A while back, I was asked to do lessons learned from a vehicle ambush. It was a two-car scenario with both cars taking some hits, but no injuries. The company wanted to know why these two drivers were able to drive out of this; these are their words not mine, with relative ease.
We went to the scene of the attack with the two drivers and asked them what they saw, when did they see it, and where were they when they saw it. My conclusion was that the driver of the principal’s car had a 1 to 1.5-second jump on the incident; basically, he was 1.5 seconds ahead of the ambush.
My educated guess is that if these drivers had delayed their action by .5 to 1 second that these two guys would not be standing on a street corner talking to the big gringo. The question that needs to be answered is what gave them the “extra” time.
To answer that question you need to look at the science of reaction time. According to the scientists who have done an enormous amount of research on driver reaction time the “average” driver needs 2.5 seconds from the time they see the problem to the time they react to the problem. A Dr. Green has been researching reaction time for years if interested in the science of reaction time Google his name. Here is a small part of what he found;
When the driver knows they have to brake, they can achieve the best possible reaction time. He says that the best estimate is 0.7 second. Of this, 0.5 is perception and 0.2 are movement, the time required to release the accelerator and to depress the brake pedal.
When the need to brake is a complete surprise reaction time is substantially different. In this case, Dr. Green suggests that the best estimate is 1.5 seconds for something that may be coming at you from the side (This attack came from the side) and a few tenths of a second faster for straight-ahead obstacles.
What does all this science stuff have to do with Surveillance Detection?
A good SD program trains you to recognize pre-incident indicators and to identify danger zones. If through a good SD program you are in Condition A – you have an extra .5 to 1 second additional time to react to the problem. In the case of my two drivers according to my calculations, it gave them an extra 26 to 52 feet, enough for them to drive out of the problem.
This post is brought to you from the International Security Driver Association (ISDA) Membership. ISDA is an association comprised of protection professionals, who represent all slices of the profession, Corporate, High Net Worth, Private Security, Entertainment, Government and Law Enforcement from all parts of the globe.
The members share their knowledge and experience for the education and benefit of the membership and the Protective Services Community.
The website is an essential resource for anyone at any stage of your EP career. Whether you are exploring a career in executive protection, new to the profession, honing your expertise, or an established security executive, ISDA offers its Members benchmark educational, networking, and marketing programs, as well as access to the ISDA Knowledge Center. The Center is the gateway to the industry’s most extensive collection of educational information and resources for the Protection Professional.
For more information visit our website