Experiencing the Excitement of Driving – Mercedes-Benz Driving Events 2016

Mercedes-Benz recently gave about 400 participants the opportunity to experience the excitement of driving through its Mercedes-Benz Driving Events. The event was held over nine days from 9 to 12 November 2016 at the former Queenstown Club.
The participants got to drive a range of Mercedes-Benz models, including the AMG A45, and experience first-hand the cars’ performance handling. Participants also learnt some defensive driving techniques from a team of professional safety driving instructors from Australia.
DriveRite Driving Facilitator Darion Lim shares some key driver education and training take-aways from the event and some additional defensive driving advice with CLUTCHED.
Performance Handling Experience:
Unfortunately or fortunately it started to rain really hard as we arrived at the "secret test track” for our session on the afternoon of 11 November 2016. As it turned out, the rain was a blessing in disguise. It created ideal conditions for proving the handling prowess for the fleet of Mercedes-Benz models.
Participants had the rare opportunity to test the Dynamic Select Handling Control System in Sports/Sports+ mode for the A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, CLA, E-Class and SLC. The participants were highly impressed by the sporty steering feel, quick throttle response, stability and agility as they drove the cars hard through the slalom course. 
Sometimes, we take these stability systems for granted and forget that they are there to assist and not replace us. A quick reminder may come in the form of front wheel skid or understeer, resulting from an excessive use of power coupled with rapid directional changes by the driver. To achieve synergy with these systems, drivers need to remind themselves constantly that they still have a critical part to play by modulating the ir throttle and steering inputs.
Evasive ABS Braking Exercise:
This exercise provided participants with an opportunity to:
  •  Learn how to stop fast and avoid a collision
  •  Learn how to take evasive action to avoid a collision should the stopping distance be insufficient
Most drivers do not have the opportunity to practice emergency braking after they leave the driving schools. Not only did this exercise provide participants with long-overdue practice, it also taught them how to combine braking and swerving to avoid a collision. But as the saying goes, "with great power comes great responsibility". Unfortunately, some local cases of badly-executed brake and swerve manoeuvres on our Expressways have ended in multiple collisions.
Participants therefore need to use this newly-learnt skill responsibly and safely. Before executing this evasive manoeuvre, drivers need to be absolutely certain that there is no on-coming traffic before swerving. If not, the consequences could be far worse than just hitting the vehicle in front. To avoid putting yourself in a possibly stressful situation and having to invoke the brake and swerve manoeuvre – drivers should regulate their driving speeds according to the road, traffic and weather conditions and keep a safe following distance.
Skid Control Exercise:
Skid Control Exercise
Skid Control Exercise
This exercise provided participants with an opportunity to:
  • Experience the challenges of driving on slick road surface conditions with the traction control system turned off
  • Learn how to control and recover from a rear wheel skid or oversteer situation
  • Learn about how the traction control system can prevent the car from skidding and spinning out
For the average driver, driving on slick road surface conditions without the aid of a traction control system can be challenging. Controlling and recovering from skids are even more daunting and the available "bro-science" on how to deal with skids does not help. After some hands-on skid control practice, most participants realised that looking and steering in the direction they wish to go is probably the best approach to take. However, in real-life situations involving higher speeds, very deliberate and precise steering inputs are required.
Unfortunately, many local cases of oversteer recovery attempts have ended up in a crash, because drivers gave too much steering input and created a secondary snap oversteer in the opposite direction. True skid control can only happen if you avoid getting into a skid in the first place. This can be achieved by driving defensively – approaching a corner at a safe speed and keeping the car balanced by avoiding aggressive braking, acceleration or steering. 
Thanks to innovative safety technologies (though drivers should not take this as “permission” to drive recklessly), drivers now have an additional safety net, in the form of a traction control system like Mercedes-Benz’s Acceleration Skid Control (ASR) System to assist in the prevention of skids. Drivers should also take note that traction control and stability systems cannot prevent Aquaplaning. Drivers need to remind themselves constantly that safety systems are only there to assist and ultimately, they are still in charge when it comes to driving safely and defensively.
Text & Pics by:
Darion Lim <>

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