You just purchased a new sporty Honda car and, if you are like the rest of us, you are already planning your first car modification. The choices seem limitless: headers, exhausts, air intakes, wheels, etc. But if you want to protect your investment, the first modification you should do is modify your driving skills (or lack thereof).
If you are a resident of the United States, you can obtain a drivers license between the ages of 14 and 18 by taking a written test, enrolling in 6 to 8 hours of behind the wheel training, driving 50 hours under supervision, and taking a relatively simple behind-the-wheel test. The DMV does not require you to learn accident avoidance or skid recovery. Knowing what to do when your car starts sliding or when an object appears unexpectedly in front of your car is one thing, executing on that knowledge is another story altogether.
What can you do to become a better driver? The best way is to take driving courses at a professional driving school. In this article, I'll cover the driving courses from two schools that I attended: Jim Russell Racing Drivers School at Sears Point and Skip Barber Racing School at Laguna Seca. Don't let the word "racing" discourage you from taking courses from these schools because both schools have two course tracks: driving and racing.
When I purchased a Honda S2000 in the Spring of 2001, it was the first rear wheel drive car I had ever driven. With all of the stories I had read about people crashing their S2000s, I felt that I needed to hone my driving skills so that I would be able to avoid accidents. The first course I took was Russell Racing's High Performance Course. That program gave me an appreciation of how much the S2000 could handle and how much I needed to learn.
I'll start by covering the driving courses, then I'll move onto the racing courses. Throughout the article, I'll examine how well each course applies to every day driving and to high performance driving. For the record, I received no compensation from either one of these schools for writing these articles. In fact, I paid for each one myself (ouch!).