Today, I had the fortune to take my 16 year old son Camden to an advanced training in San Marcos California to do some advanced training for when he’s on the road. Camden just turned 16 and also just got his license…#verynervousmom. I heard about this program a while back at an event for Kia, and somehow I remembered (without the help of Siri or Alexa) to sign my son up for the program. This Teen Driving School isn’t here to teach your kids the basics of driving. It is here to simulate real-world scenarios so that they are truly ready for the road. Let’s go over all the amazing things you and your child will learn.
The Most Amazing Teen Driving School for your Child & It’s Free to Attend!
B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Driving School was established back in 2008 by professional Drag Racer Doug Herbert when he lost his two teen sons in a car accident. The program is designed to teach the kids real world behind the wheel training. It teaches t kids to exercise caution, prevent injuries and save lives. The program is widely accredited and has been featured on NBC Nightly News.
The class is a 4-hour in the classroom and on the road program. Both the parent and the student need to be in attendance at the same time, because I have to say I learned almost as much as my child.
Part 1 of Teen Driving School – In the Classroom
The first part of the program was a 45-minute segment in the classroom. There you learn some shocking statistics like…
- 89.2% of teens will be in an accident in their first 3 years of driving
- 50% of teens get in an accident in their first month of driving
- Car Accidents are the #1 killer of teens ages 15-19
- Your teen driver has a 44% greater chance to die in an accident with one teen or child in the car.
- Teen drivers have a double the chance of dying in an accident with two or more teens or children in the car.
- Your teen driver has 4x the chance of dying in an accident with three or more teens or children in the car.
- The one positive statistic was that your child had a 64% less chance of being in an accident after taking the B.R.A.K.E.S. driving school.
After some statistics which make your stomach churn, we learned some real-world driving info that both the kids and the parents will get to practice on the course. This included….
- hand positioning
- where to set your seat
- how to adjust your mirrors to not have a blind spot
- how often to check your tires
- where to look through the windshield (hint the top half)
- how often to check your mirrors
In addition, the instructors gave some great insight to the kids on how to get out of a bad situation. For instance, if you are uncomfortable in a situation, set up a text your child can send you so
After that, the teens were sent on their way, while the parents were left behind in the classroom. There the instructors gave us teaching on how to be better instructors so that you are constantly trying to help your teen drive safely. One of the tips I would have never thought about was to “Not call or text your kids asking where they are.” Instead, look their location up on find a friend or Find my iPhone and then you won’t distract them while they are on the road.
Part 2 – Teens On the Course
The teens were broken up into three groups to practice different driving techniques. By the time us parents got out there we walked up to 20+ Kia’s screeching and turning in and out of cones. Let me be very clear, the course is in a wide open area and very safe. In fact, they never have had an accident by a teen in all the years they have been doing this.
Section 1 – Braking/Distraction
The braking part of the program is designed to teach kids how to properly break in emergency situations and how to properly use ABS brakes (which apparently 90% of us adults don’t know how to do).
In the distraction segment, the kids are given several distracting scenarios including music blaring while the instructor is loudly singing. Then they even put on “beer goggles” which simulate driving while intoxicated. The kids try to navigate the course and avoid the cones with the goggles on. Yes, while driving and yes it is very safe.
After each section, the kids exit the vehicle an do a recap with the instructor.
Section 2 – Crash Avoidance
In the Crash Avoidance section, the instructors again work on aiming the kids in and out of cones and guide them on how to avoid crashes. The B.R.A.K.E.S. teen driving school has your teen driver speed towards a cardboard cutout of a women and her dog. Then they have to slam on their brakes. During this time they teach the kids how to look for open space rather than looking at the object you are trying to avoid.
Section 3 – Skid Pad
The Skid Pad was my son’s favorite part of the school. The teen driving school has cars set up with specialty wheels which simulate driving on ice. The kids learn how to handle a real-world spin out (and spin out several times themselves) It is amazing to see how quickly they learned to adapt in the ice and how good these instructors were at teaching the kids the techniques to get out of a spin.
Parents out on the teen driving school course
During the time the kids were on the course, the program was very interactive for the parents as well. There were CHP officers there to discuss any questions you might have. We also took the braking part of the course ourselves which really taught me how to use the ABS breaks properly. Lastly, they have a car that takes you around to the different sections to you can see what is happening up close. Although we were out on the course for close to three hours the time flew by.
Part 3 – Back in the Classroom – What to do when pulled over & much more
After a full adventure on the course, the teens and us parents headed back to the classroom. We went over a few more tips plus an officer came out to tell the teens what to do if you are pulled over. What to do if you are in an accident. Then the instructors and officers went over a few more sad stories that hopefully your teen will remember so they take precaution on the road and more ideas on how to get out of bad situations.
My personal favorite was if your teen ever feels uncomfortable in any situation have a code that your teen can text you. Then you immediately text them that you have to pick them up for an emergency. As the officer told the teens that “let your parents be the bad guy” us parents don’t mind at all. That way the teen can save face amongst his peers and you can pick them up safely.
Finally, all the drivers received a certificate of completion and a goodie bag filled with things like a tire pressure monitor, which my son immediately asked: “how do you use this?” Clearly, I did not fully train him.
How to take the B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Driving School Class & You Said it’s Free?
The B.R.A.K.E.S. driving school travels all over the United States to I believe 44 states. You can check out their schedule online here. I highly recommend signing up early as spots get filled pretty fast. If you see all the spots are filled sign up for the waitlist. We were on the waitlist and got in about 2 weeks prior to the event.
The program is completely free, B.R.A.K.E.S does have a $99 refundable registration fee to make sure you show up for the class. At the end of the day, you have the option like we did of donating the $99, for all they do it is well worth it. However, the made it abundantly clear to pick up your refundable deposit if needed.
Overall, I could not think of a better program to prepare both teens and parents for having their teens on the road. You can read more about B.R.A.K.E.S. on their home page and I truly hope you get the opportunity to take your teen driver to this one-day teen driving school.
Questions about B.R.A.K.E.S Teen Driving School? Feel free to ask in the comments
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