Peoples love of the automobile and of driving became a world-wide phenomenon even before motorsports or paved roads existed and has continued to intensify to this day. As roads improved and vehicles became faster and more challenging to drive, people began to pay attention to their driving skills, realizing that not all of us have the same control, coordination and reaction times while driving. It wasnt long before driving clubs and courses were organized to add to our enjoyment of driving and to improve our skills behind the wheel.
Today, driver improvement, defensive driving, and auto cross courses offer a wide spectrum of driving entertainment and education experiences to challenge and teach better driving skills in a safe and relatively inexpensive way.
Auto cross is one of the fastest-growing motorsports in the U.S. Regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, anyone can participate in a sport which challenges the driver’s skill and vehicle’s handling ability in a safe, relatively-affordable way. On a closed track, usually laid out in a large parking lot or airstrip, drivers compete by driving a prescribed course, usually indicated by orange traffic cones. Divers run the course one at a time, so there are none of the risks associated with wheel to wheel competition.
Drivers are timed and can repeat the course to improve their times. The challenge comes from judging turns so you don’t leave the course or knock down cones. This can be a great way for people to discover how well their car handles under conditions requiring timing, muscle memory, and visual perception. You quickly learn how well your vehicle handles in slalom and hairpin turns. The experience can better prepare you for occasions in real life where you need to quickly maneuver to prevent an accident.
The SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) is an organization which sponsors some of the autocross events you may have heard about. They establish a set of uniform rules and regulations to keep the sport safe and competitive.
Defensive Driving Courses
Driving with an eye out for the other guy is the essence of defensive driving courses and can be taught in a classroom or online. The benefits of attending these classes are multiple; you can become more aware and prepared to respond to the unexpected, and become aware of your own driving habits. In addition, these courses are accepted in many courts to erase a minor traffic violation, and qualify you for car insurance discounts by some insurers.
There are many different DMV and court approved courses under the heading of “Traffic School.” A Basic Driver Improvement class will help keep your car insurance rates down and can be used to keep points off of your driving record. If you have the misfortune of a suspended driver’s license, taking an Advanced Driver Improvement course can help you get back on the road with a Hardship License for work.
To obtain a Learner’s Permit in California, you need to take a Drivers Education course which includes behind the wheel practice. All of these courses are inexpensive and are held online or at DMV locations. Drivers can take advantage of numerous courses to improve their driving skills, restore a suspended license or to qualify for car insurance discounts.