Friday, December 7, 2012

Just in case.....

Despite your best intentions, you may be involved in a collision at some point. Loss of time, human suffering, damage to your vehicle, and civil lawsuits resulting in great expense can be the result. Remain calm.

After a collision, the law requires that you stop immediately (minimum blockage of traffic). Present your license, vehicle registration and proof of financial responsibility to the driver (person struck) or occupants of the other vehicle or the police. Failure to do so will result in license revocation and a gross misdemeanor conviction (up to 1 year jail time and/or up to $5,00 fine)

If someone were injured/died the penalty for hit and run would be increased (class c felony, up to 5 years jail time and/or up to $10,000 fine)

Victims at scene: The driver shall also render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the collision, including transporting, or making arrangements for transporting that person for medical treatment, if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or the person requests it (RCW 46.52.020)

The usual first step would be to summon a professional aid; let them decide. Give aid to the injured within your abilities (stop profuse bleeding using pressure) Avoid moving the injured unless circumstances require it (fire, traffic etc.)

Property damage: (unattended vehicle) you must stop and try to find the owner and identify yourself before leaving the scene of the collision.

If not possible, leave a note giving the name address and phone number of the driver and owner of your vehicle as well as a statement of the circumstances. ( a third party number, attorney or work address and phone number are suggested alternatives to prevent any possible personal repercussions) as soon as possible contact the local or state police to report the collision.

When you leave your vehicle parked, if it should become a runaway vehicle and be involved in a collision resulting in damage or injury, all of the conditions mentioned concerning a collision apply to you as well. Failure to comply will result in the same penalties described earlier for a hit and run.

Try to warn traffic using reflectors (flares other than if there is a gas spill) Enlist the assistance of others to help prevent any further damage and/or to direct traffic until professional aid arrives on the scene. Turn off the ignition switches of all vehicles, create a safe zone around the vehicles and advise everyone not to smoke as there is always the danger of fire (this is especially true – gas spill)
After a collision involving property damage exceeding $700, injury or death, certain reports are required by law. A police officer at the scene will fill out a report and is required to file it with the necessary authorities (RCW 46.52.070)

When no peace officer is on the scene, the driver “shall within 96 hours” (4 days) report the information to the chief of police, county sheriff or state patrol (RCW 46.52.030). If the driver is incapable, a passenger must file (RCW 46.52.040). The chief of the Washington state patrol may request further reports (drivers/witnesses).

These reports are confidential (use by the authorities); however, they are available to all involved parties. They cannot be used as evidence in civil cases other than to prove that they wee filed. Reports are kept on file and indicate involvement in a collision, not fault; unless the driver admits fault on the report when it was submitted  (RCW 46.52.080).

At the scene, whether a police officer is present or not, exchange and make note of the following information:
·         Driver’s name and current address
·         Driver’s license number
·         Vehicle license/identification number
·         Name and address of the vehicle owner
·         Evidence of financial responsibility (insurance)
You should also make note of all damage and injuries. If you have a camer, a picture of the scene and the vehicle will help your insurance to establish both fault and extent of the damage claims.

For your potential civil liability and health, it is an excellent idea to:
·         Write down the names and addresses of any witnesses
·         Give accurate facts to the police (you will be more credible); do not admit fault nor sign documents other than the police report
·         Have a medical check-up just in case you may be injured (shock, trauma)
·         Be prepared to file supplemental reports, including informing your insurance company even though the damages may seem minor.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting your license--

Getting your first license can be quite the process-- Here are a few links to helpful web sites that can point you in the right direction.
Of course we are able to answer any questions you may have as well but the links are a good start!--

DOL website:
Has all of the steps lined out for you including helpful hints and tips that may help you make the grad and get the keys!!

All Seasons Website:
Being that we are traffic safety educators we have compiled a list of helpful links and videos that are geared more toward Teens

From Olympia-- Testing

Nice Blog that the state put out regarding testing

OLYMPIA— On December 1, the Department of Licensing will expand a new program allowing driver training schools and school district driver training programs across the state to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing for new driver license applicants.
“We started this program in King County and it has gone smoothly,” said DOL Director Alan Haight. “Now driver training schools in many other areas of the state are ready to conduct drive tests, which will remove one of the most time-consuming transactions from our offices. We think this is going to speed things up for other customers who must come into an office.”
As of December 1, driver knowledge and skills tests will no longer be offered in the following licensing service offices: Bellingham, Friday Harbor, Everett, Greenwood, Smokey Point, Renton, Federal Way, Lacey, Parkland, Centralia, Vancouver East, Vancouver North, Kennewick, Chelan, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Davenport, Newport, and Spokane.
Previously scheduled drive tests will be honored in these offices. The Department of Licensing will continue to offer tests in areas that don’t have driver training schools nearby that offer testing.
To conduct driver tests, driver training schools must be licensed with the state or be part of a state-certified public school driver training program. They have to apply for the authority to administer driver testing, and are subject to audits and record checks.
After passing the tests, customers will go to a licensing office to obtain their license. Customers are still required to pay the driver license application fee to DOL. Driver training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.
The program is the final phase of implementing House Bill 1635, which gives the Department authority to contract with private driver training schools, school districts and motorcycle training schools to conduct some knowledge and skills tests. The bill was passed in an effort to reduce wait times in licensing service offices.
For a list of state-approved driver training schools, go to:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winter Car Tips

Winter Driving- Things to think about.

Winter can be very harsh in this part of the country. This exacts a heavy toll on a vehicle. It is intelligent to make sure that your vehicle is well prepared and ready to cope with all of its rigors. Protocol requires the following precautions and they may save you a great deal of trouble and inconvenience.

· ENGINE TUNE-UP to ensure that the fuel and ignition systems will perform in all conditions. The engine oil should be replaced with an engine oil of the correct viscosity for cold-weather. A block heater is a good investment to ensure starting in extreme cold.

· THE FUEL SYSTEM should be protected from gas line freezing by keeping the fuel level as full as possible. Allow at least fifteen minutes of driving time to elapse after a fill-up before turning off the engine. This ensures moisture will pass through the system rather than collect at the bottom of the tank and in the fuel lines and freeze. In extreme cold, add gas line antifreeze at each fill-up.

· THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM should be checked to make sure that the battery is charged and operates at maximum strength. The terminals should be cleaned. The alternator should be tested and the V-belt adjusted to ensure maximum efficiently.

· THE TIRES should be of the correct type for the winter conditions in your area. All season or snow tires are recommended and should be installed before the onset of winter. The inflation pressure must conform to manufacturer's specifications and should be checked regularly.

· THE COOLING/HEATING SYSTEM should be tested and the coolant anti-freeze level and concentration added to as needed. The system should be flushed every third year. The air ducts and fan should perform properly. Keep outlets clear.

· THE BRAKE SYSTEM should be verified, adjusted and repaired as needed. It must respond effectively and precisely to pedal pressure to ensure control in critical winter driving conditions. The parking brake is part of the system and must also function properly.

· THE WINDSHIELD WIPER/WASHER SYSTEM should have special winter wiper blades installed. The wiper arms should be checked to make sure they will last the season. Make sure that the washer fluid in the reservoir and in your trunk is appropriate for winter temperatures.

· THE EXHAUST SYSTEM should be checked for leaks and looseness all the way to the tailpipe. Winter conditions test the system severely.

· THE LOCKS AND SEALS should be prepared for the rigors of winter. The locks should be lubricated with a product recommended by the manufacturer. The rubber seals around the doors and the trunk (hatchback) should also be treated with an appropriate product to prevent sticking and freezing.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Traffic Safety doing its job!

In a study conducted by the WA state traffic safety commission, they pulled data on traffic fatalities and segmented it by county: this is a graphic for Spokane County-

There is alot of data to go through but the Trend is that the overall population of drivers, the amount of miles driven and the # of new licensed issues continue to rise while the overall number of traffic fatalities are decreasing in Spokane County-- by a staggering 22.7%  however the job is not complete as the # of motorcycle fatalities has increased by a SUBSTANTIAL amount in our county-

Remember to look twice for motorcycles and lets work to see that number on the negative trend as well!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Testing is coming!!

The word fromt he DOL has been dropped and it look like the preliminary date to start driving schools with testing will be January 1, 2013

To our knowledge, the DOL will be offering a pilot program to only those schools located in King county (feel sorry for us on this side of the state) The pilot program will help work out some of the "bugs" that will be inevitable with this type of implementation. Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well with the pilot. We are working hard to get everything up and running so that we can start testing you guys ASAP!

Keep up the practice, PROTECT THAT BUBBLE and be ready not only to learn but be tested at All Seasons!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WSDOT public engagement program

The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) recently launched the Voice of Washington State (VOWS) statewide public engagement program, which includes seven regional online discussion forums and an online survey panel. The WSTC is asking state residents to log on to to sign up and share input on how to improve the state’s transportation system.

Individuals can join the VOWS Online Discussion Forums and publicly voice their opinions, post ideas and interact with other citizens in their community. They can also join the VOWS Survey Panel to participate in occasional online surveys. The Commission is using the new online forum technology to empower citizens to become thought-leaders on transportation
“Sparking a robust conversation around transportation issues, and collecting survey data that indicates people’s opinions and thoughts on policy and funding approaches, will help decision makers identify possible solutions and investment priorities,” noted Reema Griffith, executive director of the WSTC. “When people share what matters to them when they drive, ride, bike, walk or fly within their communities, their needs can be more effectively addressed.”

The ultimate goal is to gather public input on Washington state transportation policy and funding, and to inform the statewide discussion and decision-making process. Topics for discussion will focus on all things transportation: highways, mass transit, freight and high-speed rail, ferries, barges and aviation. The governor and Legislature will be briefed on the ideas and data generated through the online discussion forums and surveys.

The combination of the online survey and the regional online discussion forums is a new outreach strategy for the WSTC. While the Commission has conducted successful phone and email surveys through the Ferry Riders Opinion Group for a few years, the primary community input tool has been public meetings. The online tools remove the distance and travel barriers inherent to public meetings; this increases the opportunity for everyone – no matter where they live – to participate and share their views.

Details about the VOWS program components are as follows:

  • The VOWS Online Discussion Forums are for publicly sharing, voting and commenting on regional and statewide transportation ideas. Participants can join any or all of the seven regional discussion forums.
  • The VOWS Survey Panel is a way for citizens to communicate their opinions and preferences by taking occasional surveys on transportation policy, funding and tax issues. The result is statistically valid data representing the priorities and opinions of Washington state residents. The input from individuals is anonymous because the survey company does not attach personal information to the survey results. Each participant will receive the surveys through email.
The seven regional discussion forums are: West (Region 1), North Puget Sound (Region 2), Central Puget Sound (Region 3), Southwest (Region 4), Central (Region 5), Northeast (Region 6) and Southeast (Region 7). Discussions within each forum will focus on both region-specific issues as well as statewide topics, such as roads and pedestrian safety.

Any Washington state resident is eligible to join the VOWS Online Discussion Forums or the VOWS Survey Panel. Registration is limited to one email address per person; submission of the person’s name, email address and county is all that is required to set up a VOWS account for participation.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Don't forget that our summer sessions fill up fast and we have a a good year planned with the usual 3 TIMES A DAY TO ATTEND!!

10:30 to 12:30
3:30 to 5:30
6:30 to 8:30

Looking forward to helping anybody who needs trafic safety this year! fo summer session dates and enrollment information.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gravity-- Think about it


The invisible force that pulls objects to the center of the earth is called GRAVITY. This force gives objects their weight and keeps them in contact with the ground. Without gravity a vehicle could not accelerate, brake or steer. In certain situations, uphill and downhill, you must compensate for this force acting upon the vehicle.

DRIVING UPHILL: The force of gravity will slow your vehicle; the steeper the grade, the greater the effect. Thus, as you approach the hill, you must choose appropriate gear that will provide power to climb. In a standard, downshift; in an automatic, use the transmission kick down on a short grade or select a lower gear on a longer grade. (2nd gear = 20 to 40 mph; 1st gear > 20 mph.) Avoid shifting on the hill. Driving uphill, maintain speed by increasing pressure on the accelerator.

Near the crest, ease up on the accelerator (reduced forward sightline) and keep to lane position 3 (right position) until your sightline is restored. When you return to level ground, select the appropriate gear.

To stop on the upgrade, your stopping distance will be much shorter. Adjust brake input to stop in the correct place.

DRIVING DOWNHILL: The force of gravity will cause your speed and braking distance to increase. Approaching a downgrade, (signs warn of the hill, length and grade) check the brakes by applying slight pressure. If the hill is steep, downshift in keeping with the speed required. As you descend the slope, take advantage of the engine compression for braking and, if necessary, apply the brakes as well, gently and intermittently. Increase the following distance and, if you must stop, input braking pressure sooner and more firmly.

Your vehicle’s CENTER OF GRAVITY is the point around which all of its weight is balanced. Most modern automobiles have a very low center of gravity; this gives them excellent road-handling characteristics. Pick-up trucks, jeeps, four wheel drive vehicles and cars with rooftop carriers tend to have higher centers of gravity. This must be taken into consideration otherwise braking and steering maneuvers become dangerous.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Insurance-- some information


Washington State requires proof that an owner is capable of paying in the event of injury to persons or property damage in a collision the proprietor of 25 or more vehicles shall be self insured

Most drivers carry auto insurance. They pay premium, or fee, to acquire protection from financial losses which may arise from a collision or mishap in which they are involved. The insurance company issues a policy, or written contract, and a proof or of insurance to the individual indicating how much and under what circumstances it will pay.


There are several sources

·         Directly from an insurance company

·         Agents who represent one or more companies

·         Brokers who do business with many companies

·         Auto clubs which may also issue insurance

·         Employers, unions or fraternal organizations offering group plans

Whatever your choice, deal with someone who takes the time to answer your questions, who is willing to point out alternatives in coverage and explain the differences between them and who has a good track record in the settlement  of claims. Again you must shop around, ask friends and relatives, and check with consumer groups.


Vehicle insurance is available in many forms to cover the possible situations that may arise.

LIABILITY INSURANCE protects you against any claims that may arise when you are held responsible for a mishap or collision. It comes in two forms bodily injury liability (injuries to other people whether pedestrians or passengers - minimum  $25,000 one person, $50,000 for two or more persons) and property damage liability (repairing or replacing other people’s property – minimum $10,000) This will also pay legal fees, court costs and lost wages up to the maximum of your insurance coverage. Minimum requirements are insufficient as you will be held personally responsible for claims that exceed your coverage.

COLLISION INSURANCE pays for repair or replacement of your vehicle, regardless of whether you are at fault, involved in a collision with an uninsured driver or the victim of a hit and run. Because of the increasing cost of this coverage, most insurance companies offer a deductible policy- Meaning the person who purchased the coverage pays a $50-$500 portion of the bill first,  the higher the deductible the lower the cost of the insurance premium.

COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE protects you from losses due to vandalism, theft, fire, floods, or windstorms. Once again, a deductible affects the cost of the coverage

MEDICAL PAYMENT INSURANCE  is a specific policy covering medical, hospital or funeral costs. It covers you, your passengers and your family in case of collisions causing injury or death.

NO FAULT INSURANCE has been adopted in many states. In this plan, you and your passengers receive payment for your adjusted claims directly from your own company regardless of who is responsible. The advantages are faster settlement of claims and lower cost of insurance. This does not however, prevent injured parties from suing for damages

TOWING INSURANCE covers the cost of on-road repairs and the cost of having your vehicle towed

Insurance is not a simple matter. Since each person’s situation is unique, this means that you must arrange your coverage to meet your individual needs.


Insurance companies use statistics ro determine the cost of their premiums. The factors used in determining the cost:

·         Your age- rates reduce as you get older

·         Driving record- traffic violations, collisions, previous claims, etc. will increase your rate

·         Vehicle usage- If you drive to work, car pool, or use your vehicle for pleasure only; higher mileage means higher rates

·         Marital status-married persons pay lower premiums

·         Gender- women drive less often and have fewer collisions so they typically pay a lower rate

·         Your vehicle-the more expensive the vehicle; the higher the premium will be. Sport models also cost more

·         Your residence-people residing is high density population areas pay higher rates

·         Special discounts-some companies offer discounts for air-bags, brake systems, alarm systems, having completed a TSE program, or good student discounts

*ONLY licensed drivers are allowed to be added to an insurance plan-- while students are on their permit there is no policy that can be written nor can they be rated on a policy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Help “Stop the Texts. Stop The Wrecks.” on the First Nationwide Stop the Texts Day

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving is the number one killer of teens in America. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured due to distracted driving, which includes texting while driving.

Despite this very risky behavior, a new national survey from the Ad Council found that sixty percent of young adults (age 16 – 24) said they have texted while driving. A majority of them said they will continue to do so even with the knowledge that texting while driving can seriously injure or kill others and/or themselves!

Most notably, the survey asked young adults what would be the most effective way(s) to encourage them not to text while driving.

·         Eighty-eight percent said a law against this would encourage them to completely stop or be less likely to text while driving.

·         The vast majority, ninety-six percent said large fines, a suspended license and/or jail time, higher insurance rates, and other financial / legal consequences would also encourage them not to text while driving.

·         The survey also revealed that friends and parents would be the most influential people in getting them to choose not to text and drive.

To help address this epidemic, the Ad Council, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies are hosting the first nationwide Stop The Texts Day today to spread awareness about the risks of distracted driving. The goal of this day is to extend the message of their “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.” youth texting and driving prevention public service advertising campaign via social media channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) in an effort to educate young drivers about the risks of texting while driving.

To participate, supporters are invited to share status updates from the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day on why texting while driving is such a risky behavior. Additionally, supporters can write an open letter to young adults imploring them to not text while driving on the campaign Tumblr page. A complete toolkit for Stop the Texts Day is also available to provide additional ways the public can participate.

Your participation can go a long way!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What does a defensive driver do?

Driving defensively is a skill that takes alot of development. Most people sit and wait for things to happen then "react" to them. This approach lends it self to some real problems when there is not enough time given to react properly--Most people accomplish simple point to point travel everyday and it is a thing of luck not a skill that gets them there. A defensice driver is one that is "proactive" driver-- they are ACTIVELY engaged in the driving process and follow a simple system that gets them from point to point based upon ther abilities to read a driving situation not luck-

A defensive driver will-

Actively scan the roadway a distance of 12 to 15 seconds ahead: Looking for signs, signals, and potential problems.  Keep your eyes moving.  (Refer to Vision- Chapter 15).  Develop a pattern to your visual search.  Include the rear-view and side mirrors, as well as the dash.  Check ahead from one side of the road to the other.  You will have a complete traffic picture around you.  By aiming high and keeping your eyes moving, you will center your vehicle in your lane on straight roads and in curvatures.  At intersections, the scan should include cross traffic as far as possible before and as you enter the intersection.

From all the information your eyes are scanning, you must select the critical data.  The signs, signals, hazards and problems identified that require a decision on your part: you’re selective seeing ability.

Focus on other vehicles, pedestrians, and animals, stationary and moving objects, and traffic devices that may affect your travel path.  You are in motion; you are getting closer to what you have identified.  If you were scanning far enough ahead, you still have 8 to 10 seconds before you will reach the indentified hazard.

Ask yourself: “what if…?”  What is the “worst case scenario” for each of the two identified items?  You need to predict two levels- “What is the most probable?” and the “worst case scenario”.  You need to know in advance that the potential travel paths are and the timing of relative hazard movements that will create closed or changing spaces.

You must expect the unexpected be prepared for sudden movements of other road users.  Make sure they see you!  The use of the horn and/or flashing the high beams is effective means of getting attention.  Make “eye to eye” contact! Another road user looking at you knows you are present, and is not likely to enter your travel path.  You are now 6-8 seconds from the identified hazard.

You must decide what you are going to do to minimize your risk.  While predicting the two levels of danger from the upcoming situation, you communicated your presence and hopefully obtained “eye to eye” contact.

 Now you must adapt to the potential hazard.  Your travel path and vehicle speed are the two main aspects of control available to you.  Reduction of speed will give you more time before you reach the hazard.  The situation can change in this extra time.  Reduced speed will also lower the force of impact should a collision occur.  A change of lane or lane position will create a larger “space cushion” between you and the hazard.

Decide on two levels – “What evasive maneuver will I employ?”  Leave yourself an out. “Where will I go?” or “What will I do?”  You are still 4-6 seconds away from the hazard. 

Immediately, execute stage one.  Change your travel path or vehicle speed or both

In so doing, you have minimized the probability of danger.  Time to the hazard has been increased.  Space between you and the hazard, in case the “worse case scenario” still develops, has also been increased.  The probable danger has been reduce; however, you still have your stage two decision to execute should the “worst case scenario” occur; your “out” if the conflict develops.  You have acted in anticipation and your decision is already made for your “out”.  You are programmed for action.  In other words, you have already decided and have saved the normal decision making time in an emergency situation. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to avoid the skid-

In light of our last post about Skid vehicle training we wanted to post up a "how to" on correcting for a skid IF one should occur--

When a wheel or wheels slide against the roadway due to insufficient traction, the vehicle is skidding.

Poor traction conditions (Chapter 17), a sudden change of acceleration, hard braking, a sudden change of direction or a combination of these factors cause skids. The usual result is a loss of directional control.


The front wheels slide and your vehicle continues straight ahead.

1)      Excessive brake pressure locks the front wheels (not with ABS brakes), the vehicle will not react to steering input. It continues straight.


·         Target and steer towards the travel path
·         Release the brake pedal
·         Reapply the brake more gently to continue reducing speed

2)      A sharp turn of the steering and your vehicle continues straight (under-steer)

·         Unwind the steering slightly to regain steering control (jab brake)
·         Target and steer towards the travel path

3)      With a  front wheel drive vehicle, while accelerating, you turn the steering and your vehicle continues straight (under-steer)

·         Shift to neutral (depress the clutch)
·         Jab brake (weight transfer to front)
·         Target and steer toward the travel path
·         Re-engage the transmission and proceed at a slower speed.


The rear wheels slide and the rear of your vehicle moves to the right or left.

1)      While turning, the rear of your vehicle slides towards the outside of the curve (over-steer)

2)      While driving in reduced traction conditions, you downshift, release the accelerator quickly or accelerate sharply and the rear of your vehicle begins to slide to the side.

·         Shift to neutral (depress the clutch)
·         Target and steer toward the intended travel path.

As the vehicle straightens from the first skid, the rear of your vehicle may continue past the straight position and begin to slide in the opposite direction (fish-tail –lateral acceleration)
·         Target the desired travel path
·         Input steering corrections, quickly and smoothly, to direct your vehicle where you are looking
·         When under control , reduce your speed gently
·         Re-engage the transmission and proceed at a slower speed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Skid training-- don't slide into this

In response to many people who ask about skid training-- we found a GREAT article that shows why we at All Seasons DO NOT endorse nor use the skid monster or other "skid training" devices

In the U.S. there are some driving schools that have added a “skid car” component to their driving lessons. The goal of skid car training is to increase the car control skills of the operator, which in theory should create a safer drive (i.e., one that has a reduced likelihood of a crash). However, rather than actually improving novice driver safety, research shows that skid car training can actually decrease the safety of a novice driver. Three references (and with a little scouting around, there are several others) to appropriate studies are provided as the end of this article that are used as a basis for these conclusions.

At first blush, this seems counter intuitive – how can something designed to increase your car control skills actually have a detrimental effect? Well, the prevailing theory is that skid car training results in an over-confidence in novice drivers thus putting them into a mindset to take greater risks than optimal. The real dangers to novice drivers are not in car control, per se, but not being able to manage risk properly. Risk management can be taught in car clinics, but in a very controlled, repeatable manner which includes dealing with distractions, recognizing hazardous conditions, and reacting appropriately.

There are several problems with skid car training as follows:

1) Fun vs training. There is no question a session in a skid car is fun and for an experienced driver will probably not be detrimental. However, for a novice it becomes a fun exercise at a time when the focus should be on learning how to drive a car properly. Any time a novice gets behind the wheel, it should be taken as a serious endeavor and the focus should be on learning how to manage their environment.

2) Not in your own vehicle. A key component is getting novice drivers comfortable in their own vehicles. In car clinics, drivers are able to supplement their driving lessons with experience in the vehicle they will be driving after licensure.

3) Not controlled and deliberate. While skid cars are fun, the ability to build skills in a controlled, progressive environment is key. Students should be able to run the same “drill” repeatedly, thus creating a “driving program” that supplements their drivers education. Another key problem with skid cars is that it is quite difficult to produce a set of “training drills” that can be practiced repeatedly.

4) Not research focused. There is a body of research that points out items such as hazard perception and distraction management are the true issues that trip-up novice drivers. In order to have a positive impact, supplemental training should focus on these areas. Car control should be an implicit part of the training and not the central point, which is why skid cars can be detrimental.

The following excerpt from a study done in Norway was particularly troubling for skid car use in training:

“. . . the effects of skid training have been disappointing: the number of crashes on slippery roads has increased among young men (18-24 years) (1) in Norway when skid training was adopted as a part of driver training.”

And the study continues with:

Katila et al. (1) discussed this failure of these skid courses in these countries. They found that the increase in drivers’ confidence in their own skills in driving on slippery road conditions. Maneuvering skills give the young driver a feeling that he or she is capable of controlling the car and thereby get satisfaction from successful operations. The more difficult the operations, the greater the satisfaction is. Rewarding use of maneuvering skills probably leads to a generalization of maneuvering operations from exercises in emergency conditions to ordinary driving on slippery roads. Because of their increased confidence, drivers do not avoid difficult driving conditions or they can even take on more demanding driving tasks by driving at a higher speed”

An excerpt from information on a program in Australia (2) with addresses the goals of advanced driver training without the shortcomings of skid car training:

“The course is taught over one day via a combination of theoretical discussion in a classroom and practical experience undertaken in participants’ own cars.Practical exercises are conducted at low speeds under the supervision of expert trainers...”

The bottom line is that training novice drivers is tricky business and sometimes counter-intuitive. When looking into driving schools for your teen, ask pointed questions about the research behind their program. And in the case of skid cars, be very wary of any driving school that uses skid cars as they probably have paid very little attention to the true effects of their program.

1 - Katila, A., Keskinen, E., and Hatakka, M. Conflicting Goals of Skid Training, Accident Analysis and Prevention, Volume 28, 1996, Pages 785-789