Often partners of my new drivers suggest that it’s important to have a very high degree of skill with the car including the mechanics and how the car works.

Modern cars are designed to make it easy to drive, minimal knowledge required. But once you hit the legal roads with signs rules laws bylaws and a ton of other road users bikes, pedestrians and cars, things get difficult. But you can learn this all without a solid understanding of your car.

At one time I thought that you didn’t need a high degree of skill in controlling the car in extreme or off-balance movements nor needing to know the mechanics of a car.

Recently I have changed my mind. The more you know about throwing a 1500 kg around, moving it off balance, knowing tires, rubber, suspension, shocks, bottoming out, rear-wheel, front-wheel, all-wheel drives – the better chance you have when you encounter that 10% part of driving when trouble comes.

I have very high skill in controlling and throwing a car off balance having started driving regularly starting at 12 years old. I think because I have this high connection to the car, knowing pretty accurately where it is and what exactly all four tires are doing near all the time, it makes me STUPID when asked if it’s a required skill to learn to drive.

It is very important but…

Money and time dictate a lot here. Also learning to drive in balance, in control and calmly fitting in with the patterns and flow of traffic which is the 90% everything-is-ok-driving, is what most all training provides and is what most all want to pay for, or have time for.

But what about that 10% collision rate when things go wrong and you may have vehicles around you going off-balance, including yourself?

It is very important but…

The purpose of developing this off-balance skill is not to use them in those emergency 10% danger incidents. Sadly many who develop these extreme skid skills use them to increase their risk, not decrease it. Driving home after a skid training often sees graduates sliding in ditches as they try out their new skills.

The real purpose of this out-of-balance training is to realize that you don’t want to use these skills. You don’t want to get into nor near this 10% collision zone, stay as far away from skidding in traffic or in corners and icy hills and roadways. The primary purpose of advanced training is to develop the awareness of where NOT TO DO THIS KIND OF STUFF. This is often missed in the training.

It is very important but…

It often creates overconfident drivers and overconfident instructors. And this can be deadly because in an ever-changing constantly at risk moving parts environment called driving, one must always be carefully watching and listening. Overconfidence often STOP one from listening and learning and carefully watching out for trouble. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they can,t get you. Trouble can still get you!

Overconfidence seems to switch ones brain to, letting your guard down. This is never a good thing while driving.

It is very important and…

Any additional learning of the car helps tremendously, such as knowing how to get gas, how to pull in not too close to the pumps, what kind of gas to buy and how to stop any spillage and being aware of the environmental laws for liquids spilling out of the car.

Understanding the key fob, all the door locks, the child window locks even going into the owners manual and browsing thru it. It all helps your confidence and comfort when driving.

Knowing the machine.

So yes you don’t need an extremely high degree of car off-balance training but the more you get the more respectful you will be of not getting into situations where you need to perform aggressive car moves.


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Cooper Talks Driving...


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Materials presented here are for education purposes only referencing two ICBC materials,Tuning Up Drivers Manual, Learn To Drive Right Manual, training material from the 3 week Driving Instructors Licensing Program and amterials from the GLP classroom certificate Program.

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