#joyofdriving: basic etiquette when going for touge (no, not tauge) drives

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Last weekend, I braved an early morning Sunday to head for the hills. I had on hand, some of the correct ingredients: a test car I wanted to properly put through the paces, and a collective of driving enthusiasts whom I met during the #EvoEnduro2018 rally. Truthfully, I had already planned to head up the hills, but since the guys were up for a drive, I thought I’d simply tag along.

Closing in to the regular meet-up spot, I spotted a lovely air-cooled Porsche. I scrambled to get my phone for a quick picture, then gave the driver a light honk, an enthusiastic thumbs up, and couldn’t help but wind down my windows to congratulate him on a beautiful ride. The driver grinned back at me with two thumbs up, and shouted over to drive safe that morning.

Now for a quick pro-tip: I’ve participated in enough organized drives to know that nine times out of ten, the group will never depart sharp on planned time. There is always that one person who’s just woken up, has had a tummy upset, is five minutes away or is just around the corner (read: at least fifteen minutes wait), et cetera, et cetera. My advise? Arrive spot on time just to be polite, never be ambitious to try for early.

As I pulled into the station, I noticed two or three other groups of cars. For some reason, Sundays seem to draw a larger crowd compared to Saturday mornings. Why this is the case, I reckon I’ll never know; especially not when I struggle to wake up in the mornings between Monday and Sunday. And as I mentioned in a previous article here, these days I generally prefer driving alone. Larger crowds means more testosterone and the risk of uncontrolled egos.

Here are five principles I try to maintain when I drive up UY:

  1. This is not a race – there are no prizes for being first to reach the top
  2. Respect the folks in UY town – slow down, don’t rev your engines
  3. Do not tailgate the car in front of you; no points for causing an accident
  4. If you are holding up traffic, find a safe spot to slow down to allow the car(s) behind to pass
  5. Know your limits – you don’t have to corner at the same speed as the car(s) ahead of you

However, with larger groups, there seems to always be faster drivers that want to stay at the back of the group; not because they are keen to be sweeper cars, but because they have an action cam mounted to their vehicles with the intention to film some pursuit and over-taking action. And then there are others who make some pretty dangerous judgement calls, with reckless over-taking maneuvers; pressuring the cars ahead of them and making passes with blind corners just ahead.

Enthusiastic driving on touge roads will never be one hundred percent safe, we all get that. But why increase the risk factor with arrogance and stupidity?

The above is not hypothetical — I was tailgated by another car and I had to try my best not to let the driver pass, especially in areas where one mistake could put us both at risk. And when I knew there was room, I slowed down and signaled my intent to allow them to pass me. I cannot stress how important it is to be aware of your surroundings, not just on what is ahead but especially with what is going on behind you.

Kon was in a similar scenario but he was alert to keep track of what was going on in his rear-view mirror, and with the good sense to ease slightly into the grass embankment to give room and way to the fool behind (you can watch his video here at the 15-minute mark).

Have you had similar experiences like we’ve described above? If so, do share this with us in comments below, along with some ideas on what else we should all be mindful of when enjoying our touge drives.

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About Author

From supercar spotting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Won has moved onto the realms of motoring journalism since 2011. He has a keen eye for automotive photography, a penchant for fast cars, and the occasional hunger for munching corners.

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