Here’s How Cops Learn To Drive

(Screengrab: CHP)

All I want for Christmas is to go to the California Highway Patrol’s car handling camp. Who knew learning how not to drive would be so much fun? I mean, now that I think about it, we all should have figured.

This random CHP instructional video looks like the kind of corny reel a substitute teacher would put on to keep a class of second-graders quiet. Except instead of a rudimentary biology lesson we get to learn the difference between oversteer (driftooo!) and understeer (sad, sloppy sliding), what stability control really does and how ABS works. All illustrated with some cop cars completely off their leashes!

Actually, it’s a pretty informative clip. If any of you “car guys” out there can’t remember which is “understeer” and which is “oversteer” but are too ashamed to ask, this one’s for you.

The rest of us can just sit back and enjoy seeing demo drivers roast the tires off Crown Vics!

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Officer Chris Harris is on duty for this one:

“Oversteer.”

The Explorer, unfortunately, didn’t get to have nearly as much fun.

“Understeer.”
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I was about to say “I should have been a cop,” but I think what I mean is “I should have been a stunt driver.”

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

Contrary to popular belief, Police driving school isn’t all high-speed shenaigans, and learning to shoot at cars while hanging out of a window holding a steering wheel with one foot. Nor is there a class on how to run red-lights, stop-signs, or commuting at 85mph to the donut shop (shocking, I know).

In all actuality, there is a lot of precision driving that takes place (Think things like accelerating and then reversing through cones with a 3-pt change of direction mixed in there.) Another very difficult task is calling out directions, streets, and speeds over the radio while you are keeping an eye on the suspect and everything else going on around you during the pursuit. Then there is all the training that is involved with when the chase has ended. High risk felony stops are no fun, nor is making a scene safe after a potential accident.

In all honesty, the high-speed driving on a course is probably the easiest part of most police driving schools.