Below is an article I’m working on for my SCCA region’s quarterly newsletter, I’m the chair for our Tire Rack Street Survival program and have been asked to submit an article about it. I’d like some help. I haven’t written anything serious since high school and I’m a big supporter of the program, so I want to make a good impression. Constructive feedback is welcome (if you just rowed up in your douche-canoe to throw shade, keep paddling).
I am not Batman and no one organizes charity 5k’s for traffic deaths, but the top killer of 15-22 year olds are traffic deaths. Nearly twice as many teenagers die each year from car crashes than are killed by criminals and all disease combined. However, there is hope, there is something we can do, and there are heroes who can help save our children from themselves: we have met our heroes and they are us.
On October 21, the Texas Region SCCA will be hosting our 5th Tire Rack Street Survival at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, TX. You can volunteer to help by contacting redacted and you can register a student at http://streetsurvival.org. Our goal is to host up to 3 schools a year and help make our teens safer on the road. The program is offered through the SCCA Foundation and is a 501c3 charitable non-profit, we charge $75 per student to cover the costs of the event but all the coaches are unpaid volunteers. Lunch and water are provided for everyone, instructors get breakfast and a polo shirt too.
Students drive their own vehicles, and we even help them to perform the safety inspection alongside our instructors. The first thing we teach the students is how to check their tire pressures, oil levels, and fluids. After registration and inspection, the students all gather for a short introduction to the program and what they day will look like for them, and then the fun starts.
We split all the students into two groups, one group stays where they are for the classroom portion of the class where we go over all the reasons why we are doing each of the driving exercise as well as a number of techniques and practice that will make them better drivers. Weight transfer, where to look, and proper driving positions are among the topics we cover, but most of the learning takes place in the vehicles and on the course.
The most beneficial and fun part of the school is the driving. During the morning sessions the students learn a variety of skills at five different stations: the slalom, the skid pad, the figure eight, an emergency lane change, and an ABS braking exercise. Each exercise is designed to demonstrate the real world benefits and applications of the skills and techniques discussed in the classroom session.
Students learn how to initiate, control, and recover from over-steer and/or under-steer on the skid pad, the benefits of looking ahead and keeping their eyes on the horizon while navigating the slalom, how to fully utilize ABS in an emergency situation, the importance of weight transfer and proper inputs at the figure eight, and the dangers of overcorrecting when making an emergency lane change.
After lunch, we talk about what we learned in the morning sessions before we split the students back into their groups. During the lunch break the instructors and volunteers combine the stations into a circuit, reminiscent of an autocross course. No longer are the techniques practiced in isolation as discreet skills, this final driving session is all about adapting to obstacles and situations on the fly and polishing the car control techniques from the morning. At the end of the day we even encourage the parents to jump in the cars with the students and go for a ride, nearly every parent is surprised and impressed by their child’s newfound skills and confidence behind the wheel.