So after two days of police driver training, my driving is already immeasurably improved.

The course that we’re on is a special course designed by South Wales police to allow Mountain Rescue personnel to respond safely on blue lights to incidents. It’s a truncated version of the police basic driving course which usually takes 3 weeks – because we can’t be expected to take 3 weeks off work, they’ve brought it down to one week – and because the driving school operates on 10-hour days, that’s 4 days.

So we started off by covering the system of car control. There’s loads of details on it in Roadcraft, the course manual, but I think it’s safe to say that just reading the book is nowhere near enough. It’s implementation is crucial, and the driving we did yesterday afternoon and this afternoon has really showed us how to implement it correctly. We spent some time on the skid pan, looking at controlling skids and then this morning looked at ABS and different steering techniques and how they affect the car’s balance and handling.

It doesn’t sound much, but that’s 20 hours of physically and mentally exhausting instruction there. I’ve been given another book to read on the Human aspects of police driving, which has a fascinating insight into how the mind processes the information needed to drive. As a result, I’m understanding why this course is so challenging and what I need to do to make sure that the information I receive in this course gets to be a “habit”, an automated reaction and skill to use while driving.

So tomorrow we’re covering the system on larger roads, dual carriageways and motorways before going on to look at response driving on Friday, all of which I’m really looking forward to.

This course is realy opening my eyes. When we started the course, the instructor told us that no matter how good we think we are, and how good we actually are, by the end of the course, we’ll be thinking “My God, just what was I like before this course?”. No need to reach the end of the course I think.

3 Responses to “Police driving”

  1. Flash says:

    Sounds useful! Have you looked at Roadcraft before, the IAM use it…

    It took me weeks of IAM training and practise to pass the test, I don’t think I could have remembered everything and crammed it all into such a short time.

    Good luck anyway! Hopefully you will be blue lighting safely from now on.

  2. Aled says:

    Yes, I had a copy and had scanned it, but I had to study it completely for this course. Having said that, the driving school disagrees with a few things, such as crossing hands in rotational steering.

    The standard police driving course in South Wales (the Constabulary, not the geographic area) is 3 weeks and I believe qualifies the driver for an exemption on the IAM test. I don’t believe ours does – it’s basicaly the same course, but a short, short version crammed into a week – practical considerations mean that we can’t really take more than a week off of our paid jobs.

    Thanks, I’m hoping I’ll pass on Friday. Oh, and just to clarify, we’re not allowed to drive on blues and twos at all unless we’ve done this course. *grin*

  3. Nigel Albright says:

    Look forward to your further comments on the course.