Enhancing Your Classroom with the How to Drive BamCam®, TargetZone®, and SnapDrive® Exercises


This is the first Accelerator installment in a series of articles about how the “application” exercises in AAA How to Drive 15th Edition can invigorate your classes. The exercises we’ll examine in the series include BamCam®, TargetZone®, SnapDrive®, and Retrieval Practice. Let’s look first at BamCam®.

            BamCam® video comes from newly-licensed teen drivers and their families who agreed to have cameras installed in their vehicles. As we know, one of the reasons new drivers are much more likely to crash is that they lack driving experience. Teens literally do not know what they are doing – yet. To help students gain “experience” more quickly, BamCam® scenes can be valuable. AAA is grateful to Lytx/DriveCam for providing the video by which new drivers can learn through the errors of others. The study was funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the research arm of the American Automobile Association.

            Each study participant’s vehicle was equipped with two video cameras – one aimed at the driver, and the other forward facing, looking ahead, through the windshield. Each BamCam® scenario is approximately 12 seconds in duration. We see about six seconds of action before each incident, and six seconds afterward. Throughout the 15th edition of How to Drive, there are 54 scenarios – nine bundles, each containing six driving situations. BamCam® exercises provide insight through observation.

            Because the scenarios are interesting, a significant challenge in facilitating instruction using BamCam is helping students to remain focused. Three (3) primary prompts that should be used when showing and discussing any one BamCam scenario:

  • What is – or what are – the root cause(s) of the crash or near-crash?
  • What did the driver do or not do that contributed to the incident?
  • What should or could have been done to avoid the situation?

Maintaining focus is important in any event, but especially with those BamCam scenarios students find surprising or amusing. For example, in one scenario, we hear the driver car cry out for her mother, mid-crash. That outburst can result in student laughter and comments, effectively drowning out the remainder of the scenario. Class time and instructor energy allowing, it might be best to display each BamCam scenario twice or even three times in order to provide full effect.

In addition to the three main prompts provided above, BamCam scenarios lend themselves to engaging students in other ways. Prior to playing a scene, an instructor might ask students:

  • What do you first notice? (the driver is looking down, out a window, at their phone)
  • How are driving conditions (rainy, clear, nighttime)?
  • In what environment is the person driving (residential neighborhood, rural, freeway)?

Asking students to report the first they notice can produce interesting and useful feedback. Learners might comment upon a driver’s head restraint position, whether occupants are wearing safety belts, and objects on the back seat and/or hanging from the rearview mirror.

When properly incorporated into your instruction, BamCam scenarios actively engage students in identifying how and why young, new drivers crash and very nearly crash. You might find students look forward to – and maybe even request – another round of BamCam scenes once you have introduced your students to them.

In the next Accelerator edition, we will explore a second AAA How to Drive application exercise: TargetZone®. TargetZone® is another tool with which to help your students develop their driving brains.