Watch That Windshield


I got my driver’s licence late, at age 22, because I wasn’t interested in cars and didn’t want to support automotive culture. When I finally did get myself a licence, it was because I was starting to feel embarrassed at being driven everywhere by my wife and my colleagues. I didn’t buy a car of my own until I was 33.

But long before trying out any real cars, I learned a thing or two about them from the 1987 computer game Test Drive. Most importantly, I learned what the gears are for. They are there because a car’s engine can’t stand an infinitely high rate of revolution. And, I also learned, if you rev up the engine too far, your windshield will crack.

We laughed a lot about this. Thing was, in Test Drive there were many ways to crash your car, such as hitting other cars or driving off the edge of the road, and in each case the game called the same sub-routine: show a cracked windshield and print “Game Over”. However, if you revved up too far and bust your engine, the program also called that same sub-routine.

So, Dear Reader, listen to your engine and keep an eye on your RPMs: you need to be careful about your windshield.


  1. #1 Larry Ayers
    August 18, 2008

    I was late in getting a driver’s license for the same reasons as yours… then I moved to a remote rural area.

  2. #2 Larry
    August 18, 2008

    revving your windshield will not crack your windshield

  3. #3 Martin R
    August 18, 2008

    Come on Larry, you aren’t saying that the makers of Test Drive lied to us?

    I wish I knew how to rev my windshield.

  4. #4 Tor
    August 18, 2008

    I never cared much for computer car games, but in the late ’80s I was very much into _Flight Simulator_. It was really educational: amongst other things, I learned that if you plow your Cessna into the ground, vertically, at full throttle, from 10 000 feet, your windshield will crack.

  5. #5 Martin R
    August 18, 2008

    Well, yeah, it’ll crack, but that’s because you’re going down on full throttle, thus revving the Cessna’s engine beyond its endurance.

  6. #6 Janne
    August 18, 2008

    I got my license in the Swedish army. Thing is, while I drove six-wheeled trucks and tracked mid-jointed terrain vehicles a lot, I never actually drove a car. After the service I got myself a motorcycle license and a bike, so I just about never drove a car then either. Now I live in urban Japan and have no need for a motor vehicle so I never converted my license to a Japanese one and haven’t been in traffic since I came here.

    The upshot is, I have a car license and I have actually sat behind the wheel of a car about, oh, five times or so in my life. If I were to get behind the wheel now I would have to start by finding out which pedal was the brake and which is the accelerator (I distinctly remember the leftmost one is the clutch).

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.