Five Keys to Better Driving
To drive smoothly and efficiently, focus on your seat position, vision, grip, braking and acceleration
For anyone driving a car, truck, motorcycle, or anything in between, consider these Big Five driving topics:
With the engine off, sit back in the driver's seat and depress the accelerator all the way. Your knees should be slightly bent - you should never be reaching for the pedals. Most steering wheels are adjustable too. With your shoulders squared, you should be able to hold the wheel at the clock positions of 9 and 3, with your elbows slightly bent.
Why not 10 and 2? Because at 9 and 3, you have a full 180 degrees of control at your fingertips, without your hands ever leaving the wheel. At 10 and 2, you have just 120 degrees.
It's everything. Where you look is where you will be going, so keep your eyes lined up and ahead. Constantly scan down the road; the faster you're going, the farther ahead you need to be looking. In corners, look to your exit point as soon as you begin your entry into the corner. Always keep your eyes raised - your hood ornament isn't going anywhere.
Tires are the only thing between you and the road. You want to maintain 100 per cent contact between your tires and the pavement. Proper tire inflation is vital; checking your tire pressure frequently is a must. Temperature changes affect air pressure. Entering a corner or curve - like a highway ramp - too fast asks too much of your tires' contact patch.
You ask a lot of your brakes, and usually only notice when they don't deliver. But by constantly looking ahead and anticipating traffic and obstacles, you can use that information to guarantee a safer, smoother ride.
Adjust your speed ahead of a curve. On the racetrack you can straighten out curves; road markings prevent this in your day-to-day driving, but the concept of timed entry and exit remains constant - requiring you to slow down before you enter, and smoothly accelerating as you leave. Late braking can lead to loss of control.
Treat your accelerator as you would the volume control on a stereo. Gradual, measured use will lead to seamless operation. Using this approach will also improve fuel efficiency - saving you money. The sign of a great driver? How smoothly you operate it. The most basic car, when piloted by an accomplished driver, will perform well.
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