Don’t Look at the Ditch

The advice that Chris Vanderwolk provides below is so true and helpful. I cannot tell you just how important where you look is. Look at a vehicle – hit a ditch, car in front goes off – you follow, and so on.

Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle will tell you that you never look at the ditch. Why? Because if you look at the ditch, you’ll end up in the ditch. You do not want to be in the ditch. Bad things happen in the ditch.

Within this bit of advice is the most important rule of race driving: look where you want to go. Autocross schools may cover the lower half of your windshield with blue painter’s tape to force you to look ahead. Instructors will focus their efforts on getting you to look at theright points on an autocross course. Track day events will have cones at the entry, apex, and exit of each turn. All of this reinforces the most basic rules of performance driving:

The hands follow the eyes.
The car follows the hands.
Make sure the eyes are looking in the right spot.

If your fear of hitting a cone means that you stare at that cone – you will hit that cone. If your fear of going four-off means that you stare at your runoff area, you will go four-off. If you stare at the ditch, you will end up in the ditch.

The magic is that if you can abandon your natural sense of self-preservation and look where you WANT to go, the car will go there.

Since you are probably not at a racetrack or autocross right now, you might think that you cannot test this theory. Fire up your preferred racing simulator and put this to the test.

Hands follow eyes. Cars follow hands. Fast lap times are a result of looking at the right spots.

Don’t look at the ditch.

Article by Chris Vanderwolk.