Great drivers possess a rare mix of abilities that allow them to make a car dance and sing. Here are the ten habits and abilities that you think make a highly successful driver.
This is Answers of the Day - a feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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10. Having An Exit Strategy
Suggested By: ODD DOOD
Why It's Important: It's always a good idea to know how to get out of whatever vehicular situation you find yourself in. Whether it's how to escape from behind that 18-wheeler or how to lose that car closing fast on you in a corner, it's important to know where to go if things go south in a hurry.
Photo credit: Valley Air Now
9. Steady Nerves
Suggested By: underwear-ninja
Why It's Important: The ability to stay cool under pressure is an essential part of driving. Not freaking out when that guy starts weaving in and out of traffic ahead of you. Keeping loose when an accident happens in front of you on the highway. There are thousands more moments like these, and each and every one be easier to deal with if you keep calm.
8. Anticipating the Next Move
Suggested By: zacarious
Why It's Important: Most drivers look in front of them. Great drivers look as far down the track or the road as they can. They know it's more important to see where you want to be than where you are. Anticipate your next move, but don't fixate on it.
Photo credit: Serious Wheels
7. Being Aware of Limits
Suggested By: irishman72
Why It's Important: Not just speed limits, but the limits on yourself, your car, and the road you're driving on. Exceed any of them and you could wind up in a world of hurt. It's often fun to push the envelope, but not to the point where you risk life and limb.
Photo credit: Formula Drift
Suggested By: McLawdog
Why It's Important: A smooth driver is a successful driver. Whether it's keeping your car dancing along the limits of adhesion by minimizing unnecessary inputs or just keeping your passengers from puking while navigating an off-ramp, smoothness carries countless rewards.
Photo credit: Andrew Hone/Getty Images
Suggested By: Jackie
Why It's Important: It's really not necessary to get all up on the bumper of the car in front of you. And honking at the guy waiting to make a left isn't going to help, either. Track drivers know that it sometimes takes several laps to get the right opportunity to pass someone, and rushing things often closes the door. Wait... for... your... moment.
Photo credit: GQ/Shutterstock
4. Eliminating Distractions
Suggested By: CRXPilot
Why It's Important: Distractions behind the wheel can be costly. Everybody knows someone who plowed into the back of another car while texting or talking on the phone. Rule number one: As soon as the driver's butt hits the seat, the cell phone comes out of the pocket and goes into the cupholder or glove compartment. Fewer distractions, safer driving. It's as simple as that.
Photo credit: Sustainable Edmonds
Suggested By: GasGuzzler
Why It's Important: Racing drivers can hit apexes on corners all day long. The ones that can repeat the feat down to the inch, no matter the conditions, are the most successful. Similarly, the person that knows exactly how wide their car is — and can squeeze between a parked car and a garbage truck taking up half the road — might save some time on their commute. If you can hold a five-car-length gap on the highway consistently, you're going to be safer than if you're constantly slinking from bumper to bumper.
Photo credit: Driftworks
Suggested By: CABEZAGRANDE
Why It's Important: I couldn't say it any better than CABEZAGRANDE did: "There have been many great drivers that were only great in short bursts. They'd be absolutely unstoppable for two races out of the year and then be average for the rest. But truly great racers (Ayrton Senna, for example) were consistently at the top of the pack. Everybody has off days, but greats like Senna, Schumacher, McRae, and Mansell's off days were always less off, and there were fewer of them. "
Photo credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Suggested By: luciferV8
Why It's Important: There's no shortcut around this one. The more time you spend behind the wheel, especially when just starting out, the better driver you'll become. The more time you've been racing, the better honed your instincts will be.
Photo credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images