Today Tom and I went to skid school.
Most driver’s ed really doesn’t teach you much about how cars work and what you should really do in an emergency. In skid school, you get more information about things like traction and weight transfer. But the best part is that you get to go out in cars and try out what you’ve learned.
We think that skid school is a good idea for any new drivers. You even get a discount on your car insurance in Massachusetts. Plus, it’s lots of fun.
One of our favorite exercises was this tailgating exercise. The car in the center is driven by one of the instructors. It’s towing an orange cone on a rope. The cone is about 2 1/2 car lengths back. Each of the other two cars is driven by a student. They stay even with the cone as everyone accelerates to highway speed. When the instructor hits the brakes, the students have to try and stop before their front bumper reaches the middle car’s back bumper. Nobody managed this. In fact, Tom and I each had at least one run where our back bumper was ahead of the instructor’s front bumper. It’s clear that 2 1/2 car lengths isn’t nearly enough.
They had us doing slaloms, fast lane changes, and emergency stops. We had a lot of snow this week, so the road surface was a nice mix of ice, slush, wet, and dry. The instructors were a lot of fun. They all race Miatas in their spare time, so we had lots to talk about.
They also had us doing math problems on a calculator while we drove to simulate texting. That didn’t work too well. We missed our cones and got the wrong answers!