Performance Driving Schools

performance driving schools

Driving can be far more than something you do because you need to. Aside from having to drive for basic transportation learning to really drive a car can be an exhilarating experience. Even the most placid drivers have a hard time not smiling on a wide open road with some sweeping curves on a clear day. Inevitably in those situations or equally on busy days on highways at 70mph your mind goes to the movies – for example, Fast and Furious movies, Ronin, The Italian Job, C’était un Rendez-Vous and similar car genre films. It’s easy to start fantasizing about driving around like a racecar driver but how would you go about learning how to safely execute such maneuvers?

Learning Performance Driving

In terms of getting started, the way you should not learn it is by trying it yourself on impulse with a car full of friends. (Youtube can show you plenty of bad drivers doing this btw.) This would be like not knowing how to swim and jumping from a boat while 2 miles from shore- far more likely to end badly than not.

Many different people are taught performance driving for a variety of reasons. The most common being police officers, whose driving skills are severely underrated by most until they see an actual police chase on TV, Youtube, or on the streets. Ambulance drivers also learn to truly control cars so they can get to an injured person quickly and safely. Something you need to keep in mind is that performance driving is not all about speed, but gaining the ability to avoid accidents.

Schools and Available Performance Driving Programs

There are a lot of different driving schools where you can go to learn and practice car control and learn some fun driving skills in the process. Some insurance companies may even offer discounts as advanced driver training reduces the likelihood your will be in an accident.

  1. Emergency Driving Programs are generally run by AAA or other driver organizations. Typically learning skid control is involved in these couses (the fun part is you need to do skidding/drifting to learn how to control it, it’s not something you can learn in the classroom) in closed open lots and pylons instead of having trees and cars to avoid. Many of these courses are affordable since they cater to the general public and the knowledge of car control and how to gauge a vehicle’s momentum, level of grip, getting used to the G-forces that are exerted are all things that are usually taught and gone over.
  2. Police Driving Programs usually involve becoming acquainted with pursuit methods, stopping a pursued vehicle, advanced braking and acceleration control, and accident avoidance. Look for a class that is modeled after the NAPD program for actual police officers in order to gain maximum benefit. These type of course is probably most ideal if you want to be stunt driver! 🙂
  3. High Performance Driving Schools are normally geared toward racing enthusiasts and will typically take place at racetracks. Instructors are usually retired racecar drivers and get to use high performance and sports cars. These range from 1 day affairs to week long camps. There are several nationally known Race Schools around the country that should fit the needs or budget of anyone looking to learn to “race.” Just do some Googling to find the closest one in your area.
  4. NASCAR Driving – Much like the race schools but specific to NASCAR style racing. These programs and schools usually include actual NASCAR drivers as instructors or for at least a visit. There is one in Orlando that’s impressive, currently sponsored by NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Admittedly these are rather expensive schools to take part in.

While looking at performance driving schools consider a defensive driver course as well for a break on insurance and reality check of your driving skills. In addition to Performance driver education programs and schools there are a lot of very good programs for teen drivers, inexperienced drivers and driving theory such as those at sites like Book Your Theory Online. Remember to keep your performance driving skills (well if you have any, which you probably don't) on a track, under safe and supervised conditions and not on the street where you could hurt yourself or worse someone else.

Have you ever Considered buying a Fleet Vehicle?

fleet vehicles

There are plenty of places and people you can buy a used car from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. This includes dealerships, private parties, and friends or family. However buying used fleet vehicles is one place many people neglect to look, even though they can save thousands by considering it.

Fleet vehicles and cars can include those from police forces, car rental companies, government agencies, large corporations and even used taxi fleets, such as Cab Direct, which sell off large numbers of fleet vehicles and cars they don't need every year. The vast majority of these fleet vehicles are sent to auto auctions where they are sold to dealerships and then usually resold to the public.

Even though the main customers for these fleet vehicles are dealerships, there is nothing stopping average joe's from buying them. So Why not considering buying them directly from the fleet owners?
When you do the math, the vehicles that get sent through standard auction channels are then sold at a dealership cost a lot more. This is for a variety of reasons. The dealerships selling fleet vehicles have to pay for a large number of outlays. For example, they need to pay for shipping them to the auction, followed by auction fees, then transportation to a dealership, reconditioning, and subsequently an additional add on for profit at the dealership. This is often $2000 or more than the amount the fleet company was hoping to get for the vehicle sale.

Essentially, what this means is that if a commercial fleet owner only wanted $8000 for a vehicle when they sell it, you won’t be able to purchase it for less than $10,000 – and that’s on the very low end of the estimate. This could typically amount to around a 25% markup from what you could buy the vehicle for directly, if you went down the route of working with fleet owner yourself.

Though many people are concerned about the roadworthiness and nature of used fleet vehicles,since they have been used by a lot of people, I would still recommend considering them. Most of the time these vehicles have a specific maintenance schedule that is maintained often by dealership garages or private independent repair shops. Fleet vehicles all need to be in great running condition and service which routinely involves traveling a great number of miles and dealing with mixed conditions. Those responsible for their maintenance don’t tend to let an oil change slide for a month or use a cheaper quality auto parts that might cost more in the long run. Private party “one owner” vehicles often make these claims of maintaining cars but seldom can it be verified.

Negotiating the best deal for a fleet vehicle is a simple matter. You’ll need to contact the fleet companies or fleet sales specialists directly. They have a price in mind and know what they would get at the auctions since they sell a lot of these cars. If they can get the same price from you and save the costs of shipping it to the auction, it is definitely a win-win for everyone. This allows you to enjoy the same used car as you would get from a dealership at savings around the 25% mark.

Next time you are buying used, why not consider a fleet vehicle?

Celebrate Veterans Day with 45% Off at Standard Auto Parts

I hope most people are enjoying Veteran's Day today.  If you are a veteran or in the military currently please know I appreciate your service and what you have done or currently are doing for America.  As well I am sure that lots of other people appreciate your service even if they don't say it everyday.

For Veterans Day I thought I would just let all veterans and military members know that Standard Auto Parts, a local and family own Baltimore auto parts company, offers 40% off on auto part purchases.  Standard offers these discounts as a “Thank You” for everything veterans and the military does.  (This includes helping people recently in Hurricane Sandy.)  In case you were wondering, yes the discount is valid even when it's not Veterans Day.

An important note, not all auto parts not have as great a discount as 40% off and it doesn't apply to fluids to my understanding.  However 40% off is extremely generous considering that I don't know any other auto parts company in the Baltimore area that can match this deal.  Standard Auto Parts also extends the generous discount to police, firefighters, and postal workers.

Standard is a company that especially appreciates service and they want to show that by offering great deals on auto parts.  To find your nearest Standard Auto Parts location in Baltimore, visit their Standard Auto Parts website.


Man Straps Four Kids to the Hood of a Car thinking “They would like it!” … WTF?

Kids Strapped to Hood!

Just when you thought crazy stories of stupid parents doing stupid things couldn't get any worse, Aaron S. Stefanski has surprised Fort Wayne police (and everyone) by strapping his four children to the hood of his car!

Yes, unfortunately you read that right.

The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported that Stefanski, who is 29 years old, was arrested in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Monday night. The police allege he drove out of a liquor store parking lot with his kids attached to the hood of a car secured using a tow strap. The children's ages range from 4, 5, 6 and 7 and it seems Stefanski was under the very wrong impression that they would enjoy.

The journey lasted for only three blocks. Thankfully a US marshal who was in the area saw the ridiculous car with kids strapped to the hood, and had the common sense to pull over Stefanski and call the police.

The kids had been secured, “with one of those straps you crank on a semi to hold down lumber, they were strapped with that thing, wiggling and wobbling down the street,” said Tom Nowak who witnessed the event when he spoke with the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne.

The newspaper reported that the children were not harmed by the incident.  (Thankfully!)

Not surprisingly, Stefanski was driving intoxicated and had a blood alcohol content of .17, which is twice the state of Indiana's legal limit. This was what the Fort Wayne Police Department reported.

He is being charged with driving under the influence and neglect of a dependent. Jessica A. Clark, another passenger in the car with him, is also being charge with child neglect. Clark is also 29 years of age and it is unclear if the two were in a relationship.

Three of the children were Stefanski's, and they are currently being cared for by her mother. She was apparently not aware of the transportation methods used by the children's father, until police called her. One of the children strapped to the car, along with Stefanski's three children, was Clark's.

Some of you might remember the story of Shawndeeia Joann Bowen was charged with three counts of child endangerment who was driving while texting with her toddler in her lap. Also she did not have her other two children properly restrained in a seatbelt or carseat.

As terrible as Bowen's actions were, at least she had her kids INSIDE her car while it was moving. Unlike Stefanski and Clark who though it was ok to strap them to the outside of the car!

Seriously people…WTF?

Hogs & Heroes Fundraiser at Old Glory Harley-Davidson raises $2,000

Cool Bikes!

Old Glory Harley Davidson, in Laurel, raised $2,000 hosting the 2011 Hogs & Heros Poker Run and Bike/Car Show that took place on July 30th, 2011.  The money was evenly split between MD Concerns of Police Survivors (MD COPS) and HEROES Inc.  These organizations raise money for fallen police, military, and firefighters children and families.  These service men and women have given their lives for serving others, and it's wonderful to see Old Glory hosting an event like this to support these wonderful organizations.

It was a great event with all sorts of cool bikes, and cars.  Next year's Hogs & Heroes at Old Glory should raise even more money.  Check out additional pictures from my Flickr image gallery.