By Tony Scotti
Getting from point A to point B safely and securely requires the interaction between the driver, the vehicle and the environment they drive through. THE DRIVER, THE MACHINE, and THE ENVIRONMENT is called the Security Driver’s Triangle. If there is an accident or a successful ambush it is caused by a failure of the triangle, the driver, the vehicle, or the environment failed.
Most accidents are caused due to driver error. In the non security world the proof lies in the numbers. Some 89 percent of all vehicular accidents are caused by driver error. The driver is responsible for the successful implementation of the DRIVER/MACHINE relationship in the environment they are moving through. This relationship is a measurable skill. The skill level is a number that indicates how much of the vehicle capability the driver can use. In our program that number is measured in various scenarios. The most challenging is measured while the driver is applying enough energy to move the vehicle away from an obstacle and not too much energy that would cause the vehicle to go out of control, and do all that in a couple of tenths of a second, literally in the blink of an eye. The simple fact is the higher the number the better the chances of survival. In fact that is what training is all about – raising and measuring the driver’s capability to use all the vehicle has to offer. In any environment a security driver has to know what they and the vehicle are capable of and better yet what they are not capable of. It’s part of the job.
Most passenger vehicles are good handling vehicles. However, no matter how well a vehicle handles, it is only a machine, and like all machines, has its limitations. The vehicle, like the driver, has a measurable capability, which translates to a number, the higher the vehicles number the greater the chances of survival. For the average security driver the biggest change in vehicle characteristics would be going from a large sedan to a SUV. A good driver can handle that change with no problems. But in a high risk environment the changes in vehicles characteristics are dramatic. Going from a non armored vehicle to an armored vehicle can be a handful for the best driver.
You cannot separate the vehicle/driver capability. Over the years we have called this the Vehicle/Driver Index. It is a number that represents the capability of the vehicle and the amount of that capability the driver can use in standard and extreme scenarios. It has been our experience that a good security driver achieves a high Vehicle/Driver Index when they understand the concept of vehicle dynamics and have the ability to anticipate changes in the vehicle behavior and can maximize the vehicles capability. A good driver knows and anticipates what the vehicle will do – the average driver simply reacts to whatever happens.
In the non security world the environment is the weather – traffic – road design. If the road surface has been modified by nature, then the driver and machine portion of the triangle must cope with these changes. Depending on the magnitude of the changing conditions this can be a handful.
In the security world the environment takes on a whole new meaning it includes the security conditions the driver has to drive through. The driver/vehicle combination can have high survival numbers, but in a high risk environment they are at the mercy of the security environment.
Anthony Scotti is president of Tony Scotti Associates. He has conducted anti-terrorist training programs in 30 countries. He has trained students from sixty-four countries and conducted training programs on five continents. His training programs are developed from hands-on, life experiences that can only be acquired from working in the high-risk areas of the world; environments, some of which find crime and terrorism a daily occurrence. Colombia, Iraq, Peru, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, and Pakistan are some of the countries his programs have been implemented. He holds a B.S. in Engineering from Northeastern University, and is a nationally recognized authority on both safe driving and terrorism, he has written two books: Executive Safety & International Terrorism, and Driving Techniques For The Professional And Non Professional Driver. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org