On 18th July 2008 (Saturday), we joined the Safety & Defensive Driving Course organized by Autoworld. It was a good and fun session. Below are some information and story if you like to "read".
You can read the Autoworld write up here:
Basically, this session is more on awareness, usual mistakes or problems (especially with Malaysian drivers). It's an informative and good session, though, I believe many would agree that more time should be spend on the practical session.
We're also taught about push-pull steering and it's benefit compared to hand-over-hand (which most of us usually do; our hands will cross the steering). One main reason is the for cars equipped with Air Bags, if it were to deploy, the impact is enough to break our arm and consequently smash onto our face.
For those who doesn't like to wear seat belts were also explain of the possibility why, such as, uncomfortable. This is all mainly due to wrong seating position and adjusting the seat belt wrongly. The seat belt should be adjust so it's rest on the shoulder and the waist.
1. Basic Check On Cars
2. Slalom Test
I can't really recall the actual purpose of this session. Basically, we're taught the correct seating position, and push-pull steering demonstration. We were shown some demonstration by the trainers, although it might look "not really fast" but in fact it's not as easy as it looks, if you look closely at the driver, you'll see he/she will be very busy steering the car. Later we also sat in one of the cars and experience it while being explain how we should do it via push-pull steering technique.
Another catch to this slalom test is, you should maintain your speed throughout the slalom; which means, if you enter at speed of 30km/h, you should maintain your rev and slalom through the course at 30km/h till the end.
It's not easy, you'll see most of the participants doesn't maintain the speed.
This session we get to experience understeer (wheels locked) session, where to overcome such situation for cars without ABS, we need to do cadence braking (that is to pump the brakes) to allow the car to steer. For session onwards, most of the participants used the 5 Honda sponsored cars, with only the Honda City's ABS turned off.
This is the most fun session I must say! As we enter the area, we need to turn the steering to the left and the trainer will pull the handbrake causing the car to oversteer. At this point, we need to countersteer quickly. To overcome the oversteer, we need to ease-off (not sudden let go) and absolutely NO Braking! (Braking will make the car spin out) steer to the direction we want to go. Failure will cause too much oversteer or spin out. We can also play a little bit with the throttle to "straigthen" the car back to where we want to go.
This session can be very dangerous and it's strongly adviced to have a trainer with you in the car. Each participants get about 3 chances, which I personally find it not enough because I think most of us still panic and revert to 'AUTOPILOT' instinct. We haven't get used to the feeling of oversteer, stay clam and steer or do the 'right' thing.
My first time was shocking to me when it oversteer, I got panic and applied some brakes; The trainer immediately notice and 'scolded me' (hehe), "Why did you press brake???"
Oooops, luckily it didn't spin and still able to "pass", hehe
The 2nd round, I think a little too much oversteer and come to a halt, sort of, but still able to "pass" through the gate (I think). The trainer also notice my mistake and tell me to countersteer earlier.
The 3rd round, I feel quite messy too cause there's many left and right and I use the throttle to straighten the car. Heard the walkie-takie someone say something like "Nice one", but the trainer replied "He already step on the gas". Ooopps? =P
This trainer is very observant and good I would say, he's able to observe what I've done clearly and also to correct mistakes/technique/problems =)
There's a special challenge organize for us, a short mini autokhana session with the Honda Jazz. I was the first one, oh dang. I think most of us loose the time at the reverse parking session; For those more aggressive and take the risk, score a good time. The first being blackdolphin, I think around 26seconds++, which his time was unbeaten for some time, until another Honda driver score around 25 seconds++. Some aggressive one scored good time too but they either touch/hit a cone or two. Each cone give 5 seconds penalty.
Pictures From Andre (diablo):