As a petrolhead, you’re aware of the fact that you’re wielding a large machine at speed, and therefore it’s probably a good idea to pay attention to what’s going on. We’ve all been out with friends and family who don’t understand why you get so angry when they’re driving while texting, flicking through radio stations or regaling some fascinating story with such gusto they simply can’t be concentrating on the road ahead.
A lack of concentration is what leads to people driving into the back of stationary cars and misjudging other cars’ speeds at junctions, and it’s terrifying how often you see people completely oblivious to their surroundings.
The roads would run far more smoothly if people could just anticipate what’s going on ahead. Petrolheads appreciate the flow of traffic, and are far more likely to move over and let other drivers in. This ties in with the first point, as it requires being aware of the road and the cars around you.
A car is a magnificent engineering achievement; the culmination of thousands of moving parts placed together to work as a whole. Even though modern cars are mostly bulletproof, banging and slamming everything in sight isn’t going to help all those tiny parts work in sync.
Gear changes are smooth and engines don’t get thrashed - except when you’re having fun, of course - leading to a much healthier, happier car. Keep jolting that gear stick into place without depressing the clutch properly and you’re just asking for trouble.
Not only do we take greater care of our cars while driving, we tend to keep a better eye on their roadworthiness on a day to day basis. Regular servicing, tyre checks and fluid top ups keep things in tip top shape so nothing goes bang when we least expect it.
Okay, maybe we don’t love our cars quite as much as the guy above, but we do take pride in our ride. We’re therefore less likely to drive like a fool and will be less likely to kerb our shiny wheels. We also make shopping easier for the general public, as we park our cars as far from the front of the store as possible to avoid any annoying little dings and dents.
There are few driving habits I find more frustrating than people who brake late. As you’re cruising along and approaching a junction, some idiot blasts past where you’re starting to ease on the brakes. They keep going, and going, and oh no they haven’t noticed the junction… and finally they’ll brake heavily. A momentary lapse in concentration? No, they’ve done that at every stop.
Petrolheads brake sooner and more gently on the roads and leave late braking for the race track.
Car control is vital, which is why we petrolheads learn early on that a decent driving position makes hustling a car about a hell of a lot easier and safer, especially in emergency situations. Good luck swerving to avoid whatever just jumped in the road when you’re leaning back with one finger resting on the top of the steering wheel.
When you’ve thrown a month’s wages into a beautiful exhaust, you’re not going to drown it out with music. While the rest of the world sits in their metal boxes singing along to the latest pop rubbish, petrolheads are savouring their sweet exhaust note. This makes us inherently more in tune with what our car is doing.
The general population will rarely venture above 80mph, and even then it’ll only be on wide, straight roads. Petrolheads have honed their skills on track at high speed, learning to react quickly. That makes us hyper-alert so we can easily avoid that old lady wandering out in front of us as we drive.
When the heavens open, petrolheads come into their own. Reduced grip and worsening driving from those around you makes all those skills you’ve honed over the years more relevant than ever. Smooth driving, braking in a straight line and reading the road surface will help petrolheads pick their way through traffic carnage.