FAQs

What will we be doing at a Tire Rack Street Survival school?

The day is a mixture of classroom and in-car exercises. They spend a total of about two hours in three different classroom sessions. The rest of the time is spent in their car with a coach.  When driving, the student is put though a collection of exercises based on real world scenarios while driving their own car. They work on skid control on a wet skid pad; go through a lane change/accident avoidance maneuvers; perform threshold breaking/ABS exercises; and drive a slalom course to learn about weight transfer.  Where possible, we do a two wheels off exercise and a tailgating exercise.  In the classroom, they learn about proper seating position and hand positions, mirror placement, the concept of the contact patch of their tires, the theories of weight transfer, the use of long distance vision, and situational awareness.  We talk about the challenges of distractions to the driver, be it the radio, iPods, phones for talking or texting or just the simple cause of too many teens in the car. Where possible we stage a semi truck on site and park cars around it to simulate highway driving.  We then have each student and all adults get into the cab and close the door to show how little the driver can see and how many of the cars are not visible to the driver.  We also may explode an air bag to reinforce what they learn in class about hand placement on the steering wheel.

The schedule varies at each location slightly, but it’s a full day. We feed all students, parents, and volunteers lunch and have some educational demonstrations during that period as well.

How much does it cost to register for a school?

School registration is $75 per person.

What if I don't see my city?

The schools are facilitated by chapters of the BMW Car Club of America, the Sports Car Club of America, Porsche Club of America, and other auto enthusiast clubs where a trained volunteer instructor base can be utilized. If you don’t see your city listed, the school might not be confirmed or currently open for registration. You can also been added to our database to receive an e-mail when the next school opens. We send these emails out when you are within a 150-mile radius of the venue.

How many students are allowed per school?

The number of students varies according to the size of each venue. Schools average 25 students, with some schools accommodating as many as 40. If the class you are interested in is full, you will be placed on the wait list upon completing the registration. There is no charge to be placed on the wait list. If there are no openings before the school, we will email you the next time a school opens for registration within 150 miles of your zip code.

How do I know if there are openings available for a specific date?

Students completing their registration after a class if full are automatically placed on the wait list.  This does not cost you anything. We typically have a few cancellations for each school. If there are no openings before the school, we will email you the next time a school opens for registration within 150 miles of your zip code.

Please DO NOT call asking if there spots available.  Due to the phone call volume we receive we will not be able to return your call.

What are the student age requirements for participating in a school?

Licensed or permitted drivers, ages 15 to 21 are allowed in the program.

What are the requirements for “permitted students”?

Permitted drivers will be allowed in the Tire Rack Street Survival program IF all of the following conditions can be met.

  • All conditions of the permit can be met in a safe manner, (e.g. a licensed driver is required in the car at all times). These state requirements are intended for driving on public roads.  All of our schools do NOT drive on public roads so this requirement does not apply, BUT a coach will be in the car with the students whenever they are behind the wheel.
  • The driver must be a minimum of 15 years of age (or the minimum age for the state issuing the permit).
  • The student has driven a minimum 25 hours before attending the school.
  • The student must have had the permit for a minimum of ½ the time required by the state issuing the permit (not the state where the school venue is located). For example, if the permit must be held for 6 months before the driver can take their driving test, then the student must have had the permit a minimum of 3 months.
Who are the school instructors?

All TRSS coaches are experienced volunteers having instructed at driver education schools ranging from car control to winter driving to high performance driving. They are a mix of teachers and enthusiasts that have been exposed to all levels of car control techniques. While they continue to enjoy various disciplines of auto racing, rallying, and competitive autocrossing, they also possess a unique ability to communicate all of their experience in a manner that gets through to teens. Whether it’s their commitment to safety or their enthusiasm for driving, it adds up to a truly unique, hands-on day of learning for your young driver.

Does the Tire Rack Street Survival school provide vehicles?

No. Students need to arrive in their own vehicle, or the one that they most frequently drive on a daily basis.

Do students have to drive a BMW?

Absolutely not. We want students to participate in Tire Rack Street Survival using the car they normally drive so they will understand the response characteristics of the car they drive daily.

Are parents required to attend?

While we cannot require that you come to the class, we strongly suggest that you do.  We encourage you to sit in the classroom sessions and listen to those presentations.  Even though you have been driving for many years, we feel that there are things that you might learn from experiencing these with you new driver.  We also feel that the importance of driving education and seriousness of this issue is reinforced when your new driver sees you taking an active interest in what they are doing.

Do you have an adult program?

The purpose of this program is to train new drivers ages 15 to 21. We will occasionally allow any age driver to register during the final week before a school if space is available. This exception is not available at every school event regardless of how many students are enrolled.

Can students share a vehicle?

If siblings are attending an event together, and the car they both drive on a daily basis is the same, most certainly.

What if I drive an SUV or truck?

SUVs, SAVs, trucks, Jeep-type vehicles, minivans, and other high center-of-gravity vehicles (HCGs) will need to be verified before being allowed to participate.  Older HCGs without electronic stability control (not just the electronic traction control) will not be accepted.

These vehicles can prove to be poor choices for first-time drivers, especially small SUVs and trucks.  Early models without traction and/or stability control have statistically proven to be unfortunate choices.  These vehicles tend to be light in the rear end and thus have a tendency to “fishtail” during panic stops or when the road is slick.  Even with four-wheel drive, pickups and SUVs are less stable, take longer to stop, and are generally more dangerous for a new driver.  Most are top heavy and can tip or roll over under severe maneuvers.  Less-experienced drivers may be more likely to use abrupt steering motions, that can cause rollovers. Please note that most older SUVs and trucks are not rated the way cars are rated.  These vehicles are not required to meet the same crash standards as a passenger car.

Our goal is to conduct the safest and most rewarding experience for your teen driver.  Approved HCG vehicles with electronic stability control may still be limited with respect to some of the exercises in which they are allowed to participate based on local venue conditions.

If your driver operates one of these HCG-type vehicles and would like to participate, please review the vehicle’s safety score (does not apply to passenger cars) and rollover rating test at www.safercar.gov/Safety+Ratings.

Any vehicle with a 3-star or higher Rollover Rating will be allowed to participate in our class. We are only concerned with Rollover Ratings on HCG-type vehicles. We are not concerned about the crash test ratings.

Any HCG-type vehicle listed as “not rated” in the Rollover test will not be allowed to participate.

Do students wear helmets?

No helmets are required at the schools. All exercises are low-speed events with coaches in the student’s car at all times.

Will I receive a discount from my auto insurance provider upon completion of a school?

Although there are no national blanket discounts available at this time, many auto insurance companies do recognize Tire Rack Street Survival as an educational program that can count towards premium discounts. Check with your auto insurer to find out more information.

What is the refund policy?

Refunds will be issued for cancellations up to the Thursday prior to the event. You must contact the school registrar and/or the BMW CCA Foundation National Office no later than 5 PM EST on the Thursday before the scheduled school.

Refunds will not be issued for cancellations after Thursday or for no shows. We have volunteers coming into town expecting to teach at the school and other students may have missed an opportunity to attend the school.

"We were very impressed with how [John's] driving skills improved in one day last year. His college doesn't allow freshmen or sophomores living on campus to have a car so he isn't driving for most of nine months. We are bringing him home for this school, then back to college for a few weeks before summer break. Next term the car goes to college too."

Susan S., San Francisco, CA

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