At a driving school in Germany, the instructor was taking five volunteers through a slalom test in a front-drive car.
The performance of each driver was videotaped and played back on a big screen at the end of each run.
The first was at 35km/h. Two drivers skittled cones; we watched where they went wrong.
“Turn the steering wheel with your forearms; don’t wind it around with your shoulders,” said the instructor.
Back we went again, the five of us – the German instructor wanted a clean 35km/h run from the group.
Next test: same slalom, only at 40km/h. And so it went, at increments of 5km/h until the car was scattering cones in all directions.
The point of the exercise was not to see what effect speed had on progress – through the rotation and position of the front wheels.
“Think from the ground up,” said the instructor. “What are your wheels doing? Put the wheels through the cones – not the car.”
Drivers who think only of putting the bulk of the car through the cones, tend to swing on the steering wheel, making exaggerated inputs that result in losing control.
Golden safe driving rules:
• Don’t look at the vehicle in front, look way beyond it, at least 12 car lengths ahead. That way you can spot potential hazards.
• Drive in a “safety bubble.” The cheapest insurance is the space you create around yourself.
• Stay alert – look for escape routes. Most will be to your left. But beware – New Zealand’s sloppy road rules allow passing on the left on multi-lane roads.