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Teaching Teens Safer Driving: Skip Barber Racing School Page 3

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Skip Barber Mazda Driving School - Autocross

Changing lanes and U-course

When you're put into an emergency situation and must make a last-minute lane change, vehicle dynamics get thrown out of whack. The car's weight shifts and the balance is upset. During the emergency lane change exercise, a cone course teaches how to steer through those circumstances. You barrel down a straight at full throttle and then slam on the brakes at the last minute, attempting to change lanes. At first it's a single lane change, but as you get the hang of the car's dynamics, the exercise moves up to a double lane change. As you would imagine, this upsets the car's dynamics even more dramatically. By the end the participants may not be comfortable performing an emergency lane change, but they certainly know how to. Instructors say you'll never be comfortable when put into a situation like this, and you shouldn't be. But knowing how to handle the situation is what's important.

Later in the course you'll return to the skid pad, after it's been changed it from a circle to a U-course. In this exercise you'll use what you learned about car control earlier on the skid pad and put it to the test in making a high speed U-shaped loop around the skid pad. You'll go full speed into the U and then clip the apex, as you round the turn the car will oversteer quickly requiring you to correct the skid and power through. You'll spend one session at this exercise the first day to get a feel for the concept, and the second day you'll spend a good amount of time here to practice and refine what you've learned the first day.

 
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