6 Driving Tips For Video Gamers (Includes GTA 5 and PUBG)
Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, you are expected to drive cars in a lot of different games. My love for cars, and experience with the way they work has really helped in a variety of different games over the years. I want to pass on some of that to all of you. Soon, you will be impressing your squad mates and saving your crew from the cops with these slick moves.
Their uses range from motoring around maps in PUBG with your pals to driving to the next heist in GTA 5 or dodging those trees in Forza Horizon. Sorry, but there’s no Ferrari pack planned for Minecraft just yet.
I’ve decided to share some of my own tips and tricks that can help anyone improve their driving in almost any game.
Tip 1: Drive Smart, Not Fast
Main Takeaway: Try find a well paced groove through your obstacles that minimises unknown risk.
While you might be tempted to slam the pedal down and hang on for dear life, the best approach is to just keep yourself from totaling your car. When you drive, read the road ahead and use peripheral vision to spot the best routes through the gaps. Planning a cautious, well-timed sprint over a red light is way smarter than just barreling through at top speed and hoping you don’t get intimate with an 18-wheeler truck.
One of my favorite getaway driving scenes of all time comes from the intro to Drive. In the incredibly tense scene, you see Ryan Gosling using smart and realistic techniques to evade the cops, rather than the insane superhero-skill antics of the very similar yet completely different intro from Baby Driver (more about that sweet reverse 180 trick he does down below).
To quote the name/slogan from the local road safety organisation: Arrive Alive.
Tip 2: The Trick To Not Hitting Poles And Trees
Main Takeaway: Where you look is where you go. So look at gaps.
A wise someone-or-other once said, “Your Focus Becomes Your Reality”. In this case, it translates to “That Tree You’re Staring At Becomes Your Face”.
Where you look is where you go. Race drivers know this very well. What this means is that you need to immediately find the gaps between the obstacles and focus on them ONLY. You’d be surprised at how effective this is. Once you get used to keeping this in mind, you’ll find yourself surviving these types of scenarios more and more.
Tip 3: Don’t Roll Your Own
Main Takeaway: If you’re about to tip over, steer towards the ground.
This might sound a bit stupid, but not putting your car on it’s roof is pretty handy. In games like PUBG, it can mean the death of your squad. When you find yourself riding on two wheels like in a stunt video, you need to get it back onto all fours.
What you need to do in this scenario, is steer towards the ground. If the car is on two wheels, steering towards the floor drops you back to all fours. If you steer the other way you’ll likely go upside down.
It’s simple enough, but the tricky part is remembering to do it in the sudden harrowing moment you find yourself looking at a diagonal horizon. Just remember: Four on the FLOOR.
“Games these days are getting good enough that even non-racing titles are able to mostly capture the unique characteristics of cars with different layouts. You can take advantage of that.”
Tip 4: When In Doubt, J-turn Out
Main Takeaway: Reverse at speed, then turn while letting off the gas to be a driving hero.
You’re deep into a heist, the job is done and you’re on wheel duty. The crew leaps into the car and you tear off down the street, only to discover a roadblock waiting for you. You can’t go forward, a cop is running to your door and you’re moments away from being boxed in. It’s time for a slick reverse 180, just like in the movies.
- To pull this off effectively, slam the car into reverse and get up to speed.
- Next, you want to turn fully in the direction that gives you a little bit of space to flick the front around.
- As the turn begins, completely let off the gas to get the car swing around, and dab the brakes for a bit of extra spin.
- Right before you’ve done the full 180, straighten the wheel out and get on the gas to pull you out.
Bonus: Here’s a nifty little video I’ve added that explains mostly the same thing, but let’s you see how its done.
Tip 5: Jump Like The Dukes Of Hazzard
Main Takeaway: Don’t adjust the steering when launching from ramps.
There’s a whole lot more to this that I’ll maybe share in a follow up post if there’s demand, but for now let’s keep it simple. When your car does a sweet jump, it carries the momentum of what you were doing right as you hit the ramp. This means that if you decide to correct the car left a tiny bit right before you fly, you’re likely going to start rotating in the air. Spoiler alert: this is usually bad.
In your run up to a jump, try and get into position as quickly as possible, and hit the ramp as flat-on as you can without adjusting the steering any more. When you land, keep the steering pointed in the direction you want to go to assist in straightening the car out.
If you wanna get fancy, and you’re planning on landing in a bitchin’ slide so that you instantly start making your way around the next corner like Ken Block, go ahead and get some rotation going and be prepared to catch the drift.
Tip 6: Celebrate Diversity
Main Takeaway: Don’t expect the Ferrari looking thing to behave the same as the rally looking thing.
Games these days are getting good enough that even non-racing titles are able to mostly capture the unique characteristics of cars with different layouts. You can take advantage of that. These are especially handy for dedicated racing games like Forza Motorsport, GT Sport, Project Cars 2 and so on:
- For sports cars (think Ferraris, Mustangs, most things that look fast), accelerating often turns the car more (like drifting). Apply a bit more throttle to give some extra turn, and ease off to scrub wide. Just be careful of spinning!
- 4-wheel drive cars like rally cars actually turn less when you accelerate, and more when you let off the gas. So slow the car a little earlier, coast through the corner in a slide and then slam on the gas to pull you out. Handbrakes can be put to great use with 4WD cars, just ask Baby Driver.
- Front-wheel powered cars like hot hatches or family cars (Golf GTI, Ford Fiesta ST, Toyota Corolla) actually work closer to 4WDs, although they can be much less grippy and likely to run wide when on the power. If you’re losing control of the car, point the car in the direction you wanna go, and use the power to pull you out.
I just found this great little video from Randy at MotorTrend that summaries everything perfectly if you apply it to road driving as well :