The Bottom Line
Every winter, the Bridgestone Winter Driving School sets up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to teach the fine art of driving in conditions that would keep most sane people at home. For those who can't make the trip to Colorado, the Winter Driving School offers a concentrated version of the course on DVD -- but can a 23-minute video cover as much as a full-day course? Read on.
- Good explanations of types of skids and how to recognize and correct them
- High-quality video, audio and computer animations
- Includes thinly-veiled commercials for both the school and their sponsor, Bridgestone tires
- 23-minute DVD video
- Price: $34.95 plus tax and shipping
- Available exclusively from www.winterdrive.com
Guide Review - Winter Driving School DVD
The Winter Driving School video starts off a little slow, with some heavy-handed plugging of both the school itself and Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires followed by some fairly obvious advice (i.e. brush all the snow off your car before you drive away -- although given the number of people I've seen who only clear the front windows, maybe this isn't so obvious). But then the advice begins to get more practical -- how to move your hands on the steering wheel and why seat belts do more than just keep you alive in a crash. Then they break out the heavy stuff, defining and demonstrating different types of skids (understeer and oversteer) and showing how to recognize and correct them, as well as proper braking techniques with and without antilock brakes.
Even if you're a seasoned winter driver, this DVD is a worthwhile purchase. Many of the techniques are counter-intuitive, such as allowing your wheels to lock briefly during panic stops or reducing your steering angle when the car tries to plow straight ahead. I always considered myself a pretty good snow driver, but I still found a lot to learn in the video -- and since I've taken the actual Winter Driving School, I can attest that the techniques really work. The DVD is no substitute for the actual course, but it gives you the gist of what's covered plus practical tips that you can put to use.
At $35 plus shipping, video isn't cheap, but it's a good deal less expensive than a trip to the school ($270 for a half-day and $480 for a full day, plus travel and lodging). The way I see it, if you buy the video and never put any of the techniques to use, you're only out the cost of a tank or two of gas. But if you use even one thing you learn to avoid an accident... well, that's worth a lot more than $35, isn't it? For more about the course and the video, visit www.winterdrive.com. -- Aaron Gold