Becoming a better "car guy" driver?

Becoming a better "car guy" driver?



146 posts

8 months

Friday 19th March
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I imagine this could get stick on a forum like this but a decent home simulator set up with something like Assetto Corsa, a decent force feedback wheel and plenty of practice can help with car control and practicing advanced techniques. F1 drivers are using iRacing and other sims to practice and keep sharp between races these days (as well as much more advanced ones at the factories which simulate car upgrades). They’re not perfect but there’s a lot of transferable skills. I’d say get into karting too especially two strokes. You don’t have to buy a kart but rental ones will be just fine. You learn so much about car control and anticipation when racing karts. I know there’s a lot of solid advice with advanced motoring courses but it tends to be based on the Roadcraft manual - some of it is really anal about steering and gear change techniques which I don’t believe is necessary to be an ‘advanced driver’. Understanding the theory is one thing but they demand you drive like that, but you don’t see racing drivers doing it...

S. Gonzales Esq.

2,512 posts

179 months

Saturday 20th March
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Road driving is not the same as racing. While I can understand that everyone’s experience is different, the previous post is really bad advice.


196 posts

82 months

Tuesday 23rd March
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On the road, it depends on whether you have passengers or not and how you feel about keeping them feeling safe and comfortable and how they feel about it.

Ideally brake hard enough in the first second or so of application to stop a couple of car lengths from the hazard you are braking for.

On an unknown road, always act as if you are going to stop before the bend.

These techniques are not commonly known, but are ones I have developed over many years of driver training.

Both give an infinite amount of time for observation, which many agree is the cornerstone of good driving.


915 posts

13 months

Sunday 28th March
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I would suggest some time on a skid pan perhaps, or better still a few days at a rally school, that will teach you an awful lot in a controlled environment.

I was lucky, I am old enough to have been able to get out on old airfields and mess about on my own or with friends with the only risk being annoyed farmers in the flatlands of Lincolnshire in the late 80's!

Most townsfolk do not get that luxury, I had a few close calls but no incidents.

But I do remember being asked to leave Cadwell one rainy day as I had put down a couple of Coke cans and made a figure of eight, did about 15 laps and they came and asked me to stop or leave lol!


6,576 posts

205 months

Saturday 10th April
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Spending time at the wheel but also thinking about you, your car and what's going on around you.

- Advanced Driving Course. Karting, track days.
- Restraint e.g. not overtaking on blind bends, not tailgating.
- Anticipation - knowing when it's safe to pass and commiting to doing so quickly and calmly

Your Car
- Is it well maintained. Inflated tyres, clean windows, lightsa and aligned geometry.

Around You
Comes down to reading the road, how it dips, curves. The conditions, wet greasy, mud, raining. The layout, bends, side roads, hidden entrances, pot holes, tightless of bends or a series of bends. Line of sight. Chance of something being in the road e.g. rider on horse, cyclist(s) or animal.

Obviously different vehicles have different characteristics so always good to get the opportunity to drive other vehicles. I'd also suggest getting out on a bike to see how it feels to be a cyclist which gives you another perspective.

If you get the chance to go on a day where you can drive different types of cars e.g. Jonathan Palmer then jump at it.

A hatchback is similar to a hot hatch but very different to an MX5, Lotus Elise, Caterham 7 or 911 and the weather impacts just how each car needs to be driven.

Ultimately it's great to enjoy driving but you want to get from A to B safely and without upsetting people.


54 posts

3 months

Saturday 10th April
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Fundamentally, it's about taking the time to learn. Assess your driving honestly. Every time you finish your journey, ask yourself what went well and what you need to work on. Ask more experienced drivers to sit with you and give feedback (once covid permits, of course). Read books, watch videos and practise safely. Drive in a variety of conditions, places and times.

The first time I drove in London I came away from it a more confident driver. When I drove down some B-roads in Scotland I got to know my car better, I gained a better understanding of how it responded to my inputs and where its limits were - and where mine were too. I'm not a perfect driver but I'm a lot better than I was in 2019 when I passed my test.

Driving, like many things, is a constant learning curve. Every time I drive, I'm prepared to learn.


146 posts

8 months

Wednesday 14th April
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S. Gonzales Esq. said:
Road driving is not the same as racing. While I can understand that everyone’s experience is different, the previous post is really bad advice.
I used to race karts regularly and there is so much you can learn about car control, anticipation and avoiding accidents that carry over to the road. Of course take an advanced driving course if you want ‘correct’ advice, but my experience with most of those instructors is they’re very anal about particular techniques such as ‘push pull steering’ and use of gears - for example I was told to keep the car in 3rd gear at 60mph at all times to have flexibility for manoeuvres. I take the point but it seemed frankly ridiculous to drive like that with the engine buzzing away. You’ll no doubt learn some very useful elements but their po-faced driving style isn’t for everyone.


6,724 posts

112 months

Wednesday 14th April
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When i retired i went on the Rolls Royce course at Crewe. and then followed that by the security course,
Best 2k i have ( or rather the firms retraining money) i have ever spent
To do J and Y turns in a Bently badged Silver Seraph ( the management didn't want people to see a R-R doing such things!

But i will add to the comments of how different cars are I did wedding work with a mate I have a Silver Spirit II he had a bentley Turbo Same body SZ series.

However the cars reacted totally different. The Spirit wanted to cruise at 70 and be sedate around bends
The Bentley just said Right foot HARD down please.and boy did that shift. Joining the M3 at J3 to London i was ( letssay) slightly!!! illegal on entering Lane 1. His Mk 6 Bentley was they same. The look on peoples faces as you went past them at 75ish was a picture

But Get as much training ROSPA/IAM /Skid pan as you can. Leavethe boy racer days until you know how to drive and that include observations planning ahead and not 6ft in front , politeness. Always hanking people who let you out doesn't cost anything, not getting the red mist leaving a SUFFICIENT gap so people who to 'make progress' can .Using the speed limits where possible but alays in conjunction with road /traffic and weather conditions and not getting goaded into retaliation

You may well have accidents ( for me 5 in 56 years ( 3 my error) 1 endorsement in 1964 for failure to accord precence fined £5 at Highgate Court and a SAC in 2015) BUT you will learn by them. Driving is a privilege and an art. remember those and you will not go far wrong

Rambling over


559 posts

21 months

Wednesday 28th April
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silverfoxcc said:
Get as much training ROSPA/IAM /Skid pan as you can. Leave the boy racer days
I have done race schools in the car and on the bike and driven my share of track days in several countries. But I agree with silverfoxcc. It’s police-style roadcraft that has worked best for me on the road.

While HPC is the best and most fun by a country mile, there’s still plenty to gain from the IAM and RoSPAthumbup

Incidentally and counter-intuitively, the evidence is that improved car control skills increase your chances of having an accident.


8,989 posts

170 months

Monday 10th May
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1. Err on the side of caution.

2. Always give other road users the benefit of the doubt.

3. Recognise and learn from your mistakes.