DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. - It's National Teen Driver Safety week, and sadly wrecks are still the number one cause of death for teenagers. Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville has launched a new teen driving program called the "Drive to Thrive."
It's pedal to the metal for this unconventional teen driving course. Atlanta Motorsports Park CEO Jeremy Porter launched "Drive to Thrive," to help young drivers avoid his own mistakes.
"When I was 16 years old, I got into a very serious accident with my best friend and a couple of people. He ended up breaking his neck, and I broke my back in 3 places. It was for lack of training, and I went off the road, yanked the wheel back on and we flipped multiple times into a concrete sign," said Porter.
The professional drivers hit the basics: working on wheel and seat positioning, as well as mirrors and the proper place to put your hands. But what sets them apart from other programs, is the in-car teaching.
To prepare the young drivers for more dangerous situations, they will take a ride on a state of the art skid pad, which can simulate driving on ice or losing control in heavy rain.
"They're going to run into a place where they hydroplane, or someone pulls out in front of them, or an animal runs out in front of them and they have to have that muscle memory and that experience immediately," said Porter.
Atlanta Motorsports Park is also offering a buy one, get one free deal, helping to reach teen drivers who may not be able to afford their class.
"We want to impact as many teens as possible, so what we're doing is everyone who buys one, we're going to be giving one away to the school program and the school determines who are the kids in need," said Porter.
Some more advice from the pros, when you do find yourself in trouble losing control of the vehicle, they say sometimes slamming on your brakes or jerking the wheel can make things worse.
Instead, keep your eyes up and locked in on where you want the car to go, foot off the pedals, and your hands will generally follow and settle the vehicle in the right direction.
The "Drive to Thrive" class costs $295, but again for every one purchased, one will be donated to a teenager in need.
Here is the link to the class: https://atlantamotorsportspark.com/teen-driving/