Super Cool Summer School: Tire Rack Street Survival

It’s summertime, and school is out! No more pencils, no more books, and no more teachers’ dirty looks!

Still, what if there was a really cool class offered to young drivers that lasted only one day and resulted in a lifetime of readiness? An educational experience where students become better drivers, hang out with folks involved with motorsports, and weave a vehicle around cones to improve car control abilities would be an amazing idea.

That’s exactly what Tire Rack Street Survival program offers, even during the summer, at various locations across the nation – and it’s also what recently made the news in Atlanta, GA.

Before we tell you about that, though, check the Tire Rack Street Survival website for a slew of upcoming event dates. And if your SCCA Region isn’t hosting a Tire Rack Street Survival at least once a year, you can change that – contact SCCA’s Street Survival Coordinator Melanie Murray at

Here's the Story

A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution story clearly lays out the situation.

The article was penned by Doug Turnbull, who is better known in Atlanta as the Gridlock Guy Skycopter traffic anchor on News 95.5 FM and AM-750 WSB. Obviously, he knows about dangers on roadways and what happens when things go bad.

“Street Survival’s website lists that 50% of fatal teen crashes are with single vehicles and that 20% of all motor deaths amongst passengers are with young adults at the wheel,” Turnbull reported. “Drivers aged 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to die in a wreck than those 20 and older. Driving is the leading cause of death for 15-to-20-year-olds.”

Acutely aware of the problem, Turnbull chased down Bill Wade, who founded the non-profit Street Survival program in 2003. For the article, Turnbull talked with both Wade and Tire Rack’s Woody Rogers to learn how the program developed and what has been achieved.

Tire Rack is the longtime title sponsor of the Street Survival program.

“This was the right program at the right time to connect with Tire Rack and the need for educating the young drivers of the world,” Rogers told Turnbull.

Today, each Street Survival session teaches licensed drivers between the ages of 15 and 21 important, potentially life-saving skills such as how to maneuver through a skid and how to avoid distractions while driving. In many classes, students also get to sit behind the wheel of a semi-truck to experience the vehicle’s significant blind spots for themselves. Because students use their own vehicles during the program, they also learn how to check the air pressure of their tires, check the oil level, and perform other routine maintenance to understand the responsibility that comes with driving vehicles.

“Driving requires a larger commitment both behind the wheel and with maintenance than almost everyone is willing to give these days,” Turnbull wrote in conclusion. “Given the harrowing teen-driving stats and the recent increases in the fatality rate amongst all drivers, extreme proactive measures are needed. Street survival is no accident.”

How You Can Help

SCCA members and Regions must not be bystanders to this ongoing issue. Getting involved with Tire Rack Street Survival is both fun and rewarding whether you’re an individual or a Region. Again, send a note to and ask how to get onboard.

Part of what makes Tire Rack Street Survival possible across the country is fiscal help from SCCA Foundation. To lend support, please consider donating to SCCA Foundation. This link will deliver you to the support page where donations can be directed to specific programs and endeavors.

“Prior to Tire Rack helping our clubs build the Street Survival program, students did not have inexpensive, local access to advanced training needed to reduce the risk that inexperience poses to themselves, passengers, and those around them on the road,” said Jeff Jacobs, Chairman of SCCA Foundation. “Tire Rack Street Survival helps new or inexperienced drivers gain real-world training in the cars they drive every day, and the curriculum goes far beyond any traditional student driver education program coursework. This program is an important way for SCCA Regions to give back to their communities.”

Photo by John Burchardt