Avoiding Incidents

Atish Dabeesing wrote this post wishing to change racing mentality of some fellow buddies out there. A reminder pointing what could be wrong with some attitudes and approaches.

I’m writing this post to understand and probably change the attitude of people who crashed or caused unnecessary wrecks in races. It is not meant to put down or accuse anyone. Its purely for informative and understanding the psychology behind a crash and causes of wrecks. Mainly focusing on events leading to and after an incident. Its a long post, and its my personal opinion.

Firstly i’ll start by saying that i have been racing in Iracing for a about 2 years now and i had my share of crashes/incidents and i have to admit that i have caused wrecks in race due to negligence and i am pretty sure that each of us here have caused wrecks at some point in a race. But through practice, races, and built experience we learn the DO’s and DONT’s. This is what i’ll like to discuss here and hopefully pass on a message and change the attitude of some fellow iracers.

Lets me start by talking about causes of crashes.

As all of us know and heard in EVERY race “please be careful on LAP 1 and TURN 1”
This is not an understatement, and most of the time you ll hear this from experienced racers.. WHY??? its because they are experienced and have seen once too many times. Ladies and gentlemen, let me break it down to you, UNICORN, SANTA CLAUSE, FAIRIES, etc don’t EXIST. the same concept applies to LAP 1 and Turn 1, believing the race is won on lap 1 and turn 1 is FAKE instead you will end up in the pits for the remainder of the race while taking along with you clean drivers, messing others race and getting abused for it. So Why do it!! at the start of the race everybody is slow and will brake early you have to keep that in mind, and things are a bit unpredictable and if you rush it consequences are as stated above. The idea is if you are fast QUALIFY and start at the front, if you are at the back then keep cool and build up your position as the race progresses and through experience ive notice that you will end up in a good position if you keep it clean.

what i have learnt from racing is that you have to control your emotions and not get carried away…PATIENCE is the key. When you lose patience, you start making mistakes or take unnecessary risks e.g. overtaking on a tight corner or trying to overtake when its really not possible or dive bombing or unable to brake in time, the result same as above WRECKS, Crashes and Abuses. If you are fast, then believe it or not there will be better opportunities to overtake and gain positions cleanly.

Like they saying goes, LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.

I mean really guys why risk it and end up in an incident hence ending your race early and that of the other driver. WHY DO IT??? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY??? million dollar question.

Well is it just because of one position that you will have better opportunities to gain after.

Now another huge cause of wrecks is coming back on the track after a crash or incident or off tracks. NOW THERE s a box called relative, for those who don’t know, it actually indicates the position of other drivers in relation to you, USE IT…if you crash or go off track and TAKE THAT 1 sec and have a glance at it …see if its safe to come back..allow at least 5-8 secs of space. otherwise wait up. YOu have crashed and lost the Position ACCEPT IT, don’t try to get it back straight away….as in most case instead of gain it back, u’ll probably end your race right there cause some else is going to crash in your car and damage it more than what it was.

WHAT DO YOU DO THEN? well
In the event of an incident you

  1. lock your brakes, and stay put, don’t move the car. Most of the time it will allow others coming behind to avoid you or go around you.
  2. if you are in a dangerous position and you see you can move to the grass do it.
  3. don’t try to win your position, LET IT GO for now!
  4. Take a breath!!!! Don’t get carried away and get all aggressive. the Result would be same as above, things are just gonna get worst for you
  5. build up your pace again.

Advises when racing (things i do)

  1. predict what the driver at the front is going to do
  2. if your not comfortable being too close, acknowledge that and keep a distance until safe to overtake.
  3. i usually brake a little bit before when nearing a corner, when i’m close racing.
  4. look a ahead and predict your moves in advance
  5. Watch out for crashes and yellow flags they help, they are there for a reason. Slow down if you have too…yellow flag does not mean opportunity to pass but it mean danger, careful, slow down.
  6. Know how the brakes works.
  7. keep your line when 2 wide or 3 wide. Understand the corners, some corners going in 2 wide is asking for it. Usually if coming to a situation where i believe i’m gonna risk my car or the other driver’s car, i usually let the guy who’s ahead pass, and if i’m in front ill go in first.
  8. respect other drivers, we all wanna have a great race and have fun and most importantly Finish our race that we waited 2 hours for. SO why wreck it.

You wont win anything by being overly aggressive, impatient, careless and disrespectful. It happens way too often where because of the foolishness of one, others pay for it.

I wanted to write this because i wanted to pass on some information to avoid such issues on the tracks, but most importantly i wanted others to also chip in their opinions and advises . With that i want to also see and probably give school of thoughts to others so that they learn and change their attitude. It took me a while do write this up so please make it count and informative.

All this is my personal opinions and i would greatly appreciate if each of us would add their opinion. Please don’t destroy the idea behind this post as i would like others to read it and gain something out of it coming from all experienced Iracers out here. Keep it clean, constructive and information.

Brian Corwin took a more practical approach to the psychology of a race driver and recall some good points by Ross Bentley’s Ultimate Speed Secrets book.

So i want to refine a few things said about the psychology of crashing because we’ve all been there. First of all, a lot of what you said is true. The real truth of the matter is the human brain can only focus on 1 thing at a time and it is not very good a relaying data from point A your eyes to point B your brain that is why there are varying levels of reaction times, data gained, and time spent with interrupting data from one person to the next.

I put this example in another thread in general/off topic thread. It is from Ross Bentley’s book “Speed Secrets” and it talks about as a crew chief what can you do to get your driver ready for the race or qualifying – basically how do you the driver’s mind right.

The case study talk about a driver who has a reputation crashing (or at least getting involved in wrecks at no fault of his own) and the frustrated crew chief says before the driver goes out on the track… “This time out on the track, don’t crash” while his intentions are good the driver has to digest the sentence and the last thing he hears is what he focuses on (for most people). So he might as well be saying “blah blah blah crash”. As i said before the human brain doesn’t relay and focus on more than 1 thing at a time. That is why distracted drivers crash more times than not, that is why when you’re on the phone it is hard to talk and do other things, etc. etc. etc.

Now try out this exercise. The example Ross gives out is…

“The next thing I want you to do is think about a Pink Elephant”

I’m sure by now you have a pink elephant in your mind’s eye right? Ok clear your mind and think about the next thing.

“Whatever you do, do not think about a Pink Elephant”

Now i told you not to think about a Pink Elephant but chances are you’re still thinking about a pink elephant right?

“WHATEVER YOU DO DO NOT THINK ABOUT PINK ELEPHANT!”

ok so by changing the color of the phrasing you’re probably still thinking about a pink elephant right?

“I ONLY WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT A BLUE ELEPHANT!”

See i can phrase the sentence and change the color of the text and do all these different things. But the subject that you hear and focus on in your mind is something that is going to stick…. So why not think about positive things instead? Really why go into a race already with a failing attitude. How many times have you seen people say “I’m just here for SR” than that person crashes out instantly, how many times have you seen anyone say “it is my first time here, I’m going to just ride around in the back?” and do the same thing. They are not focusing on the right thing.

Whenever you get into a car and start racing you should be thinking about 2 things primarily 1) mentally going through the corners in your head listening to sound queues you’ve hopefully memorized by now. 2) Thinking about positive things or reinforcing strategy. For instance you’re in P/GT, you’re in a low SOF race and you’ve had trouble with turn 1 at this particular track in the past. Instead of starting in the pits, start by thinking something positive or reinforcing your game plan

“Turn 1 i am going to coast in and brake early” <— you don’t need more information than this. Seriously not to change the subject but there is a reason air traffic controllers only give 2 instructions at a time… “DAL1919 turn right heading 360, descend maintain one-five thousand” anymore than this and the pilot can risk becoming confused, getting the dials wrong, or adding more chances for something to go wrong.

After you get to Turn 1 then what? You look around your car and see nothing dangerous you can then file in and get racing…

Okay so let’s say it is a night track and your tires are cold. You spin.

The first thought you should have is “Wait, stand on the brakes”

Second thought you should have is “Check that the car isn’t disabled”

Then “Check relative for safety in turning”

Then “Safely get in the right direction”

Then “slowly get back up to speed”

Then “check for damage”

by braking thoughts down 1 at a time you can drastically change your stress levels, and eliminate the errors you’d normally make by hastily trying to get going again. It is like the OP said. You already lost the spot accept it and wait.

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