Slow and steady may win the race, but it certainly isn’t very fun. With around 214 million licensed drivers currently in the US, you can bet that a good number of them have felt the need for speed. Unfortunately, driving fast is usually the same as driving dangerously, and can have disastrous (or expensive) results.
However, it seems there might be a change on the horizon: a car club based out of Tamworth, New Hampshire recently started offering high performance driver education, or HPDE, on their closed track. Providing a way to push your car to its limits without risking a hefty fine or injury, the courses include a volunteer instructor who sits up front and coaches new members on maneuvering and handling your vehicle at high speeds. Despite the club’s association with Audi, anyone willing to pay the membership fee can ride, provided they pass a safety inspection.
The benefits of discovering just how far you can push your car aren’t entirely about thrill and excitement; they also offer an opportunity to practice managing unexpected real-life situations at high speeds — particularly those that may occur on highways. One member stated, “I bet a lot of people want to do what I wanted to do, just drive fast… I quickly learned that driving fast isn’t just putting your foot to the floor.” That distinction seems to be a vital part of the education, as another member added, “You understand your car better. Part of the point is to understand how your car behaves when your car approaches or exceeds its handling limits.”
Having access to this kind of controlled environment, where you can let your need for speed take over safely, also seems to have an impact on the members’ urge to drive fast on public roads: many of them believe that it “makes you safer.” With so many drivers ed courses already in place attempting to do the same thing, it seems only logical that these private tracks — paired with instructional safety information — should take off. Many insurances offer safe and defensive driving discounts to those that complete such courses…maybe, sometime in the future, the same will be said of HPDE.