I am convinced that playing roller derby can make you a better driver. Actually, I should be more specific. If you pay attention to track awareness in roller derby, that will help you with driving, and potentially vice versa.
The other day I was driving with someone, and they went to change lanes without noticing that there was a merge lane on the other side of that lane. There was another vehicle that would soon be forced to move in to the same lane we were about to change in to. I had to say something, even though I hate being a back seat driver, as I didn’t want to be in an accident that day. It was after that incident though that I started really noticing the similarities between driving and roller derby though.
Since I started playing derby in 2010, I always left practice and would drive as if I was still playing derby all the way home. This is pretty common with derby players, and is basically an overflowing of the practice mojo on to the streets. We are all jammers on the road. BUT… what if there is more to it than that? Well, there is.
Whenever I drive, I know where all the vehicles are, and I am running scenarios in my mind of what they may do, whether it be changing lanes, merging, turning, speeding up, slowing down, whatever. I check for cars, then I double check and triple check. I know where everyone is at all times… or at least this is what I think I’m doing. I gauge distance and speed and determine how fast I need to go in order to pass someone and not get blocked in. This is just what I do.
And then after my most recent incident, it dawned on me. My track awareness skills and continued work on track awareness crosses over to road awareness. For real reals.
So there you have it. If you want to become a better driver, join roller derby!