Herald Sun - Motoring - - COVER STORY -

OF COURSE I know The Stig. Who doesn’t th­ese days? But I wasn’t ex­pect­ing a grown-up book on driver ed­u­ca­tion from Ben Collins.

It looks fairly full-on, a bit of a text­book, but the lay­out is easy to turn a page and get to the point. I also like the il­lus­tra­tions, which are straight­for­ward and easy to un­der­stand.

The con­tent is good, sen­si­ble stuff and it’s been pack­aged to make it an easy read. The chap­ters follow a log­i­cal flow.

I thought I should start with a cou­ple of his ba­sic tips, start­ing with the right way to sit in a car. I moved a bit closer to the wheel and also con­cen­trated on hold­ing it with my hands at quar­terto-three, which is — sur­pris­ingly — more com­fort­able and also made me feel that I had bet­ter con­trol.

He seems to rant a lot about “look­ing up”, which ImustI must ad­mit gave me a greater sense of what was com­ing up as po­ten­tial haz­ards in my pe­riph­eral vi­sion. It’s prob­a­bly true that we all con­cen­trate on things too close to the end of the bon­net, when there is al­ready some­thing bad de­vel­op­ing.

I’m a bit rough when it comes to brak­ing, so I tried his tip to “feel” the brakes to make things smoother. It’s a good idea and it leads into smooth driv­ing to save the planet, another of his mantras, but that that’s s a long long-term term project to cut en­ergy use in ev­ery area of driv­ing.

I al­ready min­imise the air­con but am now work­ing on the best way to at­tack hills and des­cents to im­prove my fuel econ­omy.

I like the idea of learn­ing some more ad­vanced tech­niques, such as hit­ting the apex in cor­ners, but for that you need more than a book. As for over­steer and un­der­steer, they are fan­tas­tic for race driv­ers but not for me.

I like the break­out bits on the sides of the main ma­te­rial, be­cause that’s what Gen-Y read­ers will ex­pect with their multi-task­ing brains. The pic­tures are also en­ter­tain­ing and you get the im­pres­sion that Ben is a suc­cess­ful rac­ing driver and not just The Stig.

At first I didn’t think it was ac­tu­ally his writ­ing, but then I checked­his first book and that’s def­i­nitely his “voice” com­ing through in the text.

For me, it’s a very mas­cu­line book, with pic­tures that are male fo­cused and il­lus­tra­tions that al­ways show a guy and not a girl, but there might be a chance to fem­i­nise another edi­tion. The colour­ing is very pa­leo diet, with trendy blackand-white pic­tures and orange high­lights, but that could be changed to make it more invit­ing. I also think the Bri­tish mea­sure­ments, for ex­am­ple, feet and miles, should be changed for Aus­tralia.

I have an 18year-old male friend who would love this book and prob­a­bly get a fair bit out of it.

But young girls won’t be nearly as in­ter­ested so there is still an open­ing for some­one to do a sim­i­lar book from the fem­i­nine side.

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