Tires screeched. Vehicles skidded. Young drivers swerved.
And afterward, the instructors told them “Congratulations.”
Losing control was the point Sunday at the Tire Rack Street Survival event at Bettendorf High School, 3333 18th St., Bettendorf. The nationally recognized safe driving program for teens and young adults was offered for the first time in the Quad-Cities by the BMW Car Club of America-Iowa Chapter.
Charlie Bormann, 16, of Charlotte, Iowa, drove his white BMW through the course in seconds. Bormann, one of 21 drivers between the ages of 16-21 who participated, registered after he read about the event in the BMW club newsletter.
“When I went around the turn, I learned the point where not to push the car and still be safe,” he said.
Bormann successfully careened around pylons and through a “water hazard”of a a wet surface.
“The whole point is that the kids drive the cars they normally drive,” said John Campbell of Bettendorf, who served as event chairperson.
Kevin Kraft of Bettendorf, who manages publicity for the BMW club, said the experience teaches young drivers “what it feels like when the ABS (anti-lock braking system) comes on.” Having to stop suddenly or facing a skid “can throw you for a loop, and you might make the wrong move” without the experience, he said.
The program teaches students to avoid accidents by thinking and looking ahead while they traverse a closed course to learn accident avoidance, skid control and emergency braking, he said.
Events were staged in both the north and south lots of the school. A $75 fee included classroom and in-car training and meals.
The first program began in 2002 and was organized by the BMW Car Club of America Foundation and The Tire Rack.