Where can one get advanced driver training in the USA?

In Britain and some of its colonies, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is a premier driver training school for ‘post-graduate’ work – i.e. to attend after you’ve got your driver’s license plus a certain amount of experience.  I did their basic course in South Africa during the early 1980’s, and found it very helpful (although since then I’m sure I’ve picked up more than enough bad habits).

Miss D. and I would like to do some training like that, both to refresh and improve our driving skills, and also as something we can do together.  However, I’m having trouble finding suitable facilities and programs in Texas or nearby states.

  • Advanced Drivers of America claims to offer an IAM-type course in this country, but they don’t respond to e-mails, which isn’t very helpful.
  • There are several performance and racing schools (e.g. Bondurant, Skip Barber, etc.).  They look like a lot of fun, but I’m not sure their training is all that practical for non-racing purposes.  They also tend to be very expensive, which we probably can’t afford.
  • Some schools appear to offer only specialized training (e.g. skid pans, off-road rallying, etc.).  That’s useful, but it’s too limited for what we want.
  • Online searches don’t yield much else, apart from remedial driving courses for those convicted of motoring offenses, which isn’t the case for us.

Can any of my readers recommend courses for people wanting to become better, safer, more competent drivers overall, improving their existing skills (and perhaps learning new ones that are useful on normal roads, rather than racetracks)?  Offerings in or near Texas would be most useful, but we can travel if we have to.  Please let us know about them in Comments.  Thanks very much.



  1. Comedy Driving School (live instructor version – not the on-line type, which IS boring) takes a half-day to remind students of fundamental procedures, eg. "Who has right of way at a 4-way stop?," without boring the students to distraction.

    I've only watched the Skip Barber video(looks like "the business"), but attended a couple of Bondurant courses. Their High Performance Driving courses are specifically focused on equipping students with enhanced skills for the street – including streets with other traffic. Sure, those same skills will be useful on a track, but even race-drivers have to get around between races.

    High Performance Driving School isn't just for racers, just as Gunsite isn't just for IPSC competitors, cops, or commandos.

  2. I have to second what Anonymous said above. 28 years ago my father sent me to the Bondurant driving school after I bought a sports car. Best thing that could have ever happened to me.

    I have never ever since lost control of a car, except for one time on completely sheet ice, there was nothing anybody could do. Like he says, the skills can be used for race drivers, but the entire focus of the class is on Street driving. The skid pad, the accident Simulator, the handling course, how weight transfer works, oversteer and understeer work, how to feel a car and feel for the feedback when it's doing fine and well within the envelope or when it's ready to depart.

    I've never talked to anybody that's been to Bondurant that regretted it. I do see that it is a heck of a lot more expensive now than it used to be, but I guess what isn't? I could have bought a Colt Gold Cup back then for $589.


  3. This is slightly tongue in cheek- find a thoughtful old motorcyclist and have them ride in the right seat. Every time he tenses up you will know something is disturbing him…

    Anticipating traffic, road conditions, situational awareness,looking for an evasive path, avoiding target fixation, scanning for obstacles, etc- a lot of it crosses over the two wheel boundary.

    I talked to a limo driver once who went to a high performance driving school, mostly aimed at keeping the VIP's alive and out of a ransom video. Can't remember the school name.

  4. http://hpds.1adsi.com/

    It was highly recommended to me by folks.
    There was a school in Memphis that was working with a firearms academy that taught advanced defensive driving. They were featured on Gun Talk.

    You might try contacting any road track in your area. I spent time at the Jim Russell Schools but it's racing instruction.

    Good luck


  5. SCCA Street Survival and Starting Line programs. Or just contact your local SCCA Autocross group, most of them put on driving schools for cheap.

  6. Talk to your insurance agent. They probably have discounts for advanced training, so they should know (or be able to find out) what the good schools are.

  7. Come up to Vancouver for a nice vacation, spend a week driving around the city enjoying your fellow drivers doing their best DWC (Vancouver police lingo for Driving While Chinese).

    Voila! You are now trained to avoid every possible accident variation.

    Assuming you survive.


  8. the smith system driving course.. is good , the 55 alive program sponsored by AAA is great for realizing how aging impacts driving skills and strategies for the amelioration of said impact.

  9. Bill Scott Raceway (bsr-inc.com) at Summit Point Race Course near Winchester, Virginia has a one day Accident Avoidance course. Highly recommended. I have sent / encouraged my wife and both daughters to take the course; I have taken much training at their facility. Very useful in DC rush hour traffic.

  10. Peter,

    training on a racetrack is really the best instruction. The alternative is lots of pavement with controlled access (private roads, essentially).
    Most of the track located driving schools have classes that use their own prepped cars, and other classes that you bring your own vehicle.

    Some of the big shooting schools advertise defensive driving instruction, which may fit your intended purpose.

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