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When it is your fault

Nathan McDougal


8a.jpg.c9990db30a8e82b6c51fb4fe4429378f.jpgWhen you enter a race, you don’t plan on crashing. You don’t expect to do it to anybody else and you don’t expect them to do it to you. But there’s a pretty good chance that it’s going to happen. We’ve all been taken out in turn 1 at some point or another, by some overly eager driver who tried to out-brake everybody. We’ve all been wrecked by passes that were either too aggressive, or made in a bad part of the track. Crashing is a part of racing to some extent. Sadly, in sim racing it’s far more common than real racing. People face no physical harm and no repercussions so they feel much more invincible.

Crashing, a lot of times happens simply by accident. Maybe you’re making a pass and accidentally clip the car you’re passing. Maybe you don’t brake at the proper time and rammed into the back of someone. These and many other kinds of mistakes can happen at any time. We’re going to talk about what you should do and how you should act when it’s your fault.

This is a really big problem in Sim Racing. Drivers these days never seem to feel that an accident is their fault. They put the blame on another car/driver. We see this from time to time in posts online where the person is berating the other driver when the footage shared actually shows they were at fault.

Humility is the key to Learning

8c.jpg.f3313adfd55c0744201096a18c13fe2a.jpgDrivers who can’t ever see their own faults will never learn from them. To be a good racing driver you need to be humble, just like a good athlete needs to be coachable. Now I know what you’re thinking: ”racing driver and humble don’t really go together” and sadly in many cases you are right.

Sim Racing is a one-man sport. There’s not even a crew chief to call you out when you’re wrong. It’s on all of us to look at our own driving with an unbiased eye. Even the best drivers make mistakes and we need to be aware that we are not above causing problems for other drivers. If you do take somebody or even everybody down with you in a crash, there will be some angry people to be sure. However, your reaction to the situation will largely determine how they react.

If you’re trying to vehemently defend your mistake it’s going to get ugly. If you directly admit that it was your fault and apologize most drivers will understand. They’ve been “that guy” before too. When looking back at a scenario where there was a crash don’t look at it to see where you were right. Instead, look at it and see what you could have done better. There is always room for improvement and as a racing driver, even if it wasn’t totally your fault you can still learn something from it. As drivers we should all be learning to be better as we go. We should never feel like “I know what I’m doing” and close ourselves off to becoming better at what we do. Even the most seasoned racing drivers of all time continued to learn as they went. Sim racers are no different.

When you cause an accident, as hard as it may be, admit your mistake straight away. Apologize to the other drivers involved and use this as a learning experience. If you need help with being humble, then by all means share the footage social media groups and they’ll all bring you down a notch or two if necessary. One of the best things about online groups is that there are always a lot of honest opinions waiting to be shared.

Tips from fellow drivers:

  • Re-watch a race (especially if there was a crash you were involved in) in other drivers’ perspectives and ask yourself “What would I have done differently if anything in their shoes? What could I have done differently that would have changed the outcome?”
  • If you take a car out and it’s your fault, you wait and let him ahead again, if the car is still drivable. You just make up for your mistake.
  • Don’t push so hard through a crash up ahead – things could change in an instant and you may end up as part of it. Instead, ease off a bit and try to avoid it as smoothly as possible.
  • Drivers don’t have eyes in the back of their head or sometimes simply aren’t using their mirrors. If you can’t get around someone right away wait, think, plan and attack at the right time.

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