Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tim's Accident Avoidance School at Summit Point

I have taken all three of my sons to the Accident Avoidance School at Summit Point Motorsports Park.

Today,(December 11th, 2010)  I took Tim (my youngest son) and Steve Ferry brought his son Matt as well.  Steve and I learned of this course back in 2001.  I took my oldest son John to this (June 18th, 2005)  as well as my middle son Michael (April 6th, 2008).  I do this when my sons are in the junior year of high school after they have had 6 months of driving experience.

It was very cold, but that actually improved the course with the light snow and ice on the tracks.  The boys did great, learned a lot and got a tremendous amount of hands on driving time.  The course was $345 and is well worth it.  In addition, many insurance companies give discounts for attending these types of courses.
BSR’s specialized Accident Avoidance training included both classroom and lots of hands-on driving.

The key points out of the class are:
  • Look where you want the car to go.  The car will go where you eyes are looking.
  • Look where you want the car to go.  The car will go where you eyes are looking.
  • Look where you want the car to go.  The car will go where you eyes are looking.
  • The first three rules above are the key top accident avoidance as the BIGGEST mistake the people make is staring at the wreck in front of them, starting at the tree off on the side of the road, staring at the deer in the middle of the road.
  • You have three inputs:
    1. Steering
    2. Brakes
    3. accelerator
  • Of those three, the most important is the steering.  The biggest mistake people make is locking up the brakes and staring at the one thing they want to avoid.  Be gentle on the brakes, to keep road contact so you keep control and use steering to aim where you are looking (which is where you want the car to go).
  • When driving, you want to look as far down the road as you can.  Your peripheral vision is NOT just what is on your sides, but also what is in front of (between where your eyes are looking down the road and in front of the car.)
  • Keep your hands relaxed at 10 and 2 with your thumbs pointing up on the steering wheel.
  • When you adjust your legs, you should adjust with your foot on the brake pedal, not the accelerator.
  • Place your right foot directly in front of the brake pedal, keep your heel in front of the brake pedal as you rotate your right foot to use the accelerator. 
  • When you are braking, the objective is to be doing a threshold type of braking.  Threshold braking is very important to fully understand.  Below is from wikipedia on Threshold braking:

"Threshold braking or limit braking is a driving technique most commonly used in motor racing, but also practiced in road vehicles to slow a vehicle at the optimum rate using the brakes.

The technique involves the driver controlling the brake pedal (or lever) pressure to maximize the braking force developed by the tires. The optimal amount of braking force is developed at the point when the wheel just begins to slip. Braking beyond this point causes the tire to slide and the friction adhesion between the tire and driving surface is reduced. The aim of threshold braking is to keep the amount of tire slip at the optimal amount, the value that produces the maximum frictional, and thus braking force.

When wheels are slipping significantly (kinetic friction), the amount of friction available for braking is typically substantially less than when the wheels are not slipping (static friction), thereby reducing the braking force. Peak friction occurs between the static and dynamic endpoints, and this is the point that threshold braking tries to maintain.

Because available friction at a given moment depends on many factors including road surface material, temperature, tire rubber compound and wear, threshold braking is nearly impossible to consistently achieve during normal driving."
Below is Tim on his final graduation test lap.

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