“You’re driving a car every day, you need to know how to handle that vehicle.” Jim Kozloski

This summer, civilian students were able to experience the one of a kind Tactical Driving course utilized with our military and security clients for decades. Throughout five days at Team O’Neil, the students learned everything from left foot braking and driving fundamentals to road scenarios and offensive maneuvers–all in constantly changing conditions. Overall, they were challenged and surprised by advanced techniques and had a blast all week long. 

During day one of the tactical course, students learned fundamental car control techniques. They tested out left foot braking, different skids and the basics of weight transfer in 2WD Ford Fiestas. These foundational vehicle control techniques are essential to master before they get to the complex maneuvers in the following days. Day one ends with accident avoidance exercises and a trip inside the garage for a Mechanical 101 demonstration. 

On day two the pendulum turn was introduced, which always produces smiles. They also had to learn how to quickly adjust to different vehicles. Even though the first few days cover the basics, the students found it far from easy or boring. Student Matt Light said that, “Over the course of the 5 days we probably worked with 6 or 7 instructors in a variety of different disciplines. For me, that was just a great way to learn.” 

Day three is packed with even more vehicle changes and the introduction of new terrain. After some classroom instruction and practice with high center of gravity vehicles, the students spend time in Tacomas in the slalom for high speed loose surface training, and then take Jeep Cherokees to our low-speed, technical off road course. Many of the students were surprised at the difficulty of the off road driving. This kind of difficulty was what attracted students like Matt Light. He said that “we’re all looking for something to challenge ourselves,” and they were certainly provided with challenges, in the form of deep mud and puddles, steep hills and dramatic off-cambre ruts. 

At dusk on day 4, the students returned to the school to learn nighttime driving techniques, and experience military grade PVS- 31 night vision goggles behind the wheel. The skills from the first four days are brought into yet another challenging context. For students like Jim Kozloski, this activity was a main draw to come to the tactical course in the first place. He said “…the night driving of course was crazy good. In fact, it was easier than I thought it was going to be, and it was so much more fun.” During the night driving, the students first practice techniques with standard “white lights” (headlights), and then move onto the night vision goggles driving through the darkness with no other lighting provided.

The fifth day is reserved for “offensive” driving techniques. After four days of intense training, the students had the confidence to accomplish ramming exercises and road block breaches. They laughed through a “driver down” simulation where the driver becomes incapacitated, and enjoyed knocking each other off course with PIT maneuvers. The favorite seemed to be the highly rewarding J-turn that left patterns in the gravel long after they left. 

In their own words, the students had a great time. “Everything is wonderful–the people here are wonderful, they treat everybody well–I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t come out here,” said Jim Kozloski. The 5-Day Tactical Driving course is perfect for any student interested in extremely unique and advanced training. There is a level of seriousness for anyone’s skill level and intention. Matt Light appreciated that, “[the course] is also applicable to the real world. Yes, you’re going to have a ball, you’re going to learn, you’re going to challenge yourself, but these are things that apply to everyday driving.”  Whatever your need for Tactical Driving, we provide the tools and instruction that allows for a one of a kind experience that is equal parts challenging and fun. 

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