Connecticut State Police recruits are behind the wheel and on the track for a test that will determine whether or not they have what it takes to become a state trooper.
“You come here and you realize you really don't know anything about driving,” said Trooper Kelly Grant, spokeswoman for the Connecticut State Police.
The recruits are being trained and tested on driving maneuvers at the Consumer Reports track in Colchester.
The course challenges all of the skills they need to operate a state police cruiser effectively.
“When you get out there on the road you're prepared,” said Grant.
Each section of the track tests specific skills troopers need on the highway.
First, recruits must navigate through a narrow cone course.
“It kind of simulates like you're driving down the shoulder of a highway,” said Grant.
Next, they have to hit reverse.
“Because there are times when you need to back in the shoulder of a highway,” Grant said.
Then they have to spin around, hit the gas as if they’re moving from the shoulder to the highway, and get ready weave through a wild serpentine course.
“There could be debris on the highway or on the roadway that they need to go around,” said Grant.
Next up on the course is the evasive driving section.
“Then they need to go either right or left to simulate either somebody ran out in front of them or a car stopped in front of them on the highway,” Grant said.
Finally, recruits must navigate a section of open track at top speeds as they whip around curves.
“It familiarizes them with a particular speed and going around curves. Showing them that yes you can do it safely,” said Grant.
This may look like something out of the dukes of hazard, but the truth is recruits said they feel plenty of pressure behind the wheel.
“There's definitely anxiety with it but you try to put that aside and you just remember what the instructors have taught you and try to do just do the best that you can,” said Matthew Burzak, a recruit
Recruits must pass the test twice out of four attempts or their dream of becoming a trooper will end.
Fortunately, Burzak passed the test.
“It’s a good moment. It feels good to get through it,” Burzak said.
Despite all the stress this test dished out, Burzak said he's glad he endured it.
He knows if he reaches his goal and becomes a state trooper he'll need all the skills this nasty course dished out.
“You have to remember that this is for your life possibly.It's people’s lives at stake so this training’s very important to make sure that you're doing it properly,” Burzak said.
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