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We spend a lot of time in cars--both driving ourselves around and riding with family and friends. And sometimes we notice our skills aren't, well, as sharp as everyone else's. (Sometimes they notice, too.)

No more, now that we've discovered a non-shaming place to brush up on our technique: the new Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. Housed in a shiny glass box on West Third Street, this place is great-looking, not grimy like so many driving schools around town. And unlike the court-mandated programs, this one caters to people eager to attend, ranging from teens getting licenses to adults honing their skills.

Licensed drivers start with a two-hour evaluation drive ($170) in a C250 or a hybrid SUV customized with two sets of brakes, including one on the passenger side (just in case). In just a few months, the school has helped former East-Coasters with pointers on freeway and canyon driving, as well as longtime locals. They've all gotten non-intimidating coaching certified by Mercedes-Benz. Who better to trust than the company that pioneered life-saving tech such as antilock brakes and three-point seat belts?

Safety, style and no more discussion about our driving--Mercedes-Benz, take us away.

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, 8231 W. Third St.; 855-623-2872 or

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