Tactical Driving: Intro

by April 22, 2009 04/22/09

nojturnTactical Driving is starting to gain in popularity, and we’d like to give it some attention here at ITS. Tactical Driving, Evasive Driving or Technical Driving… Whatever you decide to call it, is an important skill set to have. Believe it or not, learning these techniques will make you a better driver out on the road amongst the sheeple. It will enable you to respond quickly to any situation that arises and know the limits of your vehicle.

This skill set is most commonly found in Law Enforcement and Military/Contractor PSD (Protective Services Detail), but don’t think that because you don’t fall under those job descriptions that it’s not for you. Tactical Driving could potentially save your life in an impending car accident!

Simply reading this series of articles we’ll be featuring is not enough to give you the knowledge you need to drive tactically, this skill set must be practiced under pressure in a safe and legal location so that when the time comes, you’ll know exactly what to do. WARNING: OBEY ALL LAWS!!

Vehicle Types

While most of us aren’t going to be able to choose our vehicle based on how well it will tactically drive, it’s important to understand the differences between drive systems. Most people will know the four types of drive systems, but we’ll explain them here in terms of Tactical Driving.

Front Wheel Drive (FWD)
The majority of vehicles manufactured today are FWD for a reason, their safer. People like feeling warm and fuzzy knowing that their traction is improved by having the engine directly over the wheels. Their are also fewer parts connecting the engine to the drive train which equals a car that’s cheaper to manufacture.

Most of the manuvers you’ll read about call for the rear end of the car to slide, hell, you’ll be sliding both ends… either way FWD makes handling that much more difficult. There are ways around the downfalls of the FWD however, and most involve the emergency brake. More on that later…

Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)
The first and obvious benefit of RWD comes from acceleration, nothing beats a RWD in terms of straight-line acceleration due to the weight being transferred rearward. Having the weight to the rear also enable the RWD vehicle to slide it’s rear end during cornering.

The RWD vehicle may be less practical for everday driving then FWD, but in an real-world situation you’re better off opting for  maneuverability  over practicality.

All Wheel Drive (AWD)
The traction benefits of a FWD vehicle are doubled with an AWD vehicle, which puts the most amount of power to the ground in a cornering situation. While the AWD might seem like the best of both worlds between FWD and RWD, All Wheel Drive vehicles can severly understeer.

Understeering will prevent the car from doing what you need it to do around corners, like making the rear end slide.

Four Wheel Drive (4WD)
The basic concept of 4WD is that you essentially have both a 2WD and a 4WD vehicle all in one. The 4WD option usually has a “low” setting for providing more torque for climbing or crawling off-road, and a “high” setting which is best for providing more traction on-road in slippery conditions.

When the 4WD is not engaged, most vehicles have RWD/2WD. (confusing?) While this might seem like a great option, most vehicles with 4WD are taller (like trucks and jeeps) and are more likely to roll if you get them into a Tactical Driving scenario.

Now that you know your vehicle type and the pros and cons, you’re ready to start putting our future articles into practice and learning how to drive tactically! Stay tuned…


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Beau Brandt
Beau Brandt

Hi guys,

Having raced and taught corporate driving techniques for almost 20 years, what you label as a “J” turn is actually a "reverse 180". Although it is well executed in open space, the confines of actual street conditions could lead drivers to crashing their sedan without the proper practice.

The demonstration of technique in an wide-open environment is excellent and well done. No use tearing up cars when you don't need to. When you execute a reverse 180, it is important to slightly steer the car away from anything that may make contact with the front of the car, as it rotates through the maneuver. The most common mistake is tearing the front end off of the car as the front end swings around (since the car rotates around the center point of the rear end). The distance from the center of the rear wheels to the front bumper, is the distance that you need from the center console to the closest barrier that you may hit.

The second most common mistake, is to turn the wheel before you release off of the throttle, causing the back end of the car to impact a wall or other immovable object. The object is to transfer weight from the back tires (under accelleration) to the front tires (in relationship to directional movement) by a sharp lift off of the throttle.

Hand position should be “left hand” top of the wheel with your right arm supporting your body (extended behind the passenger seat) as you will be turned around to look out the back window. This position is more advantagious (vs. using mirrors) as you may need to drive backwards a long way before executing any manuever and you will get less disorientated.

You can also hold a handgun in your right hand during this manuever for defensive fire support.

Technically, a “J” turn, often called a "rally turn", is used to quickly change forward direction L or R (up to 90 degrees) by use of momentary activation of the hand brake or “foot" parking brake, along with steering input.

Beau Brandt
Beau Brandt

Hi guys, Having raced and taught corporate driving techniques for almost 20 years, what you label as a “J” turn is actually a "reverse 180". Although it is well executed in open space, the confines of actual street conditions could lead drivers to crashing their sedan without the proper practice. The demonstration of technique in an wide-open environment is excellent and well done. No use tearing up cars when you don't need to. When you execute a reverse 180, it is important to slightly steer the car away from anything that may make contact with the front of the car, as it rotates through the maneuver. The most common mistake is tearing the front end off of the car as the front end swings around (since the car rotates around the center point of the rear end). The distance from the center of the rear wheels to the front bumper, is the distance that you need from the center console to the closest barrier that you may hit. The second most common mistake, is to turn the wheel before you release off of the throttle, causing the back end of the car to impact a wall or other immovable object. The object is to transfer weight from the back tires (under accelleration) to the front tires (in relationship to directional movement) by a sharp lift off of the throttle. Hand position should be “left hand” top of the wheel with your right arm supporting your body (extended behind the passenger seat) as you will be turned around to look out the back window. This position is more advantagious (vs. using mirrors) as you may need to drive backwards a long way before executing any manuever and you will get less disorientated. You can also hold a handgun in your right hand during this manuever for defensive fire support. Technically, a “J” turn, often called a "rally turn", is used to quickly change forward direction L or R (up to 90 degrees) by use of momentary activation of the hand brake or “foot" parking brake, along with steering input.

Thomas
Thomas

Good stuff! I wonder if my Honda Accord is tactical enough for some off-roading...saving up for a Jeep Wrangler though...

chris
chris

Not all 4wd vehicles have a 2wd/4wd selection option. many 4x4s are full-time 4x4. meaning the transfercase is always engaged and can never go into 2wd without locking the center differential and physically uninstalling the front driveshaft. This is the case for many if not most military vehicles. land rovers, several models of jeeps, mercedes G wagens, toyota land cruisers, etc have full time 4x4 only.

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