We invited Pablo Ortiz-Monasterio, one of Mexico’s most prominent faces in executive protection, to discuss security driving training. In fact, he shares some of the most eye-opening insights into the everyday skillset that every driver must have!
Pablo Ortiz-Monasterio, AS3 Driver Training
The problem with many security drivers is that they imagine training has to be exciting, like in the movies. As a result, they get bored with their security driving training, as they feel that they are only doing the same things every year.
In the same vein, they don’t want to repeatedly do the same old boring stuff. Sometimes, they complain to the boss about not being taught how to crash cars and push through an ambush. They call it offensive driving.
Many of our clients have brought up the issue of learning full-contact driving and how to push through an ambush. The problem is that, as trainers, we would be doing them a great disservice. At one point, a car manufacturer asked us to do this on brand-new vehicles, and we know for a fact those techniques don’t work anymore.
The way we were doing this was by working with 1975 (old) cars. They were sturdy. They would hit, hit, and hit, and nothing would happen to them. We even had one that caught fire once. Then, as we extinguished the fire — it still went and still hit a couple of times more.
We have had some cases since we stopped doing it that a company decided they wanted their drivers to learn how to crash in their security driving training regardless of our warnings, so we would either do it or we would lose the contract. And sometimes, it comes to a point where we must choose whether to do it or lose the contract. So in some cases, we have done it, of course, but always being very clear that we are teaching an obsolete skill.
We had a situation that was not a high-impact attack. It was not a hit. The attackers wanted to stop them for some reason. But, of course, the principal’s entourage was driving a brand-new Audi SUV. The driver decided that the right way to react to what was happening — because the attackers were closing the way in front of them — was to ram them.
The moment he had rammed them, airbags came out, and the car shut down. The motor shuts down because the cars are designed to save your life and not to crash through an ambush. So the car stops the flow of gas to the engine, and now they are stuck.
In this particular situation, they start shooting at them because they’ve raised the level of violence. And they are stuck. There is nowhere to go. The car won’t turn on until the sensors are sure there is no fire hazard. (In other brands, the mechanism is different.)
For sixty seconds, they shot at them. Fortunately, nobody was killed. They actually got what they wanted, which was a backpack with money. How they knew that is a separate question.
Different Options for Security Driving Training
At the end of the day, it would have been a lot easier if they could have stopped and given them the bag. Or, if they did shoot at them, perhaps not crashing into the barricade to get out of it would have preserved the vehicle, they would not have raised the level of violence, and they would not have provoked the shooting against them, which could have ended their lives. And they would have still lost the same amount of money.
Or what if there was another option? Another exit? If the driver was a little more aware, he might have seen that coming and actually done something before they got into that situation.
You cannot change how your vehicle will behave (messing with the vehicle’s CAN is a considerable liability). The only thing you can do is change the way you train. To incorporate these new technologies, new situations, and new challenges into your everyday driving, and your everyday skills. In fact, security driving training is only one piece of the puzzle.
Now we know you need to avoid obstacles because the car will break down. After all, it doesn’t know that you’re being chased, shot at, or something else.