Road Counting

Road counting sections are simple to understand, but they can be challenging as you try to maintain a given average speed. This is because it is difficult to give the driver the next turn instruction before you actually arrive at the intersection.

In a road counting section the rally master will ask you to "count the number of roads" at each intersection in order to determine which way to turn. This is straightforward when you only have to count as high as 3 - however, you will find that you are often told to take the 52nd, 81st or 103rd road! There are variations, but here are the basics. You will be told; "You are entering the intersection on road zero. Count the roads in a clockwise direction to determine which road to exit on".

The two most common intersection types are the 'three-way' and the' four-way' ('five-way' intersections exist, but we'll ignore them for the moment). As shown below, you can only exit a 3-way intersection on road A or B, and a 4-way on roads C, D or E. In order to determine which way to turn, go back to your Grade 4 arithmetic; divide the number that you have been given by the number of roads in the intersection, then use the remainder to select the exit road. For example, you're at a 4-way and want the 81st road. Divide 81 by 4 and you get 20 with 1 remainder. Therefore, you will take the first road (C). Simple, really!

In order to stay on time in these sections, you need to figure out as much as possible before you reach the intersection. Start by dividing the number given by 3 (and also by 4) so that you know what the remainder is in each case. Now you should be able to say to the driver; "if it is a 4-way go straight ahead and if it is a 3-way go left". When the remainder is zero, (i.e. 52 divided by 4), you know that you cannot exit by the same road that you entered the intersection on ('0')- and therefore it must be a 3-way intersection! When the driver has these instructions in advance there should only be a moments pause as you determine which way to go. Five way intersections will require a little more math done on the spot but again, they are not that common.

3-way intersections are always challenging to call. I've shown three possible variations - the 4th possibility is a 'Y'. When I want my driver to take the 1st road (A), I say take the left-most road. When I want the 2nd road (B), the instruction is the right-most. Talk to your driver to decide what call will make the most sense for your team.

Fig. 1 (1.03a)  Fig. 2 (1.03b)  Fig. 3 (1.03c)  Fig. 4 (1.03d)

Variations on this type of instruction include: count "counter-clockwise", and "enter the intersection on road one".




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Last Updated: 2001-04-05
Copyright © 2001 Gail L. Walker, reproduction forbidden without written authorization.