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  • Writer's pictureAscalon Protection Group

Close Protection Driving: What You Need to Know

Updated: Aug 7, 2023


close protection driving

The transportation of high-profile individuals and clients can often be an area of vulnerability, particularly if travelling by road. Close Protection driving is not merely about getting from point A to point B; it involves a highly specialised set of attributes, a keen understanding of potential security risks on the road and the ability to deal with a variety of incidents. Here we will explore the essentials of Close Protection driving, the unique challenges it presents, and the measures required to provide secure and efficient transportation for VIPs.


Understanding Close Protection Driving


1. The Role of a Close Protection Driver

A Close Protection driver, also known as a Security Driver or Executive Protection driver, is a highly trained professional responsible for transporting VIPs securely and efficiently while mitigating potential security threats. They are an integral part of a Close Protection team, working closely with other security personnel to ensure the safety and well-being of their clients.


2. Importance of Close Protection Driving

Close Protection driving is a critical component of a comprehensive security plan for high-profile individuals, such as Diplomats, Executives, and Celebrities. It ensures that clients can move safely from one location to another, reducing the risk of potential security breaches while providing a sense of safety and control for the client.


Challenges in Close Protection Driving


1. Road Safety and Defensive Driving

Close Protection drivers must possess excellent defensive driving skills, anticipating potential hazards and responding quickly but calmly to ensure the safety of their passengers. They are trained to remain vigilant and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, constantly monitoring their surroundings for potential threats or hostile behaviour.


2. Route Planning and Navigation

Planning the safest and most efficient routes is essential to avoid high-risk areas and potential security threats. Close Protection drivers use advanced navigation tools and stay informed about road conditions and traffic patterns to make informed decisions during travel. When hiring Close Protection in cities such as London, Paris, or New York etc, the Security drivers will often possess an extremely strong local knowledge of the roads, in order to add an extra layer of expertise and protection.


3. Dealing with Aggressive Drivers

Close Protection drivers may encounter aggressive drivers on the road, which can pose a security risk. Maintaining composure and adhering to professional driving standards is crucial in such situations. The ability to react calmly and defuse tense situations is essential to protect the VIP and avoid any escalation.


4. Emergency Response

In the event of a security breach or emergency, Close Protection drivers must be prepared to execute evasive driving manoeuvres and safely extricate their clients from potentially dangerous situations. They are trained in advanced driving techniques, such as J-turns and tactical reverse driving, to quickly navigate through congested or hazardous areas in an emergency.


Key Skills and Training for Close Protection Drivers


1. Defensive & Advanced Driver Training

Close Protection drivers will often have undergone rigorous defensive driving training courses, learning how to handle adverse road conditions, maintain control of the vehicle in emergency situations, and avoid potential threats while keeping their clients safe. This training includes precision driving techniques, mastering evasive manoeuvres, skid control, and even anti-ambush/ramming drills.


2. Vehicle Experience

Alongside the aforementioned advanced driver training, it is also often a requirement that Security drivers possess demonstrable experience driving a number of different vehicles. Due to the nature of operating within the UHNW space, drivers can find themselves driving everything from high-end supercars, to ultra-luxurious saloons, to large 4x4s. It is therefore imperative that Close Protection drivers display proficiency in all vehicle types.


3. Surveillance Detection

Surveillance detection training helps Close Protection drivers recognise potential threats and hostile surveillance, allowing them to take appropriate action to protect their clients if required. They are taught to spot suspicious behaviour or vehicles that may be tracking their movements, enabling them to alter routes or notify the rest of the security team when necessary.


4. Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection

Close Protection drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in optimal condition to ensure reliable transportation and reduce the risk of breakdowns during operations. Regular vehicle inspections, maintenance checks, and preventive measures are essential to ensure the vehicle's functionality and safety.


5. Communication Skills

Effective communication between Close Protection drivers and their clients is vital for a successful operation. Close Protection drivers must be attentive listeners, understanding their clients' needs, preferences, and any potential concerns related to transportation. Clear and concise communication ensures that clients are informed and reassured during their journeys. For larger teams, the drivers will often be in constant radio communications with other team members.



close protection driving

Close Protection Driving in Action


1. Close Protection Vehicles

It is often the case that larger vehicles such as Range Rovers or Mercedes V-Classes will be used for Close Protection tasks. This is not only due to their luxury vehicle status, but also their size can prove to be a vital characteristic in the event of an incident. If required, Close Protection drivers can use more secure and/or discreet vehicles equipped with extra safety features such as signal-jammers or bulletproof glass, to provide VIPs with the utmost security during road moves. Armoured vehicles can also offer protection against ballistic threats and enhance the safety of high-profile passengers, particularly in more hostile environments.


2. Pre-Travel Route Planning

Before each journey, Close Protection drivers conduct thorough route planning and reconnaissance to identify potential security risks and the most secure routes. They consider factors such as road conditions, traffic flow, potential chokepoints, and alternative routes to ensure efficient travel.


3. Evasive Driving Techniques & Crisis Management

Close Protection drivers work closely with the entire Private Security team to manage crises effectively, ensuring that their clients remain safe during any potential security incidents. They are trained to remain calm and focused, coordinating with the rest of the team to execute a swift and coordinated response. In emergency situations, Close Protection drivers are trained in evasive driving techniques to swiftly remove their clients from dangerous environments, with the job of the main security driver in the Principal vehicle will be to extract the client as quickly and swiftly as possible. If other protection team vehicles are in convoy, they can assist in the extraction of the client and the neutralisation of the threat.


Conclusion

Close Protection driving is a specialised and vital aspect of protecting high-profile individuals and clients. Close Protection drivers play a crucial role in ensuring secure transportation, mitigating potential security threats, and responding to emergencies with skill and precision. Through rigorous training, advanced defensive driving skills, and constant vigilance, Close Protection drivers provide an extra level of safety and security that VIPs require in today's dynamic security landscape.


To achieve the highest level of security, it is essential to engage the services of a Close Protection company who provide experienced and highly-trained drivers. By understanding the complexities of Close Protection driving and the unique challenges it presents, we can continue to uphold the safety and well-being of high-profile individuals, corporate leaders, and other clients who require secure and efficient transportation services. The dedication and expertise of Close Protection drivers are invaluable in safeguarding their clients' lives, assets, and reputation, making them an essential component of any Close Protection team.

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