Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Back with less tread on the tires, more experience under the belt...

My tired old digi cam couldn't capture the tires lifting off the pavement by Impalas doing evasive lane changes, but I promise you-- we all saw it.

Interesting things learned:
The old 35 PSI tire inflation no longer makes the grade with patrol cars and performance driving. New tires need 44 p.s.i., and run even better at 50 p.s.i.

Rear tire blowouts are consistently far more dangerous than front-tire blowouts. Huh. I wouldn't have believed that. I do now.

It's official: best initial reaction when getting a blow-out (esp. a rear one) is to accelerate for a few seconds. Confirmed at Michelin test track with police drivers and cars. Huh.

Getting into a major car-sliding, utter loss-of-control skid? Let go of the stinkin' wheel. I proved this several times. I would fight the skid. I would attempt to steer with the skid. And I would let go of the wheel. The first, of course, perpetuates the skid. The second, interestingly, creates oversteer the milisecond your tire patch makes static friction. The third gets the car under control almost immediately. "But you're not even holding the wheel!" one might protest, "How could you be 'under control' when you're not steering?" Well, I'll take braking and accelerating without steering over the loss of all three, any day of the week. Soon as all four wheels are rotating in direct correlation to the car's travel, you re-grip the wheel, and continue to drive it hard.
You see in that top pic where there's a guy standing to the right of the cone pattern? He's a driving instructor. As you enter the pattern at 50 mph +, he points in the last possible second the direction we were to swerve in to miss the line of cones in front of us. We were expected to exit the pattern with a loss of no more than 2 mph, with no cones hit and no brake lights. This got mor interesting in the rain, later.
Then we used the same pattern for emergency braking. Had to enter at 50+, brake at a point within the pattern, avoid the center obstacle, and stop within the pattern. As much as I hate the feel of the antilock brakes, I found this a snap with mine.
See the dark Impala running the slolam pattern? That left cone is airborne. The driver was trying to make up for utterly missing her apex by shaving too close, and sent a cone out. I can't blame her; I smacked a few myself, and blew through the obstacle gate at the end so hard that I stuck a cone underneath. Even now I smell the odor of burning plastic on my catalytic converter. Phew. That cone'll never be the same.
The most fun was "The Rabbit." This course was laid out over about 1.5 miles of cones, with slolams, tight tight right-angle passages, evasive lane change patterns, etc. A rabbit car driven by an instructor would be chased by a primary cop car with lights and siren, and a secondary cop car with lights and siren. This was fun to drive, but you know what was really fun? Riding in the passenger seat with a driver who just doesn't really believe that we can die. In a Charger.
Six Flags ain't got a thing on that ride. Whee!
One of the instructors brought out his baby-- a tricked out and lowered 2006 Mustang Cobra with low-profile rims and tires-- to play the Rabbit. Another one, not to be outdone, took a 2007 Crown Vic Interceptor and ran through half the pattern backwards (with me as primary, playing gangsta rap over the P.A. at him when I realized that this was too easy), before blowing out of the pattern, and leading me on a merry chase sideways through the pattern, still aware I'd get dinged for popping cones. (Had to drop the P.A. at that point.) Have to give it to the instructors-- they could drive.
Also have to give it to the Chargers-- with a good driver behind the wheel, they flat-out left the other cars. The instructors quickly snatched those up to play rabbit in.
And I got paid to do this. :)

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At Friday, March 30, 2007 3:30:00 PM, Blogger Jake said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, and someithing a teenager, like myself can do without getting into trouble

At Friday, March 30, 2007 11:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, but I miss the late 70's-early 80's when I was a little punk and used to toy with the locals with that hot RX-7 that took corners flatter than a road grader.

Incubus #1 bought a Charger Daytona last summer. I've driven it a time or two and they are indeed impressive within the limits of that little Hemi and the traction control. He's kept me out of the driver's seat since I made him leak his Pampers going through Richardson, though.


At Saturday, March 31, 2007 2:37:00 AM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

Sounds both fun and frightening.


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