Car Chix Hits Up Doug Herbert’s BRAKES Program
A couple weeks ago, Car Chix had the honor of attending Doug Herbert’s BRAKES Program as it passed through the Chicagoland-Area. BRAKES is a teen pro-active defensive driving course. ..But this isn’t your ordinary driver’s education class. This is a full driving program to teach your children how to deal with real world driving issues – before they happen.
BRAKES (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Save) was started by professional NHRA Racer and former IHRA World Champion, Doug Herbert. Doug Herbert raced Top Alcohol Dragster for 4 years and Top Fuel Dragster for 18 years. In the 1990’s Doug Herbert has 10 NHRA and 20 IHRA National Event Wins; along with 4 IHRA World Championships under his belt.
While testing his Top Fuel Dragster is Phoenix , Arizona during the peak of his career, Doug Herbert got the phone call that no parent ever wants to receive… Both of Doug’s young sons were killed in a car crash. Doug Herbert took this tragic event and turned it into a way to help other parents and teens by bringing awareness, guidance and an practical defensive driving skills. Ultimately, helping save lives. All of the driving instructors are volunteers and some of them have some amazing backgrounds and careers — including: professional drag racers and even secret service drivers!
As we pulled into the BRAKES Event at Harper College, it was pouring rain, but that didn’t shut down the event. If anything, mother nature provided ideal driving conditions to participate in such a program.
The program began in the classroom with a quick slideshow some with some great facts and statistics,a long with some videos, including a couple legendary videos of Doug Herbert tearing up the 1320. Within the hour, the students were off to hit the road course while the parents stayed behind. The parents received further info regarding having teenage drivers in the household, safe driving tips and insurance. Some car insurance companies offer parents a policy discount if their teenagers complete the BRAKES Program.
Outside the kids were split into groups and to the KIA’s they went! The BRAKES Program is sponsored by KIA, who provide all the vehicles for the teens to learn on. Cool ey?
For the next couple hours, the kids each took a turn behind the wheel to learn how to deal with distracted driving, coming to sudden stops and skid outs — which I practically begged to take a turn at because the vehicles were equipped with special “drift” ring tires that allowed the cars to easily spin out. They even had a semi-truck and trailer on the property to demonstrate limited visibility and decreased braking aspects when it comes to sharing the roads with semis.
And the parents weren’t off the hook that easily! The parents soon joined the teens in the parking lot and they got a little driving instruction themselves. We actually got to participate in this and to our surprise, we even needed a little refresher course! Apparently, you really don’t need to see the back end of your car in your side mirrors — and yes, this is odd at first when you adjust them, but boy does it make a difference when your driving!
At the end of the event, the kids and parents both came back to the classroom for a little closing statement. As you looked around the classroom, these teens were all so excited about what they learned and were actually talking to their parents instead of finger banging their cell-phones. These teens initially forcefully dragged themselves into this classroom on a Saturday morning, but all of them left with smiles, full of enthusiasm. This event made a difference and even more, an impact.
We highly recommend anyone that has teenage drivers in the household or teens that will soon be driving — sign up for this course. It is FREE. It could make the difference in saving a life one day. I truly believe that.
For more information on BRAKES or to see when the next BRAKES event is coming to an area near you, visit: https://putonthebrakes.org/