Ever since I started go-karting, my overall road behavior has improved. I’m more aware of my surroundings, my driving technique has improved a lot, and I’ve avoided way more potential crashes. When I realized this, I started thinking about whether actively go-karting has played a part in my improvement as a driver.
Karting can provide you with several transferable skills to real-world scenarios on the road. These skills can help improve your driving behavior altogether.
Indeed, karting can have considerable benefits to your body, your way of thinking, and your reaction to different situations. While public roads are definitely not racing tracks, you can still use your karting knowledge to help you with various problems that might arise while driving.
What Are The Benefits Of Karting?
In addition to giving you pleasure as a hobby, karting comes with several benefits to your mind and body.
One of the most important benefits that go-karting gives you is enhancing your reflexes. After all, anything can happen during a race, and your kart can be unpredictable.
Go-karts don’t have power steering and need minor and quick adjustments. Also, you never know when another driver might make a mistake, and you’ll need to avoid crashing on them. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see your reflexes improve drastically.
Physical Strength & Stamina
Other noticeable effects of karting include improving your body strength and stamina. It’s no secret that go-karting can make you very sore. The g-forces your body undergoes are so severe that even a single lap can make you feel exhausted.
So, when you start go-karting consistently, your body will naturally develop increased strength and stamina to help with the physical toll. Each session will make you less and less tired until you eventually reach a point where you can sail through a karting session.
Proper awareness is also an essential part of go-karting. You need to be aware of the braking points and any potential oversteer or understeer that might happen. You also need to keep in mind any environmental conditions that may affect those, like a breeze or rain.
But, can these karting skills translate to actual driving on a public road?
How Karting Improves Your Skills On The Public Road
There are certain aspects of karting that can be very useful and help you improve in real-world situations.
Karting helps enhance your reflexes which, in turn, can help with your reaction time on the road significantly. Being able to react fast to unexpected situations is one of the most important things when driving a car, as a few milliseconds can make a big difference.
Additionally, there are way more dangerous situations that occur on public roads and demand fast reaction times. It’s not uncommon for cars to brake out of nowhere in front of you. A vehicle might violate a stop sign, or a kid might suddenly jump in the middle of the road.
While you’re not constantly bombarded with significant g-forces and vibrations when driving a car, it can still be tiring, especially if you’re driving for many hours. In this case, the physical endurance you build through karting can reduce the strain of a long drive on your body.
One of the more demanding aspects of karting is maintaining your grip on the wheel throughout the session. Although not as demanding, keeping your hands steady on the wheel of a car for many hours can be harsh. By karting, you build strength in your arms which allows you to not get tired during long periods of driving.
Of course, it’s not only about the hands, as your core and your feet are also subjected to these large forces and are strengthened significantly through this process. Therefore, when it comes to real-world driving, you’ll have no problem pushing the car’s pedals.
Just like physical strain, there can also be a large mental strain when driving for long hours. It’s very easy to lose your focus and potentially cause an accident. That’s where your increased awareness from karting comes in to save you.
Maintaining your full concentration can be challenging for anyone, especially during long periods of driving or when you need to drive while very tired. Thankfully the increased focus you acquire through karting can help reduce your loss of focus.
Another beneficial aspect of karting is learning good practices such as smooth braking and not overworking your car. With these practices embedded in your brain, you’ll be able to subconsciously apply them to your driving, even when you’re not entirely focused.
How Do I Become A Better Kart Driver?
Now that we’ve established that karting can be beneficial to your driving, here are a few tips on how to become a better kart driver. These tips will, in turn, help you become a better car driver as well.
Study The Track & The Racing Lines
This is the most important thing to do if you want to become a better go-kart driver. After all, you wouldn’t go hiking on a mountain without studying the trail you’ll follow, right?
You need to study the full track and find which is the best line to follow at any point during the race. The last thing you want is to come up to a corner unprepared and lose your momentum, or worse, end up in the barriers.
Efficient braking is also critical when you’re trying to optimize your kart driving. This is because braking too much or too little can cause you to lose a lot of your speed.
You need to press on the brake pedal lightly and consistently. You also need to get the timing right, as braking too early will lose you time, while braking too late can cause your wheels to lock up and your brakes and tires to wear out.
Learn How To Overtake
This skill is difficult to master but will make you much better at karting. In order to properly pass your opponent, you need to have the right amount of speed and space.
You need to hit the brakes later and accelerate earlier than your opponent. You can also choose a different and more optimal line than them. On top of that, keep an eye out for any mistake they might make, which can give you an advantage.
Does Karting Help You Learn How To Drive A Car?
Karting will help you get an initial feel of what it’s like to drive a car in a controlled environment. Essentially, it will help you overcome the initial fear of causing an accident when you’re learning how to drive, among other things.
Karting can also help you understand basic techniques of driving. A great example is not pressing on the brake pedal and the gas pedal together, as it can cause severe problems or outright destroy your engine.
In the end, go-karting can be beneficial to your driving skills. While some might argue that the experience is far from that of a car, I’d say that they are not so dissimilar. But, don’t forget that public roads are not race tracks, and you should not treat them as such.
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FAQs for Karting Making You a Better Driver
Does Karting Improve Your Driving Skills?
Karting has certain benefits that can help you improve your driving behavior. These include physical ones and mental ones, as I mentioned above.
If I Become Better at Karting, Will It Further Improve My Driving Skills?
Yes, if you get better at karting, you’ll further enhance the benefits you get from it. However, you shouldn’t only count on karting to help you become a better driver.