Street Survival School – What it is and why we do it?

21647159009_a291ac1450_oStory by Tom Arndt, UCR Member, Parent, Volunteer & Past Participant, Photos by Hazel de Burgh

Janet and I have both taken the course. We both dreaded getting up so early on a Sunday morning, had huge smiles on our faces much of the day and now we both volunteer to help keep it going. As volunteers, we now get up even earlier!

We learned and enjoyed it so much that all three of our children will take it as well. The oldest dreaded getting up so early on a Sunday morning, had a huge smile on his face much of the day and now is a more confident and aware driver. Another child will be doing it on May 29th this year: he is looking forward to it and is an early riser. You can bet he will have a huge smile on his face most of the day too! The third will take it after she gets her G2.

Let me dispel some misconceptions. This course is not a race or sports car event. Students should drive the car they typically drive so that they learn to drive that car better, safer and more confidently.

21212953963_436d58745f_oThe day starts off with a Wake & Brake Exercise: a driver may not be familiar with the tickle and noise of ABS brakes. How will he or she react when feeling it for the first time? The course addresses that right out of the gate.

Am I really allowed to do that? Can my car do this? Yes, the idea is that participants learn what their car will and can do in an emergency situation. They turn hard. They stop hard. They slide. They drive through obstacle courses. The tires screech. The brakes smell. The suspension heaves and sways. The participants practice for the day it may happen for real. You can only learn to drive well, by driving.

Is it all that hard on the car? Much less than an accident is, especially for the people! But seriously, yes, the tires will experience above average wear and tear that day (maybe 1,000 km worth of typical driving). In exchange, you, your son or your daughter will experience and learn life lessons that they will take with them the rest of their lives. If they learn just one thing, it is all worth it.

Can Mom or Dad go too? There are limited spots available, so priority is given to drivers with under 10 years of experience. But many child/parent duos have gone through the program. Everyone can learn from the course.

Back to the question: what is it and why do we do it? It’s fun. It’s challenging and it creates awareness. It builds confidence and competence. In two words: safer roads. That’s what and why. As a parent, a volunteer and even a past participant, I can assure you the Street Survival

School helps make our roads safer – for everyone. I look forward to May 29th and beyond, and hope you do too!

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