South Burlington, Vermont - May 9, 2006
Some Vermont State Troopers got to test their driving skills Tuesday on the airstrip of the Air National Guard.
"The course is called EVOC Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, and it's a course that we give to new recruits and then we give periodically throughout the troopers career to help them be a better, safer, more efficient driver," said Sgt. Rick Hopkins of the Vt. State Police.
Tuesday's course is called accident avoidance techniques, or evasive driving.
"Basically what it does, is simulates an officer, a person driving down the highway that suddenly encounters an obstacle in the roadway, and they have to make an evasive maneuver safely to avoid it," said Cpl. Kevin Scott, a driver instructor with the Vermont State Police.
"So we're looking for the student to react with the proper steering input that keeps the car platform stable," continued Scott.
And although the troopers go through this course at only around fifty miles an hour, keeping the car on track takes a lot of skill.
Scott added: "What we want to avoid in this exercise is jerking the steering wheel, and if the student does not steer the car correctly, the car will go out of control."
In addition to evasive driving, the three day driving course also train officers in the proper techniques for deploying tire deflation devices, or spike strips, and also driver safety.
"We've had a number of high profile crashes where cruisers have been hit from behind, so we're working to mitigate the danger there, making our guys aware of how they need to position their vehicles, letting the troopers know the best ways to avoid injury," concluded Sgt. Hopkins.
These troopers are driving home the point that safety is one of their highest priorities.
Alex Martin - Channel 3 News