A Students Take On The Car Control Clinic

On a really hot Saturday and after some opening remarks from John Schrenker and Dale Rabeneck, and a skilled set of instructors, the ARPCA Car Control Clinic got underway in the classroom. There were theories taught on car control, understeer, braking, and slalom conditions. We, the students would each participate in three exercises in the morning and then come back to the classroom at lunch to discuss the A.M. session, and then get some more hands on experience to finish out the day. After a brief introduction and a short lesson on those theories, our class was directed back to our cars where we were introduced to our instructors for the day.

Throughout the opening remarks and the classroom session we kept hearing “Today, you will learn things that you didn’t know you didn’t know.” Powerful stuff

I think most of us considered ourselves to be decent drivers. Sure, I know I’m not a seasoned professional driver or even a qualified track guy, but I’m in my car all day. I rack up the mileage like no ones business. I can counter steer in the snow and I know that slamming on the brakes and locking the front tires means that you have no way to steer (ask me about my 944 the next time you see me). In my eyes those were some of the risks of avoidance on the road. Besides, isn’t that what ABS is supposed to prevent? Isn’t that why we have things like stability control and traction control? The technology in my car keeps my driving safe, right?  

Little did I know, how much that “computer” doesn’t do or should I say, how much it guesses what I’m going to do. How can something guess what I’m going to do based on my throttle or steering input? How can my car anticipate my moves?  Long story short, it can’t. The car has no idea what’s going on, it’s not a black Firebird from the 80’s saying “Michael.” Your car needs YOU to tell it how to interact with the road. Those whistles and gadgets are great, but in order to use them properly one must learn how to use them, one must learn, CAR CONTROL.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere… Car Control, What’s that?

Car Control is what the team of instructors teaches you. Car Control is knowing how a car will react when you slam on the brake at 60 mph. Car Control teaches you why letting the pedal up just a little to shut off the ABS puts you back in control so you can steer safely in an avoidance scenario. Car Control is being able to modulate the throttle and let the steering unwind a bit so you can maintain the ability to steer when your front wheels are sliding. Car Control is knowing what to do when you rear end swings out and fishtails. Car Control teaches you driving skills that you have no way to learn anywhere else.

The lessons that were learned that day can be applied immediately and can benefit every driver regardless of what year, make and model you drive. Simply put, if you have a license, you should attend. With the skills taught at this clinic I guarantee you will walk away from this event with a new look on driving.

Take a quick look at the gallery of pictures to get a perspective of all the learning, All the fun!