These Are the Stories of Your Luckiest Driving Saves

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Photo: User Analogue Kid on en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Way back in 2007, I was driving my first manual car – a red 1999.5 early MkIV Jetta with a 2.Slow engine and 5 speed, purchased from the used lot for $6,000 (it had flimsy, broken “O-shaped” cupholders – one of my first “mods” was to buy the fancy “claw-type” cupholders from later MkIV Jetta/Golf models from eBay).

I was getting the hang of things like rev-matching, double-clutched downshifts, etc., and was enjoying the car on my way home from work one day.

Approaching a right turn at a clear intersection, I decided to give it a nice rev-matched downshift as I flung the car into the turn.

Approaching hot on braking. Brakes off. Rev-match from 4th to 3rd (at the time, I hadn’t mastered heel-and-toe). The car hunkers into the turn.

“Yes – this car is amazing. I’m Tommi-freaking-Makkinen” 

Suddenly, the rear starts coming around.

“Oh no – wait, what… Oh dear…”

Internet wisdom I’d read somewhere (maybe, flashes in my consciousness: “don’t slam the brakes – give it gas” – so I press my foot on the gas and hope/pray I don’t wreck – the car is sideways, nose pointed at the curb, and I can feel it juddering over the broken/heaved pavement. But I keep the throttle pinned

And just like that, I’ve done it – I’ve accidentally thrown the car into a corner, gotten lift-throttle oversteer, and then managed to save it*, just barely, thanks to some general advice from car forum internet strangers, and a large helping of dumb luck.

*Once the adrenaline wears off, I start noticing a weird wobble or grinding sensation on braking – it turns out that I’d warped the 4-wheel disc brakes on my Jetta, which would require the princely sum of $600 2007 Canadian dollars to repair, and a few days of taking the bus to work (which sucked, where I lived in the Toronto Area at the time). Save it for the track, people – at the very least, the pavement is nicer.

It helps that Makkinen Evos were red, which likely lent a bit of ability to your Golf. That’s how this works, right?

Submitted by: dhj


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