Holiday Gifts for that Special Driver

Can it be that the gift-giving season is upon us? How can it be nearly Christmas already? Where did those months go since we last lit the Hanukkah candles? And how can Kwanzaa be almost here again? If you're like me, you love to please people with great presents, but you are fearful of getting the wrong thing, which can sometimes lead to an emotional scene, a screaming match and the end of a marriage. So, let's face it, the pressure is on here, but not all great gifts come in little turquoise boxes. Here's a list of unique gift ideas that nobody will see coming, but will be appreciated once they arrive.

Dashing Through the Snow
Remember spinning those donuts in the wintry parking lot years ago and worrying if you were going to get caught? The Bridgestone Winter Driving School is perhaps the most fun you can have in the snow (other than making a snow angel, of course.) The big upside is it could even save your life.  The school can teach someone you love the skills needed to safely drive in snow, sleet and ice. Automotive journalist Robert Kocher said, "The most I ever learned about vehicle dynamics and handling I learned at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School." Not only that, but it's located in beautiful and snowy Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a nice place to visit. The school offers an education for drivers of all ages.  For more information visit the Bridgestone Winter Driving School Web site.

Teen Training
Know a teen driver?  "Driver's Edge" is a half-day hands-on driver training program that teaches teens to "know yourself, know your limits," things most teens don't exactly find instinctual. Students learn defensive driving techniques and a respect for traffic safety from professional race car drivers. And talk about a cost-effective gift. Enrollment is free since the program is co-sponsored by corporations such as Bridgestone and Red Bull.  For more information, dates and locations, visit the Drivers Edge Web site.

Indy 500
Tickets to the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race are a special treat even if you're not a dyed-in-the-Nomex racing fan. If you've never heard of it, the Indy 500 is one of motorsports' most thrilling and time-honored traditions. If you have heard of it, well, the same applies. Visit the Indianapolis 500 Web site to learn more.

Start Your Engine!
Ever dream of sitting in a bona fide race car and putting the pedal to the metal? You can make that dream come true for someone you care about, like or feel obligated to. The Bridgestone Racing Academy offers fans of open wheel racing the thrill of a lifetime. Single sessions and three-day courses are available. Take the checkered flag at Bridgestone Racing Academy.

Never Drive Without It
Okay, it might not be as exciting as a dozen monogrammed handkerchiefs, but beside a spare tire, all vehicles should also carry a roadside emergency kit.  You can purchase one or create your own.  Essentials include road flares, fire extinguisher, flashlight (with extra batteries), jumper cables, first aid kit, bottled water, cash/change, portable tool set, thermal blanket and a traction aid (kitty litter is excellent, especially for kitties).

Air Aware
Looking for a perfect stocking stuffer? Kelly Monaco's legs not available? Then try a digital tire pressure gauge. Proper tire inflation pressure is critical for safety and for maximizing fuel economy, so having a good gauge will allow you to perform monthly checks. Refer to the owner's manual or the door jamb to confirm your vehicle's proper pressures.

Cleveland-based auto journalist Luigi Fraschini would like to remind readers that he could use a new sports watch this year.