Take it to the track. That’s my advice to all those, mostly young drivers, you hear about on the evening television news getting caught for speeding or engaging in other forms of ‘enthusiastic’ driving on public roads.
Like anyone who loves cars and driving, I understand the desire of enthusiasts to have some fun driving their cars but, as all our parents used to say, there’s a time and a place for everything.
The road is not the place to live out Gran Turismo, Need for Speed or Forza Motorsport fantasies … aside from being illegal, it’s just plain too dangerous, both for the participants and those innocent driving public they encounter.
Lives are at risk and that’s just stupid … and unnecessary.
So without wishing to sound like a crusty old do-gooder, what I’m saying is that for those drivers who want to explore the capabilities of their cars and themselves, there’s a perfectly safe place to do it … the track.
Right around Australia, at tracks across the country, there are regular ‘Track Days’ where you can turn up with your car and cut some laps. Some of these are organised by Car Clubs, some by private companies, others by the tracks themselves.
Requirements are pretty minimum … a car that’s roadworthy, some basic safety equipment and you’re away.
It’s a great way to blow off some steam, see what your car can do, and learn some useful driving skills along the way. You never know, with the right amount of talent and commitment, it might even lead to a career in the sport!
Another avenue is to join a Car Club … there’s dozens of them around the country.
Car Clubs generally run a whole swag of different events to appeal to various sectors of their memberships … so as well as track days there are motorkhanas, hillclimbs, rallies, treasure hunts, observation rallies, cruises and a bunch of other stuff.
These are all ways to enjoy your car, improve your skills and do it safely.
Or a further option is to do one of the many Advanced Driving Courses on offer around the country.
These start from the very basic, designed for those drivers just about to or who have just got their license, up through various levels of skill that can even include getting your basic racing license.
I taught at one prominent school years ago when I was a youngster in Melbourne, and I was always amazed how quickly the students improved their skills with a bit of tuition.
And how many of the students came back to do the next-level course, because it’s just plain good fun.
There’s an argument that says these types of Advanced Driving Courses should be mandatory for every driver, but that’s a whole other discussion.
Whatever path is chosen, there’s no doubt we need to encourage these ‘enthusiastic’ drivers to take it to the track, not the streets, where it belongs.