As confirmed by accident statistics, Mercedes drivers are involved in fewer accidents than drivers of cars made by other manufacturers. This is the result of the comprehensive safety philosophy at Mercedes-Benz. In addition to many years of accident research and the democratisation of safety innovations across all model series, a diverse range of driving safety training events is offered. Participants become more aware of typical danger situations and practise appropriate responses.
Safety pioneer Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of providing such training: as early as 1902, the sons of Gottlieb Daimler were conducting driving lessons at the works of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. Mercedes-AMG also holds driving training courses and events tailored to individual requirements to help its customers to achieve flawless car control (see page 6 onwards). Driving safety training for summer 2011 is now getting underway through Mercedes-Benz Driving Events and the AMG Driving Academy.
A broad programme of on and off-road Mercedes-Benz driving events
Mercedes-Benz holds driving events at twelve venues and four off-road locations throughout Germany, meaning that no participant needs to travel far. “By providing courses almost nationwide and at reasonable prices, we are aiming at as many car drivers as possible. The half-day compact training event for 18 to 25-year olds, for example, costs just 89 euros,” says Ulrich Mellinghoff, Head of Mercedes Safety Development. “Ultimately all road users benefit from the confident car control practised during training, not just Mercedes drivers. Any accident is one accident too many.”
The target group for the various courses is correspondingly diverse, ranging from learner drivers to experienced professionals, from sales training to events for professional drivers and chauffeurs. The sole requirement is that the driver must hold a class 3/class B driver’s licence. Mercedes-Benz provides the vehicles used in driving training. “This offers several advantages,” explains Wolfgang Müller, Chief Instructor Mercedes-Benz Driving Events. “Participants do not need to worry about their own vehicles or tyre wear and our instructors know the cars intimately.” What is more, this gives trainers the opportunity to demonstrate to participants how modern assistance systems work. Because it plays a pioneering role in safety, Mercedes-Benz offers technologies that are not available in other vehicles – or at least not yet.
Another factor is that, due to the range of performance, exercises can be completed in a higher speed range. “This means exercises are conducted at more realistic speeds,” adds Müller. For example, braking exercises take place from 80 km/h at all levels of training. The fleet of cars extends from the A‑Class to the S-Class and, for off-road training, includes the entire range of Mercedes-Benz SUV models and off-roaders.
Before heading up driving training at Mercedes-Benz, Wolfgang Müller was a successful rally driver for ten years. He is an experienced and skilled instructor, like all his colleagues on the driving safety training team in line with the high expectations that Mercedes-Benz has of staff. Using the same pool of approximately 60 trainers ensures that all Mercedes driving training sessions in Germany meet a high standard of quality, irrespective of the event venue. Müller’s job includes harmonising this standard of quality at international level to achieve global consistency with regard to the skill levels described below, for example.
Here is an overview of the various driving safety training courses and driving events being held by Mercedes-Benz in summer 2011:
Compact training: On this half-day course, participants find out how an accident can be prevented effectively. Exercises include full brake application combined with an evasive manoeuvre, and a slalom course. Compact training is also offered as a special training event for 18 to 25-year olds.
Basic training: As part of this one-day event, the instructors demonstrate how danger situations can be dealt with safely and confidently with support from active control systems. In demanding exercises, such as taking evasive action without braking from 80 km/h, emergency braking or correcting skidding vehicles, participants simulate accident situations and learn strategies for emerging unscathed.
Advanced training: This one-day training course widens the range of solutions for dealing with hazardous situations at higher speeds. Participants practise emergency braking at 100 km/h without knowing the direction in which to take evasive action beforehand, or controlling a tail-skid on a wet bend.
Enhanced training: Here hazardous situations are rehearsed at motorway speed. For example, participants learn how to correct their vehicle following an emergency lane change at 130 km/h. In addition, challenging drift exercises are completed on famous race tracks like Sachsenring. The enhanced training course lasts two days.
Eco training: During this half-day event, attendees take part in simple practical and theoretical exercises to learn how to reduce fuel consumption by handling their car more efficiently. On average, those who complete the eco training course subsequently use 15 percent less fuel.
Pro driver training: The programme for this two-day event includes performing an evasive manoeuvre at 130 km/h in a predefined direction through a set of traffic lights, emergency braking scenarios and correcting a tail-skidding vehicle at motorway speed, for example. Driving practice is complemented by theoretical exercises tailored to the specific profession with trainers who also instruct police task forces.
Enhanced pro driver training: Building on the pro driver training course, here the focus is on training for complex, stressful situations and additional tasks associated with a specific profession, with participants receiving individual coaching. They drive a handling course at night and take part in a convoy. Individual strengths and weaknesses are psychologically evaluated for everyday professional life (two-day event).
Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience: This event immerses participants in the world of Mercedes-Benz for two full days. A visit to the wind tunnel and test track at the plant in Untertürkheim is followed by a voyage of discovery around the Mercedes-Benz Museum and an evening meal together. On the second day, it is onto the training circuit with the opportunity to put the current model range, including the CLS and SLK, through its paces in slaloming, braking and evasive manoeuvres.
On and off-road training: This two-day event is aimed especially at newcomers and SUV drivers. The programme covers driving safety first: fast lane changing, slaloming, one-sided braking and ABS as an issue. The second part of the training course takes place on an off-road circuit. Safe ways to handle axial twist situations, driving at an angle and steep ascents and descents are practised.
Off-road training: After an introduction to the theory, instructors accompany participants on a challenging off-road circuit. They will master steep downhill gradients and adventurously driving at an angle. At the same time, participants will learn to assess the way they themselves and their vehicle respond more effectively so that they can reach their destination safely given even the toughest terrain. Mercedes-Benz offers one and two-day courses at different levels in the form of basic, advanced, exclusive and pro off-road training.
Off-road journeys: Fly&Drive Ireland, a magical Italian journey and an epic expedition halfway around the world are just some of the trips on offer. An amazing five-week trip from Germany to India goes via Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
Further information is available at www.mercedes-benz.de/driving-events and www.offroad.mercedes-benz.de