Protective Driving Courses

Woman driving car

A protective driving course can do more than save you money on your car insurance. If the situation ever arises, it can literally save your life.

Why Protective Driving Courses?

Whether you work as a cab driver, a chauffeur, or are just your own vehicle, a protective driving course may be at the forefront of your mind. The main goal of a should be to minimize the amount of danger the person driving a vehicle will receive. Let's take a closer look at the building blocks of a protective driving course.

Defense Driving

Most have heard of a defensive driving course. Understand that when it comes to protective courses, defensive driving is but one layer of the overall protective cake. In defensive driving, the goals are simple. They are usually to train a driver to operate a vehicle's three controls. Namely the:

  • Gas
  • Break
  • Steering wheel

And operate all three with the precision needed to literally drive out of an emergency situation.

The Living Room Couch Syndrome

Defensive driving itself grew out of the living room couch syndrome, a situation where many drivers become complacent while driving. In other words, driving as if they were sitting in their living room. As you can imagine, with all of the unknown variables of driving, this kind of thinking can easily lead to danger.

Evading Danger

Many government studies show that an average driver only uses about 30 percent of a vehicle's evasive capability. The goal, therefore, of a defensive driving course, is to get the driver to use 80 percent to 90 percent of the vehicle's evasive capacity. This is usually accomplished through a hybrid mix of classroom theory and practical driving exercises.

Driver Error

Government studies further indicate that 89 percent of all accidents are caused by driver error. Defensive driving exercises are designed to show levels of:

  • Concentration needed to maneuver in an evasive manner
  • Precision needed to successfully evade danger
  • Awareness needed to escape danger

High Speed Driving

High speed driving is the second component of a protective driving course. Here, the driver learns to negotiate corners at the maximum capability of both the vehicle and the driver. Think Jason Bourne going really, really fast around the corner in his BMW and you'll get the general idea.This Jason Bourne style of turning a corner means that the driver must be able to quickly determine the design of the corner, and the correct path his car must take through that particular design, in order to achieve maximum speed.

It sounds complicated, but it really isn't. In fact, there's a formula for just this type of high speed driving that roughly translates into this: a corner can only have an increasing, decreasing or constant radius. With practice and time, you'll be able to learn this formula.

Offensive Driving

Now it's time for the really fun stuff: offensive driving! Offensive driving is widely misunderstood, but suffice it to say that there are two main goals that need to be accomplished with this driving technique:

  • The driver is trained to quickly reverse direction.
  • Know how to use your vehicle as a weapon.

There are two ways to quickly reverse your motion:

  • Bootlegger's Turn: This means spinning a vehicle 180 degrees while the vehicle is moving.
  • J-Turn: Done first by throwing the vehicle into reverse, then spinning the vehicle 180 degrees and then, driving off in the reverse direction.

As far as using your vehicle as a weapon, the most dangerous of methods is "ramming". As you can imagine, plenty of caution, classroom theory and video demonstrations are stressed before one performs this maneuver.

A Final Note

The last two components of protective driving are the vehicle itself and overall safety. In the vehicle portion of the course, the driver is taught a basic explanation of how a vehicle stops, starts, turns and on why sometimes, despite the best of intentions, the vehicle seems to do what it wants to. In addition, weight transfer and tire contact patches are also discussed

As it pertains to safety, driver awareness is the most stressed upon point. Other factors that are discussed here include:

  • What to do when a vehicle is parked and waiting
  • Warning signals
  • Vehicle security checks

Once you've mastered all of these elements of protective driving, you'll be ready to hit the road - Jason Bourne style!

Protective Driving Courses