By Richard Bergen
In the ongoing discussions about the San Vicente Road project, many letters have expressed the notion that the road is inherently dangerous and presents particular challenges for inexperienced teen drivers.
Without getting into a debate about whether this is so, concerned parents might consider sending their teen to a driver school that goes beyond the rudimentary instruction given in high school driver’s ed.: a course called (aptly) “Street Survival.” This is a one-day course originally developed by BMW and the Tire Rack Company.
It is a hands-on driving experience in real world situations (including exercises on wetted-down pavement). It is expressly designed for inexperienced teen drivers and SAFELY covers many situations and techniques never taught in high school. It is open to any licensed driver, or driver with a provisional permit, between the ages of 15 and 21.
You don’t have to have a BMW to take the course. The student can use the family car, or the family SUV or pickup truck Be sure to read the following FAQ (frequently asked questions) for a discussion of teens and these latter types of vehicles: streetsurvival.org/about-street-survival/frequently-asked-questions-faq/. I think it relates to at least one of the accidents mentioned in letters to the
on the San Vicente Road.
Cost is $75. This is an absolute bargain. A comparable one-day course for teens put on by the Bob Bondurant Driving School in Arizona costs $495. You can see a short video about the Street Survival school here — losangelesbmwcca.org/teen-survival-driving-school. The local San Diego chapter of the BMW car club will put on a Street Survival school on April 7. Registration will open on Feb. 15 (there are only 36 slots and the course fills up very quickly). For more information, go to sdbmwcca.com/streetsurvival/index.html.
The L.A. chapter of the BMW car club will also be putting on a Street Survival school on June 22. Check its website for more info: losangelesbmwcca.org/.
Another option is a local company called DriveSkills, which specializes in the production of driver training simulators. These simulators are not arcade games. They are highly realistic and interactive simulators used to train bus drivers, truck drivers, and, yes, race car drivers. They are expanding their facilities in Oceanside to include training of teen drivers — something similar to Street Survival. The course may be several months away from being ready, but anyone interested can contact the company at 760-721-7761.
Until the new, smoother and “safer” road is completed (hopefully in our lifetime), training like this can go a long way to help younger, inexperienced drivers handle the challenges of San Vicente, and, come to think of it, other roads like Wildcat Canyon, Highland Valley, 78 to Escondido, 78 to Julian, Old Julian Highway, etc., etc.
Richard Bergen is a Ramona resident.