My New Year’s resolution: learn to drive (better)

The Detroit bailout: it ain't over, don't be surprised
- image 278184

Giving me a bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. The last few times I’ve been on a track of any kind, I’ve used whatever knowledge I’ve gained on previous experiences and applied it to the current situation. Good, right? Not if you’re as cocky as I am.

During some track time at Willow Springs, unlike anyone else in my group, I did properly launch the 620-hp Saleen Mustang. I even made a good play for the apex of every turn. In fact, I was paying so much attention to mentally mapping out the course, while silently patting myself on the back for having the fastest time, that I forgot to stop riding the clutch.

I even got kicked off a high-speed go-kart track during a bachelor party this year because I was hitting the wall (and the occasional attendant) with alarming frequency. No one at the track seemed to understand that I needed to work out the handling issues of this vehicle and practice my trail braking. My argument was that it was a rear-weight bias kart because the heaviest part of the vehicle (my ass) was sitting of the rear-wheels. I could have probably argued more effectively had the head attendant had a physics degree, and I spent more than an afternoon in Porsche’s Driving School.

I’m not a bad driver (or at least admit to it), but I know I could use some improvement. I like to be the know-it-all of the group, and right now it’s time for me to shut up and learn. When I’ve hung out the rear end of a car, I think I’m a rockstar, when in fact I probably have not even left my lane; I’ve let cars fall out of their power ban accidentally; my heel-and-toe technique is little more than a novelty; and while I posted the fastest lap at the go-kart track, my brushes with the wall also gave me the slowest.

My point is simple: the New Year is a time when we’re supposed to try and improve ourselves and those around us. But I’m selfish. This year I may write about different driving school experiences and use the excuse that it is so I can give better test drive reports. At that point you can go ahead and call “bulls**t” on me. I’m really just doing it so on trackdays I can hang cars further out in the corner without killing myself.

I welcome the rest of the car enthusiasts out there to be a selfish as me and spread the word. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Take advantage of cheap gas, cheap horsepower and cheap vacation deals to hit the local racetrack and/or driving school. Take the time to become an expert. With your help we may finally be able to turn cocky SOBs like me into respected drivers.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: