Friday, December 5, 2008

Precision Driving Course

Here at work, everyone has been required to take the precision driving course up in Oklahoma City. I was a little curious as to why I would be required to take this class since driving has nothing to do with my job description. But, all I really cared about was getting paid overtime for doing something other than "real work" and saving money on my car insurance (this is starting to sound like a Gieco commercial). Apparently, having all of us employees take this class saves the company money in insurance as well. Yep, that was almost interesting.

About 24 of us went up there last week. Of course, there was a little bit of the boring classroom stuff . Then they split us off into pairs, and took us out to the cars - old cop cars! (There were a few unfortunates that got stuck driving a rental mini-van.) There were six instructors. Our instructor, Bill, was super nice and helpful (pictured in the top right). I think he might have also been a retired highway patrolman. He took us through different exercises including the skid car My personal favorite exercise was slaloming through a set of tight cones at 20 and 30 miles per hour. I know, I know anybody can swerve through cones at 30 mph, but I had never done it before. The whole experience was inspiring. I think I'm going to get involved with the local autocross!

I was paired up with one of my coworkers, Steve (pictured in the bottom middle). While Bill was instructing us Steve and I were always very respectful, paid attention, asked intelligent questions, but the minute we got back into our car we would immediately start laughing. We laughed through every driving exercise. Mostly, we were laughing at each others driving skills, but also coming over the radio, the instructors' had some pretty hilarious comments.
One of the exercises was called "collision avoidance". You basically drove 45 mph straight at a stop light pole. Once you got down there, a light would come on indicating which way to swerve and stop. Sounds simple enough, except that it felt like the light was never going to come on and you were about to make history by being the first student to run over the little stop light! I was usually screaming by the time I got to the light, then when it finally clicked on I'd slam on the breaks and screech around the barricade of orange cones (nailing a couple). After I would come to an a abrupt halt, Steve and I would look at each other and burst into giggles. Then over the radio we'd hear an official voice say, "The passenger in car number 24 is in need of some fresh underwear."


Mezzo SF said...

When I was learning how to drive, we had a precision driving course as part of driver's ed. On my first morning of the class - and I had not driven but a few months with my permit - I mixed up my pedals and rear ended the jeep wrangler in front of me while waiting in line to drive the course.
Now...I was driving my dad's 1988 white chevy suburban. The jeep? Not a scratch on that car. The suburban? Since I rear ended the spare tire on the back of the jeep, the chevy's hood crunched up AND the word "premium" ended up embossed in the hood of my dad's car from the impact (it was a "premium" tire).
Horrifying at the time - but hilarious now.

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

i think i've seen that course, is it north of I-40 and just east of Portland?

Anyway, it sounds like a whole lotta fun.

I think it'd be fun to take the Flyin Dutchman's car and do the slalom course in it.

Skybag said...

That is horriyfing and hilarious, Mezzo!!

Yeah Piper, it's right there on furniture row. And it was a lotta fun - I was wishing I had my own car up there!