The terms “safe” and “sports” aren’t often heard together in the car industry, but you don’t have to trade one for the other. When the focus is on luxury, design, and speed, safety seems to take a back seat.
However if you find a sports car with safety features such as collision avoidance systems or autonomous braking, and you follow these tips for safe sports-car driving when you take your car to the track, you can have the best of both worlds: speed and safety.
1. Use Your Brakes Correctly
As the folks at the German sports car driving training company Pfister Racing say, “Explore your limits in a controlled fashion!” Braking into a turn is already a natural part of driving; but as your speed climbs higher and higher, that braking technique becomes the only way to keep from spinning out of control, rolling the car, or colliding with racetrack barriers or other cars.
Braking while driving at high speeds requires a slightly different technique than braking at lower speeds. Rather than easing into the turn and braking harder and harder as necessary, driving instructors teach their student to do just the opposite: brake hard as you approach the turn, and then ease up on the brake as you round the corner.
Make sure your brakes are in good repair so you can retain control at high speeds. If you hear your brakes squeal or feel them shake as you apply the brake, take the car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
2. Watch Your Position
Your Driver’s Ed teacher probably advised you to grip the steering wheel on the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. However Max Venturi, a sports car driving instructor at the Lamborghini Academy at the Imola racetrack in Italy, recommends gripping the steering wheel at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock instead. He believes this hand position gives the driver better control, particularly at high speeds.
Although professional racecar drivers often use both feet to control the brake and the acceleration, sports car driver instructors advise drivers of automatic cars to drive with only one foot and use the other for balance.
Find the hand and foot positions that are comfortable for you and give you the most control over your vehicle.
3. Take a Class
Driving at high speeds employs different driving techniques and feels different than driving around your neighborhood. To ensure you are driving as safely as possible, have an experienced speedster teach you the basics.
You can either hire a private teacher, or find an instructor from a racing company. Not only will instructors help you drive safely, they will teach you how to drive faster and get the most out of your sports car’s performance features.
4. Don’t Treat the Road like The Racetrack
There is a time and place for pushing your sports car’s speedometer to the max, but the public roadways are not it. Keep “sports car driving” on the racetrack; if you want to show off your ride around town, avoid the temptation to drag race the drivers next to you, drift around corners, or peel out in front of your neighbor’s house.
Personal injury lawyers, from Langley to Los Angeles, would have an easy case if you injured someone in a car accident while going 25+ over the speed limit. Law firms help their clients sue for physical damage as well as emotional damage from accidents (source: Yearwood & Company). So unless you want to fork out settlement money comparable to the price of your car, observe all traffic laws and speed limits.
Driving a sports car is an exhilarating experience. Don’t let the excitement and adrenaline of 200 mph allow you to leave safety precautions in the dust: follow these tips to enjoy your sports car without hurting yourself or others.