Forum:Learning to Drive

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Glossary of terms

YOU WILL SEE THESE USED MORE THAN ONCE! LEARN THEM

Blue Groove

The blue groove is the mental line that is made and changed every second. This groove is the one that your mind chooses as its best plan of action. For example, the blue grove for a normal turn would be a sweeping arch.

Feather

To feather the throttle means to work the throttle back and forth between 40%-90% throttle to achieve an optimum level of spin on the car. (When the rear wheels of a car are broken free from the pavement the result is the rear wheels want to instantly slide to the outside of the turn. We can’t have them doing that now can we? So by controlling the speed at which the rear wheels spin, we control how much the rear wheels slide.) When going through a turn, to kick the back end farther toward the outside of the turn, throttle on. If you want the rear wheels to come more in line with the front wheels, throttle off. This is used in many situations where the engine controls the spin of the car.

Understeer

When the vehicle makes a wider turn than was intentionally planned. (The rear wheels did not kick out enough)

This is a picture showing the blue groove as a green dotted line and the Red line represents the line that the car actually takes.

Oversteer

When the vehicle made a tighter turn than was intentionally planned. (The rear wheels kicked out too far.)

This is a picture showing the blue groove as a green dotted line and the Red line represents the line that the car actually takes.


Okay, now I’m ready to tell you the best driver profile.

Traits of an ideal driver

Rational behavior

This driver is calm and collected in his/her thoughts. This driver recognizes an objective, and collects a rough plan of how to achieve it.

Situational awareness

This driver makes decisions based upon the situation; not by anger or fear. He/She is aware of the weather.

  • For example: If it is raining, the roads are wet, you have less traction, so maybe a Banshee with a blown out back tire may not be the best idea.

A good driver is also aware of the lay of the land.

  • For example: If the cunning getaway plan involves fast turns and small alleyways, this Driver will NOT be picking a Firetruck as the getaway vehicle.

Mini-map

This may be the most useful tool you ever receive. Many people can’t get to the end of the street without one. Much of the information you need to know is within the confines of a small circle. One of the better features is the built in GPS route tracker, very handy when you need to get somewhere but you have no idea how to get there. Wow, what can't technology do...?

  • Keep in mind the route tracker will only actually tell you the shortest LEGAL route to your destination, most of the time there is a shortcut. Knowing them is key to evading cops, cutting your commute time in half, and speeding through those pesky intersections in Times Square. But those you have to find yourself. (This page can’t tell you everything, that’s no fun.)

Acceleration and deceleration

These two things may be the hardest to master. Accelerating smoothly is easy enough but learning how to decelerate is a different story. Deceleration is not confined to pressing the brakes and calling it good. There are several ways to decelerate,

The Throttle

In addition to speeding the car up, did you know that lifting off the throttle actually slows a car down? *GASP! I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the concept but let's give it a try shall we? By lifting off the gas, you have allowed the cars back wheels to spin freely. Not under any power load. So the car will be less likely to break loose and understeer in corners. This is the alternative to smashing the gas and the brake at the same time.

The Brakes

These are mighty useful little buggers. They usually do a good job in slowing and stopping the vehicle. The problem lies in that most of the time, when a driver wants to slow down they smash the L2 button into the controller, causing the wheels to lock up. We use the E-brakes for that! The new PS3/X-box 360 controllers have these amazing buttons, variable in fact, allowing for a controllable amount of brakes or throttle to be used. USE THEM! Don’t slam on the brakes, the resulting skid is less effective than pushing the brakes to the point where they almost lock-up but don’t. This allows the brakes to do their work to slow the car in a controlled manner.

Sudden Deceleration

NOT RECOMENDED! Hit something, preferably something that doesn't move well.

Primitive sounding isn’t it… but think of it this way, brakes don’t work well when you’re going 250mph, but an analog physical object, like ::say… another vehicle, doesn’t really give a crap how fast you’re going. So in extreme cases, this skill can be used.

Cornering

This Driver can take any turn with ease, is able to gauge the size and power of his/her car, gauge the turn’s intensity and size, and gauge the traffic and situational factors, to complete the turn in the fashion he/she choose as the best fit.


Alright, that about sums up the ideal driver, now we will talk about how to become an ideal driver, most problems stem from a lack of cornering knowledge. So that’s what we will start with.

Basic cornering 101

Each turn involves four basic steps:

  • Deceleration, a slowing of the vehicle to a speed in which the turn is possible.
  • Set up, a period in which the vehicle is set up to get the most out of a turn.
  • Coasting, a period which consists of the first half of the turn and a state in which neither the gas nor the brake are engaged.
  • Acceleration used in the back half of the turn. Easing onto the gas allows for a smooth take off.

So to summarize, slowly into the turn and quick out.

Understeer and oversteer

The two extremes of the cornering world. The trick that most people, even experienced drivers don’t see is that, while the extreme of both conditions is dangerous, each condition can be controlled, and used to some extent.

  • Oversteer (defined in the glossary of terms section) is the most useful, kicking the rear wheels out and being able to control that kick is crucial. That kick I’m referring to is the rotation of the cars rear end towards the outside of turn. Typically this is under power and feathering the throttle is used to control it in these cases feathering the brake is a crazy trick to try. Mastering the art of controlled oversteering, is just that a mastery, it’s difficult and at times frustrating, but when you get it down, the rewards are plentiful.
  • Understeering is less of a science, if your vehicle is Understeering it’s probably heavy and you’re trying to make the vehicle move through the turn more quickly than is possible, the only real fix for understeer is to slow down, or you can use an oversteering technique, like cornering under power...