This evening we were treated to an excellent talk by Clive Jones.
Clive is the former head of South Wales Police Driving School.
He currently runs High Performance Courses
and Skid Control / Risk group defensive driving courses.
Clive joined the Police force in 1986 and was immediately put onto traffic while still a cadet, one of the youngest Police Officers to be on traffic.
As a consequence, when he applied for the Instructors Course he was already well known for his driving skills and was accepted.
For the next twenty years, with an occasional short break, he was involved in the Driving School until his retirement in 2006.
The Police course is a three week course and it covers Police, Ambulance, Mountain Rescue, Fire Service and Coastguard with blue-lights included.
The evening was very much an interactive evening with very lively members’ participation.
Clive talked about three lane road death-traps, the importance of observation over distance, positioning for the best view and hazards to look out for.
He explained the Justice Blair (a 1930s judge) equation how to work out our stopping distances and reaction times in feet per second rather than mph (multiply by 1.5 - e.g. 40mph = 60 feet per second). He also explained that the braking distances were first worked out in the 1950s using a Ford Anglia and that those distances are as relevant today as they were sixty years ago.
He told us that it makes very little difference what size vehicle you are driving, the stopping distances only vary by about two meters. We went on to work out stopping distances in feet per second and also car lengths.
If you are doing 30 mph, for example, that would be three car lengths, forty would be four and so on, estimating the “average” car length to be about 15ft.
The equation he used was:
Speed = 30 mph, take the 30, divide the first digit by 2 (1.5) multiply by the speed (45) then add the speed (another 30) for thinking time = total 75ft
This goes all the way down:-
40mph = 2 * 40 + 40 = 120 ft
It is easier to work it out than to try and memorise and feet per second is more easily visualised than mph.
He explained the benefits of cadence breaking and the most efficient way of applying the brakes.
He asked quick-fire questions to keep us all thinking and re-iterated the methods of stopping effectively that we have in our Roadcraft books.
It was a very thought provoking evening and one which served as a refresher course – reminding us anew to keep alert and observing at all times – this is our life-saver.
Thank you Clive, and we look forward to your next visit.