Poll parents with teenagers at driving age, and probably, you'll find they don't think their kids have been trained adequately to drive defensively on the road. Some teenagers might even admit the same.
Our own driving experiences run the gamut. Without giving away the ages of our editorial staff (hint--we range from 27 years old to more than 50 years old), we've talked about our own driver training, and find major gaps in generations--what was considered mandatory is hardly noted now when it comes time for a learner's permit.Spoiler alert: teens are being let down and the driver-education system is failing them. Most are no longer required to spend time behind the wheel with a licensed instructor before taking the license test.
So where should parents turn for better education? Many driving schools teach teens how to use turn signals, to look over their shoulders, to check their blind spots, and to figure out which driver has the right of way. But is that enough? What happens when a driver is put into an emergency situation and needs to react quickly?
Skip Barber Driving School is one of the well-known and respected driving schools that focuses on improving skills while giving new drivers a better understanding of the road beyond just learning the rules. Barber's schools offer courses ranging from a teen driving school all the way to a Formula racing series.
The Barber school invited us out to attend their Mazda Driving School at Road Atlanta to see exactly what drivers are learning. They waived the cost of tuition, but we paid our own way to get there and stay in the Atlanta area, so we could see how teens of various experience levels were learning more than just the basics.