There was a time when driving a tank was not a necessary skill for most civilians, but an expanded number of retired military beasts are finding their way into recreational facilities. Just like the Nascar driving experience, and other hands on a driving adventures, people can now learn to drive a tank without enlisting in military service. Here are 5 quick tips and tricks for driving a tank safely.
1. Look Before You Leap
Those driving a tank often fail to recognize just how limited their field of vision is once inside the cockpit. Take the time to survey the tank’s surroundings, and decide on a basic travel agenda before climbing into the cockpit. This will prevent accidental damage to the tank or its surroundings caused by running over nearby obstacles. Also be aware of steep slopes, embankments, and other terrain related features in the area. Tanks are extremely top heavy, and can easily turn over if imprudently driven along a steep incline.
Also, check and make sure that each of the tank’s three periscopes are functioning properly before taking off. If any of the periscopes are not working correctly it will create blind spots, or night blindness, which can be deadly.
2. Sit Back and Relax
When setting in the captain’s chair correctly, you should be in a lounge position similar to a lazyboy, rather than upright like a car’s driver seat. This is to accommodate the low ceiling clearance inside the tank’s cab. Adjust the seat so that you can look out the periscope with a clear field of vision ahead, while easily reaching all the necessary controls.
3. Remember: Too Heavy To Push, Too Far To Walk
Always check your fuel gauge before embarking on a journey. Be aware of how much fuel is in the tank, and how many gallons of fuel it will take to reach your destination. Tank fuel mileage is measured in gallons per mile, rather than miles per gallon. On average, it takes 10 gallon of fuel to start a tank, and two additional gallons for each mile traveled. A tank has a maximum range of 300 miles on a full tank.
4. Clean Shoes Get Better Traction
Don’t let debris build up on your tracks. As you travel, mud, wreckage, and other waste will cling to the tank’s feet. You should hear the debris building up, before it complicates your journey. Failure to clear the tracks, however, will cause a number of major issues, including pushing the tracks off the tank’s wheels, interfering with the instrument panel’s reporting, and a loss of steering control.
5. Take Your Time
Do not try to take off immediately after starting your engine. Instead, start the engine and give the tank five to ten minutes to warm up. While it is warming up, check each of the monitoring instruments on the control panel to ensure that all systems are go before setting out on your journey.
Driving a tank is not like driving a car. Never try to drive a tank without formal training. It takes specialized skills, and years of practice to do well. Contact a local tank specialist or military service member to get more great tips for driving a tank on or off the field of battle.
Sarah Coppola has been tank driving for fun ever since the experience first became available to the general public. She enjoys sharing her stories on motoring blogs. Visit the Wish.co.uk website for more fun adventures.