I am so bad at games with cars in them!

Argh! I really want to play Saints Row 2 - I want something silly and fun and possessed of no redeeming values at all! But… there are cars. Arrrgh!

I have never successfully played a video game where you have to drive. I gave up on GTA 4 because I couldn’t stay on the stupid road ever, and I really wanted to play that one because I’d gotten engrossed in the story. I enjoyed Red Dead Redemption and played it all the way through, which I haven’t done with a game in years, because I could actually work the vehicles (mostly) - horses are easy! What the hell is it with cars that slew all over the road for no reason? I drive a car! Every day! I have never run over a lamp post - not even one.

Help me, y’all. I want to play this stupid game, but it gets in my way. I finished the first baby missions and got to a point where I need more rep to go forward, so I tried a race - tragic. Absolutely tragic. First time I got lost. Second time I didn’t get lost, but I did blow up. Third time, I got lost AND blew up. I think I’ve tried that stupid race five or six times and never came close to winning at all. I get stuck rammed into trees and have to laboriously three point myself back onto the road. I miss turns. I find that some lamp posts are sturdier than others. And I can’t find a way to give up on the damned thing - got to be some button somewhere.

Help me! How the hell do you learn to do this? Is it just because I’m too old for this shit? Is it the Y chromosome? My boyfriend couldn’t even watch.

Oh, and by the way - do NOT have somebody who knows you very well make your Saints Row character. It will be creepily accurate, but it will not be flattering. And then it will be disturbing all through the game.

Part of the whole fun in GTA IV is not staying on the road. :smiley: Hell, I have more fun in Red Dead hijacking a stagecoach and going offroad than I do riding around on the horses.

Vehicular mayhem is fun.
As for how to drive better in games - while I haven’t yet played any Saint’s Row games, I’ve found that the biggest mistakes I made weren’t from going too slow, but rather too fast. Starting off at full throttle and fishtailing, taking corners at speed and understeering, hitting the handbrake to stop/slow and losing control, etc.

Proper throttle/brake discipline will get you a long way toward mastering videogame driving. Are you using the trigger buttons (R2/L2) to control brakes and throttle? If not, start using them - on both PS3 and 360 they offer a bit of “travel”, which you can use to apply only as much force as needed. If you mash the button down, it’s essentially the same as slamming down on the accelerator or brake pedal in your car in real life, which might generate the same kind of results you’re seeing in-game.

ETA: I should mention - the way I started getting better at races in GTA IV was to start out not trying to win the race, but rather to keep the slowest car within my sight. That way I felt less pressure, and was able to get a feel for the course layout. After a few tries, I got more comfortable applying more speed and then made like Charlie Sheen and started winning.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m probably one of the worst video game players there is but it seems to me that they make the controls for driving games way too sensitive.

The other big piece of advice is that video game makers believe in “NASCAR turns” in that you need to swing wide to start a turn, begin turning well before getting to the corner, and be as close to the inside of the turn as possible at the true corner. You finish the turn by slowly coming out of the turn and end up way on the outside again.

If you wait too long before beginning a turn, you get into a horrible pattern of turn, correct, over correct, recorrect that results in fishtailing and loss of control.

My other big tip is that you should never be steering more than ~45˚ off center as they do mimic real driving as much as possible and how often do you turn more than that while actually moving? I have a friend that plays MarioKart Wii, for instance, and he only moves 10-15˚ for the entire coarse and just destroys the AI and other competitors.

So: 1. anticipate the turns 2. don’t turn as much.

Counterargument: the only time I can play these games at all, driving-wise, is getting used to driving like I just robbed a bank all the time. Full throttle, handbrake-assisted bootlegger turns, the whole nine yards. Finished both Saints Row 2 and Godfather this way, as a matter of fact.

I think the clue was when I started thinking about how many of these type of games include a prominent handbrake control, when it’s not nearly as prominent if used at all in semi-serious driving games like Need for Speed.

That character creator is like that mirror study they did on women and body image, by the way. He kept making me fatter and I kept yelling at him and giving him more jowls. “That’s totally how you look! Is it more productive to argue with me or do some situps for a change?” “Oh yeah? Well, I’m going to make your mustache stupider, Mr. Chipmunk.”

If you have the equipment for it, try Midnight Club 3. At least I think that’s the one in which your car will go right through trees, shattering them. And if you end up too far on a side street where you’re not supposed to be you automatically get reset on course.

Ah. How fun. I just finished Saints Row 2 today. Great game. Loads of fun. First thing I’ll tell you is that you don’t need to do races to gain rep. You can always do the mayhem missions which practically require you to smash your vehicle into things.

Second is that the controls really vary by car. Some have nice controls. I like the Venom classic and the Raycaster. The PT Cruiser-esque Keystone might be a good one to learn on as well. The asian motorcycles are good too. Some are twitchier, like the heavy sports cars. Some are harder, like the trucks and SUVS.

The best (imho)would be The Bear, but it can be a bit of a chore to get. It’s basically a SWAT tank with a machine gun on top. Slow moving but hard to stop. Best way to get it is to build up a good police notoriety during mayhem missions until you see them blocking the road. Steal one really quickly and just drive around until the clock runs low. Jump out at the last 10 seconds or so and just run around. When it tells you that you’ve failed the mission, exit the mission and the Bear should still be there. Take it back to your crib. Use it next time you do the mayhem missions, or just for tooling around and making a mess.

I’d just keep stealing cars until you find some you like. Then stow them in your “garage” by your crib. That way you’ve always got them handy. Once you’ve got the cash, you can get them souped up and pimped out at Rim Jobs and Semi Broken. Remember to use your handbrake (L2 on PS3. Not sure on XBOX 360) going around corners. And just drive drive drive. Practice is going to do more than any trick we can give you.

There are billions of tips for driving better, let me see if I can list them all…

The secret to driving good in these games is to let go of the accelerator.

I get the most entertainment out of driving games by trying to drive without hitting anything, this goes back to Driver 2 when you were trying to last a long time in survival mode and then replaying it seeing all the cool moves you did. Practice makes perfect.

You can use the brake but only if you see your going too fast for a turn or there is dead stop traffic.
Always keep your car straight, as soon as you can think about it, straighten your car out before you do anything.
Look ahead, look as far down the road as you can so you can plan your dodge or turn, maybe you will have to switch sides of the road.
While dodging a car, let go of the gas until you pass them. Letting go of the gas gives you more control.

Some people tense up while playing driving games, they will always hit something. Relax & focus
Don’t get distracted by the pretty graphics, focus on whats in front of you.
Learn the city, obviously if you know the city without a map you will do better.

You could start off slow and just cruise at a speed slow enough to drive perfectly, the driving and mainly steering isn’t realistic so maybe driving slow will help you get a feel for it. Or…

Go and get the fastest car you can find (GTA 4: Porsche for me) and practice in that, once you can respond well while driving that, other cars will be easy. Just don’t get addicted to the speed