Driver's ed turns pro.
There are some schools where a student's success depends on
hitting the brakes instead of the books. Performance-driving
schools--including those run by carmakers like BMW and Audi--are
increasingly adding programs specifically designed for teenagers.
Courses cost anywhere from $400 to $3,100 for up to three days with
professional instructors, working on advanced maneuvers like quick lane
changes, emergency braking at high speeds, and skid training. The
schools say they're giving teenagers the skills they need to drive
more safely. "In an accident-type situation, most people don't
do enough," says Matt Mullins, an instructor at the BMW Performance
Center in Spartanburg, S.C. But some safe-driving advocates and
instructors say performance-driving courses may send the wrong message
to impressionable young drivers. "It's the wrong answer,"
says Kristin Backstrom, president of Safe Smart Women, a driver-safety
organization in Silver Spring, Md. "We need to slow them down and
spend more time in the car with them."