As a hot rod enthusiast, chances are that you like to take your pride and joy out on the road every once in a while. There are hot rod meet-ups taking place all over the US at any given time, and many abandoned airstrips are taken over by fans eager to put their machines through their paces. So, how can you go about improving your skills as a driver in order to better look after your engine, at the same time as impressing your fellow hot rod buffs? Here we’ll take a look at the most important areas to concentrate on so that you can be the best driver it’s possible to be.
Physical Work Out
Cynics will say that physical strength and health are not compulsory requirements for drivers; however, they are wrong. Driving the average family car may not necessarily cause you to break out into a sweat but driving any vehicle takes at least some physical effort. This is multiplied tenfold for racing drivers, as the speed of the vehicle is faster, the turns are sharper and the actual driving requires more power behind the wheel.
Race drivers benefit from having good flexibility and stability in the form of lower body strength. Deadlifts and squats help to strengthen your legs meaning that you can control your seated posture and really put some force on the brake or accelerator pedals, as needed. A seated Russian twist mimics the driving position and helps to maintain a strong, flexible torso; dumb bell push-ups can help out here too, as they help to build a strong core and stabilise the spine.
Overall good health is preferable before entering a race, but it’s recommended that you focus on the areas of your body which will be under the most pressure when racing. The strengthening properties of some yoga and pilates exercises are good for toning up muscles; they are also ideal for making sure weaker points like wrists and ankles are in tip top condition.
Physical fitness is essential, but a robust mind is not to be underrated either. You won’t get far in a race if your reaction time isn’t up to speed (literally), or your hand/eye coordination is unreliable. Racing drivers rely on their judgement to make sure that they don’t end up in a nasty scrape or spinning out to watch the rest of their competitors fly past them. Even when racing hot rods, which don’t reach the speeds of the F1, for example, it’s important to have your wits about you.
The first step you can take towards sharpening up those reaction times is to give your brain a work out. This can be achieved through cerebral activities like learning a new language on DuoLingo, aiming for 21 at PokerStarsCasino or checking out one of The Guardian’s puzzles. However, it can also be done through playing video games; it’s been proven that many popular titles for the latest games consoles can actually help to improve brain processing times, reaction times, hand/eye coordination and plenty more useful skills. Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean that it’s not good practice.
However, always make sure to take plenty of breaks from the screen, get up and stretch, and focus your mind on something else for a while or you’ll end up with square eyes. Not so useful out on the track.
Take A Break
Never underestimate how much of an advantage a good night’s sleep can give you. If you’ve slept properly and are feeling well rested, your brain will be firing on all cylinders and you’ll find driving much easier than when you’re tired. The reason that drivers are encouraged to take regular breaks on the motorway is that it can be dangerous to be sleepy and in charge of a vehicle. This is especially pertinent when you’re driving said vehicle at top speed round a race track, surrounded by other drivers.
It might sound obvious, but when was the last time you really allowed yourself a peaceful night in bed? If you typically find it difficult to drift off at a reasonable time, then you can try methods such as meditation or mindfulness to relax you. The practice of slowing down and being present in the moment has been proven to help people unwind, especially at the end of a busy day. These practices could also come in useful when you’re in the driving seat; the more control you have over your thoughts, the better you’ll be able to handle what can sometimes become a very stressful situation to be in.
Whilst racing hot rods can arguably be called the most fun that you can have on four wheels, it’s important to look after yourself as well as your vehicle.