You can’t have failed to notice that Lewis Hamilton recently became six times winner of the Formula 1 World Championship, thus becoming the second most successful F1 driver of all time behind Michael Schumacher.
While many (me included) watch Formula 1 for the thrills and spills, there is something that sets apart the most successful drivers from the rest – their driving has as little drama as possible.
Lewis has won this year’s title by minimising mistakes, consistency and being smooth – getting the car working to his best advantage.
While sliding, dramatic turns, power slides and wheel spins may look great, all it does is slow a racing driver down – and slowing down means losing.
So, how does this fit in to what we do at IAM RoadSmart, in making better drivers and riders?
The same principles apply to how we all drive on the road. You have likely spent many thousands of pounds on your car – why ruin it by sharp braking, dramatic movement, hard acceleration and making your tyres squeal by turning while driving too fast?
All you are doing is ensuring you have to replace car parts sooner …. or maybe there are people who enjoy throwing hundreds of pounds down the drain when they don’t have to!
More important than the cost of replacement spare parts for your car is the heartache of what taking ‘thrills and spills’ onto a public road actually means.
As IAM RoadSmart has recently highlighted, 1,784 people were killed in road crashes in 2018 – and human actions will be the cause of almost all of them. What makes this worse is that the vast majority of these crashes could have been prevented.
While many people bemoan speed limits, they are there for a reason. A 30mph limit (introduced 84 years ago) with streetlights denotes a built-up area, meaning there’s a higher chance of distracted children with other things on their mind who could potentially walk out into the road.
So, don’t be surprised if a child runs out in front of you … that 30 limit, houses, schools and streetlights should have been your first clue there may be youngsters about. “He just jumped out in front of me!” is what some might say if they hit a child – but where were your ‘radar’ and observation skills to alert you that there could be a risk situation?
Advanced driving teaches us to look out for the easy clues as to what could be happening on the roads around us. But, driving lessons do this as well – and it seems people tend to forget very quickly.
Everyone can be a champion of the road, like Lewis Hamilton and our own President Nigel Mansell are champions of the track. So, follow their example, and cut out the drama.
For more information on our Advanced Driving and Riding Course, click here.
By Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart media relations manager