Just about anyone that’s into cars has heard of making modifications to them at one time or another. Whether it’s modifying an engine component — like an aftermarket intake system or a performance exhaust manifold – or perhaps a computer reflash, the list is endless in terms of what can be modified on a car. However, it turns out that the best modification that can be done when it comes to cars has nothing to do with the car itself. Actually, it starts with you, the driver.
The driver mod
Cars don’t drive themselves, so the best thing that you can do to make it go faster would be to become a better driver. That’s why professional drivers can take the same factory-stock car and go faster around a track than the average, casual driver.
There are no secret modifications, just knowledge, skill, and a little more fortitude.
Whether you’re into autocross, drag racing, road racing, or just like to go for a “spirited drive” on the weekends, improving your driving skills can make your experience more fun and a lot safer.
But it’s not just about learning how to drive a manual transmission and picking up fancy racing techniques to impress your passengers or pull off crazy stunts. Becoming a better driver is mainly about having more awareness.
How to be a better driver
Here are a few tips on becoming a better driver:
- Having more awareness of your surroundings during your daily commute, or on the track, is the first step to being a better driver. All too often, we get stuck on “autopilot” mode or become complacent, and that’s when things can go wrong.
- Look ahead in the turns. This tip coincides with the first in that it’s a good idea to look ahead at the next turn coming up. Your body will follow where your eyes go, so if you actively pay attention to where you need the car to be in the next turn, then you’ll be able to get through it more smoothly and quickly.
- If you have a manual transmission, learn to heel-toe downshift. Blipping the throttle with every downshift will make for a smoother transition and could even save your clutch in the long run.
- Put your hands in the “9 and 3” position, or either side, of the steering wheel. Having more control of the steering wheel is important to be able to control the car in any situation.
- Have patience. This one is key in every single driving situation, whether you’re on the road or the track. Have patience for the other drivers that you share the road or track with. You could ultimately prevent an accident from happening.
If you would like to learn a few more tips, then check out this video:
Enroll in a driving school
If you want to learn more about being a better driver and understanding how to control your own car on the street or the track, then we suggest attending a driving school.
Not necessarily a “traffic school” like you would have to attend if you received a speeding ticket, but an actual school that teaches driving techniques and car control.
If there is a race track or course near you, then chances are that classes are offered at that location, which will help you become a better all-around driver and even help to improve your lap times on the track, if that’s what you’re going for.