BMW wrote history with its Driving Experience program that kicked off literally decades ago, being a true trailblazer in this regard. Starting next month, the experience will expand even further with a program for people with disabilities. The training sessions will be carried out using specially converted BMW and MINI models, under the guidance of trained instructors.
“Driving is self-determination and thus also a kind of freedom,” says instructor Bettina Schmidt-Kiendl, who is herself dependent on a wheelchair and was instrumental in the conception of the new Safety Training. “With the new program, we want to give people with comparable disabilities the joy of driving that I also live every day.” To achieve this goal, the training vehicles were converted so that they can be comfortably steered by hand. Both hands can remain on the steering wheel at all times.
An additional ring on the steering wheel is used to accelerate. Directly next to it is a special brake lever. The practical driving exercises in the program range from braking and evasive techniques to slalom driving on the ideal line and drifting through controlled oversteering in bends. Like all BMW and MINI Driving Experience safety training courses, the Safety Training program is divided into a theoretical and a practical section.
To begin with, the instructors teach the participants important basics of driving physics and familiarize them with the converted vehicles. Among other things, they demonstrate the optimal seating position and the ideal steering wheel position for safe and sporty driving.
This is followed by practical exercises with the MINI John Cooper Works, the new BMW M3 Competition and other current models. For starters, this program will be available at the Maisach BMW and MINI Driving Academy but if it proves to be a successful one, more locations could open up in the future.