In everyday driving, we won’t use the racing driver’s line through a bend, but we can use some of their techniques.
We adopt a line which gives us maximum visibility while keeping us safely away from oncoming traffic.
What we CAN learn from the racing driver is his smooth technique.
The safest way through any bend is also the smoothest. The racing driver would never apply the brakes in a bend because it makes the car unstable.
Before you reach a bend, assess, from the information given by signs and markings, and your own observations, a safe and comfortable speed for you, usually significantly less than the maximum speed limit. In a straight line, before reaching the bend, smoothly brake the car down to that speed, change down one or more gears if necessary, drive smoothly through the bend at a steady speed and then smoothly apply the accelerator to bring you back up to speed, changing up gears again as necessary.
How often do we follow a car which twitches into a bend, brakes in the middle of it, ( frightening the driver who always blames the car ), the wheel is sawn back and forth and then it lurches on its way again? Be smooth!
Most bends, on all types of roads, will have a variety of warnings starting with an early sign indicating the type of bend, its direction, whether it is a single or multiple bend, a maximum speed sign board and, finally, on the bend itself, black and white or coloured chevrons marking the exact line of the bend.
Frequently on country roads the lines of hedges or lamp posts or telegraph poles will give an even earlier indicator of the direction of the bend and its curvature.
The painted road markings are also a good indicator of the severity of a bend. For example well before a bend there will usually be arrows turning into the lane concerned directing over-takers back into lane. This may be followed by the word bend, by additional white lines near the outer edges of the bend on both sides of the road and by the gaps in the centre line shortening until the white line is solid.
Don’t cut corners
Do take the safest line
Be in the right gear at the right speed
Drive smoothly through
Article © Graham Benge 2007