Driving Courses in the U.S.A.

The best source of information on this topic is Advanced Drivers of America, Inc.

Regrettably, almost all of the other so-called ‘advanced driving’ courses and even ‘defensive driving’ courses that are available in the USA have more to do with adapted racetrack techniques than they do with enhanced road driving skills, and this is potentially very dangerous.

The comment, above, does not in any way denigrate the superb skills of racing drivers; on the contrary, we admire them. But racetrack driving and public road driving are two entirely separate skills and for anyone to pretend that race track techniques have any useful role on public roads is not only inaccurate but irresponsibly dangerous.

It should go without saying, for example, that on public roads it is vastly more important to avoid a skid situation than it is to be able to rectify a skid. While you are busy with any such rectification another vehicle may well ‘take you out,’ or you may simply hit something. Skid pads are inevitably large, open areas where there is enough space available for such tactics — public roads are usually not.

Collision Avoidance courses, regrettably, come into the same category. Dangerous scenarios on public roads are like serious crime: complete avoidance is always better than attempting to rectify a bad situation after it has started.

That is not the end of the matter, however, because recent research in the USA and Australia suggests that young drivers — especially males — who attend skid pad (skid pan) training or timed slalom-type courses are actually much more prone to have crashes, afterwards, than are other young drivers who have never been on such courses. This is being attributed to the fact that courses such as this tend merely to strengthen a young person’s usual but overestimated belief in their own abilities and their regrettably natural but equally baseless belief that “it will never happen to me.”

What follows is a brief list of courses which we are not personally in a position to recommend (i.e. we have not attended them) but which would appear to be worthwhile:

  • BMW Driver Training Courses — Canada — BMW offers drivers the unique opportunity to learn from highly qualified BMW instructors and improve their driving, providing approved driving skills, superior safety and a better understanding of a vehicle’s capabilities.
  • Bridgestone Winter Driving School — Colorado — The Bridgestone Winter Driving School offers a variety of Winter Driving instruction.  Programs are available for all driving abilities, whether one is a timid novice or a seasoned professional.  Experience driving on one of the world’s finest ice tracks and develop skills to drive safely and confidently in dangerous winter conditions.
  • National Safety Council — Defensive Driving Courses