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How to drive like a winner in PUBG

‘Don’t drive like my brother.’

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - big explosion in the middle of a street Bluehole Inc.
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

One of the most powerful weapons in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is the front bumper of a speeding car. One of the most deadly places to be in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is sitting in the driver’s seat. Here’s how to kill more and die less in Battlegrounds’ vehicles, on both PC and Xbox One.

Dude, where’s my car?

Don’t just pick any old intersection. This one, near the southeast corner of the map, has three roads in close proximity, and there’s a UAZ parked right there on the corner.
PUBG Corp.

Step one is actually finding a car. They spawn randomly on the map, so finding one can be a bit of a crapshoot. They can appear inside garages, but mainly they’re just parked along the side of the road. My recommendation is to jump out of the cargo plane and aim for an intersection of some kind. But don’t land in the middle of it and expose yourself. Land to one side or the other of the largest road and move cross-country parallel to it, crossing over the smaller arterial roads as you go. Keep your head on a swivel and you’ll probably get lucky.

Additionally, you can use an interactive map, but some might consider that cheating. I know I do.

One word of caution though: Don’t just pop your parachute early and take in the sights as you float down. That makes you a big target.

Hands at ten and two

The keyboard driving in Battlegrounds is very similar to the model in Arma 3. Which is to say it’s awful. To turn left and right you’ll want to tap the A and D keys if you’re on PC. Anything more than that and you’ll likely lose control.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a controller set up. It defaults to the left stick controlling the throttle and the brake, and the right stick controlling the camera. Just leave that right stick alone. Head into the settings, map boost to a face button and you’re good to go.

The boost keybind is located on the Control tab inside the settings menu on PC.
PUBG Corp.

Now that you can go fast, you can also catch some air. Catching air is fun, but it also makes you a huge target, like a roaring clay skeet soaring in a predictable arc. You can be shot out of the driver’s seat just as easily there as on the ground, maybe moreso.

Just before you crest a hill kill the throttle. (This is actually easier with a keyboard, which is why it’s my favorite control scheme for driving, but your mileage will vary.) That keeps your wheels on the ground, and allows you to keep control of the vehicle on the reverse slope.

Drive casual

Do not drive casually around the map looking for someplace to be. In fact, don’t even get into a car before you’ve picked a place you want to go on the map.

After the initial drop and the mad scramble is over, if you spot a car in the open, it could very well be a trap — a honeypot designed to lure you out for an easy headshot.

Once you spot a car, get into cover. Survey the area. Look at the base of trees, into windows and do your due diligence to make sure no one is lying in wait. Then go to your map, mark a location. If you have smoke, toss it right at the vehicle and run. Get it, hit the gas and don’t look back.

If you hear incoming gunfire, serpentine left and right, and keep moving. Stay off the roads if you can help it, and don’t drive down the middle of large settlements. You’re just making yourself a target. Go overland, preferably half-way up the side of a wooded hill to minimize your exposure to enemy fire. The hill will protect you on one side, and the tree cover will protect you on the other. The only interference you’ll need to worry about will be in among the trees immediately around you.

Arms and legs inside the vehicle

Of course, not all vehicles are created equal. Some are faster, some are slower and some provide more protection than others.

The UAZ is a decent vehicle for making an assault. It fits four, allows three to fire from the vehicle, and has a lot of mass. The buggy, on the other hand, is great for solo getaways or point-to-point hops with lots of tree cover in between. But put a second rider on the roof and you’re asking for trouble.

Never, under any circumstances, put more than one person on a motorcycle. They’re not as fast as you think, and they are a juicy target. In fact, on Awful Squad’s first sortie they got triple-killed.

I called it as it happened in the chat. It was gruesome. Don’t let it happen to you.

Tactical parking

Last but not least, getting out of a vehicle safely is just as important as getting in.

Don’t drive straight up to the outside of a large town and just get out. You’ve alerted every player in the vicinity that you’re coming thanks to the engine noise, and once they spot your ride they’re looking to put you in their crosshairs.

Remember how I said you can sometimes find cars parked in garages? If you have to park near a city, park in a garage. But if you can, just park outside of populated areas, preferably in the bowl of a low hill where you’re protected on all sides. Then, get far away from the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Once you’re in cover, mark the location of the vehicle on the map and, if you’re feeling sly, set up your own ambush for curious onlookers to come and find it.