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Wednesday, Mar 19 2014 06:00 AM

Driving school's simulator helps young and older drivers

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Local teen, Brittani Haines, is learning to drive in a heavy rain, in the safety of the Acme Driving School using the new Virtual Driving Simulators the company has added. Photo by Kathleen Kline / Tehachapi News

Acme School of Driving, located at 20810 South St. in Old Towne, is making evaluating driving skills and learning to drive safer for everyone with the addition of two Virtual Driving Simulators to their programs.

"This is going to help drivers in the area whether they are new to driving or want to evaluate their driving skills," Vicki Braslow, co-owner at Acme School of Driving, says.

These simulators are a way to teach young would-be drivers in the safety of our offices, Braslow said. "Learning to drive before you get behind the wheel is far safer for everyone involved."

The driver training program and safety classes are based on the individual driver and now students can begin their training behind the wheel under conditions of rain, snow, wind or other environmental conditions, all before getting on the road in a car.

"But the simulators are not just for new drivers. We can help mature drivers evaluate their skills too," Braslow added.

In addition, the simulators help the "driver" to learn to function safely under many dangerous conditions.

The simulators allow for training of drivers when it comes to common hazards such as sudden stops on the freeway, slippery and rainy driving conditions, what to do when vehicles or bicyclist veer into your lane, how to pull out of a parking spot into traffic and more.

"We are also able to address threat awareness," Mike Sprague, co-owner, said. "With the simulators, for example, we are able to teach what to do when it comes to friends who are trying to drive while impaired and intoxicated, children and pets running to the road, what to do when there is another drunk driver in another car on the road and what to do if your car breaks down. And these skills can be evaluated or learned in the safety of the office."

"We are the only licensed school in California providing extensive simulator training before we put a student behind the wheel," Sprague added. "And we are really happy to be able to bring this to Tehachapi and the surrounding areas."

It's not only youthful drivers who may be interested in trying out the simulator.

"We are aware that as many of our parents age and as they are getting much older not all of their driving skills stay well tuned," Sprague noted. "This would be a wonderful way to evaluate their skills, and help them fine tune their skills."

Plus the simulator makes a great companion to the company's Mature Driving Course, Braslow said. Completion of the course may help older drivers get a discount on their insurance.

"We added these simulators because we know that driving safely is not simply about getting a license, it is about having the ability to drive safely," Braslow and Sprague said.

The cost is $10 an hour for current students and mature drivers and $20 an hour for all others who desire to evaluate their skills. For more information or to book your time behind the simulator's wheel call Acme School of Driving at 822-8043.

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