B.R.A.K.E.S. — Dedicated to Saving Young Lives
This past Saturday I took my 15-year-old son to a BRAKES defensive driving school at Bristol Motor Speedway. We really were not sure what to expect, but the experience proved to be fun and educational for both of us.
B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) is a 501(c)3 organization which provides advanced driver’s education in a program entitled the Teen Pro-Active Driving Course. Over 5,000 teenagers lose their lives each year across the country in traffic accidents. While conventional driver’s education is important and valuable, the Teen Pro-Active Driving Course goes beyond that level of training by addressing driving situations responsible for many traffic accidents involving teens. The course is for teenagers 15-19 who have a learner’s permit or driver’s license with at least 30 hours of driving experience.
We arrived a Bristol Motor Speedway with apprehension and anticipation. Neither of us knew exactly what to expect, but my son is about to get his drivers license and I felt he needed this kind of training.
We started the four hour course with a video and some classroom instruction. I have to admit that we both learned something from the classroom instruction.
Then they took us out to the parking lot where a driving course had been designed. Each of the students were assigned to a group with a leader for every three students. The instructors even let each parent take a turn on the course.
The course consisted of five different real world situations: accident avoidance, a distraction exercise, drop wheel recovery, car control and recovery, and panic stop (anti lock braking). At each exercise the students were shown my their instructor how to properly navigate the exercise, then took turns behind the wheel applying and practicing each technique themselves. The amount of behind the wheel time was so valuable and allowed each student to try these accident avoidance techniques in a controlled environment with professional feedback.