Apr 12, 2013

So you think you can drive?

We were once untrained drivers. Of course it was when we were young, so we have an excuse. Do you know a young driver? Automobile accidents are the leading killer of teens. These days we are safer drivers. We don’t speed much, we don’t tailgate much, we mostly use our turn signals and we always wear seat belts. But we are surrounded by idiots untrained drivers.

When merging, get on the gas and merge into the flow of traffic like a zipper (or one, one, one, one for those who don't know how a zipper works). If someone has to slow down or move over to avoid hitting you, you have failed! For 99.9% of you on the road, don’t drive faster than posted speeds, 90mph in the rain on I-5 is stupid! You are not Sebastian Vettel! It doesn't matter if you are wearing a seat belt or not--you aren't likely to survive. One of our personal pet peeves is the complete and total ignoring of the highway sign that reads; SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT. It’s a simple concept, if a vehicle is gaining on you that ‘is’ an indication they are going faster, which by definition means you are going slower. MOVE OVER! Wow heading down a rabbit hole. 

So what can be done about bad driving? Probably not a whole lot, but one thing that would definitely help is for everyone to take an advanced driver course. Get your young driver into a class before they develop those bad habits and ingrained misconceptions about driving. 

We are not referring to a driver safety course, although those are good to, but an actual get up to speed, drifting, sliding, threshold breaking, pitching it sideways kind of experience. An experience for people to understand the dynamics of what happens under duress, for both the driver and the vehicle and how to deal with it. Have some safe time at the limit and beyond to develop some actual experience at over the edge to understand what is expected and how to deal with it. To get an appreciation of driving, and not as time to make mobile phone calls without blue tooth or put on makeup! Trust us when we say after one of these courses it will dramatically change your perception of your companions on the road (and their potential incompetence).
We can hear the question now; ‘how would one find out where to do one of these things.’

As it so happens, we know exactly where this can be experienced, the Skip Barber Racing School! Don’t get stuck on the racing part, this is not about racing; it’s about limits, both yours and the cars. The classes are held at racetracks all over the USA and are not that expensive when you consider what you or your beloved teen or loved one will get from the experience. 

We took their experience at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. We took to the classroom, skidpan, thresh hold breaking areas, autocross track, lane changes and the racetrack, in a day of lessons and learning in a variety of different high performance cars, with the enthusiasm of two teenage boys on 5 cups of espresso. 

The instructors are patient, and communicate non intuitive concepts clearly and concisely. Helping students overcome some of the natural tendencies that nearly everyone drives with, and showing you how to drive better with more control, and how to avoid your less competent road users.

The cars we drove were a Lotus, Porsche Boxer, Mazda 3, Mazda RX-8, BMW M3 and a Lexus I-SF. We learned how to toss these cars across two lanes and stop using maximum breaking. We also learned about being in a slide and taking control using a skill call ‘Jackie Chan hands”. There were many other activities during the day that gave us an appreciation for the capability of the cars and the significant difference between an untrained driver and a trained driver. We know what some of you are thinking, but if you have not been trained by a professional, you are not trained!

There may be a tendency to want to jump into a multiple day class but a one day class for those not used to tossing cars around is enough to wear you out. We slept very well that night and were a little stiff the next day! A multiple day class is next on the agenda though. We learned a lot and would love to do another class in the near future. We had a ton of fun and a few embarrassing (untrained) moments but without reservation, highly ‘recommend’ the Skip Barber Racing School.

Give this class as a gift to someone you love, even if that’s you!

 Happy Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala

Take advantage of some INFO here. Tell em we sent you!


  1. The driving school I want to go to is at the top of the list of recommendations by my friends, seems like people passed their tests and the school is affordable. My search is about to be settled.

  2. Booking a car rental helped enjoying our family trip in a budget friendly manner, and our kids were overwhelmed with joy of visiting the new places without getting tired and fatigued. Thanks to Angela, as she gave me the smart idea of hiring a car on time, and get rid of all the worries of confirming safety and comfort of all the family members, and especially the tiny toddlers.


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