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Practice makes perfect.

"Safety always takes priority."

It may sound like a truism but, working every day with heavy equipment, it can be crucial. Because, as the ADAC instructors generally emphasise right at the start of a Unimog driver safety course, handling a vehicle safely begins even before the driver moves off. Consequently, before the practical element of the course, the timetable always includes an inspection of the Unimog and a theory lesson on its characteristics. This also includes determining the correct driving position, how to hold the steering wheel and how to use and adjust the mirrors. "These are very important aspects for the drivers; this way, we can remind them in detail of the unique features of their vehicles," says Stefan Röhn, head of the ADAC Driving Safety Centre in Gründau.

ADAC and Unimog: that's a match.

 

Stefan Röhn, Head of the ADAC Driving Safety Centre in Gründau

Successful collaboration with the ADAC.

For many years now, Mercedes-Benz and the ADAC have been working together on driver training. And very successfully in fact. "We were constantly getting requests from course attendees for courses specifically devoted to these great vehicles," explains Stefan Röhn.

On separate training areas, the ADAC provides Unimog drivers several times each year with an opportunity to test their personal limits. "And, of course, their limits can certainly be extended further," Stefan Röhn adds. "Helping the course participants to do just that is what our experienced trainers and instructors are here for."

Adjusting one's own behaviour to the conditions.

Wolfgang Lange is one of the driver safety instructors in Gründau. In the on-road park, he gives Unimog drivers tips on how best to adjust their driving, braking and steering habits to different road surfaces. There is a slalom course for warming up, followed by increasingly difficult exercises. Emergency braking on dry and wet surfaces is practised, as is regaining control of a swerving vehicle and manoeuvring to avoid obstacles that make a sudden appearance. On the course, these are simulated by tall jets of water.

 

Knowing what to do in emergency situations.

Gernot Becker, the ADAC off-road driver safety instructor, knows how best to exploit the Unimog's characteristics on rough terrain. "There's no universal panacea; every vehicle behaves differently depending on its weight, its wheelbase and the load it's carrying," he says. But, essentially, it's important that drivers have a good idea of their own abilities. "Because, generally speaking, the Unimog will go anywhere."

"For me, the important thing is that drivers get over their fear of actually carrying out an emergency stop in an emergency situation," echoes Wolfgang Lange. The aim of the instruction is to provide the participants with a template of how to react, a model which they can rapidly call upon in emergency situations. And, as with everything else in life: practice makes perfect.

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