Our cars eventually become extensions of our bodies. In time, steering down a windy road feels as natural to us as walking down a sidewalk. However, not every driving technique may be immediately obvious, even for experienced drivers.
Here are three driving tips that may seem counterintuitive at first, but will help you gain greater control over the road:
- Avoid braking in corners.
You may have heard this one before — you shouldn’t brake in corners, particularly at higher speeds or when road conditions are sub-optimal. The reason behind this goes back to high school physics.
When you are cornering, your car is essentially traveling along the circumference path of a circle. When you hit your brakes, your car’s natural reaction is to fly off this path. This is because braking in a corner causes your car’s weight to shift from the rear to the front of the car, causing the rear tires to lose grip. This can make your car spin out of control.
The proper cornering technique is as follows:
- Set up for the corner by braking before it starts, while your wheels are straight.
- Keep your foot lightly on the gas pedal through the corner.
- Accelerate out of the corner if needed, once your wheels are straight.
- Keep calm and carry on when low visibility occurs.
When the sun blinds you or causes a momentary whiteout, you may feel tempted to slam on the brakes until you can make sense of your situation. However, the standard procedure for dealing with impaired visibility is to brake lightly and redirect your eyes.
While applying light pressure on the brake pedal, look down to the white line on the side of the road. Use it to keep your car on course, keeping an eye out for the sudden appearance of brake lights ahead of you. The fact that you may not see them slamming on the brakes is exactly why you should avoid doing it yourself — the driver behind you may be blinded, as well!
- Use your parking brake or it could fail.
Parking brakes are all too often treated as expendable, when in fact they are an important line of defense against mechanical failures or driving emergencies. What too few people realize is that they can fail from never being used.
Parking brakes consist of moving parts. Typically, a steel cable enclosed in routing that activates the braking mechanism. If you don’t engage the parking brake regularly, rust can start to accumulate that can corrode the system and break it.