The Shell Helix D-Academy event was held over the weekend at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS), where a total of 42 participants took part in a defensive driving programme for compact car owners. Thirty-two participants were selected from the Shell Helix D-Academy contest, where users had to decorate their cars by simply using a Facebook application.

The event – which also coincided with the launch of the Shell Helix HX7e engine oil, specially made for lower displacement engines – allowed participants to get behind the wheel of a Honda City and a Honda Jazz and practice their defensive driving skills, with guidance from our driving instructors.

Participants took part in an one-hour theory session, which explained the basics of defensive driving covering topics such as correct seating and steering position, various driving phenomenas such as understeer and oversteer, safety features in modern cars like ESP and ABS, with our instructors explaining how they work and more.

There was also a talk on the 5W-30 grade Shell Helix HX7e’s features including its ability to achieve low viscosity at low temperatures, prevent dirt particles from sticking together to form sludge, thanks to its cleansing agents, and so on.

Shell’s lubricant technical advisor Imran explained to participants that the engine oil is able to give up to 19% more protection than other tested synthetic-technology engine oils, 1.8% more fuel economy compared to a 15W-40 mineral oil and smoother power delivery with reduced emissions.

Following this and a quick demonstration on seating and steering positions, participants went on to take part in three different driving activities, including Skid Control, Braking Technique and Driving Dynamics. In Skid Control, participants had the chance to experience understeer and oversteer and our instructors showed them how to identify and overcome such situations.

With this exercise, participants understood the value of safety features such as ESP or VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), as Honda calls it. Tan Jun Yen, a 22-year-old student who drives a Proton Savvy, found the Skid Control exercise the most interesting, as it made him understand the dynamics of a car during such situations – he said the exercise has made him a more confident driver.

In Braking Technique, they practiced emergency braking in a straight line, which was then followed by braking and avoidance using ABS. Participants managed to understand the fact that ABS doesn’t give you stronger brakes, but instead, allows you to simply steer your vehicle while carrying out emergency braking, which would otherwise force the vehicle to go straight ahead despite efforts to steer the vehicle away from danger.

Finally, during the Driving Dynamics exercise, participants practiced their vehicle control and steering skills. Effective steering methods will enable one to avoid a potential hazard on the road rather quickly. Sheryl Tan, 30, an IT executive who drives a Suzuki Swift and was a first time attendee said that she found the course to be very useful for the public and added that knowing how to handle a car during emergency situations was a very valuable lesson.

To make things interesting, all participants were judged by our instructors and points were awarded based on the performance in each exercise. Two lucky winners, Kenneth Chiew and Mark Young walked away with a Samsung Galaxy Tab each.

Consolation prizes in forms of wheel-shaped cufflinks were also handed out courtesy of Shell Malaysia and all participants were also given Simple Skincare products including Simple For Men Face Wash which is 100% fragrance and colour free, with no unnecessary additives. Also in the list is Simple Skincare’s Anti-perspirant Deodorant Stick, all thanks to PureCare Health & Beauty.

At the end of the day, participants absorbed vital defensive driving skills which will make them better drivers on the road. Such knowledge is important, especially for owners of compact cars in Malaysia, since most compact cars come with very basic safety features. For those who have taken part in the event, feel free to share your experience after the jump :) Till next time!