Do you drive it like a pinball?
I’m a sports fan and I’ve often heard commentators refer to a hockey player, football receiver, basketball player or baseball player as having good hands or soft hands. This has nothing to do with which hand lotion they use, but more about how much control they have with their sport when they use their hands. Should drivers also have good hands, and perhaps feet?
I was recently traveling for my job at Young Drivers of Canada when I had to take a taxi to the airport. The driver was braking hard at red lights and then accelerating hard when the lights changed to green. I didn’t know I was in a race. What happened about feathering the pedal? What happened to ensuring your passengers enjoyed the ride? Maybe the driver wasn’t looking far enough ahead to see the red light so they ended up being surprised that the light was red.
The positive results, besides having the passengers enjoy the drive, is a vehicle that stays in better shape. The harsh use of the brakes will generally mean the need to have brake service sooner, rather than later. Why waste your hard earned money to have brake maintenance when you don’t have to?
The other added bonus is better fuel economy for your vehicle. Softer pressure on the gas pedal means less fuel being placed into the fuel system of your vehicle. The best technique is to gradually get your speed up the desired limit and then keep it steady. Harsh braking after harsh acceleration wastes so much fuel. So, yet again, a waste of hard earned money.
Pressing the pedals with the ball of your foot allows for a better feel of the pedal. Using your toes can make it jerky. Since your toes bend backwards, the pressure starts of gradual, but them severe because you tend to press more because of the lack of initial response. Also, pivoting your foot with the heel on the floor can also help to make the pressure consistent.
Now, what about soft hands? Turning the wheel smoothly and continuously in relation to the speed of the car will allow for very smooth turns and less jerkiness when making turns. In other words, if the vehicle moves slowly, steer slowly. If the vehicle moves quicker, steer quicker. Your passengers should never feel like they’re sitting in a pinball machine.
Smooth steering will also allow you to stay fully under control and allow for your passengers to enjoy the ride. Keep in mind that your hands and feet are only tools for your eyes. However, they are an important set of tools.