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Car control skills: how important are they?

 

Date: Monday, 29. January 2007

Car handling skills are very important for race drivers, but how important are they on the street?

Obviously, not so important. After all, street drivers with very poor handling techniques often get through their entire driving careers without crashing, while highly skilled race drivers have a tendency to have more than their share. Street driving is more about good decision making and good risk management than physical skill.

However, excellent car handling skills, or "psychomotor skills" as the experts call them, can be a huge benefit in terms of getting the best from your automobile. Smoother, more sophisticated handling saves wear on the car, saves fuel, and makes for better mobility in traffic. More importantly, there are skills which can be critical in avoiding crashes, and every driver should have them.

A word of warning: taking a course in more advanced driving skills such as emergency braking, skid control, collision avoidance maneuvers may create a new risk for you. If the extra skills make you overconfident, that cancels out the advantages of having the skills in the first place. Research has indicated that drivers who take advanced skills courses have a tendency to misuse the skills and actually have a higher crash rate.

Advanced skills such as emergency braking and collision avoidance are not a substitute for good risk management.

Some advanced skills web sites:

Teendrivers.com
Young Drivers CollisionFree program

Further comments to this article have been disabled.


All Comments (6)

Showing 1 - 6 comments

john,

Research has indicated that drivers who take advanced skills courses have a tendency to misuse the skills and actually have a higher crash rate.
who ever wrote this article is incorect people who take these course they are better driver then these yahoos on the road who never has done any driver training beside the basice driver training. Go take some advanced driver course and bee a safe yahoo on the road.

Admin,

Absolutely!

josh,

um could you make a essay on effects of speed on car control i need it for school lol

Joe,

There is no doubting that skid control or skid avoidance training conducted in isolation can be misrepresentative to a driver who has never been exposed or is learning for the first time. Good driving skills, appropriate observations go hand in hand with the understanding and knowledge in what causes a skid in the first place. Vehicle handling skills such as cornering, acceleration and braking should be followed and reinforced immediately after skid exercises are undertaken. Knowing what causes a skid and the mistake the driver made which caused the skid in the first place is vitally important as a point of reference to the driver. The rest of the course should reinforce the need for appropriate observations and correct decisions based on the environment being encountered on the road. I always tread very carefully when I see courses that are anywhere fron 2 hours to one day in duration. To be able to reinforce correct driving skills takes a lot longer than that. In my experiences at least a further 3 days (if not more) on road after some off road exercises would be the minimum. As you've probably gathered I have had considerable dealings with advanced driver training. Issues posted on sites that suggest that skid training should not be undertaken because it is more dangerous teaching a new driver new tricks is correct in essence, however, skid training followed up with substantial on-road training dealing with observations, SOCC, cornering, risk assessments etc is where it fits in well.

I would sertainly be interested in talking to you further about this matter

Karl,

I agree Donna, but a lot of these advanced skills courses just teach braking and recovering from skids. I think the real advanced driving is in how you use your eyes when you drive and how well you avoid situations where you would have to brake hard or swerve.

Donna , 16,

As i agree with the issue of people who misuse skills learned at extra-skill classes , i can't help but think that the more qualifications and the more advanced driving skills you jhave the less likely yo should be to be the cause of a crash. The more qualifications you have in other area's is bebeficial, so why not in driving , when used correctly ?


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