NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Saturday, permitted and licensed drivers between the ages of 15 to 21 were put behind the wheel and given real-world driving experience, thanks to Tire Racks Street Survival.
James George, Tire Rack Street Survival Instructor, says that the program “takes the teen students, puts them out in a car to experience some defensive driving techniques.”
“They’re experiencing ABS braking, they’re experiencing how to operate a car under extreme conditions so that it simulates if something flew out in front of them on the road, how to change on the highway, gets them in kind of those unusual circumstances that we experience on a day-to-day basis,” George says.
The Street Survival program comes to Charleston at least once a year, however, the national organization plans events across the United States.
Organizers say that recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows that almost 4,000 youths between the ages of 15 to 20 are involved in deadly car accidents annually in the United States.
“I’ve been doing this for about five years now, I feel very strongly about it, the students that I’ve taught in the past I’ve heard a lot of responses back from [about] how it made them safer, how it got them from not having an accident,” George says.
Students with varying driving experiences were welcome to attend the class – whether they are just learning how to drive defensively, or if they had been in a car accident before and they want to learn better car control in avoiding accidents in the future.
“[We’ve] taken a wide variety of backgrounds and get to help influence those people to make them safer on the streets because we all know we would all love to have safer drivers out there,” George says.
The organization’s website StreetSurvival.org shows upcoming driving events for those interested in an area closest to them.
“A lot of this is getting the kids first-hand experience, a lot of the drivers are new drivers – they don’t have a lot of experience, this gets them a lot of experience in a short amount of time that they can then apply on the streets,” George says.
“We’re doing all in a safe environment so that when they do make the mistakes, they’re making it here where they can be safely done instead of on the streets where it could possibly cause an accident”