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Old 09-25-2008, 12:36 PM   #21
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Walt Conley, HATS OFF!!!

Excellent description.
I Will keep harping on this, until someone will start beating me to it!, but you now have your mirrors adjusted correctly and it's time to start working on keeping your brain "aware" of them in your vision scene. Once you perfect this, and believe me, it took a lot of time for me, but you will be amazed that no one wille ver again "sneak into your blindspot."
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:11 PM   #22
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I think I pretty much agree with whatís been said. And reading this thread, Iíve definitely learned a few things that I didnít know before. I do, however, admit that (generally speaking) I tend to be a one-hand driver, always have been. For one thing, driving a manual transmission requires this much of the time. Secondly, I am more relaxed one-handed, and (as was stated in another thread recently) a relaxed driver responds more quickly and in a more appropriate manner to a sudden change of circumstances. As I say that, I admit I have never tracked the Boxster (or any other vehicle). Under those circumstances I am sure Iíd have both paws on the wheel whenever possible. That applies equally to street driving when something out of the ordinary is happening (or can reasonably be expected to happen momentarily). But I just find it tiresome having both hands at 9:00 and 3:00 (or anywhere else) on the wheel all the time. For me, it's too much like being on High Alert continuously---it would just wear me out and make me less ready to react than I would otherwise be.

Iíve driven like this since the early Ď70s and this is a technique that has worked well for me. And believe me, in 36 years behind the wheel I have had m a n y circumstances where Iíve had to react quickly.

Maybe subconsciously I fashion my driving on Harrison Ford in American Graffiti. A distinct possibilityÖ

ANDÖI DONíT need to be reminded that HE was the one who crashed his car! (His problem there: He was showiní off for the babe.)

Which brings up another interesting, semi-related topic: I find that I am not as good a driver when my wife (who, unfortunately, is not a huge fan of riding in the Boxster) is riding shotgun. Itís weird, because I actually slow down and drive more conservatively when sheís in the car. I think it has to do with the fact that she drives a Toyota Sienna and seems to think (maybe subconsciously?) that itís dangerous to push any vehicle beyond the level that she pushes the minivan (which ainít much). So I find myself driving the Boxster more like a miniature school bus when sheís in the car, and thatís TOTALLY unnatural. A maneuver that is in the least spirited or aggressive (I sort of hate to use that word, since I donít inconvenience---let alone endanger---other drivers in the process of doing what I am talking about) gets her into the hyperventilation mode, sometimes even making those scary noises that passengers sometimes make when thereís real, honest-to-goodness close-call taking place. And THAT makes things even worse, because for that millisecond Iím under the terrifying impression Iím about to be blindsided by some vehicle I hadnít yet seen (because, as it turns out, it doesnít exist!). It's just exhausting driving the Box when she's a passenger. Fortunately (for both of us) that doesn't happen all that often!

Anyone else a victim of this phenomenon??
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:55 PM   #23
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Maybe not to the extreme you described.... , but yes, my wife can sometimes do the same. She likes to "nap" if we're out on a trip (like, she's asleep before we get out of the driveway...) and then if she awakes with a start, for some reason like hitting a reflector when changing lanes, she jumps nearly out of her seat and screams "what's wrong!!!??" After getting my skin stretched back over my body and my heart back down out of my throat, I fight off the urge to back-hand her.
I do try to not hit reflectors on lane changes, just as an old game from my father. It does help to keep you alert on those long stretches behind the wheel.
The one hand/two hand argument is like arguing over abortion - there is no answer that will satisfy both sides. I drive, while cruising with my left hand on the wheel, relaxed, in the 9:00 position and my right hand laying in my lap, or, maybe scratching...... just under the wheel. My right hand is in a position that's miliseconds from the 3:00 position. Well, okay, miliseconds when I was young. If spirited driving, both hands where they belong.
I had a hard time at the Brumos school and had an interesting talk with Hurley about it, but I'm used to not moving my hands on the steering wheel. A formula car, which is how I relate to high performance driving, has a very high ratio steering system. Believe me, if you have your hands crossed up in a formula car, you should've locked the tires about two seconds ago, because you're screwed. So, I was therefore not used to turning the steering wheel more than 90 degrees, and have never had to shuffle the wheel around in my hands. I'm afraid I did not get used to it at the school, and got yelled at several times.
Getting yelled at by an old friend, who is a multiple winner of Lemans, Daytona and Sebring, all in Porsches, is NOT good for a racer's ego! (no matter how old he now is)
I have practiced it incessantly, since, and have become quite proficient at the skill.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:06 PM   #24
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Oh, oh, speaking of wives in the car with you.......my wifey has this threshold for putting up with my driving: as long as there is no tire squealing, she doesn't say anything. Okay, so I haven't explained the Pilot Sports to her.........
So we go to Barber Motorsports Park over Labor Day weekend with an old Formula Ford buddy. Alabama 25, coming into Leeds, AL from the south is GREAT! It would fit right into the TOD. Up one side of a pretty good mountain, over the top and back down the other side. Almost no traffic and I only get about two warnings from wifey about who else is in the car with me and one warning about breakfast coming loose on my leather seat.
We get to the track and talking with Steve and Mona when wifey brings up the neat road and says, "well as long as he didn't make the tires squeal, I didn't yell at him." You guessed it. My buddy takes one look at the Pilot Sports on the Box and says, "I don't think you can make those squeal, can you?"
Some friend.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:08 PM   #25
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There are big discrepancies about shuffle steering. PCASDR teaches shuffle steering and to NEVER cross your arms. This is of course assuming a stock car in auto-x and DE. Some schools such as Skip Barber (I believe) teaches crossing arms and to never shuffle steer. I believe you hit the point that it depends on the car, but also the track.

On really small track you have to turn A LOT. On larger tracks such as Watkins Glen, I got smacked for shuffling. In a 944 race car the steering was quick enough for such a large track that I was smoother by not shuffling.
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Old 09-25-2008, 10:05 PM   #26
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All good stuff so far.

In addition to knowing where the cars are around you, pay attention to who is around you. Whether on the street or track I want to know if there are consistent, attentive drivers around me or are they driving erratically, talking on the phone, weaving, inconsistent speeds, eating a Philly cheese-steak sandwich etc. Create some space between you and erratic or potentially dangerous drivers.

The scuttlebutt in the pits often goes " Give some room to that triple black Box S in yellow group. He moves pretty well through sector one but overcooks turn 6 and is often out of control."

On the street we all know to look out for drunks but someone munching on a Big Mac or falling asleep can be just as dangerous.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:18 AM   #27
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Speaking of 1 handed driving...

The funny thing about technique is that there is no one right way to do anything. Its all really opinion, style and a lot of copy-catting the fast guys. Do what is comfortable to you but listen to what others have to say, you may learn something.

I know two professional tin-top race drivers that have always driven one handed. Jeff Altenberg and Neal Sapp. They grew up near eachother and developed their techniques together while autocrossing. The left hand is at the top center of the wheel. The right hand is free to shift or to help brace the body.

I saw coverage of a Speed Channel Touring Car race at Road Atlanta that had in car camera footage of Neal Sapp's BMW. When they went in car he had one hand on the wheel and the commentator (Calvin Fish I think) said, "ouhhh oh, Sapp must be having a problem, he only has one hand on the wheel." I yelled at the TV screen, "no, that's the way he drives." While I don't think Calvin heard me, after several laps of Sapp's one-handed driving on camera Fish admitted that the car seemed fine.

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Old 09-26-2008, 12:45 PM   #28
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Everyone's got a different view on the one hand vs. two hands on the wheel thing. I base my view on what I've seen and experienced in sudden emergency situations. Here in AZ, because of the high heat and high freeway speeds (75 mph limit), blowouts are fairly common. While I don't expect a blowout to happen on my Boxster, it could, and on our Toyota Sienna, fully loaded on a 115 F day, it's probably a higher possibility. I'm pretty sure I don't want to try to keep our van under control if it had a blowout with just one hand on the wheel.

Another situation that's common here is having a driver turn in front of you at an intersection (lots of surface streets substituting for freeways). Again, I want both hands on the wheel.

If others feel comfortable with one hand in these situations, then go with what works for you.
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:55 PM   #29
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We teach keeping hands at 9 and 3 and personally I don't do it because I think they will forever drive that way. I don't. I vary between one hand, 9 and 3 or 8 and 4 just to stay comfortable. However, if I'm in traffic or on a "demanding/fun" road I always have two hands on the wheel - I may need that fraction of a second. For the majority of drivers, having the hands at 9 and 3 will result in better, more accurate and quicker control inputs. What we teach is sometimes a new way of driving for some and a sense of discipline and repetition for all. As an aside, I never leave my hand on the stick because in my M3, the weight and constant push on the transmission selector "can" result in premature transmission wear. I don't know if the same problem exists for my Boxster but it's easy enough to avoid. From a practical standpoint, using the one hand technique can provide an indirect hazard if you do hit something and the airbag deploys. If your hand is over the top of the wheel, you will likely get a fist in the face. If it's at 6:00 with the fingers on the inside of the rim, you may end up with a broken wrist. YMMV...

Personally, after vision, I think one of the best things we learn from the track, or simply taking a car control clinic, is potential. Many people have an accident simply because they don't know their car will stop, or drive around an accident. To quote a friend of mine, "If a meteor hits your car, that's an accident. Everything else is driver error!" Once a driver becomes aware of the potential handling qualities of their car, and a confidence in themselves to extract and make use of it, they can often save themselves considerable expense if not outright pain of an accident.
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Old 09-26-2008, 05:28 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wconley
"If a meteor hits your car, that's an accident. Everything else is driver error!"
We need a clapping hands emoticon!!
It got on my nerves, because I already knew what ABS will do for you, but every exercise and every time through at the BrumosU school was a box (square of cones) you had to get stopped in. Every student was admonished to at least "touch" ABS each and every time in the box. The second exercise ended in a sharp left turn with the stopping box just at the end of the corner, so you had to brake hard through the corner and get it stopped before you got back straight. Each of the students came back in line with some very big pie plates for eyes!!
I thought it was the best exercise of the event, as it really taught just how hard you could brake while continuing to control the car. I'm quite certain it will save at least one Porsche trip to a body shop.
I know it's a chance of getting an a**hole cop, but I heavily suggest every one of you go to a large vacant parking lot and run up to top of second gear, stand on the brakes as hard as you can and maneuver the car while standing on them. Just remember to push in the clutch as you are coming to a stop.
I really think it is imperative that every driver of a modern car, with the phenominal ABS brakes most have, understand just how hard you can be stopping the car, while avoiding an accident. You owe this to yourself and anyone who may be riding with you. The jerk who put you in the position of needing the skill will also appreciate it. Do it again when raining.
Hell, print this out and show it to the cop, if one happens to see you and gives you a hard time. Where else are you going to learn the most valuable skill you need?

How many have attended a "defensive driving school" like Bob Bondurant or Skip Barber and what did you learn there?
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:58 PM   #31
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bump-a-rama!!
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:47 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Quickurt
So we go to Barber Motorsports Park over Labor Day weekend with an old Formula Ford buddy. Alabama 25, coming into Leeds, AL from the south is GREAT! It would fit right into the TOD. Up one side of a pretty good mountain, over the top and back down the other side.
QK - I live in Birmingham so I drive 25 frequently. There's a great section just south of Leeds well before you go up over the mountain. The hairpin on the top of the mountain is pretty fun and the flats south of the mountain are not bad either.

I don't know if you stopped at 29 Dreams but it's a motorcycle resort at the bottom of the mountain on the south side. Interesting place and worth a drop in if you're cruising through.


To keep this on topic, there are some great tips here. I did the BMW one day M-school and learned quite a bit in one day. Amazing how much more there is to learn. The looking ahead thing is one of the most valuable things I learned - that and proper braking. Now if I could get the heel/toe thing down...
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:28 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by larryshomework
QK - I live in Birmingham so I drive 25 frequently. There's a great section just south of Leeds well before you go up over the mountain. The hairpin on the top of the mountain is pretty fun and the flats south of the mountain are not bad either.

I don't know if you stopped at 29 Dreams but it's a motorcycle resort at the bottom of the mountain on the south side. Interesting place and worth a drop in if you're cruising through.


To keep this on topic, there are some great tips here. I did the BMW one day M-school and learned quite a bit in one day. Amazing how much more there is to learn. The looking ahead thing is one of the most valuable things I learned - that and proper braking. Now if I could get the heel/toe thing down...
The heel/toe thing is VERY dependent on your pedal set up. The Box pedals seem perfect for either method, depending on the size of your feet. Smaller feet are usually attached to smaller legs, so, use the ball of your foot on the brake, pivot your leg to put your heel on the throttle and practice the amount of throttle needed to bring the rpm up to make downshifts silky smooth. You should be able to release the clutch as fast as you do upshifting without jerking the car around because of miss-matched engine speed.
For those with feet the size of mine (they go with my bear paw hands, but I didn't get the matching pleasure that sometimes accompanies these two ) use the ball of your foot on the brake pedal and the right side of the bottom of your "wide foot" on the throttle.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:13 AM   #34
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I know it's a chance of getting an a**hole cop, but I heavily suggest every one of you go to a large vacant parking lot and run up to top of second gear, stand on the brakes as hard as you can and maneuver the car while standing on them.

I'd get permission from the parking lot owner (like go to your church and get permission from the pastor) and keep their phone number on hand. A member of my local club was recently practicing some driving in an empty parking lot and got into a TON of trouble - wreckless driving and ended up cuffed in the back of the squad car with their car almost towed to impound. He claims his ticket was $3,000!


"this morning at 12:30 am, i got pulled over by the medford pd. i had been sliding around in the mall parking lot, enjoying the wet ground. the parking lot was COMPLETELY EMPTY! i was pulled over as i was leaving the parking lot. the officer came to my door, opened it, grabbed my wrist, pulled me out, cuffed me, and threw me in the back of the cop car. after ridiculing me, calling my friend and i names like idiot, retard, and stupid, accusing me of not being able to spell my own name, and telling me not to cry (even though i wasn't), he let me go with a ticket. he was going to haul me off to jail and tow my car, but after pleading with him to let me go with a ticket, he gave me the choice of a ticket or jail. i chose the ticket.

he charged me with reckless driving and almost gave me a reckless endangerment ticket, saying i could have killed myself and my friend. in an EMPTY PARKING LOT! he uncuffed me and told me to go straight home. so i did."
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:10 PM   #35
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I'd get permission from the parking lot owner (like go to your church and get permission from the pastor) and keep their phone number on hand. A member of my local club was recently practicing some driving in an empty parking lot and got into a TON of trouble - wreckless driving and ended up cuffed in the back of the squad car with their car almost towed to impound. He claims his ticket was $3,000!


"this morning at 12:30 am, i got pulled over by the medford pd. i had been sliding around in the mall parking lot, enjoying the wet ground. the parking lot was COMPLETELY EMPTY! i was pulled over as i was leaving the parking lot. the officer came to my door, opened it, grabbed my wrist, pulled me out, cuffed me, and threw me in the back of the cop car. after ridiculing me, calling my friend and i names like idiot, retard, and stupid, accusing me of not being able to spell my own name, and telling me not to cry (even though i wasn't), he let me go with a ticket. he was going to haul me off to jail and tow my car, but after pleading with him to let me go with a ticket, he gave me the choice of a ticket or jail. i chose the ticket.

he charged me with reckless driving and almost gave me a reckless endangerment ticket, saying i could have killed myself and my friend. in an EMPTY PARKING LOT! he uncuffed me and told me to go straight home. so i did."
I don't know about where you live, but here, unless the parking lot owner calls and complains, the local PD have NO JURISDICTION in a parking lot. They can not wait outside the lot and then arrest you for something you did in the lot. The new Home Depot center near us, has marked off roadways with real official stop signs, etc., yet an officer friend from the shooting range told me he has zero jurisdictioon in that lot unless one of the store operators calls and asks for someone to be stopped. There is also no blanket jurisdiction that Home Depot or other owners of parking lots can issue to the police. As long as it is a vehicular infringement, not criminal, this is so in Florida. I guess some level of reckless driving or endangerment goes into criminal behavior, but until then, it's just a traffic ticket, which is civil, not criminal.
Sliding around and having a good old time is also a bit different from justifiably learning how to use safety devices in/on your car.
I made the original comment because my father taught me many, many things in the same way, especially in the rain. We were "apprehended" one time and when my dad got done telling the cop what we were doing and why, the officer hung around and gave us some other pointers.
In full disclosure, I am older than dirt, so when I was being instructed by dear old dad, shopping centers were all closed on Sunday and we also were not doing things in a shiny new Porsche.
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:18 PM   #36
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I just did my second track event over the weekend (my first was two weeks ago). Here's a couple of things I learned.

In traffic, never slam on your brakes to slow for something going on ahead of you if you don't have to. On the track, this comes up when the checkered flies or the officials red flag the session. On the street, if you see something going on ahead of you - and after reading this thread you will be looking well out in front - that you are not in imminent danger of being involved in, brake quickly, not safely. The car (truck or SUV) behind you probably cannot stop as quickly as you can.

Be courteous to other drivers. If somebody is going to pass you because they are obviously going faster, let them. Again, situational awareness is the key here. If somebody is coming up on you very quickly and you don't notice it until the last second, don't try to get out of the way then. If you are paying attention and see somebody closing on your quickly, find a safe place to let them pass, and make your intentions known.

Trust your tires and brakes. This goes along with what others have said about learning the limits of your brakes. Don't forget practice not only in dry and wet conditions, but with snow on the ground too. When I met my wife, she was terrified of driving in the snow. We spent a lot of time in parking lots with me showing her how to handle a car in the snow. She is pretty damn good at it now.

After doing these two DE events, I really think that everybody (especially Porsche owners) should go to a DE event. You need to know how your vehicle handles being driven at the limit and how to control it in that situation. When there is an emergency situation, and you are trying to avoid hitting something (or somebody), knowing what to do and what not to could make the difference. As I type this, I am thinking about the OnStar commercial where the car swerves around the deer and plows into the tree.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:38 AM   #37
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In traffic, never slam on your brakes to slow for something going on ahead of you if you don't have to. On the track, this comes up when the checkered flies or the officials red flag the session. On the street, if you see something going on ahead of you - and after reading this thread you will be looking well out in front - that you are not in imminent danger of being involved in, brake quickly, not safely. The car (truck or SUV) behind you probably cannot stop as quickly as you can.
I try to always get "out of line" in a situation where the brake lights are all hammering on ahead of you. With each subsequent car in line, the margin of error is decreased. If you can jump out of that line you not only give yourself a much higher chance of not being rear ended, you also give the cars behind you an increase in their margins of error.
This also fits into some of the above posts about being vigilantly aware of your surroundings, knowing ahead of the emergency happening, where you can and can't go to avoid the crowd and danger.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:30 AM   #38
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"I know it's a chance of getting an a**hole cop, but I heavily suggest every one of you go to a large vacant parking lot and run up to top of second gear, stand on the brakes as hard as you can and maneuver the car while standing on them."

Originally Posted by Quickurt

My local PCA sets this up at the beginning of autocross season, along with other maneuvers. Maybe other PCAs also do this or would if it were suggested.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:38 PM   #39
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wow, i've just read through the whole thread and have learned a lot!

I have a question, I know a lot of the information posted pertains to manual boxes, but what about auto's?

Are the breaking/accelerating techniques any different?

I ask this because I have been forever scarred by my sister's first car.. an old Volvo 540 (thing was a tank).. but it would hydroplane ALL THE TIME!. there was one instance coming out of a mall exit where we 180'ed and were facing oncoming traffic.. i was scared to death...

now, to this day, whenever performing an "aggressive" turn or not slowing down ridiculously slow for a turn, i feel like im gonna fish tail out or hydroplane....

another thing that scares me is the breaking thing... other day I had a car slam on their brakes in front of me, so without anywhere to go I started applying mine. now ive always thought myself to be a decent breaker (no necks jarring, no uneven pressure applied), but once i feel that pedal vibrate (dut dut dut), I feel like im going to crash.. i panic... what is the best thing to do in that situation where you feel the car "skipping"?
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:55 AM   #40
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wow, i've just read through the whole thread and have learned a lot!

I have a question, I know a lot of the information posted pertains to manual boxes, but what about auto's?

Are the breaking/accelerating techniques any different?

I ask this because I have been forever scarred by my sister's first car.. an old Volvo 540 (thing was a tank).. but it would hydroplane ALL THE TIME!. there was one instance coming out of a mall exit where we 180'ed and were facing oncoming traffic.. i was scared to death...

now, to this day, whenever performing an "aggressive" turn or not slowing down ridiculously slow for a turn, i feel like im gonna fish tail out or hydroplane....

another thing that scares me is the breaking thing... other day I had a car slam on their brakes in front of me, so without anywhere to go I started applying mine. now ive always thought myself to be a decent breaker (no necks jarring, no uneven pressure applied), but once i feel that pedal vibrate (dut dut dut), I feel like im going to crash.. i panic... what is the best thing to do in that situation where you feel the car "skipping"?
a few notes. some of what you're discussing has to do with the driver; some of it could be the car. braking / accelerating techniques are similar with either auto or manual cars. the goal is to be smooth & not abruptly manipulate either pedal. give the chassis time to react.

in a car with ABS, you will always get your best stopping distances WITHOUT engaging the ABS. the instant the ABS pulses, you have lost a little stopping distance. the best way to learn to feel this moment, regardless of rain or shine, is to PRACTICE. when there is no traffic around, practice panic stops. pick a point ahead of you and 'guess' when you need to apply full braking to stop by that point. the car has much more traction than you think! in certain driving schools, they have a 'box' painted on the asphalt; the goal is to get the car in the box from a high rate of speed under threshold braking without engaging the ABS or over/undershooting the box. it takes time! factor in uphill / downill elevation changes and it gets even MORE tricky. again, the goal is practice. practice in the wet, practice in the dry!

now with regard to the car, there are a lot of factors that will make it unstable in wet weather. in no particular order, those things are: tire / tire tread pattern, tire pressure, wheel alignment. if your tires are balding or if the tread pattern is not very good, the car will hydroplane very easily. if your tire pressures are too LOW, the car will hydroplane very easily. FYI, a car travelling through water that is deeper than the tread grooves will hydroplane at 9 times the square root of the tire pressure. this means that if you're at 36psi, you will hydroplane in deep water at 54mph. drop your tire pressure to 25psi and you'll hydroplane at 40mph. alignment plays a tremendous role in wet weather handling. excessive toe in or toe out will cause you to 'drag' a tire in the wet; the tires will break loose simply because they're not pointed straight. excessive toe out is VERY scary in the rain. above all, notice that in addition to tire pressure, SPEED plays a role in hydroplaning. it is not possible to hydroplane if you are going SLOWER than the speed at which your car will plane out. finally, if your car feels unstable in the rain, IT IS. if you see other cars blowing by you like you're standing still and you cannot FATHOM how they're driving so fast in the rain because your car feels nervous, it's because your car IS nervous! generally this is indicative of a problem with tires, tire pressures, or alignment. check all three!

finally, throttle. obviously with a powerful rear wheel drive car in the rain, one needs to go easy on the throttle in tight corners. too much throttle will break the rear tires loose and the car could spin. what may NOT be obvious is what to do in a higher speed corner if the rear end starts to come loose. there are two types of situations where this can occur in the wet: deep water or just wet pavement. in either situation, if you feel the rear end start to come out, do NOT abruptly lift! if you are in deep water and the problem is hydroplaning, maintain throttle, gently steer the car straight, and gently dial out some throttle. this will let the car slow down below the hydroplane velocity threshold and the tires will settle back down onto the road. if the water is NOT deep and you've simply lost traction, we need to transfer some weight onto the rear tires. gently ADD a little throttle and gently countersteer a bit until grip is restored. then, slow down a bit!

hope this helps. if you can find one, i highly recommend looking for a skidpad in your area & trying wet / dry car control. you will learn a lot.
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