Enroll at the BMW Driving Academy to become a better driver

Mar 23, 2014, 06:11 IST | Amit Chhangani

BMW Driving Academy in Maisach trains drivers to deal with every level of challenge on the road and at the racetrack. A crash course here can make you a better driver

The BMW Driving Academy in Maisach near Munich in Germany offers advanced driver training programs to refine the driving skills of individuals at every level. From basic driving techniques which could make a world of difference to your everyday driving, to advanced skills which would help you go faster on a racetrack – the academy has every fine aspect of driving covered. We were lucky enough to have visited the BMW Driving Academy recently and underwent the basic driver training. Here are a few learnings from the programme which could make you a substantially safer and in-control driver on the road.



Seating
It’s important for a driver to sit properly in a car. Your arms should not be stretched out, and you shouldn’t be lounging in the seat. You should sit upright with the steering wheel positioned comfortably close. Your elbows should form an angle to facilitate free movement of your hands at the steering wheel. Like the elbows, your knees should also form an angle while being positioned over the accelerator and brake pedal to facilitate a quick and powerful response from the legs in case of an emergency.


While sitting behind the steering wheel, make sure you sit upright with the steering wheel positioned comfortably close. Your elbows should form an angle to facilitate free movement of your hands at the steering wheel.

The seatback should be upright for proper support to back and upper shoulders. You should also set your headrest in such a manner that it is positioned right behind the back of your head to prevent any whiplash injuries in case of a rear collision. There should also be some space left between your head and the roof of the car, a gap of about four fingers is sufficient.

Steering
Most people hold and maneuver the steering incorrectly. You need to hold the steering from the points where the arms of a clock would be when it’s showing 9:15.  It’s not right to hold the steering with one hand, or to hold it with both hands only from the top, or from the bottom. The steering wheel has to be held properly at 9:15 position to ensure the most confident movement and maneuverability.


For sharper turns where the steering wheel has to be turned more, both your hands should move together

For milder turns, where the steering wheel doesn’t turn full circle, your hand opposite the direction of the turn (Right hand for a left turn) should move the steering wheel, while the other hand should open up to let the steering wheel slide through. 

For sharper turns where the steering wheel has to be turned more, both your hands should move together. For a left hand turn, the right hand should move to turn the wheel 180 degrees, and the left hand should momentarily release the steering and cross over to hold it again from point on steering wheel opposite to where your right hand is. This requires some practice, but can help you tremendously in having a better control on your car where quick steering movements are required.

Braking
In emergency situations where you need to minimise the stopping distance, it’s absolutely paramount that you stomp hard on the brake, and apply as much pressure as possible. Braking systems in a car work on hydraulic pressure and it’s important to build that pressure to the maximum early on to ensure the most effective braking. Don’t try to modulate or feather the brakes in emergency situations, just stomp hard and apply as much pressure as possible in a sustained fashion.

In case you think that braking hard alone wouldn’t be sufficient, you should also try to steer clear of the obstacle ahead. Cars with ABS would be able to steer under heavy braking. Those without the feature would not.


Don’t try to modulate or feather the brakes in emergency situations, just stomp hard and apply as much pressure as possible in a sustained fashion.

While the scope of the training programme at the BMW Driving Academy is much wider than the points discussed above, these are the things which can really make a difference in a critical situation. The techniques described above may look very simple to follow, but they are extremely effective in the real world when you are dealing with an emergency. Follow these simple rules and you’d be a safer, more confident driver for most situations you come across in everyday driving.

When the clock strikes 9.15

While steering the car, hold the steering from the points where the arms of a clock would be when it’s showing 9:15.  It’s not right to hold the steering with one hand, or to hold it with both hands only from the top, or from the bottom.

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