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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How did you become a better driver?

My recent post showing a really bad Challenger driver at the strip got me thinking. I consider myself an above average driver. How did I get that way? PRACTICE:elephant:! So feel free to share how you became a better driver in hopes to teach others how to excel. This can apply to all aspects of your life.

Here's a brief synopsis of how I got skills:

A week after I turned 16 I bought an 82 Z28. On the way home I almost crashed twice racing a vette, then taking a wet corner. Keep in mind I worked 2 years to save up for the down payment for this used car (which had 60k miles when I got it). I quickly learned that I loved breaking the rear end loose. I would punch it around every corner, get the rear end loose, then correct and boogie. When it rained (in Phoenix), I found traction became scarce. I developed a ritual that evolved into popping in my Cure cassette tape, listening to a specific long instrumental, and hitting the Los Arcos parking lot. I would just do donuts for an hour practicing slides by myself. It was usually empty with little security. I found that in the rain, the car was much harder to control which was what I needed. It taught me so much. I learned to do reverse 180s and basically drift and slide and stop wherever I wanted to. That was great until I got a mega speeding ticket and my insurance skyrocketed.

Down the road I got into dirt biking. I'd had an offroad motorcycle since I was 10. Getting a powerful XR 400 4 stroke, and later a couple 250 2 strokes taught SOOOO much about control. It added another axis (the Z or up and down). I loved trail riding and breaking both tires loose around corners. Sliding with 4 tires is one thing, but it's like having training wheels compared to a dirtbike. Soon I was at Moto Grande which was like a supercross track. Guys were getting air lifted out every time I was there because they ate shit. I was careful and very lucky, never crashed too hard. Was hitting 90' doubles which was nuts, especially being 25 feet up in the air. Then I built up a prerunner and had some fun jumping it in the desert. But anyways, that and a ton of mountain biking and downhilling taught me how to handle things with wheels.

Anywho, that's my story! Still trying to tame this 485hp beast! Share your story!
 

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I've been around cars my whole life and I really thought I was a great driver till I went to a professional driving school. When I used to hit up the SRT Experience events the guys running it let me really push the cars because they were comfortable with my driving. They also knew I had been to school. If you think you are good, you will get your feelings hurt when you go to a driving school. If you want to learn more about drag racing I would hit up the Roy Hills School and give their program a try.
 

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10 years roadracing karts on the big tracks. That made me a good driver, won a championship. But that doesn't make me a great driver or unbeatable. You learn how to lose before you learn how to win.
 

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Well if learning to do cool stuff in the rain makes one a great driver, what does that make everyone that grew up in or lives in the north where they drive on rain, snow, ice, and all? :smile::wink3:

I imagine you're not getting many replies because if anyone thinks they're a great driver, they probably aren't. The ones who had some schooling, training, or actually raced competitively can probably say something in this one. The rest of us... just because we can keep a fast car on the road doesn't make us anywhere near "great".
 

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Safe driver should come first...
...and that goes for when driving 170 mph in a Super Comp dragster or in the family SRT...
 

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How did I become a better driver?

Ha Ha Ha
This question is almost funny to me.

Why do people crash?
It may well be the number one biggest reason that guys with high performance cars end up in accidents. They THINK they are better drivers than the are.

Caution trumps skill
How did I become a better driver? I didn't. I am not a "better" than I was when I was a young man: science tells us that reflexes deteriorate with age. But what I am is a more cautious driver. I learned one simple truth: I am not as good a driver as I'd like to think I am.
I'm not the sharpest tool in this shed, but I am one of the oldest. With this gray hair comes a measure of driving wisdom: it comes NOT with practice, but rather with age. Through the years, I"ve made every dumb mistake you can make. It's only by the grace of God this body didn't end up in a morgue somewhere. Way too many close calls pulling stunts that make me just shake my head as I remember back over the years.
Just so very glad that I can honestly say that in 46 years of driving, I've never been in an accident. And that means I've never caused anybody else to be in one either. That's worth way more than being a "better driver" to me.

Story is told of a trucking company owner that was looking to hire a driver for a very difficult mountain route. He asked three applicants the following question:
How close can you get to the guardrail when traveling at high speed around a left curve on a mountain road?
First driver: I can get within a maybe 2 feet of the rail
Second driver: I can get within 18 inches.
Third driver: I'll never know because I stay as far away from it as I can.

Which driver do you think got the job?
Lesson to be learned here? Caution trumps skill any day of the week.
 

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From age 17-23 I did lots of interesting driving, turns, straightaways, whatever suited the moment and many times well above the speed limit and as another gray haired driver, I thank the stars I'm still here.
At age 23 I got a phone call at 3 am that my best friend was killed driving down a road minding his own business on his way home and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but even though it wasn't his fault he is still gone for 36 years and I still miss him very much.
So as a result of that I drive carefully knowing anything can happen to any of us and if I pulled a stupid stunt someone else could forever be missing someone in their life. My car according to the magazine articles of the day claims it can top out at 184 mph, I'll just take that as fact and never attempt it. My kids give me crap for not giving it a half hearted shot at it, a run into low triple digits. I just remind them of the times they've visited my friends grave, sad lifes lesson.
In the late 80's I got my NHRA license and drove a pro-stock Camaro at a few tracks in a few states (friends with big $$$$$, a big bonus) and got it out of my system. At least the track is a proper place to go balls out.
Bottom line is those who boast how good they are, are not that good. Keep it off the street, my kids are now the age I was when I lost my friend and I want them to have all the years my friend did not. All is takes is a yahoo driving like a d-ck and I (heaven forbid) can get a phone call like my buddies parents did, they never were right again after that.
OK, my old man post is done. Never want to read about anyone here having a tragedy.
 

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Everyone's abilities varies.


IMO, the first step is to know your car's characteristics. If you know how your car will react under all conditions, you'll be able to drive it safer, faster, and will feel confident in what you can do with it.


Knowing what your car is capable of is the first big step.
 

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I grew up in upstate NY where most of the roads in the county where dirt,twisty and the rest of the year covered in snow. Car control just came natural to me really with practice. I had both front and rear wheel drive to learn on. My Dad also taught me alot he was a pretty good driver. First snow of the year we always hit an empty parking lot and familiarize yourself with the car and the tires you have to get the feel for it. Once you get the feeling of a car being loose you can get the idea of the traction limits. I also read a couple books on driving when I was a kid and I always like racing mostly road racing.

My step dad was a defensive driving instructor for about 15 years so I took his class every 3 years and he and I always threw stuff back and forth about driving safe. I also took a defensive truck driving school in my mid 20;s.

I have some odd driving habits, one being left handed, I left foot brake alot on auto cars. I learned that from the truck driving school saves time on braking. I also dont do the 3 and nine hand position I really cant stand it but I been forcing myself to do it the last couple of years.



I think alot for me also is I have really fast eye site. its easy for me to jump /merge into traffic in highway situations. I can hit a baseball.I do really well with FPS videos games but the frame rate has to be very very high or I see all the flicker. I think it was Brock Yates who wrote 70% of the people that drive cant judge the other cars speed.
 

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performance driving is an evolution, that's begins with tremendous amount of seat times.............and sometime blind luck

Luke
 

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Riding a motorcycle. Seriously, there is nothing better for better driving habits than riding a motorcycle for many years. You are constantly AWARE of your surroundings on a bike and I use a horn and my directionals (and I live in MA where NO ONE uses their directionals) all the time, even to go into my driveway and I live on a dead end street and I'm the last house! Defensive driving, communication of your intentions, and paying attention to the other guy have all helped me be a better driver.
 

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I think some people just got it... others dont and never will.


I think a big thing for me is focus... I focus 100% while driving (strip or street), im in the moment, always.

"anticipation is faster than reaction"
 

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I've been pleasantly surprised here. I expected a whole bunch of young bucks to brag about their amazing skills and about how many reruns of "The Fast and the Furious" they've watched. Good to see that so many of the Challenger drivers on this forum seem have a little different mentality about driving than what I've seen on the other muscle car forums. Did I just say that? Are there really any other real muscle cars anymore? I digress.
Wanted to thank Mschipa above. Lotta truth in that post. I've ridden an FJR Yamaha for years. I'm sure I've done 100k miles on the road on motorcycles over the past 48 years. When ya drive that many miles on the street on a motorcycle, you either learn to drive defensively, or you die. I've been extremely blessed to have never had an accident on a motorcycle. Close calls? Sure. Too many, and too many caused by my own negligence. Hence what I said in my earlier post on this thread. I especially liked what STL392 said: "anticipation is faster than reaction." Brilliant, sir. Bottom line, learn to expect the unexpected and quit admiring what yo think you see in your bathroom mirror.

I wonder:

...how many on this forum pulled some stupid stunt and caused a wreck? How bout it fellas? Anybody out there brave enough to admit that your right foot wrote a check that your skill set couldn't cash?

Gary
 

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Go to Bondurant Racing School and you'll realize that the vast majority of us are not great drivers. I'm happy with being a relatively safe driver. I've had a lot of of high performance driving training over the years, and the biggest takeaway has been to stay within my limits.
 

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Motorcyclist for years helped with situational awareness. Then years of driving in the snow with a RWD car and no safety nannies. Autocross for learning a cars limits.
Yeah only 2 out of the 7 cars I have registered have ABS and/or traction control.

I think like others have said I can pretty much read what the other driver is doing. It drives my wife crazy when I drive with her im always "this guy is about to switch lanes on you" and im usually right. I look at a persons hand position on the wheel.

I watch what the other drivers doing when i am close. Eyes in the side mirror 3 times means there coming in your lane. I dunno how many times i see someone adjusting the "make up mirror" rearview,while going down the highway which tells me they are making some kinda move as soon as they can see whats behind them. :x

My wifes pretty good driver when she is not tired. I trained her like my step dad did me. Ask yourself "what are you looking at when your driving?" Most are just staring straight at the rear bumper of the car in front of them. You need to be always scrolling with your eyes long them close long then close. I notice now that I am getting older when I am tired its harder to do but i don't push myself to drive tired like I used to.

heres me trying out my "new" to me 2015 SRT Jeep last year in the only real snow we got.

 
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