The students then proceed to the designated track area where hands-on training and instruction is provided. The department provides the students with actual patrol vehicles and walks them through several driving exercises aimed at improving their defensive driving skills. These exercises include the following
A low speed defensive driving exercise that teaches the basic driving skills encountered during normal, ordinary driving conditions. These skills include backing, turning, parking, and obstacle avoidance.
A cone pattern and traffic signal are utilized to simulate an accident that occurs in front of the approaching officer. A snap decision and avoidance maneuver must be performed to avoid the collision. This exercise teaches the skills of turning, braking or accelerating, and utilizing the anti-lock brake system to avoid a collision. Several officers have testified that this exercise has saved them from a collision in both their work and personal vehicles.
Vehicle Handling Oval
A wet oval track is used to train the officers how to control a vehicle at high speeds through braking, turning and weight transfer.
The same wet track is used for this exercise and trains the officers to utilize the skills they learned in the previous exercise while in high speed pursuit conditions. As the students chase the instructor around the track, they learn to control the vehicle properly while maintaining visual contact with the instructor. Another part of the exercise is the use of the "Spike Strip" to disable the suspect's vehicle.