Science of Driver Training – Monitoring Speed

The new crash test showed modest speed increases can have deadly consequences.

The crash test data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have shown that small increases in speed can have huge effects on crash outcomes as shown in their new tests conducted by the AAA Foundation for traffic safety. They found that slightly higher speeds were enough to increase the driver’s risk of severe injury or death.

If you have read any of ISDA Science of Driving articles or attended a Scotti School in the past or a VDI training program in the present, there should be no surprise that a small increase in speed creates a huge effect on the outcome of an event – be it accident or vehicle violence. We have been preaching for decades that you can’t arbitrarily increase speeds.

In the past, we consistently demonstrated in every exercise we conduct how minute changes in speed can affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. We would demonstrate to students how as little as two miles an hour can make the difference between success and failure, which brings us to what we really want to talk about – protective driver training.

In our Podcast Episode 192 Best Practices for Protective Driver Training, we covered how driving training exercises must replicate a known incident or situation as closely as possible, and create the same forces that a driver will experience in a behind-the-wheel emergency. Those forces that the driver experiences are related to the speed.

Trainers you cannot conduct driver training without accurately measuring the vehicle speed. To accomplish that it requires a speed measuring device such as a radar gun or onboard computer.

The student’s speeds need to be monitored at all times. The reason has been stated above as little as 2 miles an hour increase in speed can change the outcome of the event. An instructor cannot measure a two MPH difference by standing outside the vehicle watching the vehicle drive by or by sitting next to the driver looking at the speedometer. Both options border on comical. The analogy that can be made is that you would not conduct a shooting program without bullets or without shooting at a target.

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