A Driver Route Reminder Tool

This past week I got an email message from Dan Allven about his Volvo PV544 that we competed with in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  The photo below shows us on a road somewhere in the south of France during this car rally.

Dan Allven & I In The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

After that rally, Dan sold the Volvo PV544 to a fellow in Holland.  This past week Dan sent me a picture of the Volvo that had been sent to him by the current owner of the Volvo.  Obviously it appears that it is being used in a winter car rally.  What caught my eye was the Route Check driver’s reminder device being used by the rally crew.  This is the white device mounted in the center of the dash as shown in the photo below.

Note The Route Check Device On The Dash

This Route Check device is something that I was aware of, but had not seen being used before.  The device can convey two pieces of information and leave that information on display as a reminder to the driver.  Typically the white dial is used to list the odometer reading at the next point of action.  In the photo above the digital number at the bottom is “0” and the pointer on the white dial points to “2.0”.  That means that the next action location will be at odometer reading 2.0.  The upper reading on the Monit odometer says in the photo above reads 0.62, so they have 1.38 kilometers to travel before the next action location.

The red indicator on the Route Check device points to the left, which means that at the action location the correct route is a square left turn.  The red hand can be rotated as necessary to point in the desired direction.

I understand that some crews might use the number indicated by the white dial as the target average speed instead of using it to note the point of action.

These devices are available from Don Barrow in England.  The image below was taken from Don Barrow’s website.

Don Barrow’s Route Check

In the image above the next point of action is at distance 23.70 and at that location, the rally route requires a 45 degree right turn or a “kay right” to stay on course.

I am not fully convinced that these route check devices are a high priority in the a typical time-speed-distance rally car.  I prefer to remind the driver several times by voice as to when and what the next instruction is.  And almost always doing the mathematics for the driver by saying that it’s “200 meters to the right turn”, then “100 meters to the right turn” and so on.  I would rather have the driver be looking at the road and driving the car without glancing over at the route check device.  And managing the route check device is another piece of equipment that gets added to the navigator’s “to-do” list.  However I have also learned over the years, that whatever works best for the driver is usually what is best for the team.  All a navigator can provide is information, but the driver has to act on that information.  Rallies are scored on actions, not on information.

For more information about the route check device go to Don Barrow’s website at the following address:


If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Driver Route Reminder Tool

  1. Armando says:

    Hi Steve, here a message from the new Dutch owners of the ‘Katterug’ – the ‘back of a cat’. That’s the Dutch nickname of the car. Nice you are following us a bit from the States. Indeed the Don Barrow tool is pretty handy. Not the highest priority in a team, but it really depends on how you’re using it. We experienced that if the navigator doesn’t have to remind the next turn all the time, gives me the opportunity to prepare for the actions after that and can do some double checking for the whole route. Learned that I lost concentration when I had to do these two things simultaneously. On board we sense a more relaxed atmosphere now. Do use it for the longer road tracks, let’s say more than a mile each. We have now installed a Brantz driver display next to the Don Barrow. The only thing a driver has to do is to compair both distances and act upon that. The same with Brantz Speed Table tool. Driving regularities where it is allowed, you only have to watch the two distances. Easy does it. Do we see you in the European champion ships soon with Dan?

    • Hi Armando! It is good to hear from the owner of Dan’s Volvo that we competed in the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique. Please keep in contact. At this time Dan is contemplating his future rally driving program. I would like to compete with Dan again, but we have no specific plans at this time.
      Steve McKelvie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s