The latest design expertise has been utilised in the planning of the driving training centre track and services. Test & Training International from Austria is in charge of the overall track design. The company has 25 years' international experience in the design and construction of driving training centres.
Training participants have the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe environment and to draw their own conclusions. It is naturally important for drivers to gain the ‘right’ experiences. Trainees can learn from their mistakes, follow others and compare themselves to others. All training tracks are built so that it is possible to watch other drivers practising. Together with instructions and explanations given by radio by the instructor/teacher, this considerably increases the effectiveness of learning and training.
The Test & Training System comprises a modular system of multipurpose training tracks. The training modules have been drawn up based on driving instruction experience and expertise. The structure and equipment of the training modules enable effective driving instruction for many groups.
The KymiRing Driving Training Centre has four driving safety training modules. All the modules are available for passenger cars, vans, lorries, buses and vehicle-trailer combinations.
The Test & Training System is based on the multipurpose use of the training modules. Understanding the system requires the rejection of the idea of a single training track reserved for one exercise. This system combines a package of very purposeful practices in a comprehensive training programme. Some of the exercises can be done in different training modules, which enables the simultaneous training of several different groups, irrespective of their individual training programme. Because of this, groups learning different classes of vehicles in different training programmes can learn simultaneously.
The training modules are planned so that they can be combined in handling tracks of different lengths. On the handling tracks, you can make use of slippery training surfaces and training equipment on individual tracks. In each training application, the handling tracks are used without combining slippery areas. Depending on the training objective, the handling tracks can be designed to be driven quickly or, alternatively, to include sharp bends and sections that must be driven slowly.
The handling tracks can be used both for basic driver training and for the instruction of advanced drivers. In addition to traffic safety instruction, the handling tracks can be used to teach ecological driving, anticipatory driving and the driving of emergency vehicles.
The longest section of handling track, 2,340 metres long, can be created by combining all the tracks in the driving training centre.
Driving training exercises are done on the training tracks. The training tracks correspond to two- or three-lane roads. Beside each training track is a safety zone. Most of the training tracks have a slippery surface. In that way, it is possible to demonstrate the behaviour of vehicles in extreme and emergency situations at low speeds. Because the physical principles remain the same, the drivers can experience the limits of the stability of their vehicle in a safe environment. On slippery surfaces, vehicles reach their physical limits at lower speeds, so the drivers have more time to recognise the behaviour of their vehicle and to react accordingly.
An additional benefit of the use of low-grip surfaces is the saving of the vehicles, particularly the tyres, if during training the driver performs extreme movements to avoid dangers, such as emergency braking or sudden steering movements.
In order to test driver reactions, during training modules the training tracks have obstacles that suddenly emerge controlled by the instructor. The obstacles do not damage the vehicles, but they enable the simulation of different critical driving situations. Two different kinds of obstacle are in use: water obstacles and mechanical obstacles. Both cause obstacles for the driver by suddenly entering his field of vision. Different combinations of obstacles can simulate different critical driving situations. A major benefit of the obstacles (compared to, for example, traffic cones) is that the driver must react to the situation and make decisions under pressure. This corresponds to dangerous situations that can occur in traffic.
Whilst the water obstacles create ’the effect of a collision’ when the driver hits the water jets in his vehicle, the mechanical obstacle seems more solid and causes very realistic reactions in the drivers. The mechanical obstacles can also be used both on wet and dry road surfaces. They can also be used in motorcycle training programmes.
In driver group training, the use of a radio telephone offers a safe and effective way to provide individual guidance, coaching and teaching to all group members. For safety reasons, radio communication is one-way from the instructor to the course participants.
Because all the course participants are listening to the instructor’s instructions and advice given to the driver on the training track, other participants can compare them to their own performance and behaviour of their vehicle.
Watching the performance of others and listening to the instructor’s comments about them improves the effectiveness of the training and makes it more interesting for the drivers.
The training module area is illuminated by floodlights so that training programmes can also be carried out in the dark. Safety is paramount in the implementation of the lighting. Because of this, the floodlight pylons are outside the track safety zone and positioned so that they illuminate all the tracks. It must also be ensured that the light does not blind the drivers.
Each training module has speed measurement and a speed display for the instructor and drivers. Because speed has a very great impact on the required position and possibility of surviving critical driving situations, it is necessary to show the importance of speed. Because of this, drivers are informed about their driving speed after each exercise on a speed display at the end of the training track.
Right at the beginning of the slippery track is a skid board. Before arriving at the slippery training track, the vehicles drive on the centre lane over a hydraulically-powered skid board. If the instructor activates the skid board, it pulls the rear wheels of the vehicle to the side and causes it to skid. On the road, the cause of skidding accidents is almost always driver error. On the traffic safety track, the course participants can experience this dangerous situation without making an error and practise the correct countermeasures. Because of this, the skid board is used both for demonstrating the dangers of skidding and teaching the correct countermeasures. The method of using the skid board varies according to the objective of each training programme.
The degree of difficulty can be adjusted by changing how much the skid board moves the rear wheels of the vehicle when pulling them. The direction in which the skid board pushes the vehicle (right or left) can also be changed.
For the purposes of controlling technical equipment on the training track, there is a container beside the track. The skid board, obstacles that spring out and mechanical obstacles can be programmed and controlled from the control panel in it. The irrigation of the track and the speed display can also be activated and deactivated from there.
The shelter is situated so that it gives the instructor the best possible overall view of the training track and return lane. In that way, the instructor can instruct the whole group and talk to all drivers.
Because practical training is recommended over classroom teaching, all exercises require the instructor to speak or even to demonstrate. Because of this, the shelter serves as a meeting point.
The structure of training module 1 (and other training modules) enables the development and implementation of different exercises, and offers many possibilities for advanced training. Drivers who have never before been on a traffic safety course can do basic exercises.
The instructor can increase the degree of difficulty by changing the teaching parameters (obstacles, strength of the skid board) and the combination of exercises.
Module 3 enables exercises that at first glance are similar to those in Module 1. The exercises differ, however, from those in Module 1, because the training track in Module 3 is downhill. The behaviour of vehicles is therefore more extreme; in particular, braking and swerving movements may cause serious oversteering.
The asphalt on the track is painted especially for motorcycle practice. The grip on the asphalt is greater than on other areas of the driving practice tracks.
Because training modules are primarily designed for the teaching of professional drivers, there are only limited possibilities for motorcycle training. Because of this, the driving practice track has a fully asphalted handling field giving an additional possibility to be used for all types of vehicle from two-wheelers to heavy goods vehicles. The tracks and practice possibilities can be marked with road markings. The area is gently sloping enabling the constant irrigation of the whole field with overflow systems.