Lube It All
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10 Time Formula Car National
Champion & Skip
Barber Racing Instructor
Where you place your vehicle in the lane on the road has a great impact on your sight distance, and thus your safety. This is true in a corner and also on a straight. You have position options in a lane. Use lane position to see around the vehicle in front of you (and/or drop back!). Of course your eyes have to be looking way ahead on a straight, and around a corner, as far as you can see, to take advantage of good vehicle placement.
Staying towards the outside edge of the lane in a corner, or "high" (versus low or bottom), is how to get the best sight line through the corner, whether it is a "blind" corner (obstruction like a high wall), or not. Most experts say to keep the vehicle positioned at least 2/3 of the way towards the outside edge of the road. On the street in a marked lane this may only be a couple/few feet from the marked bottom edge of the lane. But using those couple of feet may give you 30, 50, or 100 feet greater sight down the road. You may see something that compels you to brake hard, say a car stopped in your lane. This position (and antilock brakes) means you never have to be afraid to brake hard in a corner.
Keeping the vehicle "high" on the curve (before seeing the corner's end) also leaves more room underneath the vehicle's path than driving in the center or bottom of the lane everywhere. Room under the vehicle allows turning "down" into the curve, "cutting" the corner and giving a straight(er) line for some feet. You can brake very hard and very effectively on a straight line.
If you drive along the inside, or "bottom", of a corner, it is only possible to get those feet of straight(er) path/increased radius by going "up" the corner. What is "up" the corner? It is from the bottom (inside) towards the high or top (outside) part. This is where the forces of physics (G force) are pushing you as well. If you hit the brakes from this sight restricted position and run out of room where do you go?
Off. That is how you go off a corner, and maybe into a wall, a tree, or the other lane. When you have room underneath you can turn "down" "cutting" the corner. You have the ability to turn "down" as you go to the brakes (be ready to steer to keep the car straight if the car does not have stability control!). Driving around the bottom edge you see things later, and going to the brakes carries you "up" towards the outer edge and the wall, tree, or other lane.
When you can see where the road straightens out, the end of the corner, you can again "cut" the corner to straighten out the curve (even if not to brake), or increase it's radius. This turn "down", or "cutting" the corner is called "apexing" in racing. On the street in a lane, it provides a gentler curve and lower cornering G force, and thus a greater maneuvering safety margin and a gentler ride for grandma. Unless you speed up, using the advantage of an increased radius in another way.
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