Tuesday, 5 January 2010

This is a road, not a rally, and you are NOT Colin McRae

So snow has come round again, and once again trying to get anywhere is a nightmare by the sheer lunacy of the average British driver. I am constantly amazed by the things people do in an effort to get from A to B, and am never surprised when they either drive through a wall or abandon the vehicle in disgust.

So here are a few handy hints for you all, based on what I've observed in the last couple of weeks:

  • You are not a rally driver, and you are not a drift racer. Spinning the wheels and trying to drive your car like a speedboat is a fast-track into a wall. Or somebody else.
  • First gear is your enemy. Even a little bit of gas will cause your wheels to spin, and spinning wheels means no traction. No traction means you've lost the battle already.
  • So you want to set off up an incline? That's fine, but sticking it in first, revving its arse off and dumping the clutch will result in you sitting there like a muppet while your tyres dig a nice hole in the ice. Go slow and steady, allowing the wheels to grip rather than smoothing out the ice making it impossible for anyone else.
  • Momentum is your friend. If you've managed to find grip on a bad stretch of road and you want to actually make it to the top, stopping to let people through is a recipe for disaster. The people behind you won't thank you either. Just keep going and everyone will get where they need to be. Cause a blockage in the middle, and everyone is stuck.
  • Brakes are great, except when you don't want to lose traction. Go slowly and roll to a halt, making sure you are not in a position to end up in a skid because your vehicle is still doing thirty but the wheels aren't moving.

Common sense stuff, you might think, but it's depressing how many people try to navigate around the roads like they're in bumper boats. "Point the wheels and MORE POWER!" No, thanks. Leave that nonsense to Top Gear, and let's all just get where we're going (or not) in safety. Thanks.

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