How To Drive

In How To Drive Ben Collins, formerly The Stig, gives you some practical advice on how to drive better, supported by anecdotes of how he used the same techniques at several times faster than you are ever likely to reach.

It is packed with practical information. He discusses some theory, especially on weight transfer, and then elaborates this into techniques for different parts of driving.

He makes the driving instructors cry. Rejecting the 10 and 2 hand position, he advocates 9 and 3. No passing the wheel round – It keeps you balanced and tells you how much steering lock you have one. I’ve been trying it out and it does feel better than my traditional gearstick and 3, if only because I can pretend I am a racing driver.

One of his main points is to take your time. Do not rush changing gear for example. Do it smoothly, rather than quickly.

Is your lane merging? Merging at the last minute is quicker for everyone because it reduces the size of the bottleneck. I already knew that, but it would be nice if everyone else did so that I do not have to feel guilty as I drive past a few queue of early mergers.

He claims that driving on the left hand side of the road is safer. Most people are right eye dominant, so it makes more sense to have this eye in the middle of the road. Hence why we do. Unfortunately, the French ruined it for two thirds of the world.

Controversially, he even challenges the idea that males have more accidents. Men drive more, so when controlled for time on the road, the figures do not suggest women are such safer drivers.

Off the road he even advices on diets. It’s best to drive when a little hungry, and definitely not after a large meal. Plenty to drink as well (non-alcohol drinks of course). Power naps are recommended too – but no more than 10 minutes. If you have half an hour, you go into a sleep cycle and end up feeling worse.

There is a whole section on when things go wrong. For example, if your breaks fail – pump them. Which is basically taking them off and then on again. Invest in good tyres. They stop a lot faster especially in the wet. In Leeds, we’re on the border of it being worth running winter tyres the whole year round.

When it comes to water, the best thing to do is slow down. Serious aquaplaning only happens at over 50mph, so if you are doing below that, you will probably be fine. When it comes to fording rivers, go for a paddle first. Ideally it won’t get over 15cm.

That is quite a random collection of facts I picked up on. Basically I learned to steer like a racing driver and then missed everything else out about better driving. I remember thinking it was useful at the time though.

The book is engaging written. He describes one lorry overtaking another as like turtle sex. Something to have a giggle over next time the bastards are taking up two lanes and you are in a hurry.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2015 at 10:36 am and is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.