[s-cars] Re: driving ability vs ABS, ESC, etc

CyberPoet thecyberpoet at cyberpoet.net
Mon Jan 13 14:02:56 EST 2003

[ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]
I am going to try to refocus this discussion/debate back on
the original premise: Newly licensed drivers in the USA
receive insufficient training as a rule, and are not tested
nor otherwise required to learn how to handle crisis
situations as a part of their licensing process. The modern
safety systems helps offset that lack of training, but should
not be considered as the is-all and end-all of the situation.

>>> I agree. Given the option, I'd rather have ABS. But can I function
>>> safely without it?
> Depends on the definition.

Given a lack of ABS, can I retain directional control while
braking by modulating the brake pressure? Yes. Do I know
how to reduce my stopping distance without ABS by
preventing lock-up of the wheels? Yes. Can I judge whether
reducing my braking pressure to permit me to slalom into a
different lane or location rather than strictly using
maximum pressure will provide me a better solution to the
situation? Yes. None of the above can be equated with
saying that I prefer a lack of modern ABS (I do not on-road
on four wheels).
The original point was how many beginning American
drivers had to learn these methodologies as a part of their
obtaining a license, and how many were tested on it as part
of the process of obtaining the license?

>   There is no question in my mind that the newer
> algorithums are getting more car specific, and hence the definition of
> "safely" has a raised bar.  If sir idioso can stomp the brake pedal
> with his
> cell phone to his ear, and reduce his braking distance and have
> increased
> control, he's functioning at a higher safety level than you are.  You
> might
> have awareness advantage, but not hardware/software.

That presumes that I am not using ABS, and that ABS by
definition provides a larger advantage than training,
awareness and avoidance in most situations. The first
presumption is patently false; the second I believe to also
be false -- ABS increases the typical driver's capability
(a given), but new American drivers these days are not
trained or tested on what to do without it's presence as
part of their licensing procedures.

>>> Yes. Can the majority of drivers under adverse conditions retain
>>> steering control of
>>> their cars while braking at or very close to maximum without ABS? No.
>>> And that's a matter of training, which was my point.
> On a track or in the real world?   Marc, when that guy pops out of the
> lane
> in front of you, and does something really stupid and you "react",
> lockup is
> possible.  No one is that good all the time.  ABS can be.  Training
> only
> increases awareness, and can increase skill, but lockup happens to
> everyone

Good training increases awareness, increases your lead time on
such decisions, but it also increases reactive options -- choices
other than simply braking at maximum deceleration in a straight line.

>> How do you know the skids you are looking at are ABS skids?
>>> Do you really not know the difference, or was that a rhetorical
>>> question?
> I'm asking the difference.  I don't know the difference.

When examining the skid, a non-ABS equipped vehicle will
leave either a solid patch of rubber, or one that has
irregular gaps (from wheel hop). ABS-equipped vehicles in
the same situation leave a patch that has approximately a
1/4 to 1/2 inch gap (more for higher speeds) each 6 to 18
inches (whatever the interval, it remains virtually
constant from gap to gap, except for the change in speed).
That pattern is very repetitive and can easily be
discerned; it occurs at a frequency that is humanly
impossible to mimic without ABS because the human nervous
system can't modulate at the pressure at the same speed.

>>> It still doesn't change my basic premise, and that is that
>>> it there is a lack of training requirement to obtain a
>>> license in this country (the USA), especially training for
>>> crisis/emergency situations.

> Training?  Training is experience, attitude and awareness.  Without
> experience, all the training in the world can still very likely add up
> to a
> crash.  I'm a realist Marc.  Training can be had (and the
> responsibility
> shared) by taking any of a plethora of specialized events, from Skippy
> to
> Qclub.  Training for crisis/emergency situations?  In drivers Ed?  I'm
> thinking of my gym teacher in high school (who taught my drivers ed)
> thinking, "is this really the guy I want 'training' my kid c/e
> situations?"
> No thanks.

But that exactly it. You are equating your gym teacher (who
side-lined as your driver's ed teacher) with the type of
training that can be provided. And that driving around the
school parking lot with the occasional end-of-semester
foray into the real world as the same as the best initial
training that can be provided (for those on the American
roads who even had the benefit of high school Driver's Ed).
As an actual former instructor, we train for the worst
possible combinations, in bad conditions (mandatorily as
part of the training), emphasizing the avoidance and
ability to correctly judge options before they result in
placement within a crisis situation -- AND what to do when
you end up in that situation (which is something that the
American driver's ed course I took at my high school didn't
cover in any detail).

> To you specifically Marc, I encourage you to actively participate in
> your
> vision.  Become a quattro club instructor, marque event instructor, a
> mentor
> of your vision.  The easiest thing to do is claim 'training' is the
> problem.
> I disagreee with the premise or conclusion of that statement.

The majority of my training time these days are spent with new
motorcycle riders teaching
them techniques to advance their skill set enough to hopefully keep
them alive and healthy,
but your suggestion is a good one, and I'll look into it with serious

> Looking forward to meeting you at a quattro club or other marque
> event.  You
> will see me helping students become better drivers, btdt for 10years.
> Come
> out to steamboat, you might become more optimistic that there is a
> "demand"
> for training too.

Thank you for the invitation. If you're going to Nuremberg, perhaps we
will see each other

Best Wishes,
=-= Marc Glasgow

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