The next step for drivers serious about honing their driving skills is a performance driving course. These courses sharpen precision driving. Many people who aspire to become race car drivers have to complete a performance driving course before they can move on in the field. But if competing in the Indy 500 is not a dream for you, you still might benefit from this type of advanced driving course.
A CNBC journalist recently took a performance driving course and provided a first-hand account. The cornerstone of the course was time spent out on a mini race course that was set up with traffic cones. The time spent on the course was designed to improve the driver’s ability to manage the car.
Drivers move through different stations, each of which honed a different driving skill. For example, the driver spent some time trying to manage a skid, which he had done also in a defensive driving course.
Another station tested a driver’s ability to make a right-hand turn quickly. The key was to improve the ability of the driver to take the turn safely but also at a high speed.
Another station practiced lead-follow exercises, which also improved a driver’s ability to control the vehicle while it was moving at a fast speed. In this exercise a group of cars formed a convoy and drove as fast as possible as vehicles alternated position, from leader to follower. The CNBC journalist noted that this exercise helped him push his vehicle as fast as possible while also maintaining control.
As a performance driving course should teach you, safe driving does not necessarily mean slow driving. Key will be maintaining a familiarity with your vehicle so that you do not lose the ability to control it as months pass after taking a performance driving course.
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One helpful piece of advice in the CNBC article was to use the car provided by the course vendor. Performance driving can cause serious damage to your vehicle, especially if you make maneuvers that the car is not used to (and if you make those maneuvers badly, which you probably will while taking the course). You don’t want to compromise your vehicle and have to pay to replace your tires or brake fluid. Also, most insurers probably will not cover any damage you suffer on a race track, so leave your car at home.
Before registering for a performance driving course, check that the vendor has cars you can use. This could save you thousands of dollars.
After taking a performance driving course, you might want to schedule some time at the race track. The chances are low that you will be able to use your skills out on the open road, which means the skills you gain in a class will slowly erode. To make sure that you don’t lose your edge, you can continue to practice at the oval. Check for how much it costs to practice. The investment might be worth it.
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