Kia and B.R.A.K.E.S. have added San Diego to its lineup for a free advanced driving course for teens. In the B.R.A.K.E.S. program — Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe — participating teens and their parents will be taught hands-on defensive driving skills from professional instructors — including former race car drivers, stunt drivers and secret service agents.
The instruction, in vehicles provided by Kia, includes a distracted driving course, emergency braking situations and skid-control practice. The program has a three-to-one student-to-teacher ratio to give more individual attention. Parents also participate to reinforce those proper driving techniques after the training is completed.
The San Diego program will be July 30-31 at Qualcomm Stadium. To participate, teens age 15-19 must have a valid learner’s permit or drivers license, 30 hours of experience behind the wheel and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Classes are available from 8 a.m. to noon or 1-5 p.m. The four-hour, hands-on course is free, but a $99 deposit is required to hold a reservation. (The program is also held in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties and elsewhere in the United States.)
“Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens in this country, and we started B.R.A.K.E.S. eight years ago to try to do something about that,” said Doug Herbert, founder of B.R.A.K.E.S., in memory of his sons, Jon and James, who were killed in a car crash in 2008. “Our mission is to prevent injuries and save lives by providing young drivers with the real-life driving experience they need in a safe and controlled environment,” he said in a release.
His program trained about 50 students in its first year and the number of participants has gone beyond 20,000 since the inception, Herbert said, “And we’re still accelerating.”
▪ Training segments also include:
Distracted Driving: The course demonstrates the danger that cellphones, text messaging, and other distractions can pose while driving.
Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery: This segment teaches students how to regain control when one or more of their vehicle’s wheels veers off the road surface and onto the shoulder.
Panic Stop: Students will learn proper braking to help stop a vehicle in the shortest distance possible while maintaining control. Participants (parents, too) experience the pulsating brake-pedal effects of ABS and how to control the vehicle when ABS is engaged.
Car Control and Recovery: On a wet skid pad to simulate wet-road conditions. Students will learn how to recover from oversteer (rear wheel) and understeer (front wheel) skids.
Other learning experiences vary by school but can include an eye-opening view from the driver’s seat of a big-rig truck with a discussion about safe zones and blind spots. There also can be demonstrations from police and fire-rescue agencies.
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