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Training Review: BSR’s Evasive Driving Course (EDC)

Topic: Mobility, Automobile

Instructor/System: BSR is a specialty driving school located at Summit Point Motorsports Park in Summit Point, West Virginia. BSR has been around for decades and teaches classes to the US military, law enforcement, government agencies, and civilians. Of note, BSR provides training for the Department of State’s Worldwide Personal Protection Services (WPPS) and the AFPAK Hands folks. Lee Chewey, a retired Delta operator who’s gone on to be involved in a lot of security operations and security training work globally, is the Director of Training. Their course offerings include off-road driving, evasive driving, surveillance detection while mobile, and vehicle commandeering. They also offer some firearms courses. Being co-located at Summit Point gives them great asphalt tracks for the evasive driver training, as well as ample space for the off-road work and easy access to suburban West Virginia for the surveillance detection training.

Content: BSR’s Evasive Driving Course (EDC) is a two-day course designed to teach evasive driving skills to people who are concerned about being targeted for attack while in transit via automobile. The course is run a genuine racetrack complex, not just a paved oval somewhere or in a parking lot at autocross speeds. Pull up satellite imagery of Summit Point and you’ll see the variety of options available. The EDC course RMSR attended was taught primarily on the Shenandoah Circuit.

The majority of the class is seat time and practical training in the field driving Ford Crown Vics. The brief classroom sessions cover driver position, hand position on the steering wheel, vehicle language and weight transfer, threshold braking, slalom, skid recovery, and off-road recovery. This is partially through lecture and partially through short videos of BSR instructors. Each of these topics is then addressed at greater length in the cars themselves where a 1:3 instructor to student ratio ensures close attention. The non-driving students sit in the back of the vehicle while other students practice which is a very good thing as it allows you to watch and learn from a third-party perspective. These techniques are practiced with precision stopping, stopping in a box, braking in turns, wet skidpad work, slalom between cones, forced off-road with the student recovering, etc.

Once these basics are out of the way — with students warmed up to negotiating a roadway at elevated speeds and instructors attuned to student skill level — the more interesting topics start. This includes high speed reversing, precision reversing around cones, “Y” turns, “J” turns, the PIT maneuver (precision intervention technique — both as the ‘attacker’ and ‘victim’), barricade breaching/ramming, and “driver down” drills where the passenger has to squirm over onto an incapacitated driver and take control of the car.

Some consideration is given to the above techniques as they relate to “tech line” versus “street line” driving. The former term is short for “technical line” and just refers to having free rein across all open space to pick the best option for speed/car control, whereas “street line” starts with an assumption that there will be oncoming traffic on half of the roadway, etc. The former obviously allows faster lap times while the latter is more realistic to scenarios likely to be encountered in real life.

Finally, the above techniques come together in drills that allow you to dynamically use these skills in scenario based training with on-track barriers and ambushes with blanks and paintball guns.

There are two other non-driving topics covered which add some value to the course: a brief instruction block, with a hands on component, on searching a car for a hastily placed IED, and a non-interactive shooting demonstration on a vehicle. The latter is by far the more interesting as the car is shot with pistols, rifles, and shotguns of both pellet and slug variety. The key topic here is penetration of various compartments and how little protection is afforded to someone crouched behind a car. The engine block and axles/wheels might offer some slight protection, but soft-skinned cars are much more concealment than cover. Exploding gas tanks have been debunked in all serious circles for ages, but that topic was also addressed, as was the utility of bullet resistant glass and why/how it’s not “bulletproof” glass. Of most interest here was that a single .45 caliber round into a standard sedan tire at close range took nearly 10 minutes for the tire to deflate!

Overall, this course is superb. The course content, the low instructor to student ratio, the amount of seat time, all of it. The only complaint we have from the entire class is that threshold braking is taught even when using ABS; this is contrary to data which indicates the best way to stop with ABS is to mash the pedal to the floor and keep it there, trusting the ABS computer to do its work. As typical for BSR, the logistical back-end keeping the course running was top-notch: no scheduling problems, everything on time, no long delays when a car went down, etc. One vehicle was wrecked into a wall during RMSR’s class and after the occupants were checked out by the on-site EMTs, training resumed without a hiccup. The quality of the instructors is solid, with many having been professional drivers in high risk environments for many years. This is a wonderful driver training program that’s also very repeatable since there’s little to no excess fat.

Note: This two-day course is also available as the three-day Security Driving Course which tacks on an additional day covering terrorist operations and surveillance detection.

RMSR Recommended: Yes.

Pre-requisites: None. No performance/evasive driving experience is assumed. The provided vehicles have automatic transmissions.

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