No, this is not a bad joke! It turns into a discussion about vehicle dynamics, a rather interesting conversation about Sir Isaac Newton and his laws of physics.
In between bites of Calzone, we discussed the theories of vehicle dynamics, the laws of physics and how they can apply to modern day crime fighting, driver training programs and ensuring that our officers are prepared for potentially deadly driving scenarios.
Have you ever wondered or asked your driving instructors why the driving exercises are laid out in a particular way. Was their response, “because that’s where the box is painted for the cone.” Well, I got that same question back in 1997, when I was a rookie EVOC Instructor and yes, that’s how I answered.
Little did I know back then that science and math should be an EVOC instructor’s best friend. Fast forward 19 years and I now understand just how critical math & science is to an EVOC driving program.
I’ve only come to this realization during the past 5 years as an Instructor for Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute. If I only understood the importance of the laws of physics and vehicle dynamics as an EVOC instructor at NYPD Driver Training Unit, who knows where I would be now, possibly the driving Czar in Washington, D.C.?
Is your driver training program testing students skills and abilities in properly handling the loss of control (understeer & oversteer) scenarios. We know it’s impossible to train for every driving scenario, but are we at training our students in exercises that address these conditions. Are your driving exercises helping the student recognize when they are in a loss of control situation and what they need to do to regain that control? I know for a fact, that they will experience at least one understeer or oversteer situation at some point in their first year on patrol. Will they be prepared and know how to handle that vehicle to avoid the crash?
Teaching a student an understeer or oversteer condition is a MUST in every program. Hopefully, our programs are addressing these potentially dangerous scenarios, if not, then we need to sit down with our department leaders and get them on board.
We owe it to our students and future EVOC instructors to study and incorporate how vehicle dynamics and the laws of physics can improve our programs, teaching methodologies, and reduce our vehicle-related fatalities.