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Advanced/Performance Driving Courses?

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Old May 4th, 2021, 13:47   #11
Polestar Pete
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... or a Hillman Imp ...
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Old May 4th, 2021, 13:56   #12
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Originally Posted by eternal optimist View Post
I don't know....finding yourself behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Senator, or maybe an SD1, it might all come flooding back!

The 24v Senator that I used on ARV was great and so tough but the last one I drove was an 850T5..................wonderful car................👍
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Old May 4th, 2021, 14:42   #13
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... or a Hillman Imp ...
You may jest, 'Polestar Pete', but I actually took my IAM test in a Sunbeam Imp Sport! The examiners were all ex grade 1 Police drivers, and what 'S60D5-185' said about commentary driving is dead right - I found it tiring at normal / legal speeds, so I can only imagine doing so while things are flashing by at twice the national speed limit! Huge respect to those who do this on a daily basis. It certainly sharpens concentration, and is a technique I still practice today when I find myself in difficult situations or unfamiliar surroundings.

Regards, John.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 17:46   #14
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Thanks all for the helpful comments.

It seems the divisive thing, as ever, was I mentioned road driving, performance driving and "at the limit" in the same paragraph. For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not intending to drive like I'm on a track, on a public road. I'm more looking to develop an optimal driving style that allows you to have "fun" on good roads, without endangering yourself or others, focused on gaining more control over the car and awareness of how it's impacted by your inputs.

The trouble I've got here is that it's proving difficult - irrespective of how or where I ask - for me to communicate the level of knowledge I have, or where I'd like to be at, without seeming either complacent or like I want to be running three-digit speeds all over the country. That is not the case.

I've read Ben Collins' "How To Drive" cover-to-cover multiple times (amongst other driving manuals), which is mostly applied to road driving, and it was really enlightening. Simply adopting rotational steering, which I understand Roadcraft is moving towards/has moved towards (?), greatly increased the sense of being one-with-the-car. Then I began aiming for smoothness and trying to minimise multiple inputs to the car - so being off the brakes before entering the bend, and only getting back on the throttle once back out. Collins writes extensively on how you need to think of the tyres and not the car, and how each input impacts the tyres. Having this awareness opened another layer of connection.

Now I'm constantly thinking about how my inputs are going to affect the tyres, how the balance is going to shift, what the surface is looking like and how that will impact the balance, trying to project where the car's going to end up on the road, and what I'll need to do after that to maintain the desired course. And I do this wherever I drive, whether it's a 3-mile trip into town at 30mph, or a 300-mile day trip. But I still feel I'm missing something, I must be, because everything I've adopted is based on theory with no chance to apply it. I suspect I've developed my own "ilmiont-roadcraft," which while based on valid principles (single input, smoothness, thinking in terms of tyres), is largely derived from interpretation of written material.

As a comparison, I'm a self-taught pianist, and I can play fairly advanced pieces to a degree, and sometimes it's even really quite good. Yet I knew I didn't do everything right, I had bad habits, there were obvious deficiencies in technique. Just a brief time with a teacher helped that. So I don't pretend driving is directly comparable, but I do suspect that having someone else in the car will help no end and bring me much more satisfaction.

The other thing I do is constantly replay drives in my head, identify what could have gone wrong, and then try and imagine how I'd have responded if it had. E.g. a vehicle pulling out from a side-street into oncoming traffic on a narrowing road. Misreading the surface and going wider than expected. If a tyre had blown out, what would I have done. I'm constantly doing this, in breaks at work, while going to sleep, sitting in the evening, just trying to think about how the car was responding at particular times and what I'd have done if a danger had arisen.

So to bring this back to my original thread, maybe I can be more specific here. I'm looking for a competent coach to teach me the things they don't, but probably should, teach you in driving school. Why? Because I know I'm not the best driver imaginable, I'm nowhere close, but I'd like to make an effort to improve that. It seems we're in a strange situation where the majority of the population has no interest in advanced driving, then labels any young inexperienced motorist (as I'll happily state I am) a boy racer (which I'm not) for making any effort to try and improve that.

I feel I'm at the limit of what I can achieve by reading alone; I want to practice safely, without posing a risk to anyone else, while getting immediate feedback. Which is why I'm looking for a course/coach, I've thought of solo track days but while it would be good fun, I'm not sure it'd help me become a better driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eternal optimist View Post
Go to a track day, find a coach, pay them to sit alongside you for a few hours on track.
This is something I'm considering, I'm just not sure how well it'd apply to the road. Maybe it's clearer what I'm looking for from the above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XC90Mk1 View Post
I did the IAM which was good but not what you look for. I think it’s really hard to give advice on for road work. Talk to anyone who tracks cars etc and they invariably have ‘offs’. On a track that’s more often than not into lovey soft gravel, buff the scratches out and on you go.

On the road you will likely have an off also but it will be straight into someone que investigations, prosocutions and such like (if you are lucky and don’t kill someone).

You don’t need a course for on road driving, put the money towards track days and such like would be my advice.

Don’t want to come across judgemental, but I am late 30s and it’s not worth the performance driving on the road isn’t worth it.

I never had any problems but others I actually know we’re not so lucky 😳
Thanks. I've tried to clarify above what I mean by "performance driving" on the road.

The IAM courses webpages don't seem to have much specific info on what they include but I might investigate this further.

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Originally Posted by MikeGMT View Post
I have lost count of the money which I have spent on advanced road driving courses, and don't regret a single penny, probably the best thing I ever spent on a car.

Regarding your question of the best way to proceed. You are looking for something intensive, and there lies the problem of doing a half or one day course, they are very intensive by their very nature. If you have never had any experience of advanced driving techniques you will find that after a few hours your concentration starts to drop, and believe me you really have to concentrate, and from thereon you driving will start to deteriorate and you will probably come away with more questions than answers.

As you may realise a good coach for a half or one day course doesn't come cheap, a ball park figure is probably around £400/£600 or even more depending what they include, does that break the Bank? An alternative is to do a course with either IAM Roadsmart or RoADAR, both are very similar in approach and are based on Roadcraft, price around about £160 and include as much tuition as you need, and will give you a good grounding in the techniques. Thereafter you can do more intensive courses if you so wish and you will have a good understanding of the basics to build on.

You mention a few things that you are not looking for, but infact a advanced course will include all of those, with quite a lot of emphasis on some of them, Bends in particular. It is easy to anticipate a bend, there will be a sign or you will see it coming up ahead, it is how you approach, drive through and exit that will make or break your driving.

Another option if you just want to see what your car is capable of is a Car Limits Handling course, again not cheap and you might have to budget for some new rubber at the end.
Thanks. I'd say I'm comfortable with £400-£600 for a respected course. I'll look at your suggestions, not come across RoADAR before actually. It's not really money that's the issue, more just I want to be sure that whatever I choose is actually going to be helpful and not just like doing the standard driving test again.

If it's not clear from the above, I found driving lessons and the test extremely disappointing. I do feel as though I've learnt much more about driving by the efforts I've made to research and read the theory in my own time, but again, as soon as I start saying this, at my age, people (rightly) start questioning it but are then reluctant to offer any help.

The driving test seems to go out of its way to avoid any notion of driving at speed, or even to acknowledge that things might go wrong (for any reason). Excepting the basic emergency stop (which in driving test land consists of "get on the brake and let ABS save you", you're not taught how to respond to an incident, let alone how to recover the car out of a slide... surely these things would be worth teaching, if only to help keep cars out of hedges in winter? I've never had my car in a slide (thankfully!) and while I have the theory of what I'd do, I'd love to actually do it. I am very, very conscious that no amount of replaying drives in my head, practising in a simulator, or reading the theory is going to help as much as having done it for real, if I were to ever lose the car for any reason and have milliseconds to assess the situation and commit to a course of corrective action.

---

Replies to posts #7 (Polestar Pete), #8 (JamesN7), #9 (S60D5-185):

Hopefully some of the above helps clarify that I'm not intending to be on the limits of traction on the public road... but, of course, even the very safest driver you can end up on the limits of traction unexpectedly, through no fault of their own, and as part of this I would like to experience what that's like (in safety).

This thread was brought about out of recognition that my car control skills are "almost certainly nowhere near as good as you think they are," and that came about after I started reading books about the driving techniques that weren't even mentioned at 17 during test. I should probably get a copy of the Roadcraft manual as I haven't read it yet.

I like JamesN7's distinction between the car control aspect and the Roadcraft/duty-of-care to others aspect; really I suppose I do want both although I have mostly been looking at the car control side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by S60D5-185 View Post
Sad to say that I have well and truly lost that edge now and am happy to bimble about listening to Classic FM.............😁
I too listen to Classic FM.

Everyone here has been surprisingly receptive to my question, in other quarters it does sadly seem that 22 years and "advanced driving" are an immediate taboo. Yes I really am a Volvo driver and Classic FM listener, really don't want to be associated with other forms of young driver, that's part of why I'm committed to making tangible efforts to improve technique.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 18:25   #15
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Try giving james a call:

https://www.wardadt.com/

Im sure he can tailor something suitable or even point you in the right direction.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 18:41   #16
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Prior to doing my Police Advanced driving course I was lucky enough to do my Advanced Police Motorcycle course when. I was 24 ( never been without a motorcycle since I was 12 ) and then did 4years as a Police Motorcyclist .

Riding a motorcycle fast in wet weather conditions teaches you more about levels of grip and avoidance of hazards than any car course ever could.
Couple the two courses together and bingo.

You sound sensible and mature for your age so get some training but be careful.

I've picked the results of bad driving up off the road too many times during time on Fatal and Serious Accident Investigation Unit.👍
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Old May 4th, 2021, 18:47   #17
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I've picked the results of bad driving up off the road too many times during time on Fatal and Serious Accident Investigation Unit.👍
I used to know someone who worked as a firefighter. After a few drinks, he used to regale us with story of the body-parts hanging from trees lining a dual carriageway that he used to have to collect as part of his job. Visit the right forums and you'll see rather graphic photos.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 18:49   #18
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I used to know someone who worked as a firefighter. After a few drinks, he used to regale us with story of the body-parts hanging from trees lining a dual carriageway that he used to have to collect as part of his job. Visit the right forums and you'll see rather graphic photos.
Got the T shirt unfortunately.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 20:20   #19
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Try giving james a call:

https://www.wardadt.com/

Im sure he can tailor something suitable or even point you in the right direction.
This looks good, thanks.

Seems like lots of options available with varying intensities. Might be giving him a call and shall read Roadcraft I think as despite being practically the canonical manual, I haven't got a copy.
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Old May 4th, 2021, 20:28   #20
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We use CAT driver training, based at Millbrook proving ground, for work.

Would recommend, but they're not cheap. No idea how much they charge for individuals, but would be interested to know.
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