Rome, N.Y. - About a dozen area young people between the ages of 16 and 21 may now be prepared to better handle dangerous situations on the roadways after taking a unique driver safety course in Rome on Sunday.
The course is called Street Survival, a driver safety course put on nationally by the online tire retailer called Tire Rack.
It was held Sunday in the parking lot of the Air Force Research Lab in the Griffiss Business & Technology Park.
Dennis Hessey, who works at the Air Force Research Lab, heard about this Street Survival course and sent his two kids to the class in another upstate New York city.
Hessey says he thought the class was so worthwhile for young drivers that decided to organize this class here in Rome through the Central New York Porsche Club, which he is a member of. he is also one of the instructors, "What we’re trying to do here is give the kids the ability, the skills, to avoid accidents and learn car control."
Parents paid $95 for their kids to take part in the classroom and hands-on course training.
Ray Burynski of New Hartford brought his 17 year old son to take the course, "I’d rather have them come practice out here in an empty parking lot than the first time they experience it is in an emergency situation."
Hessey says at first, the kids are a little hesitant because they have never driven as fast around turns before, "Most of them are deer in the headlights type situation. We want you to accelerate, we want you to get to the point where we can get the car out of control so you can experience that in a controlled environment here, before they get on the road to that concrete asphalt jungle that’s out there, and that’s why we call it Street Survival because teenage kids. well we had 8 kids kids in Oneida County die in crashes in 2016."
Rom Buswell is one of the other instructors from the Central New York Porsche Club, "We say ok, go through the course at your pace, at your leisure, and we pick up the pace time after time and once we see that they’re doing pretty well with it, we'll throw an additional challenge at them, like pulling on the handbrake or asking them to text, and we also have what we referred to as beer goggles and we put those on which will distort there of you."
Buswell says the goggles are used to show young people just how dangerous it is to drive after consuming alcohol or to drive while texting.
17 year old Emma Alvach of Chittenango was one of the drivers who says she is very glad she took this course, "It's scary, and fun to get your heart pumping, but it’s good to be able to see if you can maintain control because if you are in a situation you'll know how to do it. It teaches you how to be a safer and more effective driver and know your car and know how it works which a lot of teens don’t."
The next Street Survival driver safety course is set for this same spot in Rome next April.
Hesse says you should be able to register for that class later this month on streetsurvival.org.