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CYCLECAR AND MOTOR CYCLE NOTES.

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CYCLECAR AND MOTOR CYCLE NOTES. [Br CELERITER.] PREVENTING SKIDS WHAT TO DO IN EMERGENCY. Possibly one of the greatest terrors to many motorists when driving over greasy roads is the fear of a skid. Now, skids are due to a variety of causes, and whether they take place on a motor cycle or on a light car or a heavy car, they can all be avoided to a very considerable extent, if not altogether, and in all cases the skid can be minimised when the skidding vehicle is in the hands of a skilful driver. In these notes I do not propose to deal with motor cycle skids, but rather to consider the question from a car driver's point of view. I was in a garage one day last week, and saw no less than three cars, each of which had a broken wheel, as the result of a skid the wheels were all of the wooden artillery type, it may be mentioned. Now, bad the drivers of these cars been well versed in the art of skidding—there is an art in it-the probability is that not one of these would have had a broken wheel, and the garage proprietor would have failed to reap the benefit of the ill-wind, or the muddy road. Skids are in the main due to four causes, which may be taken in the following order in point of importance:—(1). Too sudden application of the brakes, resulting in locked wheels. (2). A sudden swerve, either when avoiding another vehicle or other obstruction, or when rounding a corner. (3). Excessive road camber and tramlines. So far as skids on paved roads are con- cerned, these are usually due to a combina- tion of 1 and 2, the smooth greasy surface of the wood or stone paving tending to bring about a skid much earlier than would be the case under the same circumstances but on a macadam road. It is not always possible to avoid applying the brakes sud- denly, and at the same time making a swerve, but when this has to be done the careful driver is on the alert for a skid, and the moment he feels his car wheels lock he releases his brake instantaneously only to apply it again with a gentler touch. Un- equally adjusted brakes greatly accentuate a skid-I am writing of brakes which act on the road wheels independently—especially if the clutch pedal is released at the same time, for by releasing the clutch pedal each wheel is allowed to act independently of the other, the differential gear being free, and with badly adjusted brakes one wheel may be locked, the other being hardly held. Such a state will quickly bring about a skid on a greasy road. On the other hand if the clutch pedal has been kept in till the last moment before the car actually came to a standstill, the breaking effect would have been practically equal on each wheel, due to, being equalised, through the differential gear therefore when breaking on a greasy surface it is well to remember to leave the clutch in <as long possible. The skid that results from a sudden swerve can generally be counteracted very easily if the driver does not loose his nerve. When swinging round a left hand corner for instance, if the roads are greasy the back of the car will tend to swing out to the right; this can be corrected by locking the wheels over to the right sharply, and then bringing them to the straight again before the back has time to swing round to the left, the reverse operations being gone through on a right hand corner. With a little experience and providing one is on the alert, it is a very simple matter to correct a skid due to this cause, but without experience and if it happens when the driver is unprepared, the inexperienced driver will probably at once do the very things that accentuate the danger most, namely release his clutch or apply his brakes, or both, which will most certainly make the skid worse if it does not ,end in disaster. Skids which come under heading No 3 do not oftpn take place if the oar is well shod with it n-skid tyrea, except perhaps on roads with very slimy em-faops emi !1I¡,.en of eluilk, hut to my mind skidding dun to the above rauseH is the most. unpleasant of all. back of the car is felt to he Fil(iina into the guttet- and a helpless sort of feeling comes over the driver, but by turning the steering wheels to bring the front wheels over into the same direction as the gutter into which the car is skidding, the skid may be counter- acted in most cases, though if going at speed the mere turning of the steering wheel may not be enough, then it is necessary to accelerate to bring about the desired effect; this usually brings the car into the crown of the road again, but no sooner is it there than it begins to slide down into the opposite gutter. I recently drove from Yeovil to Swindon, and had a series of skids from side to side almost the whole way, the addition of a tramp to the complement of the car did not have any steadying effect, and though there was little danger of any damage being done, the feeling as the car swayed first to one side of the road, and then the ether, could hardly be called refresh- ing. This was with absolutely plain tyres all round. Since then, I have fitted non- skids and done the same journey under similar road conditions with never a skid. I have come to the conclusion that no amount of practice will overcome skidding under these conditions entirely, though the experienced driver would be able to avoid any accident, where an inexperienced driver might have a dozen mishaps. As regards No 4 tramlines are often the cause of skids, especially with narrow track and small tyre vehicles, particularly if the tyres are steel studded, the studs of which tend to cling to the grooves of the lines. Knowing this, most light car drivers are very wary when driving along tram lines and avoid getting their wheels into them as far as possible. So long as the wheels are in the tramlines all is well, but if the lines have to be vocated in a hurry the chances are that the front wheels will have to be locked over to a considerable extent before they will leave the groove, and then when they do come out the car will try to dart across the road, and if going fast a serious skid may ensue before they can be straightened out again. The best plan therefore to avoid tramline skids is to keep out of the lines as far as possible, and to cross them at as oblique an angle as possible. If the wheels do find their way into the lines, it is as well to slow down considerably before endeavouring to turn out of them. If a skid does ensue, the only plan is to release the accelletor pedal, and correct the skid as far as possible by the steering any application of the brakes or release of the clutch is likely to make matters worse rather than better. In order to know how to act in emergency, I am rather inclined to advocate the inclusion of some lessons in skidding where the tuition of motor drivers is concerned, though before this could be done the driver must be absolutely proficient in the handling of a car in every other respect, and in fact should have at least a month's driving experience, hence there might be some difficulty in including skidding practice in the driving course. A simple plan is to take the car out on a wide unfrequented road on a greasy day and practice a few skids by locking the wheels over slightly when travelling at a moderate pace. By doing this the driver will at once grasp the principle of a skid [ and soon become proficient in the art of skid prevention or rectification. REGARDING HEADLIGHTS. I Since writing my notes on the subject of the misuse of glaring head lights in well lighted thoroughfares, the Light Car has published some useful information regarding lighting laws on the continent, and it is interesting to note that in the following countries brilliant headlights may not be used in the towns or important villages: Austria, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal. In many of the American States, brilliant headlight are prohibited in the towns, and in some parts of France head- lights are also prohibited in the towns. Regulations prohibiting the use of brilliant headlights in the above countries would not have been made unless there were some very just cause for them, and no doubt the time will come in this country when some similar regulation will be enforced if motorists con- tinue to make unnecessary use of their powerful headlights when passing through well lighted towns. A NEW SPEED RECORD. I News has just reached me that W Emerson on a motor cycle with an A.B.C. engine has at Brooklands beaten all previous records for the flying kilometer at a speed of 80.45 miles an hour, and for the flying mile at a speed of 78.27 miles on hour. 80 miles an hour is a tremendous speed, and Emerson is worthy of the highest praise for having put on such a fine performance, particularly at this time of the year when weather and track conditions are all against high speed. The machine used had a belt drive, and it is interesting to note that many track riders do not con- sider it possible to obtain much more speed with belt drive machines than the present records owing to the difficulties of transmit- the enormous power required through a belt. The reason given for this is that at these high speeds centrifugal force tends to cause the belt to mount the engine pulley, and eith-r come off or cause excessive slip as the MSnltof the stretching which takes place. Whether this is actually the fact remains to be seen, though personally I am inclined to think this difficulty will be overcome and still higher speeds will be obtained.

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