The WarCamp Line - March 2002

  Back to School

Iím a fairly laid back guy but Iíve started to feel like a TV evangelist on this subject.  It caught my attention and I hope it catches yours.

 

A few months ago, there was an article in Roundel where the writer talked about the history of automobile safety.  It caught my attention since I have a daughter that just turned sixteen and was starting to drive.  The writerís main point was that for the last fifty years we have used technology and engineering to improve driving safety and ignored the driver.

 

You really canít talk about car safety without bringing up Ralph Nader.  The plan to improve cars was a direct result of his campaign.  No doubt, his work improved cars and made automobile manufacturers more responsive to safety factors.  But in my opinion, Ralph fell a bit short of the mark.  

 

First, he was against seat belts.  He felt that you would never get people to use them.  Second, he felt that drivers could not be trained.  He thought that either they were a dumb lot or just didnít care and since they were either dumb or uncaring we needed to build better boxes that they drive.    

I have to agree with the Roundel writer and take issue with Ralph.  

 

              I just got back from the Houston Chapterís Car Control School.  It works!  And it works fast.  In one intensive long weekend you could see a marked difference in the students driving ability.  At first, some were afraid to even apply the brakes hard.  Most didnít know which way to turn when the back of the car wasnít going the same direction as the front.  

 

By Sunday afternoon they were in control.  They knew the limits of their cars as well as their personal limits.  Posture had improved and the teens that were lying back in their seats when they started were now siting up straight, hands at the right places and their feet were firmly planted on the correct pedal.

 

Now they were all looking ahead at least twice a far as before.  Friday night they were taught that the car had only so much traction and you could use it for hard turning or hard braking but not both at the same time.  Saturday they learned this from behind the wheel.

 

The reason it works so fast is probably twofold.  First of all itís fun.  I had a trig teacher one time that made trig fun and for the life of me, I donít know how but we all actually learned trig because he made it fun.  Second, drivers arenít dumb, they just have to be shown a few facts.

 

They know itís important also.  Why do you think the class booked up only two weeks after it was announced?  People want this.

Roll over Ralph!  We CAN be better drivers.  They do care, they can be taught (duaaah) and they want to be taught.

Was the school that good?  I think it was but mainly it was there!  Drivers need this.  I need this.  You need this.  Itís important.

 

So,

Thank you Houston Chapter for putting it on.

Thank you BMW-North for giving us a great conference Friday night.

Thank you to all the organizers for giving your time.  I appreciate it.

Thank you Porsche Club for all your help.

Thank you Miata Club for all your help.

Thank you instructors.  You all stuck it out for a very long day.  Thanks.

Thank you Valerie, thanks for all your tireless effort.  It helps us all.

Thank you DanDan Baker, the biggest thanks of all.  You put together one of the best organized, most needed events this club has.

  Warren and Alex ready themselves for a run

Thank you for giving my sixteen-year-old daughter the ability to navigate the streets then come home so that I have a shot at being a grandfather some day.

 

Thanks,

WarCamp

 


               Warren                                        

 

 


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Posted:  Monday, May 5 2003