SAFETY FIRST: The Canadian Centre for Decision Driving has had a positive response since it opened this past summer, instructors say.
GRAND BEND, Ont. – Truck drivers can now learn to avoid slipping and sliding at the new Canadian Centre for Decision Driving’s (CCDD) skid school.
The school, located at the Grand Bend Motorplex, opened in late August and has already put a number of students through rigorous training.
“We are planning to increase the number of students per class from eight to 16 and we will run classes seven days a week as long as there is demand for it,” said Gus Rahim, general manager for CCDD.
The skid school is one of the very few schools in Ontario. Prior to its opening, many driver training schools would send students to Marshall, Mich. for training at the Michigan Centre for Decision Driving. While en route, however, students would often encounter border delays and have to deal with the U.S. exchange rate.
These were just a few of the factors that led Rahim to open the school at Grand Bend.
“It is so critical for drivers to learn these skills because it is all about safety on our roads and now we have the facility to offer that training,” said Rahim.
The school offers a full day of education and practical learning. The morning session, in the classroom, covers the possible causes of skids and problems encountered by changing weather conditions and how the driver can expect the vehicle to react.
“Drivers learn everything from precision braking, vehicle limitations, braking effects, risk assessment and decision making as well as skid recovery,” said Rahim. “There is a lot to learn about skid control and recovery. Even if you are involved in an unavoidable accident, there are things a driver can do to lessen the impact or damage.”
The practical component allows students to apply what they learn in class to the on site skid pad.
The skid course instructors walk the students through what they will be doing and the students drive the course on dry pavement.
Water is then added to the course and drivers take instruction from the instructors via a two-way radio.
They spin the truck out at 80 kilometres per hour while being instructed on how to get out of the skid, said Patrick Blair, a driver for Doug Coleman Trucking of London, Ont. and a student at CCDD.
“This type of defensive driving course should be mandatory for all new drivers in conjunction with their driver training. Even experienced drivers should be required to take the course every few years as well to enhance their skills and improve their driving,” said Blair, who drove a limousine for 15 years before recently getting behind the wheel of a big rig.
It is recommended that if drivers plan to take the course during their driver training, they should plan to take it just prior to their road test so they have as many hours on the road as possible before skid school training, said Rahim.
“I wouldn’t have known what to do if I had gotten myself into a risky situation on the highway spinning out hitting black ice,” said Blair. “They teach you all the tricks of the trade that you need for life on the road.”
Drivers do receive certification at the end of the course but more importantly, drivers leave with increased skills and a better understanding of safety on the road, said Rahim.
Carriers and stakeholders are invited to attend a session at CCDD to see what it is all about.
For more information or to register for the course, call the school in Grand Bend toll free 1(866) 416-CCDD.