Rusty Drivers

Mactech

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After almost 5 months, I drove out of the county yesterday on a 200 mile round trip. With only a few hundred local miles so far this year it was good to be back to a decent journey for someone who has been used to doing up to 30k miles a year.
I did notice I was somewhat 'rusty'. Both my observation, and my anticipation skills were certainly below par for the first part of the journey. It meant that my overtakes were not quite as precise as I would want them to be and my anticipation of road conditions ahead meant I actually used the brakes on a couple of occasions. I normally consider that if I brake in normal flowing conditions, then I have failed to anticipate correctly. Brakes are just for bringing a car to a full stop at low speed......
I'm certainly aware of the phenomenon of 'rusty' drivers from my time in motorsport, and the annual first ride of a motorcycle of the year. "OMG! This thing is quick!" followed by a little while later by "Could do with a little more mid range grunt" as you re-acquaint yourself with the performance available.
I wonder if you have spotted any rusty drivers on the road. For me, it is certainly the first time in 50 years that I have had almost 5 months off long distance driving.
 

ChrisHGTV

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I experienced similar, more so on the motorway having been confined to shorter, slower, local trips for food and such. I’ve not been out on the motorbike yet. I think the key aspect is the awareness of being rusty and having the presence of mind to compensate. I wonder if we’ll see a surge in incidents when the roads get busier - I hope not but I won’t be surprised if we do!
 

SpikyMikey

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Interesting that you mention that; I took my nearest and dearest's car out for the first time in a few months yesterday. My car is an auto, hers is manual and at several points in the journey I had to consciously think 'where I was' in the 6 speed gearbox.
 

MissyD

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I have been working all thro the lockdowns and been driving quite a bit albeit fairly local, but for me, the number of cars on the roads now is a lot more than thro the first few lockdowns. The roads were really quiet then and so people could go about their work quite easily, now its much busier and people seem to have less patience too.
 

st13phil

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I think the key aspect is the awareness of being rusty and having the presence of mind to compensate.
^ This. Self-awareness is an important element of survival.

I used to commute daily - 24 miles each way - on fast A- and B-roads, plus ride around 4-6k miles on motorcycle tours annually, which tended to keep my driving skills up to speed. Since February 2020 I've driven only occasionally, totalling less than 2.5k miles on four wheels, and just 650 miles on two :(

Last week I decided to go out for a short spin on the bike to make sure I could still ride the thing! Fortunately, I could and Angie and I spent a lovely day on Tuesday this week riding around the country roads of Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire in glorious sunshine. By the end of that ride much of my normal precision had returned, but still not all of it. I will continue to drive and ride with extra caution until it does.
 

Ted

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I went for a run on the bike on Wednesday, and could feel that my balance and precision weren’t quite ‘right’ in corners.
Everything else seemed ok.
Probably need to get out on it a lot more.
 

st13phil

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I went for a run on the bike on Wednesday, and could feel that my balance and precision weren’t quite ‘right’ in corners.
I always think that judging the appropriate corner entry speed correctly is one of the first things to go out the window when you haven't ridden for a while, and one of the last to come back.
Probably need to get out on it a lot more.
Same here. Until I have, I'll continue to enter corners somewhat slower than I might otherwise.
 

Big Janner

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I wonder if you have spotted any rusty drivers on the road. For me, it is certainly the first time in 50 years that I have had almost 5 months off long distance driving.

Yes
Me
Slower to react to the road ahead
More easily distracted (by roadside things)

Like you, I spent years doing between 25k and 60k miles a year, last year I did a little more than bu99er all.
I put it down to lack of practice added to getting older
 

Meldrew2

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A light coating of oil will protect your screwdrivers (and spanners, pliers etc) from corrosion.

Happy to help ... ... ...
 

SW18

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I too noticed some 'rust' this weekend on a first trip out onto open roads, having driven a sum total of 0 miles at speeds exceeding about 25mph during Jan-Mar. I am still something of a driving beginner, having driven only just under 100,000 miles so far in 25 years of driving, so am interested in being educated about this bit:

my anticipation of road conditions ahead meant I actually used the brakes on a couple of occasions. I normally consider that if I brake in normal flowing conditions, then I have failed to anticipate correctly. Brakes are just for bringing a car to a full stop at low speed......

I find that my car rolls so freely that it is very hard to scrub off speed without the brakes! Especially on long downhill sections where the car will drop a gear and engine brake to hold the speed very steadily - no feet on any pedal needed. But if there is a bend or change of speed limit down the hill, brakes are always required. I am not sure how I could avoid use of brakes whilst making steady progress, but I like the idea - both from the point of view of smooth driving and minimising wear. All tips are welcome!
 
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Mactech

Mactech

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I find that my car rolls so freely that it is very hard to scrub off speed without the brakes! Especially on long downhill sections where the car will drop a gear and engine brake to hold the speed very steadily - no feet on any pedal needed. But if there is a bend or change of speed limit down the hill, brakes are always required. I am not sure how I could avoid use of brakes whilst making steady progress, but I like the idea - both from the point of view of smooth driving and minimising wear. All tips are welcome!
Yes, the mild hybrid A8 will maintain up to 80mph for about a mile so without the IC engine running, so it is a little more difficult in this car.
At the opposite end of the scale, the old Land Rover with it's 1940's technology and town hall aerodynamics will only move on its own with a strong tail wind.
The principle of no brakes does promote anticipation, smooth driving and best of all, good fuel consumption.
Does it reduce my average speed? Not one jot!
It is all about conservation of momentum, without hindrance to any other road users. If you are paying proper attention you can spot a traffic development many cars ahead before it becomes an issue to you.
 
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BPD07

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Generally I’ve seen a massive decline in the standard of driving over the year. Anticipation, dodgy overtakes and poor lane positioning. I think it has been going downhill for ages, but with so many drivers now “rusty” and going back on the road it’s going to be boom time for the body shops in April/May.
 

SpikyMikey

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Generally I’ve seen a massive decline in the standard of driving over the year. Anticipation, dodgy overtakes and poor lane positioning. I think it has been going downhill for ages, but with so many drivers now “rusty” and going back on the road it’s going to be boom time for the body shops in April/May.
We live in an area where the main through road has had traffic 'calming' islands installed each with a facility for pedestrians to cross the road in two stages rather than one. With traffic levels being a lot lower and therefore a reduction of oncoming vehicles, there seems now to be an increased incidence of Richard Cranium and his mates deciding that slowing down to negotiate these chicanes is boring; much better to straight line them by going the wrong side of the keep left sign and use the other side of the road. I'm sure they feel really smart.....
 

Meldrew2

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... it’s going to be boom time for the body shops in April/May.
I'm glad that my insurance renewal is this month - the premium has reduced by almost £100!

I guess it's because of most people driving less during lockdown (although my mileage has increased, with travelling in the UK for holidays on top of driving to/from work.)
 

Athey

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Being honest, it’s to be expected that we’re rusty. I have only driven twice in the past 14 months, and it’ll take a week or 2 just to start getting back to normal.
 

SW18

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It is all about conservation of momentum, without hindrance to any other road users.
This I do achieve at times - on local roads that I know well, I enjoy anticipating what the traffic lights will do and easing up in advance so that when I get there they are on green. It doesn’t work in heavy traffic but I don’t often need to drive at peak times so can often manage this. It’s quite a pleasure to waft along rarely needing to come to a halt even when driving in this busy city that I live in...
 
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Mactech

Mactech

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One of the games we used to play driving on unknown roads with one of our motorsport test drivers was ‘corner commit’
The idea of this was to commit to a corner with a single application of lock which was held until it was released at the end of the turn.
In motorsport, the constant radius until you unwind the lock is almost always the quickest way through a turn. On the road, it is amazing how many clues you can pick up to allow you to commit to a constant radius. Hedge lines, telephone pole orientation, the speed of on coming traffic are just some of them. It helps to maintain observation and you would be amazed how often the race drivers would be able to get it spot on!
Because ‘every day is a school day’ quite recently I was taught a really good trick by the Bentley advanced driver trainer.
Become a commentator! We not talking about replacing Murray Walker here, but observing all the possible hazards in front of you and verbalising them ( to yourself or out loud).
I had to do this to pass my test to be able to drive ‘product’ at Bentley. Didn’t matter that I had developed the fastest production car in the world, they just wanted to know that I was aware of the potential hazards in front of their very expensive car!
These included ’ Concealed exit on right, possible vehicle exit’ ‘Courier van stopping ahead, possible door opening in out face’ and ‘ lady with kids to our right distracted by bouncing dog!’
Just good practice to improve and take appropriate action on your observations.
 

SpikyMikey

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Become a commentator! We not talking about replacing Murray Walker here, but observing all the possible hazards in front of you and verbalising them ( to yourself or out loud).
The IAM used to encourage this - and it works! It's amazing how much your brain subconsciously takes in (even from your peripheral vison areas) when you're driving. It's only when you start verbally describing do you realise how much information you're processing.
 

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Except for one 60 mile non-motorway drive everything in the last year has been local & hardly ever at more than 40mph. Never in a hurry & content to bumble along enjoying the lovely scenery, in a city car or Mercedes SLK/SLC With the possibility of being able to take longer drives again, short days away etc I have no enthusiasm for changing my driving habit having got used to the stress-free experience & not driving quickly. Might have to change my habit should I encounter a motorway though.
 

fabes

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I thought this was a thread about getting the club's out to get a round to golf in and discovering their condition.....🙄

Can't comment on being rusty myself, but the traffic jams down this way announced on the radio have been horrendous this week.
Traffic is no less busy than 'normal', whatever that looks like
 

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