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Discussion Starter #1
As of this post, there 1,884 of us here in the OdyClub. I'd venture a guess that virtually all of us gave a lot of weight to the fact that the Ody is a well designed vehicle that adds a lot to the safety of ourselves and our loved ones while riding in it during our busy days.

However, I'm firmly of the opinion that a well trained driver in a well maintained, but mediocre vehicle, safety-wise, stands a much better chance of survival and accident avoidance than a person who has a driver's license by virtue of graduating a driver's ed course, but no, or very little, more continuing education, who's driving in the safest vehicle around.

All of the discussions about safety we see and hear begs the question: What do we do for ourselves to improve ourselves as drivers? Do we pursue all avenues of continuing driver education available to us in the form of books and videos on defensive driving, defensive driving classes, etc., or do we just demand that the "government do more"? Do we study the road and traffic conditions as we drive? Do we imagine emergency situations and play "what if?" while we're driving to develop defensive habits, or do we just rely on our vehicles to protect us?

I'm pretty sure I know the answers to these questions in the general public just by looking around while driving, but I wonder if we in this forum, as a group, might be a little bit more safety conscious and have a higher than average number of people who may pursue "continuing education"?

Looking forward to the answers and discussion. I hope at least 1,883 more people take part.




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Chuck K,
Self-elected President, Vice President, Sergeant-at Arms and one and only member of the, now official, Former Ody Owners chapter of the OdyClub, founded 2/02/2002.
 
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I agree with you completely about the good driver in the mediocre vehicle idea. I think the danger for good drivers lies in the BAD drivers out there.

Many of the people here bought the Odyssey in the sense that their families would be protected at all times, judging that even an experienced driver cannot always avoid an accident (even NASCAR drivers have bad accidents during races). Sometimes you just can't see an accident coming.

I have always wanted to take a defensive driving course, but have never looked into it. Has anyone taken one? Any thoughts? The 5 is starting to get brutal.

Michelle
 

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..<font color="#dedfdf">

[This message has been edited by Maugham (edited 03-04-2002).]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Michelle and Maugham, you're absolutely right, there's no way for a good, defensive driver, or any driver, for that matter, to protect against *EVERY* possibility - that's where the safety of the vehicle comes in. No one could have avoided the situations you describe, Maugham. That's a given.

But that's not the discussion I was hoping to get rolling with the questions. I may be wrong, but the people on this forum seem a little more aware of safety on the average than most, and I'm wondering if that translates to a higher number of people who take the responsibility to further educate themselves as drivers. My gut feeling is that the number of us is higher, but I'd like to confirm or refute.

Telling ourselves that we're good drivers or defensive drivers is meaningless. We all think we are. The challenge is to know that no matter how good we think we are, there's ALWAYS room for improvement. There's a lot more out there to learn if we pursue it, and my hunch is that there is a higher percentage of the people who read these pages who do than the average driver I see out on the road everyday.

I'm just trying to get a sense of whether the above average concern with safety we see here translates to drivers who also attempt to raise their own awareness and skills through various means to improve their (and their families') survival out on our roads.



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Chuck K,
Self-elected President, Vice President, Sergeant-at Arms and one and only member of the, now official, Former Ody Owners chapter of the OdyClub, founded 2/02/2002.
 

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Well, personally I would like to take a defensive driving ed course (no time right now). But, I had autocrossed once with a friend in his Miata to pick up some basic vehicle manuevering, amazing to realize how little I knew about real driving, (guess video games don't cut it huh?
I think part of the blame is that driver's licenses are wat too easy to get (heck, they've eliminated the parallel parking requirement, here in California!)
But with any new car we get, we always try to get a sense how it handles in panic situations (in an empty lot of course), as soon as possible. As for driving, I've noticed many people tend to get tunnel vision or they look at only 2-3 car lengths ahead of them. As they say always keep the eyes moving (ahead, to the side, and back of you). Assume very little when driving (as in life), cause the moment you let your guard down is when you'll get screwed. Also, if someone's trying to overtake you in a lane change (whether or not they actually use their signal), let them, it'll be better for everyone. One final note, the horn should only be used to prevent an accident, not to tell him/her that she's a SOB. (In many cases, it'll make the situation worse.) Give the other driver the benefit of the doubt, maybe they're facing some situation that you didn't/couldn't see at the time. Remember, when you signed up for that driver's license, you have made an agreement to treat fellow motorists with respect. Wow, sorry for the lecture.
 

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Back in 2000, the VW Club had a Drivers Schools at Road Atlanta (there were a few others around the country too). I took the day off and went, it was a very good program in accident avoidance, "eye school" classroom instruction, autocross and high speed lane changes. I'd love to do that again!
 

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I think so much of the "education" we get as drivers is through expereince. I took drivers ed as a teenager and then an obligatory class in drivers safety after getting a speeding ticket (I thought that I was going a safe speed, but the cop didn't) in order to not increase my insurance rate, but I truely belive that I have only gained my skill at driving and attending my environment through age and experience. I believe the keys to good driving are knowing what's going on around you, practicing patience with other drivers, and acting reasonably in your speed and manuevers. I could be wrong, but I don't think that I would get a ton out of a drivers safety course at this point in my life.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by wmarci2000:
. . . I could be wrong, but I don't think that I would get a ton out of a drivers safety course at this point in my life. </font>
I must respectfully disagree. I held the same opinion until I took my first performance driving school. Drivers education courses and pansy driver improvement schools required by the state to avoid insurance points only provide psychological indoctrination (don't drink and drive). If you want to go to the next level, you need to get on the track (or on the skid pad) to see what vehicles really do in emergency situations when you can learn from your mistakes without a trip to the body shop.

My car club does two schools a year and we simulate emergency situations in all sorts of driving conditions (including soapy asphalt).
Do you know the difference between over-steer and under-steer? Do you know what to do to correct either? Do you know which your particular vehicle is prone to? Do you know what sounds and vibrations are normal during anti-lock brake deployment? Have you ever practiced avoiding an obstacle, or do you just punch the brakes and pray?

If you cannot answer yes to all these questions, then you can benefit from a performance driving school. They usually take one day and the cost is nominal. I highly recommend it for everyone.



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Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by celler:
I must respectfully disagree. I held the same opinion until I took my first performance driving school. Drivers education courses and pansy driver improvement schools required by the state to avoid insurance points only provide psychological indoctrination (don't drink and drive). If you want to go to the next level, you need to get on the track (or on the skid pad) to see what vehicles really do in emergency situations when you can learn from your mistakes without a trip to the body shop.

My car club does two schools a year and we simulate emergency situations in all sorts of driving conditions (including soapy asphalt).
Do you know the difference between over-steer and under-steer? Do you know what to do to correct either? Do you know which your particular vehicle is prone to? Do you know what sounds and vibrations are normal during anti-lock brake deployment? Have you ever practiced avoiding an obstacle, or do you just punch the brakes and pray?

If you cannot answer yes to all these questions, then you can benefit from a performance driving school. They usually take one day and the cost is nominal. I highly recommend it for everyone.

</font>
Amen. I've practiced all of those things as much as possible outside of an instructional environment, but would love to take the classes you mention. I think there's ALWAYS something new to learn.

It's the "I already know how to drive" attitude that scares me.

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Chuck K,
Self-elected President, Vice President, Sergeant-at Arms and one and only member of the, now official, Former Ody Owners chapter of the OdyClub, founded 2/02/2002.

[This message has been edited by ckonarske (edited 03-04-2002).]
 

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Here's the link to the schools offered by BMW Car Club of America.

http://www.bmwcca.org/services/calfset.shtml

Most of them require you to be a member of BMW CCA. Its only $40 a year and you do not have to own a BMW to be a member.

The P-car guys are pretty busy too:

http://www.pca.org/news/calendar.asp

The German car clubs seem to have the most track time here in South Florida. Other areas may differ.

And yes, I've seen minivans and pickups at the safety schools.

Best wishes.

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Craig
 

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I think driving schools that teach car control, etc.. are fantastic. Not mamy people learn and try to understand vehicle dynamics, etc... When my kids get old enough, I'm going to be adamant that they sign up for and complete courses in car control.

My '99 LX Accord does not have ABS, so I took it upon myself to practice threshold braking on that vehicle after it was broken in. (of course, in a safe place to do so) This is on wet and dry pavement. I feel confident in my ability to modulate the brakes in that car, it's my daily driver.

Now that my Ody is broken in, I'm going to have my wife practice foot to the floor braking so she knows what it feels like when the ABS kicks in, likewise on the traction control.

These are a couple of things I'd recommend people do and have their spouses do if they are not familiar with the braking limits of their vehicles.

Now in terms of finding out the handling limits of their vehicles, my belief is the only really safe way to find that out is on a track. I don't recommend people finding empty streets or parking lots to do that.

Just a couple of my thoughts....

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-Shin John
'01 DEP EX, and I'm workin' on it! (slowly)
 

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One of the more basic experiments anyone with ABS equipped vehicles can do is to take the vehicle to 35mph and stand on the brakes. Most of us learned to "pump" the brake pedal in certain situations, not so with ABS brakes. The ABS system will release each wheel individually, as necessary, to keep the car straight. If you pump the pedal this will be defeated and the car may go into a slide. There is a grinding noise emitted as well and this tends to make first time panic stoppers release the pedal. This test may be done safely in an empty parking lot.
Very simple and a must for all owners of ABS equipped vehicles.
I remember an interview with a race driver some years back (can't remember who) that stated that no one is able to control or to regain control of a vehicle that looses tracking travelling over 75mph. This was well before cars were engineered (or is it over engineered) as they are today.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by homeric:
. . . Most of us learned to "pump" the brake pedal in certain situations, not so with ABS brakes. . . There is a grinding noise emitted as well and this tends to make first time panic stoppers release the pedal.
</font>
100% correct. ABS panic stops is the first thing we do in the safety schools. Many people have never experienced ABS at work. There is a defined brake pedal pulsation and I find the grinding noise you speak of which is the ABS pump quite loud. The natural reaction is to let off the pedal, that instinct has to be fought and it requires practice.

The other thing people find hard to get over is what I call the "punch and pray" method. Most people lock their arms, punch the brakes, and pray they stop in time when met with an obstacle. ABS allows you to maintain steering capability in a panic stop, use that to manuver around the obstacle.

I am surprised that the automobile makers do not work harder to instruct people about how ABS brakes work.



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Craig
 

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ABS testing is pretty straight forward if you have snow on the ground, and you don't ruin the tires doing so. Also good feedback on how slippery the road is
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by fathom:
ABS testing is pretty straight forward if you have snow on the ground, and you don't ruin the tires doing so. Also good feedback on how slippery the road is
</font>
What is snow?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by homeric:
What is snow?
</font>
That's not funny!




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Chuck K,
Self-elected President, Vice President, Sergeant-at Arms and one and only member of the, now official, Former Ody Owners chapter of the OdyClub, founded 2/02/2002.
 

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Fir those of you interested, check out Mid Ohio. (http://www.midohioschool.com/index0504.html) They offer a series of racing courses adn a teen driving program and car control clinic. The best part, is that they use Hondas and Acuras, including the RS-X and a specially modified Civic 'skid car' with casters at all four corners. I wish I could tell you I've been through it, but it's still on my to do list. For now, my driving education comes from Car and Driver magazine, which has tought me a lot oiver the years.

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D Schaefer
1999 Odyssey EX - Mesa Beige, 9" TV/VCR w/Steel Horse Tote, SmartScreen rear delay wiper in process
1993 Escort LX - 'Fridge White, basic, no frils, get-to-work-and-back car
1960 Thunderbird Conv. - Raven Black, Red leather, THIS is the real fun!
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dgs:
Fir those of you interested, check out Mid Ohio. (http://www.midohioschool.com/index0504.html) They offer a series of racing courses adn a teen driving program and car control clinic. The best part, is that they use Hondas and Acuras, including the RS-X and a specially modified Civic 'skid car' with casters at all four corners. I wish I could tell you I've been through it, but it's still on my to do list. For now, my driving education comes from Car and Driver magazine, which has tought me a lot oiver the years.

</font>
Heck, I'd go just for the RSX!
 

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I must agree with many of the previous posts. I am a racer myself - I have campaigned a Reynard Formula Ford on the East coast for a number of years, and have a few championships to my credit. Oddly enough, off the track I have liitle desire to speed and consider myself an extemely safe driver - with or witout my family aboard. The education I have received at driving schools, club events and actual racing has allowed me to avoid situations on the road that had the potential to be very ugly. Subjects like peripheral vision, awareness of surroundings, and concentration are taught along with car control, threshold braking, and wet weather. All of which are applicable to daily driving. I see things occur on the road every day that scare the hell out of me - surprisingly(and honestly) I can't say the same about the racetrack.

By the way, I tow the racecar behind the odyssey on an open trailer (i'll get a picture up someday, its quite a sight). With the Ody my fellow racers now refer to me as a 'calculated risk taker'
 
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