Teen drivers will now be able to learn safe driving habits with the Tracy Chapterís, of the Get Real behind the Wheel, has its first on-track training program on Sunday at the Altamont Motorsports Park.
This particular program helps young drivers test and further their driving skills while they face a number of challenges and hazards on a tested driving course at the race track. Teens will navigate through the course under extreme conditions, like distracted driving and hydroplaning. This program is free of charge.
The founder of the program, Ken Ucci, has seen a wide number of students participating in the program and has said that the numbers will continue to rise. Till date, the program has seen a grand number of 1,000 teens go through training.
The program on Sunday will have anywhere between 40 and 60 teen drivers driving at the course, which is a far cry from the first program that had only 6 drivers. Ken Ucci hopes that more teen drivers will participate in this program and will take advantage of the benefits of getting trained. The basic aim of the program is to help build the basic driving skills before sending out teens on their own.
But in spite of these scary statistics, high gas prices and safety risks, there is no way you can curb the enthusiasm of a teen driver. Most teen drivers confess to being both nervous as well as excited about driving lessons, as it is new but something that they really want to do.
I am HIGHLY for this kind of days, because I believe a track driving style is a good road driving style: It's smooth, percise, decisive where necessary, and involves planning as far ahead as possible while making the most out of the conditions and avoiding slides, rather than working out of them once they occured. Also, they give the youthfull drivers a chance to "unload" this excitement on the track, rather than on the road.
However, one must care to compensate for the possible downsides of such an instruction: The first shortcoming is the often too ambitious attempt to teach the drivers some car control: They are not likely to control oversteer/understeer at the moment of truth. Instead, one should focus on avoiding the slides (based on the classic "track driving" approach I stated above).
The second problem is the track's conspiciousness. The circuit is closed, repititve, known in advance and usually hosts large run-off areas. The result is a driving style than does not require as much anticipation as, say, rally driving. Of course this style of driving has it's own faults: Unsmooth driving, sliding the car, lower exploitation of the car's abilities, lack of traffic -- the two driving styles should be combined on the road, along with a big safety envelope.
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