Situated in Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), the Shell Helix D-Academy comprised of theory and practical lesson. Hosted by Havinder Singh, he taught us what is oversteer and understeer and how to overcome them, the correct seating and steering method and also explained some modern safety features such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).
Since this was a defensive driving course 'dedicated' to compact car drivers, Honda City and Jazz were used as our test car of the day.
Before the practical lessons, trainer showed us what is the correct seating position (distance between body and steering, leg and headroom etc) and steering position (which is hand at 9 and 3 o'clock position). Then, he asked few participants to demonstrate (I was one of them!) what he taught earlier.
So, the practical lessons include skid control, braking technique and slalom. We were awarded marks for our performance in each of the lesson, and the winner walked away with a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note! Too bad the winner is not me :(
First up was the skidding control where we drove a Honda City over an oil-applied corner to simulate understeer (means the car turns lesser than you want it to) and the trainer pulled the handbrake to simulate oversteer (where the car turns more than you want it to). Difficult to imagine, right? I've recorded a video of understeer and oversteer, so check it out!
Understeer (which is not apparent in the video) occurred before oversteer. To reduce understeer, you just need to let go of the accelerator or tap lightly on the brake pedal to regain traction. To counter oversteer, you have to turn the steering wheel to the direction you want to go and step on the accelerator!
Next up was the braking lesson where we had full use of the ABS and brakes by stepping on the brake pedal 100%. It's amazing to experience how ABS can help to avoid obstacle and brake at the same time!
Lastly, it was a slalom lesson in a Honda Jazz. The purpose of the slalom lesson was not to see how fast you can turn around the cones, but to see whether you are using the correct hand-on-steering technique or not. In Shell Helix D-Academy, they encourage the cross-hand method instead of push-pull method because the former can help you to avoid an obstacle faster.
The Shell Helix D-Academy actually is used to protome awareness on Shell's upcoming engine oil - HX7 rated 5W-30. Every participant got a 4litre bottle of HX7 for free, thanks Shell! The Shell Helix D-Academy produced few more better drivers to make road a safer place to be on, and I'm glad one of them is me!
*Update! A group photo from Paultan.org!
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