Semi-autonomous Cars — An Advanced Driving Course for Chauffeurs in their Employer’s Tesla

Given that at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] we teach defensive and advanced driving, the use of assistance features which reduce the tasks and sadly also the concentration of drivers is not a key area for us.  (How new safety technology might actually be making our driving worse.)

That aspect, however, is not the theme of this write-up.  Instead, I will focus on the Tesla being driven normally, with the minimum of automated features and with maximum smoothness for the chauffeur context plus, of course, maximum regard for driving safely

A Tesla S that we used on an ADoNA advanced driving "safety and smoothness" course for chauffeurs, looking good in a color that's close to the famed "British Racing Green."
The Tesla Model S 85 used on an advanced driving “safety and smoothness” course for chauffeurs, looking good in a color that’s close to the famed “British Racing Green”. (Copyright image)

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Advanced Driving Courses in Washington State

Over the past 12 years, Advanced Drivers of North America has carried out driver safety training throughout the Pacific North West, including six cities (each for different corporate clients) in Washington, from the Tri-Cities in the south-east of the state to Bellingham in the north-west, and of course Seattle.

An aerial view of Seattle
A wonderful view of the city of Seattle, as I flew in on August 12, 2017, and like all cities, the sort of place we can use interesting challenges and instill a much better understanding of safe driving, especially on Advanced Drivers of North America’s “Silver” and “Gold” courses.   Copyright image.

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Teaching Drivers How to Get Out of a Skid or do an Evasive Swerve Can Result in More Crashes Afterwards, Not Fewer!

Research paper:

Training drivers to have the insight to avoid emergency situations, not the skills to overcome emergency situations

Executive Summary

Emergency situations are situations that require immediate action to regain control over the vehicle and/or that require immediate action to avoid a crash. Driver training that aims to enhance the skills to regain  control  in emergency situations such as skid training, evasive swerving and emergency lane changes has proven not to be effective. Moreover, there is a plenitude of evidence that crisis evasion courses can actually increase crash rates. However, driver training that aims to enhance risk-­‐ awareness, self-­‐awareness and the acceptance of low levels of risk can reduce the crash rates of young novice drivers. As driving is predominantly a self­‐paced  task, technically skilful drivers are not necessarily also safe drivers.  A not too technically  skilful driver (i.e. a driver who has moderate vehicle handling skills) who does not overestimate his or her capabilities and/or does not underestimate the risks, drives safer than a skilful driver who overestimates his or her capabilities and/or underestimates the risks.

The Driver Behaviour, Education, and Training Subcommittee has declared that training programs aimed at enhancing the skills to regain control  in emergency situations should not be included in basic driver education or in advanced driver training programs; because, the learned  skills  in such training programs erode quickly, and such training programs result  in more  risk taking due to overconfidence. Basic driver education  and advanced driver training should be aimed at improving the calibration skills of learner drivers and novice drivers. Well­‐calibrated drivers can detect latent hazards in traffic situations, do not underestimate the likelihood that these hazards will cause their adverse effects (i.e. they are aware of the risks), and do not overestimate their own skills (i.e. they are aware of their own limitations).

The full paper is available here as a pdf:

2014 – IRF-DBET-SC-Endorsement-Driver-Training-11-07-2013 (1)

Citation:

Vlakveld, W. & Wren, E. (2014)  Training drivers to have the insight to avoid emergency situations, not the skills to overcome emergency situations.   International Road Federation (IRF), Washington, DC.

Corresponding author: Dr Willem Vlakveld, at SWOV.

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See also: When Extra Driving Courses Are a Bad Idea (first posted in 2005)