Driving Tips

Tips on Driving Deal's Gap

Submitted by anonymous reader

  • Share the road. The Gap can be a cocktail of bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. Lots of people with different goals. If you want to enjoy the scenery, use the pull-offs to let faster traffic by. (You can also use them to build a gap behind slower traffic that won't pull over!) If you want to run your own pace, go early or late in the day, preferably mid-week.
  • Watch the video at killboy.com posted 12/24/11 titled “Jay Multistrada.” Copy Darryl’s driving: relaxed grip on the wheel at positions 10 and 2, steering lock fed in and out smoothly, rare and smooth shifts.
  • Stay in your lane - There are so many benefits here I shouldn't even have to justify it. If everyone stays in their lane, we get 22 miles of great driving instead of 11 miles dodging oncoming traffic. Killboy’s car videos show that you can have fun in your own lane. Visibility in some bends and switchbacks can be deceptive: it looks like there’s clear road ahead when actually oncoming traffic may be hidden. Keep oncoming traffic in mind. Some very capable sport bikes and cars run the Gap and may flash around the next bend much quicker than routine traffic. 
  • Read Tips on Riding: it’s useful for drivers too. Much of it applies to four-wheelers and what applies only to two-wheelers lets you know what the world looks like from a saddle. Don’t drop your wheels into the roadside gravel. When it kicks onto the pavement, it’s a hazard for bikes.
  • Check your ego - I'd guess about 90% of the accidents are a result of trying to "keep up" or "stay in front" of other, faster vehicles. You do know you are not the fastest don't you? (no it's not me ;)
  • Check things out on your first run - Road conditions are pretty consistent at the Gap, due to the lack of in-roads, but your first pass should be at a moderate pace to see how things look. If there is some debris in the road, feel free to pull over and clean it up. You will be a hero for life in someone's eyes, and you won't have to worry about tracking that bad spot.
  • Check your seating position before starting your run. Your left leg should be slightly bent with the clutch depressed. With your arms extended over the top of the steering wheel, your wrists or the heel of your hand should meet the rim (not your palm or fingers). Some people like to wear driving gloves for better (but relaxed) grip. Snug your seatbelt after your seat is adjusted.
  • Turn in later. Inexperienced drivers running hard tend to early-apex. This causes them to run wide at exit. There are several double-apex bends. If you over-commit to the first one, you’ll have trouble apexing the second one, or run wide. Southbound, there are some bends with paved pull-offs. If you enter hot and apex the pull-off, you will wash out into the oncoming lane. Mind the camber changes from banked turns to crowned road.
  • Seven or eight tenths of your and your vehicle’s capability is enough. Nine tenths requires no mistakes, repeated 318 times. A smooth run is faster than a jerky run that crowds your and the car’s limits. If you have the time, make a couple of passes at a relaxed pace to get comfortable with the road.
  • Lay off the shifting - Except for the (few) straights you can drive the entire Gap in 2nd and 3rd or 3rd and 4th, depending on your ratios. You can have more fun if you’re focused on your line instead of fishing for a gear.
  • Mind the braking. You don’t have to lay off the brakes but... If you’re using them a lot, you’re probably trying too hard. Except at the ends of the (few) straights, a tap should be enough to adjust your entry speed. “Charging” a corner focuses you on your braking point, not your line. Rely on your vision and good sense more than warning signs.
  • Fast sections do not last - Many of the problem corners where everyone seems to pile up, are sharp turns at the end of a fast section. Until you have things memorized, and let's be realistic, that's a LOT of memorizing, take it easy on the fast stuff. One more reason to stick with one gear.
  • Group Cruising - Spread out. If you are cruising through and you know others will be coming up behind your group, make it easier on them to work their way through by giving them space between cars. It's nearly impossible to pass a tight group safely, but some riders will try to force a pass on the whole group and it causes accidents, which brings out the cops and ruins things for everyone. You are all going to the same place - there are no roads to turn off onto. You won't get lost if you back off a few feet, I promise.
  • Watch for signals - If you see someone motioning for you to slow down or pull over, do it immediately. Mack truck bumpers are not very forgiving.
  • Give signals - Use your turn signal well before using a pull-off; use it several seconds before pulling back onto the road. Be “obvious” that you intend to pull onto the road again—stick your head out the window. If you know there is a road hazard behind you, motion for other vehicles to slow down by pressing down with your open palm. If you want to warn others of a speed trap, pat the top of your roof. If you see a semi heading into the Gap, try to get in front and warn people. I usually very close to the center line, even ON the center line to get their attention, and motion for people to pull off the road by pointing at their shoulder of the road. They may get mad at you initially for crowding their lane, but they'll understand a few seconds later. Try to stay about 2 turns ahead of the rig...just far enough for a person to slow down, but not so long that they think you were crazy and take back off only to meet the truck around the next bend.
  • Slow down as you near the ends - Speeding up to the crowd at the Overlook or the Store only impresses the types no one should be trying to impress. These places are crowded, and dangerous by design. At the Overlook, the parking area on one side of the road is a blind pull out, at the Store you have Hwy 28 joining onto 129, and a parking lot full of bikes and people distracting everyone. Also, the police like to hang out at the Overlook and radar people as they come speeding around the last bend. The road opens up and it's very inviting to speed. Familiarize yourself with the indicators before each end. Generally we ease off after crossing the state line into NC heading toward the Store, and the last sharp left heading toward the Overlook. One other benefit of taking it easy near the end is that it allows your brakes to cool a little. Hammering the brakes right up to the last 10 feet, then parking can very easily cause brake rotor warping. The callipers are super hot, and they sit on one spot of the rotor, keeping that spot very hot while the rest of the rotor cools. This difference in heat is what causes warping.
Enjoy the Drive!