We are excited to present the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy’s Performance Series for a fourth episode. The series serves two purposes: it demonstrates some of the curriculum relished by amateur drivers at the Driving Academy; the tips provided within also give us some insight as to how we can better handle emergency situations on the road. This week’s episode offers beneficial advice to avoid unnecessary collisions due to turning the wheel too much or too little – and at the wrong times.
Though our host Tommy Kendall introduces the episode, the tips are actually explained by the Driving Academy’s Chief Instructor Don Harple.
The most important factor to consider in steering is the tire contact patch. Under normal driving conditions, meaning you’re not heavily accelerating or braking, you have equal pressure to both front and rear tires. When you manipulate the input devices (e.g. steering, accelerator, brake), the pressure changes.
Acceleration causes pressure to increase at the rear and decrease at the front, causing the front tires to push upon steering or any other abrupt actions. This results in understeering, and you have far less control of the vehicle.
Braking causes the opposite: the pressure increases at the front and decreases at the rear. You can spin out due to oversteering by shaking the back end loose – or spinout.
To effectively avoid these mistakes and handle the vehicle with greater aptitude, you merely need to employ a simple three-step procedure known as C.P.R.
Correct – You steer into the slide to correct it.
Pause – You wait for the skidding to stop and change direction.
Recover – You manipulate the necessary input devices to keep moving forward.
The most difficult step is transitioning from the pause to recover, according to Mr. Harple. Too much hesitation after the pause can cause a secondary slide. Naturally, the sooner you can recognize when to take these steps, the better your recovery on the road.
Now, sit back and enjoy the ride in Episode Four: