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Buying & Leasing a Car

Buy Some Safety for a Young Driver

Bolster your teen's driving skills and confidence with a training class.

Wayne Traub understands the value of driver training. The North Edison, N.J., advertising executive drives a Porsche 911 4S and a high-performance Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG. Three years ago, Traub decided he'd help get his oldest daughter, Jordana, in tune with the road by taking her to the Skip Barber driving school. He and the baby of the family, Alex, 18, just finished the course together.

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The $995 Skip Barber program, and others like it, aren't glorified driver-ed courses. At Barber, students get behind the wheel to practice panic-braking, navigating curves efficiently, handling slides and recovering control on a slippery skid pad. Says Traub: "After the course, Alex was like, 'Oh, man, I can't believe how much I didn't know.' I feel my kids are safer drivers after they take it. This is the best thousand bucks you can spend on your child."

And for a real bonding experience, do as Traub does and spend another grand to take the one-day course along with your child.

Classes are held at Barber's Lime Rock Park raceway in northwestern Connecticut, as well as at racetracks in Florida, Elkhart Lake, Wis., and Monterey, Cal.

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If your young driver has less experience, consider Barber's new-driver course ($795), which teaches highway emergency maneuvers and even parallel parking. If your child has at least six months of driving experience and is ready for more-advanced techniques, consider the Phoenix-based Bob Bondurant Advanced Teenage Driving course ($1,175 for one day).

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