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The rain-soaked "Linus D. Toy" <linust@mindspring.com> asked:

> At 04:11 PM 1/9/97 CDT, you wrote:

> >When I drove at the Washington State Patrol School in 1984....

> There must be a few stories with this...gonna come clean with 
> tricks of the trade?  :)
> --linus

That was a fun deal.  I had been a reserve deputy in Whitman County 
for 7 years, and that county had no driving instructor.  I talked 
them into gettting me a slot at the next WSP driving school.  They 
have a beautiful 1.5 mile track near Shelton, WA complete with 90 
degree curves, sweepers, and a nice skid pad.

The physics remain the same - but the interesting thing was that 
Bondurant taught all-out race driving, but WSP taught a style to keep 
their troopers alive in real-world flaky traffic situations.  They 
REALLY worked on weight transfer - like making lane changes at 50 mph 
imn 1.5 car lengths distance, flanked by cones set 12 inches wider 
than the car on each side.
------/                \------------    

That kind of thing.  In 1976 Ford LTD mega-yachts, with 460 police 
interceptor engines.  If you can make one of those handle crisply, 
you're doing well!!  And while we were lapping, changing lanes, doing 
corners, etc. we'd have an instructor about 2 car lengths behind us 
giving us advice and (sometimes pointed) commentary about our 
performance.  Weight transfer in a heavy car like those does VERY 
impressive things...but they taught the same cornering line as 
Bodurant - slow in, fast out, late apex.

One good skill:  don't EVER change lanes to EITHER side without 
looking over your shoulder.  You have blind spots on both sides.  If 
we did this, the radio commentary got VERY pointed immediately.

Some everyday survival points:

1)  Don't EVER back up unless you have to.
2)  When you do back up, spend 90% of the time looking back, 10% 
looking forward to check where the front end is swinging.  (Ouch..)
3)  When backing up, look back until the car is FULLY stopped.  Most 
impacts happen in that last two feet after you've stopped looking 
4)  If you have to take one hand off the steering wheel (troopers 
have radios, remember?) The remaining one should be at 12:00 where 
you have the best leverage and range of movement in either direction.
5)  Double your following distance under rainy conditions...even when 
you have adrenalin pumping from the lights and siren.
6)  If you have to take an impact, take it on the passenger side.  
(Most troopers ride solo.)

That's all I have time for at the moment....

Al Powell, Ph.D.                 Voice:  409/845-2807
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.          Fax:    409/862-1202
College Station, TX 77843