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How To Drive: Steering like a pro

1 month ago

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Steve Sutcliffe | Journalist


14 March 2024

The act and art of steering a car – or any vehicle – is about far more than merely making it change direction. As with all good driving, steering is about touch, feel, balance and anticipation. Also a fundamental understanding that whatever inputs you make at the wheel of a car directly affects what happens to it at both ends, not just one. So although you use your hands to physically guide a car along a road or around a track, it’s your eyes, mind and backside that are at least as significant tools.

To steer a car properly you need to constantly read the road ahead in as much detail as you can, placing your car just-so well before anything so much as a corner arrives. On a track the act is repetitive lap after lap so you don’t need to do it so much unless the conditions change (when it becomes vital), but on the road it’s an essential ingredient to steering well. Why? Because by reading a road properly you’ll naturally put less stress through a car when the corners do eventually arrive. That car’s trajectory will then be smoother and you’ll end up cornering both more quickly and safely.

Someone who steers well will appear to be disarmingly calm behind the wheel, whereas someone who can’t will look more frantic as they over-react to everything appearing in their windscreen. These are the kinds of drivers who will saw dramatically at the wheel, believing themselves masters of their hard working art. The real pros, however, will appear to do almost nothing with the wheel when driving the same car, along the same piece of road, probably at far higher speed and certainly in greater control.

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