises based on real world scenarios. They work on skid control on a wet skid pad; go through a lane change / accident avoidance maneuvers; threshold breaking / ABS exercises; they drive a slalom course to learn about weight transfer.  Where possible we do a 2 wheels off exercise and a tail gating exercise.  In the classroom they learn about proper seating and hand positions, mirror placement, the concept of the contact patch of their tires, the theories of weight transfer, the use of long distance vision and situational awareness.  We talk about the challenges of distractions to the driver, be it the radio / I-pods or cell phones for talking or texting or just the simple cause of too many teens in the car. Where possible we stage a semi truck on site and park cars around it to simulate highway driving.  We then have each student and all adults get into the cab and close the door to show how little the driver can see and how many of the cars are not visible to the driver.  We also may explode an air bag to reinforce what they learn in class about hand placement on the steering wheel.

The instructor to student ratio is quite low, two students for each instructor getting one on one instruction using a split driving exercise/classroom schedule.  The schools are held typically in a large parking lot, such as a football stadium or large mall.  They are 1 day, typically from 8:30am to 4:30pm.  The cost is $75.

WHERE: Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, GA 30045
WHEN:  Saturday, July 18, Aug 22 and Oct 31; 8:00 am – 5:00 pm