Everyone knows the feeling: you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a friend’s car, with your eyes clamped shut and palms sweating, careening down the road. No, your friend isn’t drunk — they just can’t drive.
Now, you have a chance to get them some serious help.
The Discovery Channel’s hit show, Canada’s Worst Driver, is coming to Whistler to recruit.
The program, which is based on a British series, is entering its fourth season and producers need to find the worst of the worst to showcase. Once selected, the successful candidates are taken to the Drivers’ Rehabilitation Centre to undergo a series of challenges designed to improve their driving technique.
And this isn’t your typical driving school — the centre offers extreme driving courses on a closed course.
“It is proven to be the most effective in the past few seasons,” said associate producer of the show, Meredith Veats.
While the concept of the show is initially quite amusing, Veats says they really hope to rehabilitate some of Canada’s worst drivers.
“The real idea behind the show is to help the bad drivers in Canada get better and make the roads safer, and of course there’s humour involved, but it really is to help these drivers,” Veats explained.
In past seasons, participants have come from all over the country, but Veats says British Columbia seems to be something of a goldmine.
“British Columbia, overall, has had a lot of bad drivers, I don’t know why,” Veats said, “but never any from Whistler or Pemberton.”
In fact, the worst driver they’ve seen on the show, so far, was Jason Zhang, of Vancouver. He took home the title of Canada’s Worst Driver last year.
“He was one of the few who I would say wasn’t necessarily rehabilitated,” Veats said with a laugh. “We saw some huge transformations from most of the participants on the show, but he was one of the few cases where he was just kind of stuck with the title of Canada’s Worst Driver at the end, and decided he would stick to public transportation.”
This season, producers decided to come to the Sea to Sky region to see what we have to offer in terms of bad drivers. While Veats says they hadn’t heard drivers in this region are particularly bad, they had heard that there are a lot of perilous roads to deal with in the area.
“I do know that the roads are incredibly dangerous there, so we figure it’s a good place to include in our search to help the drivers,” said Veats.
Cameron Machan is the owner and operator of Young Drivers of Canada in Squamish, and has been in the business of training drivers for almost 10 years. While he has never actually watched Canada’s Worst Driver, he says a lot of his students have mentioned it to him.
“I’ve often thought if I did watch it, I’d feel more frustrated than entertained,” Machan said with a chuckle.
He doesn’t think producers will have a hard time finding suitable candidates for their show in the Sea to Sky region.
“From what I’ve seen, there’s no shortage of people that would fall into that category, I just certainly hope not to see any of my ex-students on the show.”
And how do Whistler’s drivers stack up to those down in the city?
“Well, it’s a tough comparison, because so many of the drivers that are in Whistler aren’t actually from Whistler, but in my experience, you’ve got the bad ones everywhere you go,” said Machan. “I wouldn’t crucify Whistler drivers by labeling them worse than other regions or better than other regions.”
There are, however, a few unique challenges to driving in the area.
“Well, there’s the simple fact that so many people there aren’t from there, so you’ve got the people that make last minute lane changes, and you have to expect the unexpected a little bit more than in other areas,” Machan explained, adding that there are also a few tricky turns to make, especially in some areas where you have to turn directly onto the highway.
Each season, producers receive hundreds of nominations for the show, and they follow up on each and every one, so if you’re thinking of recommending someone you know for the show, you might want to give them a heads-up, first.
People can nominate themselves or someone they know through their toll-free number, 1-866-598-2591, or online at email@example.com.
And Veats says not to worry too much about insulting your friend or family member with your nomination.
“I think initially, in the first season, people were a bit offended, but now they’ve seen how much the show can really help and it’s a lot of fun.”