2-Day Performance Center School Experience

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Hi all,
Just wanted to relate that I recently attended the 2-Day school at the Performance Center in Spartanburg and learned a LOT.
After I hit my second deer in a year with the 328 I convinced myself
that I needed to become a bit more comfortable with the vehicle at and beyond its limits. I've always had fun driving the 328, but I must admit I've never had the nads to risk my $40K investment to really learn how to drive it.
When I picked up the 330ci ZHP last month and realized its performance potential, I knew I needed to get some professional instruction or I was going to roll it up in a ball (maybe not with DSC on, but how do you test limits with it on?)
All I can say is that if you're like me and have never had any formal driving instruction I can wholeheartedly recommend you attend the 2 day school. The instructors are all top-shelf people, and the class is quite reasonably priced.
If you're going to the trouble of going there, I'd recommend you NOT just take the 1 day school because a bunch of the fun that separates this course from a garden variety CCA course is on day 2. You could probably do an CCA event or something similar for a lot less, but then you'd be beating on your own car, and you wouldn't get to drive all the cars we did. M5, M3, Z4M Roadster, X5 4.8, 650ci and the luxo cruser 760i. Well worth the $$$ I think.
It's amazing how much the course had an impact on my driving habits and my comfort zone. Everything from setting the mirrors and seating position to how to hold (and rapidly turn) the wheel. Stupid easy stuff that I was never taught before now.
I wrote up a full review on my site if you want to know the details. Click through:
BMW->Articles->Performance Center School
Safe driving,
-Doug
-------------------- Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com http://www.dvatp.com --------------------
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Doug Vetter wrote:

8< snip 8< snip 8< snip 8< snip 8<

Thanks for the review, Doug. If ever I get the chance I will do likewise.
--
-Fred W

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Good review. What was the cost of your two days training?
Thanks, John

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John Carrier wrote:

$895. For more info on the courses, check out:
http://www.bmwusa.com/bmwexperience/PerformanceCenter/school.htm
-Doug
-------------------- Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com http://www.dvatp.com --------------------
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Thanks for writing all that! One question: why is it wrong to adjust the mirrors so that you can barely see the side of the car? I've always thought that it's pointless to look at the side of your car - you want to see as much of what's going on around the car as possible, retaining only a bit of the car itself for orientation.
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Nobody Important wrote:

To put it simply, you have three mirrors so they can be oriented such that they form one large mirror. There is no point to setting your mirrors so that you can just barely see either side of the car from the vantage point of the driver's seat because if you do that it means they are overlapping coverage with the rear view mirror. Not only is that a waste of mirror real estate, it also produces blind spots.
What you want to achieve is to set the side mirrors so they provide a clear view of the adjacent lanes. While some driving on a multi-lane highway will help you fine tune things, you can ballpark the side view mirrors by doing the following:
Left: Open the window and put your head where the window would be. Adjust the mirror so you can just barely see the side of the car.
Right: Put your head in the center of the car and adjust the mirror so you can barely see the side of the car.
When you return to your normal seating position and go out and drive a bit, watch cars in the mirrors as they approach you from the rear. You'll see them first in the rear view mirror and then transition (with the slightest bit of overlap) to the adjacent side view mirror. If you've set things up correctly, in this scenario you'll never lose sight of the vehicle.
Long winded, but I hope that explains it.
-Doug
-------------------- Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com http://www.dvatp.com --------------------
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Doug Vetter wrote:

That is not what I have learned in professionally administered driving safety courses. They have always stressed that the passenger (right in US) side mirror, which is convex, should be adjusted so that you can barely see side of the car and the rear view mirror should be biased toward that side also (not straight back). That way, the blind spot on that side of the car can be virtually eliminated by overlapping the mirrors.
The drivers side mirror then also has to be adjusted tight to the side of the car (barely see the side) since the center mirror is biased away from it. There will still be a small blind spot on the drivers side but you can do a quick head-turn check before making lane changes in that direction.
Of course a good driver maintains an awareness of the surrounding traffic at all times and so you should already know if a car has entered the blind spot, but we all get distracted from time to time...
--
-Fred W

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Fred W wrote:

Me neither! Oh well, I guess we'll all have those newfangled radar systems soon, with a heads-up display to say whether it's safe to change lanes.
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However, for those of us old coots who don't have the mobility for a complete "quick head-turn check" anymore, the wider field mirror spacing does work better. I suggest trying it both ways.

You mean we have to put down the drink, hang up the phone, turn off the TV and really pay attention to driving???
Tom K.
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Tom K. wrote:

I'm a pretty old coot too, Tom. I'd suggest that if you can't turn your head and neck 90 degrees to look out the side window it's time to hang up the driving gloves... ;-)

Yes, exactly.
--
-Fred W

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Hell no! Seriously, after a couple of back surgeries, I can do 75o, but 90 or more causes pain, so the suggested mirror method does seem to add a margin of safety for me. I also tend to back into parking spaces so as to be safer when coming out, but this is partly based on the principle that one may have to leave in a hurry.

But that is positively un-American!! Doesn't the Bill of Rights guarantee the right to multifunction while driving?-)
Tom K.
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The UK Highway Code actually specifies that one should back into drives etc on the basis that one should not back into higher priority roads.
http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/19.htm#176
(Rule 177)
DAS
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That makes a lot of sense, although I doubt that any U.S. states/localities have a similar statute - thanks for the link.
Tom K.
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It does (make sense) but the rule is largely observed in the breach, even in (right-angle) spaces next to very busy roads.
DAS
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Fred W wrote:

OTOH, I'd suggest that if you can't set your mirrors so a 90 turn is not needed, maybe *you* ought to hang 'em up. ;^)
Remember, as I turn about 30 to look directly into my driver side mirror, my ~180 peripheral vision is covering everything that's beside me back to about 8:00 and my mirror is telling me that there's nothing immediately behind that. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; taught that)
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E28 Guy wrote:

I know you are just being you Krieger, which is to say argumentative, but anyone that drives and doesn't glance over their shoulder (using peripheral vision or not) when they are changing lanes is not a safe driver.
--
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Fred W wrote:

Think of it as 'Devil's Advocacy'. ;^)
Nonetheless, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. I look to the mirror and depend on peripheral vision to cover the space back to the mirror's view. If you look at the area covered, you can see that my peripheral vision *does* go behind my shoulders. Adding this to my usual high level of situational awareness (I note and remember what's back there.), I can safely drive through a whole city without ever using my 2 or 3 of focused vision any farther back than my outside mirrors. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; seen that)
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Fred W wrote:

So far, I can agree. A convex mirror covers more area, so it can be set to barely see the side surface of the car; but slightly further out isn't a bad idea either.

Here's where I have to start disagreeing. You never need to 'overlap' two mirrors' coverage areas. Why do you need to see the same stuff twice? You not only don't need an overlap, you don't need *continuity*. Remember what hazards exist in your 'blind spot'. You're not worried about telephone poles sneaking up in there; you're concerned about vehicles! No vehicle you encounter on the road will take up less than 3 feet in width (a motorcycle/scooter) or less than at least 6 feet in length (again, a scooter). Your mirrors need to be this close *and no closer* to eliminate the blind spot. A properly adjusted passenger side mirror and a 'straight back' inside mirror accomplish this. Now we move on to the third mirror:

Sorry; but this leaves a huge blind spot right where you need it least: right beside you, but out of your peripheral vision. If you follow the aiming concept from the other side, you can set your driver side mirror so that it catches the *outside front* of any vehicle as its *inside rear* leaves your inside mirror's view. Yes; there's a blind spot between them. [Watch out for cruising telephone poles and signposts!] However, by the time a passing vehicle is leaving the viewing area of your side mirror, it should already be in your peripheral view as it passes. In the end, no head-turning (at least not more than a few dozen degrees) is needed. [Did you know that most people steer in the direction they turn their heads to look behind them?] To sum up my rules most simply:
1.) You don't need to see anything twice. 2.) The spaces between your mirrors' coverage areas are necessary because of 1.) 3.) Those necessary spaces need to be small enough to reveal *part of* a vehicle in both adjacent mirrors, but *not* the whole vehicle.

Never a problem for me. Although I *do* have blind spots between my mirrors' coverages, they are precisely sized so nothing that can hurt me will fit into them. One of these days, I'll get around to sticking that Wink mirror in ... -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; taught that)
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E28 Guy wrote:

Except a bicycle. Let's not forget them. Continuity in the field of view is desirable and necessary. So are proper shoulder checks.
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Nobody Important wrote:

No bicycle catches up to me or matches my speed unless I'm virtually stopped. If there is a bicycle in my very small blind spots, it entered the street in them and somehow managed to match my speed for some distance. This is a virtual impossibility.
When driving, I am much more acutely aware of my surroundings (including bicycles) than anyone you know. -- C.R. Krieger (Drove around that)
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