Pro­tec­tive Driv­ing Skill #2: The PIT Ma­neu­ver

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Pocket Preps -

CON­CEPT: A move made pop­u­lar by law en­force­ment, the Pre­ci­sion Im­mo­bi­liza­tion Tech­nique aka Pur­suit In­ter­ven­tion Tech­nique is meant to end car chases and stop flee­ing sus­pects by push­ing their ve­hi­cle into a spin in a con­trolled and (rel­a­tively) safe man­ner.

OVER­VIEW: The prin­ci­ple is sim­ple, if not easy. Match speed with the as­sailant’s ve­hi­cle and line up your front left quar­ter-panel a few inches from their right rear quar­ter­panel (or vice versa for the other side). Then, gen­tly turn your ve­hi­cle into theirs and ac­cel­er­ate. Be sure when turn­ing into their car that your front wheel is be­hind their rear wheel. If ex­e­cuted prop­erly, the tar­get ve­hi­cle should spin out 180 de­grees while you main­tain con­trol and con­tinue in your orig­i­nal di­rec­tion of travel. CON­SID­ER­A­TIONS: There are sev­eral very se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tions when en­ter­tain­ing the idea of at­tempt­ing to PIT out an­other ve­hi­cle. The first is le­gal­ity. If you try this move on your near­est in­ter­state, it'll likely be con­sid­ered vehicular as­sault. Fur­ther­more, if the car you PIT spins into an­other ve­hi­cle or off the road and any­body gets in­jured — or worse — you’ll likely have to an­swer for that if and when you do make it out of the im­me­di­ate cri­sis. Also, there’s a rea­son they call this a pre­ci­sion tech­nique. You must be able to match the other ve­hi­cle’s speed ex­actly — and while in the per­fect po­si­tion. Too far back and you cause them to fish­tail slightly, but not spin. Too far for­ward and you will just dent the door.

Also, this isn’t a hard slam into the broad side of your tar­get ve­hi­cles, like in Hol­ly­wood car chases. This is a gen­tle nudge — a grad­ual pres­sure ap­plied from your car to theirs, per­pen­dic­u­lar to di­rec­tion of travel. Don’t for­get to ac­celer- ate as you be­gin turn­ing into their car un­til they be­gin spin­ning out. If they turn, change lanes, brake, or ac­cel­er­ate, you will have to mir­ror all of those changes while hold­ing that rear quar­ter-panel po­si­tion. Even in our prac­tice ses­sions at Bon­durant along­side a rel­a­tively co­op­er­a­tive “sus­pect” ve­hi­cle, this tech­nique was tricky to pull off.

Fur­ther­more, PIT ma­neu­vers can be coun­tered or “short-cir­cuited” with a lit­tle bit of ef­fort. As stated above, this move is heav­ily pred­i­cated on proper po­si­tion and spac­ing of the two ve­hi­cles. Any sud­den changes in speed or lane po­si­tion forces the per­son ini­ti­at­ing the PIT to start from scratch, re-po­si­tion­ing their ve­hi­cle. It’s pos­si­ble for this loop to go on ad in­fini­tum if the tar­get ve­hi­cle is con­stantly chang­ing rate of speed or swerv­ing back and forth across the road.

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