The reason I think the class helped me so much is due to the fact that I knew ahead of time how far it takes me to stop.
When I was taking the class I had already been riding for a little while so it wasn't the basic's of swearving and stopping that helped me. But more of the distance.
When she started to come in my lane I knew immediatly that I wasnt going to be able to stop, she blocked my only escape route(So swearving was out of the question or so I believe) So I slowed as best I could and bailed. Now that I look back on it, I'm still questioning myself if I could have done something diffrently. I'm sure there is, I don't have that much experience on a bike, YET!! (This lady isn't gunna keep me from having a blast) But the only thing I can think of now is that I could have swearved, and prayed she didn't come over more. I might have had enough room on the right hand side of her for both of us to occupy that one lane, or maybe I would have been able to pass her if I would have accellearted a bit, but I dunno. You only get a 10th of a second to make a decision. Knowing my luck there would have been gravel or something on the side of the road to make sure I went down if I would have done that. But knowing how far it takes for me to stop. Really helped me. To me, that was the one part of training that they didnt spend enough time on. You should have one FULL day of nothing but breaking from an accelearted position. 15-20 MPH to full stop. When I took the test I stopped from 18MPH in 15 feet. Doesn't seem very quick, but the avg person stops it in 18 feet. So I was pretty happy with how quickly I could stop.
Also we had 4 people who had NEVER rode before, and everyone kind of got to learn a little bit from their mistakes. They are all okay, but one lady locked the front breaks, and "high sided" off the left side of the bike. She was a little scared of that front break for the rest of the class.
Also the MSF instructers I had were very helpful in making sure that I understood what I was doing correctly, and what I was doing wrong. They helped us understand what the bike does in diffrent situations. It also helped because I really got to practice all the things that it takes to be a good rider. Breaking as quickly as you can. Stopping in a turn. What to do if you lock up your rear break, or your front break. I dunno... I just think that the practicing of those skills, gave me a snowballs chance in hell to react in a way that was safe. Sure the bike went down. But I wasn't under the bike when it stopped, and the car wasn't on top of me either. If in the end I dumpped the bike, and I didn't need to. I still consider it a win, because the "what if" could have been alot worse then the "what happened''. I hope this helps explain why I think it saved my life. I guess in the end... we'll never know, but the skills I learned in the class, allowed me to react quickly and rationaly. I didn't go locking up the front breaks. or skidding off the road because of the class. Or at least that's what I feel...