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24
Apr 04
Sat

Defensive Driving Course

Finally used up my gift voucher for a defensive driving course. The day-long course was held down at Oran Park Raceway and I found it very informative. A great deal of the day was spent practising emergency braking – straight line, around corners and swerving, which is not a huge deal if you have ABS, but pretty interesting when you don’t, like my car. The aim is not to jump on the brakes (which is intuitive), but to quickly squeeze the brakes as much as possible without locking the wheels and skidding. To illustrate the point, the instructor did a neat demo where he showed that he could apply the proper braking pressure using his hand instead of his foot to hit the brakes. It takes a few goes to get the pressure right, and it’s not the sort of thing you’d try out by yourself – not to mention that the car smells of singed rubber afterwards! Saw a lot of demonstrations showing rear wheel lockups (and subsequent spins), front wheel lockups, oversteer, understeer, and what not to do in such situations. Then we got to try it all out, which was the fun bit.

It’s a bit pricey, but I would recommend one of these courses, they are surprisingly worthwhile and you pick up a lot of extra info about your car and how to handle it.