I chose the title of this article deliberately. Handling a car on a tight road at a brisk pace is not a skill that will be learned overnight, or even in a year or two for that matter. The risk of getting into trouble by entering a turn too quickly is always there, no matter how long you have been driving or how experienced you are.

I believe that it requires very little skill to obtain a driver's license, except in some European countries, where actual schooling is required. For those of us in the states it involves little more than knowing where the controls are and the laws governing traffic and departmental actions. The driving test is usually a trip around the block and back. I guess that our government assumes we will develop driving skills latter.

In the years that I have been driving I have witnessed, and been involved in, many accidents that were the direct result of actions by unskilled drivers. Most people do not know how to stop quickly, as in an emergency, without locking up the tires or avoid an accident by controlled evasion. I feel that these and other techniques should be taught before a license is issued.

Everyday presents the opportunity for someone to make a change in your life by not handling their car correctly. Be defensive at all times! It is imperative that you concentrate on your driving. Know what your car is doing as you are driving down the road. How does the steering feel? How fast is the engine spinning? What is the coolant temperature? Is my turn signal on? You should be able to answer these and many other similar questions at any time as you are driving.

You should sit in a position that gives you optimum control over your car. This position will change as you become more skilled but usually is one that is upright and comfortable. You should always wear your seat belt. Nevermind the legal reasons why. It should be worn so that you stay in place when the car goes through a turn. It is very difficult to determine how close to the limit you are if you're sliding around in your seat.

Only after becoming committed to these self-established rules and practicing them on a constant basis are you ready to explore the handling capabilities of your car. You should start by knowing where the limit is. Go to an empty parking lot on a Sunday morning and brake hard to find the point at which the tires want to skid. Do this at various speeds and note the differences. Do the same thing by turning sharply to the left. Repeat this by turning to the right. Again, do this at various speeds to see how speed affects the limit of your car's handling. Overcome your fear of a skidding tire, but be careful not to over do it as skidding can wear a tire very quickly. Now that you know what it is like to go beyond the limit, repeat these procedures, this time driving at the limit without going beyond it. Practice these skills over and over at different places and times in both dry and wet weather.

Always be aware of your surroundings, use good judgment about your actions, and maintain safety at all times. Don't try to advance too quickly. Be patient and in time you will have the skills you need to enjoy safe, spirited backroad driving.

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