just back from an unusual afternoon and evening: the [IBM ZRL hobbyclub] had organized an anti-skidding course at the [anti-skidding school regensdorf (assr)][ASSR]. the weather was fantastic for the occasion: it’s raining cats and dogs. the course took place at the driving range of the [ASSR] in [regensdorf] — we got there by 14:00. the driving range is arranged like a stretched and slightly flattened letter ‘B’ with two loops at each end joining a long straight stretch in the middle. the middle stretch consists of a wide piece of specially treated road having the same characteristics as ice, the practical exercises are done in cars provided by ASSR — specially treated cars that is: the back tires are completely without profile…
[IBM ZRL hobbyclub]: http://www.hobbyclub.ch/index.htm
the whole afternoon was highly educating — as well as highly nerve wrecking: we split up into teams of two and then had to practise sudden lane changes. even though we drove at low speed (20–30kph) as soon as we yanked the steering wheel around it was ballet time: almost all of us at first ended up [pirouetting] — a hair-raising experience, loosing control over the car completely; even worse if you are **not** in the driver’s seat. eventually though we kind of managed to get the hang of loosing control in a controlled way 🙂 and regaining it. then it was more theory on the art of braking:
* learnt that the legally prescribed amount of force to effect an all-out braking is 80kg: meaning you have to press with at least 80kg on the brake pedal, i manage (2nd attempt) 99kg with a reaction time of 0.47secs — which translates to a stopping distance of 19m from 50kph
* we also were reminded of the relationship between speed and kinetic energy: it’s quadratic not linear, meaning that if you double the speed, the kinetic energy of your car is quadrupled — and, hence, you need four times the distance to come to a complete stop!
* when you are going 60kph instead of, let’s say 50kph, by the time you’d have come to a complete and full stop when braking from 50kph you are still going 40kph — a kid running into the street would certainly be dead, an adult might be dead
* similar thing with going 50kph in a 30kph zone: at the distance you’d have covered to come to a complete stop when braking from 30kph you’d still be going 50kph because of the delayed reaction and kinetic energy
sobering, very sobering. again we practice all-out breaking on the driving range: with and without [ABS] — which makes a tremendous difference (but is not the silver bullet the car industry wants to make us believe: you can still — and easily — get your car into a sideways skid rendering the car completely uncontrollable) — this time i manage to keep the car straight 🙂
after a final session on keeping distance (the old [two-second rule]!) — every single day there are between 6 and 8 bumper crashes in the three zurich road tunnels with every single bumper crash due to violation of the two-second rule! — and new and changed swiss road rules (crossing a solid line is punished with suspension of your license, changing lanes at an autobahn junction to let cars in is not allowed, every change of direction has to be signaled — even if following a right-of-way road through a junction), we are out again practising double lane changes: utilizing the skid of the car from the first lane change to get back into the original lane after the obstacle.
[two-second rule]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-second_rule_%28road%29
all in all a very educating afternoon, nerve wrecking but also fun 🙂