An Unexpected Experience:
AM General's
H1 Driving Academy

By Shawn Pagan

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Let’s start with a little background on this program that is truly designed from the ground up for the Hummer Owner. From the Hummer Website - “The Hummer Driving Academy is the ultimate experience for any Hummer Owner. We’ll teach you how to maximize the off-road capabilities of your Hummer. All level of experience are welcome, so don’t be shy.

I have to say that the Academy lives up to that description. Tim’s team at the Academy does their very best to work with experienced drivers all the way to people that have never thought about going off-road. They approach all of the important subjects that most people don’t even think about - whether it’s discussions of never wheeling alone, medical problems on the trail, orientation when off-road, vehicle recovery and most-importantly, safety.

In addition to trail riding, they cover every aspect of the Hummer from driving it on the street to the function of each part and how they work together to maximize your experience with the vehicle. They cover available options and even show you how to make quick trail repairs.

They really emphasised the off-highway capabilities of the Hummer. The training facility course is abundant with obstacles that are not only in place to test the vehicle but to teach the owners how to drive and manage their vehicles. It's done in a safe, realistic controlled environment.

Man-made obstacles
Fording tanks
Trail water crossings

I was impressed with how often the instructors stressed “recreational organized” four wheeling and were advocates for local 4 wheel drive clubs, as well as organization like the Blue Ribbon Coalition, TreadLightly! and the United Four Wheel Drive Association.

This was (and is) truly a first class operation. Tim and his entire staff should be congratulated. Hummer and AM General, in turn should also hold their head up high as a company that actually takes the time to put their money where their mouths are and promote small and regional groups that cater to the things their customers like and want to do.

Oh yeah - they taught me something, as well. A Hummer H1 truly is a remarkable vehicle. Out of the box it has to be one of the best, most-capable four wheel drives on the planet. After spending nearly a week driving one, it still looks huge, but it feels and drives like a much smaller vehicle. I was able to put it in places I never would have imagined and I am much more capable to help those on our local trail rides who have Hummers (H1s and H2s). Like any other vehicle, it needs the correct line and approach, and that is going to be different then a Jeep, Bronco, or Land Rover.

I have never been a brand bigot when it comes to vehicle choice. I love my Jeep and I still do. But after the Hummer H1 Driving Academy I have a greater appreciation of the Hummer, the people that drive them and the people that build them.

The H1 Hummer Driving Academy is a great place, a first class experience and one I would recommend to any Hummer owner or anyone interested in purchasing a Hummer for trail use. And maybe, just maybe, you should be reminded to leave some extra room in your suitcase when you pack to head to the Academy.



Hummer Driving Academy
Tim Bonadies
(574) 258-6622 or (866) 831-9547
408 South Byrkit Street
Mishawaka, IN 46544


Shawn Pagan

Shawn Pagan is a staff writer for as well as Our Land Use Editor. Shawn resides north of Houston, TX.

Contact Shawn at

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