Local teens take intense lessons in driving safety

By Joe Bennett

May 5, 2013 Updated May 5, 2013 at 10:41 PM CDT

MOSSVILLE, Ill -- The national driver education program Tire Rack Street Survival teaches teens how to avoid hazardous situations in advance.

"If you do that in a controlled environment with an instructor, you have an opportunity to learn from that situation so they can benefit down the street," says Lead Instructor Michael Benet.

The course is offered once a year to drivers like Dunlap High School student Bridgett Roal.

Roal is still taking driver's education, and she says Street Survival is teaching her more realistic driving lessons than most classes offer.

"You're going at higher speeds than normal,” Roal says. “You're doing things that you normally would never be able to do out on the road."

Those things include accident avoidance, high-speed lane maneuvering, skidding on wet pavement, and emergency braking.

Roal says, "You learn how to really get that down and nail it, not just go out of control and have fun. You can also learn how to be an expert at it."

Benet and other instructors say do this to bring down the numbers of the more than 5,000 teens who die in crashes each year.

"They love doing this,” Benet says. “They love getting the opportunity to test their cars. They love getting the opportunity to test their own skills."

Benet says Street Survival can be a bi-annual event if enough drivers register, making the roads and people driving on them a little safer.