Driver Safety School Track Day Training

Driver Safety School Track Day Training

Friday, March 29, 2019 -
10:00am to 4:00pm

On Friday March 29th the Houston Section traveled south of town to the Motor Speedway Resort in Angleton Texas. We were invited to MSR by the Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land dealer for a day of driver safety training.

The mission of the training was to help reduce the risks that driver face every day on the roads. The training, including personalized professional trainers, went beyond a normal defensive driver education course. Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land provided new C class cars for the training including the C300, CLA and GLC.

The training started in the classroom with a review of the day’s activities including how to negotiate a turn, emergency braking and skid pad training.The trainers emphasized that to become a better driver you must always be aware of the cars not only just in front of you but also the cars further ahead, on both sides and behind. Your hands should be at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. Your Mercedes-Benz steering wheel is designed for your hands to be at these positions. Even the steering wheel controls are designed to be operated with your hands at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. For performance driving you sit closer to the steering wheel with the seat back upright to have better control of the car.

Out on the track we climbed into the new Mercedes-Benz cars to practice our newly acquired knowledge. The first training exercise was to practice how to negotiate a turn at high speed. The goal was to accelerate at full throttle from a dead stop into a left turn. From our classroom training we learned that all corners have an entry point, apex and exit point. On the track we practiced braking at the entry point, steering as close as possible to the apex and then accelerating at the exit. We practiced this maneuver for left turns, right turns and hair pen U turns. After several runs each we mastered the tasks of negotiating turns at high speed.

The next training module was emergency braking. Again we climbed in the Mercedes-Benz Sugar Land dealer cars and accelerated at full throttle to a marker indicating the point to apply the brakes. Just ahead of the marker were a set of traffic cones directly in the path of travel. The distance between the marker and the traffic cones was just enough to stop the car without hitting the cones if the brakes were applied at full pressure. If full brake pressure was not applied the car crashed thru the cones. If the brake was applied to early the car fell short of stopping just before the cones. This exercise helped to get a practical experience of the anti-lock braking system.

Skid pad training was the next exercise. An area of the track was sprayed with a constant stream of water. We drove on the wet surface in a circular pattern to practice under steering, the car under reacts to your control, and over steering, the car over reacts to your control and starts to skid out of control. For each case we practiced how to regain control by de accelerating for under steering and steering in the direction of the skid for over steering.

The final exercise was emergency maneuvering. Back in the Mercedes-Benz cars we accelerated at full throttle toward a marker cone indicating the point to apply the brakes. Just beyond the marker was a “fork” in the road. With instructors standing on both sides of the fork instructors would randomly throw a cone in the path of one side of the fork. The goal was to recognize the obstacle and maneuver the vehicle to the clear side of the fork.

As a bonus all participants drove our personal Mercedes-Benz cars on a “Parade Lap” around the MSR 17 turn, 2.38 mile track. And finally before completing the track day training we took a spin in Go-Karts just for fun before our class room wrap up and closing remarks.

Everyone had a great time learning how to control our vehicles under circumstances that could occur anytime during our daily commutes. All participants will receive a certificate of completion for the course. For some insurers the driver training certificate would qualify the owners for a discount in their insurance premium.

In appreciation of this opportunity the Houston Section will donate $600 to the Ft. Bend Children’s Discovery Center in the name of Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land.

The Houston Section thanks Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land and the professional trainers at Motor Speedway Resort Houston for an excellent opportunity at a great facility.