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Mercury Insurance Drive Safe Challenge


This past weekend my son Andrew and I attended the Mercury Insurance Drive Safe Challenge. Mercury Insurance in partner with The Anaheim Ducks and the California Highway Patrol designed this course specifically for new drivers and teenagers who have obtained their learners permit or will be doing so within a week or so after attending this informative event. With my son getting his permit this month, I knew that it was the perfect time to take him to experience this day of driver education.

When we arrived at the Honda Center, we had the opportunity to check out a CHP Patrol Car and a CHP motorcycle. These vehicles are impressive to take a look at especially when the officers that drive them are there to tell you how fast they go and how they use the vehicles.

We also got to see a large wrecked SUV, and the sign in front of the car mentioned that a teen driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a pole traveling at 50 miles per hour. This was very impactful in showing Andrew that if you are not alert at the wheel, you could injure yourself and other people or drivers.

When it was time to start, we were welcomed by Erik Thompson from Mercury Insurance, Aaron Teats, and Information Officer Jim Bettencourt of the California Highway Patrol. They all were extremely passionate about our kids leaving their event more informed and better drivers than when we arrived.

We were then broken into two groups where they sent half the attendees to a classroom and the second half to do some hands behind the wheel driver training with some professional drivers.

We were welcomed into the classroom where Officer Bettencourt gave a fun and informative two hour class on how to avoid accidents by focusing on driving, knowing the laws and following and obeying the laws that are in place to protect us all while on the road.

The key points he focused on with our Teenage drivers is that the decisions they make when they stop obeying laws can affect not only them but all the people around them. He went on to state that there is no such thing as an accident, people get hurt and crash their vehicles as a result of poor decisions and failure to follow laws and rules that are put in place to protect us all.

We watched some really impacting videos that showed families who have lost loved ones over bad driving decisions. As a parent, I gained a better understanding of the provisional license and how the new laws protect our kids by preventing them from driving late at night and by not allowing them to drive other for one year after obtaining a provisional license.

Time flew by, and it was Andrew’s turn to get in a car with professional driving instructors to learn firsthand how to be a defensive driver.

There were several courses including, Skid Control, Slalom and ABS Braking, Distracted Driving Course, and Emergency Lane Change and Evasive Maneuvers. All of the courses were supervised by a professional driving instructor.

While our kids went out and got their feet wet behind the wheel, we got professional tips from Professional Race Car Driver Steve Stavely on how we should be teaching our teen drivers.

He showed us how to block out time and stressed we need to plan and should know what lessons we are going to teach our student driver before getting into the car with them. He also said that the max we should be taking our student drivers out is 2 hours with a break in between.

When the event was over Andrew, and I talked a lot about what we both gained from attending this event. What It did for me was give me a better idea of how I will go about teaching him to drive so that my lessons will be both fun and impactful so that he retains and does what I am showing him all the time.

Andrew said that he felt the classroom and behind the wheel, the experience made him more prepared to get behind the wheel with less fear of things and more excitement to learning.

It was an amazing experience, and there should be more like it available as I really do believe that this experience will help my son be a better and more responsible driver when he gets his license. Learn more about upcoming events at

Steve is a race car, boat loving Dad with a love for adventure. When he is not bungie jumping off a bridge he is playing Monopoly with his kids or working on re-building a classic car.
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