Taryn Miles recently attended the Subaru Advanced Driving Experience at Gerotek near Pretoria. What makes this course particularly interesting is the array of vehicles you can experience on the day. From the Forester, to the rear wheel drive BRZ and even the show boat STI! A very fun way to spend your Saturday. We asked her a few questions about her experience.
What did you learn from the Advanced Driving Experience?
If I had to sum it up I would say the most important thing I learnt was awareness and reaction. Not only did we learn about current road safety statistics and issues we face as drivers on our roads but we also learnt and understood how to be better drivers in our own right. By being more alert and aware of the conditions / surroundings and taking note of fellow drivers on the road your focus and reaction to situations or scenarios is quicker and calmer than that of someone that is distracted etc.
What was your favourite of the cars you got to drive?
My favourite cars of the day for various reasons would be the Legacy – this vehicle for its comfort, its practicality, and how functional it could be for various kinds of people. The STI for the fun, the power of the engine and the speed – this car can move. Lastly I enjoyed the BRZ – not only is it a good looking car, it has smooth transitions when you drive and change gears, it’s easy to handle and the car just glides over the road.
What was the most surprising car that you drove?
My most surprising car of the day would have to be the Legacy – while it looks like a family car and suits this functionality it still has that well known Subaru power to it, a classic and well finished interior look and while it might not be as well-known as the others, this car holds its own, has a smooth gear change and can reach some impressive speeds.
What did you learn from going on the skid-pan?
Biggest thing is control. I learnt everything from emergency stops and braking to complete control of a car depending on obstacles unexpectedly in the way, to handling a car in different climatic conditions like wet roads and rain etc. Things such as how would you handle the car should it swerve, or should something happen up ahead and the cars brake suddenly, or you have too much speed and need to react, or your tyre bursts etc.
What did you learn from the high speed oval?
The power and speed of a car is determined by what you will let it do. Being able to take a car out on the oval you can push the boundaries, hike the speed up and know that you can handle the car 100%. I learnt to look through my corners, look ahead and trust the car will go where I need it to go but not to be afraid of what the car can do.
How did you find the instructors?
The instructors were very accommodating, friendly and knowledgeable. They understood the limitations and anxieties of each and every one of us and they also enabled us to push our own limits and try to overcome any fears we had. Each and every instructor spent time with each person attending and by the end of the day we were comfortable enough to trust whatever action/ move they made while in the car with us.
Did the course help you deal with your car accident?
For the last 2 years I have had the fear of sharp turns at a high speed due to rolling my car. In the beginning I was very guarded in pushing it too hard but by the end of the day I was comfortable enough to handle the skid pan, the sudden handbrake going up and the sharp turns. So all in all I can confidently answer that yes it did help me in many ways, it’s given me more confidence on the road and I firmly go on the notion of, if you can trust the car and its capabilities it will only do what you need it to do according to your own capabilities.
Do you feel more confident as a driver following the course?
Completely. I’ve realized since doing the course I’m more aware on the roads, I’m taking note of what other drivers are doing, I look ahead especially when stuck in traffic and I react a lot quicker to situations so my confidence has definitely improved.
Would you recommend the course to others?
Most definitely. This was bought for me as a present from my boyfriend as he knew I needed to deal with my anxieties so anyone that spends a lot of time on the roads, from the nervous driver or someone who wants to build up confidence to the extremist that wants to do it for fun – it is a very worthwhile experience and worth every minute of it and you walk out with more than just an experience but a new view on driving. The lessons you learn will stay with you as long as you are on the roads.
Subaru no longer offer this experience. We suggest you contact BMW or Mercedes to do one of their courses.