Huntington Police: Taking Care with Tactical Driving Techniques

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Don't let the smell of burning rubber coming from Tri-State Airport in Wayne County concern you.

The Huntington Police Department is giving all of its members a refresher in tactical driving.

It's fast and it's furious, but they have the safety of the public as top priority.

"You really have to use your skills to get to a place," HPD Cpl. Gary Queen said. "And if you mess up, it's for real. And if you mess up, there is no turning back. You've got to be skilled; you've got to be disciplined."

The training consists of three obstacle courses set up on a runway that is not currently being used at Tri-State Airport.

The officers are weaving in and out of cones, spinning, and stopping on a dime. Before they hit the road, there is also one day of classroom training.

It's as much tactical as it is mental. As an officer is driving at a high rate of speed, they are also thinking about what they will find at the emergency they are racing toward. In this case practice can't make perfect, but it can allow the officer to understand how they will feel and how the car will feel when the real moment arrives.

"So that is what we are hoping here," Queen said. "It gives a guy, a police officer an idea, where the limits of his car is to not push it past the limit and what the signs are on the verge -- what that feels like and what that looks like."

What it looks like: something out of a movie, but it's actually very serious.

Drivers can help make a difference by practicing safe driving habits all of the time -- things like putting down the cell phone and clearing your car of distractions.

It's just one more way we can all be safe on the roads.

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