how my vehicle handles in extreme situations
key point. way to many drivers on both sides of the pond have no idea how their vehicle responds in emergency situation.
since then with every vehicle I have owned I spent time learning its capabilities.
I know exactly how the rear suspension will handle at a given air pressure (I have rear air bags on suspension for towing) and whenever I get new set of tires I spend many miles testing how they react.
I learned much of my driving on farm land, so I got a crash-course in traction control. In that I was privileged but that is something people can learn easily. Of course, that knowledge doesn't translate as well as you'd think because all sorts of factors come into play as you yourself have noted! (motorcyclist per chance?)
A friend of mine got himself a bike with an odd noise in it, and through finding a US forum for that model he stumbled upon a whole world of safety stuff that we never get in NZ (despite many of us trying to get the governments to improve safety the right way, they insist on stupid measures that at best don't work!). He and I started braking practice1 together and it's a real eye-opener to learn the differences in many vehicles between braking hard at 90kph and braking hard at 100kph, especially when the differences in road seals (tarmac vs volcanic chip vs gravel vs packed sand vs mud) and weather and other things start to come into play.
It's great to know there are other people around who take their driving seriously, and do a proper job of it! I was beginning to think there were very few of us! (actually, sadly, there are far to few of us but always glad to find another :) )
1 Braking practice : Find an empty car park or other safe area. In stages, get up to speed and slam on the anchors so-to-speak. So see how it performs at 30kph when you brake hard, and increase the speed in stages till you know it's going to be safe to hit the brakes hard at 100kph. Use an area with lots of room because until you know how things react, you can be in for a nasty surprise eg ABS doesn't work on 1 front wheel at higher speeds, throwing your car way off course. As you learn your vehicles characteristics, add in things like sudden evasive steering and so on. Again work it up SLOWLY. Add in obstacles (cardboard boxes other safe-to-hit stuff) and take it on gravel/wet grass/sand etc.
Also, practice this every other week or so.
In doing this, you learn your car's handling quite well, and you learn a lot more about how to handle ANY vehicle in bad conditions (though it doesn't always translate well; a SUV will perform very differently to a sedan) including slippery conditions. And as I've said a couple of times already, you teach your body how to react so you don't have to think about it at all. So-called "muscle memory" makes your feet put the right pressure on the brakes or the gas, makes your hands turn the steering and so on to the right angles to get where you want to go. All you have to think is "Oh shit! where's that gap? Oh there it is, I'm through there and safe!".