Teen drivers learn real-world driving techniques in Blaine

What is the best way to recover from a skid or evade that fallen pipe lying in the middle of the freeway?

Teenage drivers had a chance to learn proper driving techniques among other areas of driving and cars during Bridgestone’s teen drive smart driving experience Aug. 17 and 18 at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

One of 12 stops on the nationwide tour, the free experience featured three stations, including a texting and driving simulation where teens were asked to text while maneuvering a golf cart through an obstacle course to simulate distracted driving, one of the leading causes for accidents on the roads.

A second station included classroom information on various vehicle dynamics before the teens headed out for instruction from driving professionals, many with racing backgrounds, on accident and skid avoidance behind the wheel of a BMW on a test track for the third station of the day.

More than 430 teens registered for the four-hour sessions over two days.

Participants had to provide a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit to register and parents or friends were banned from tagging along for the ride on the track.

This is the second season for the Bridgestone-led program and before that the company partnered with Driver’s Edge for 10 years.

Brian Kohl was one of eight instructors, many of whom competed in national racing series like Kohl, who raced in the minor open wheel series ranks. He’s been an instructor with Bridgestone for 14 years and their lead instructor for more than eight years.

According to Kohl, the driving experience gained by the teen students is a first step in a lifetime of smart driving experiences.

“Obviously we don’t have enough time to teach them how to be great drivers, but we do have enough time to correct their fundamentals [driving habits],” Kohl said.

The number one rule Kohl shares with each and every student is look where they are going. “You want to look ahead of where you want to go so you have time to react,” he said.

Area tire dealers gathered Aug. 17 for a classroom seminar about the latest Bridgestone tires followed by on-track testing of those tires. The representatives had a chance to drive 2013 BMW 328i’s around a closed track in the NSC parking lot.

Jason Olson is at [email protected]