I've been this close to committing ritual seppuku lately at the behavior of car drivers/pilots specifically, so have a guide.
How to pilot
So, let me open this up with something that should be obvious but many people do not understand; You are not a admin. You are not a cop. Let me say that again. You are not a cop. You are not a cop.
Now that that's out of my system, let's move on to what a pilot car is.
What is a pilot car?
Within the context of real life, a pilot car escorts a oversized/overweight load ensuring the safety of the load and other drivers. But, since we don't have any "real" oversized loads (Arguably the only things applicable "oversized" loads are the heavier construction equipment, due to their odd dimensions.), they are more likely used as convoy escorts for player convoys.
What is a pilot cars responsibility?
Since you asked, as mentioned, you're not a cop. What your job is is ensuring the safety of the load (Within the context of ATS/ETS2, the convoy) and other drivers on the road around your convoy.
Through several main ways:
Acting as the convoys eyes and ears. You're supposed to be up ahead of the convoy, spotting oncoming traffic, obstacles, etc, and relaying them over voice comms (be it in game CB or TeamSpeak)
Navigating the various streets, highways, etc, among your route. It's your job and the convoy planners job to ensure the route is planned properly and everything is in place before you depart. Don't be that guy who makes a wrong turn and logjams the whole convoy.
Acting as a warning device to other drivers, particularly on smaller roads.
Ensuring the convoy gets from point A to point B safely.
Maneuvering, vehicle operation, etc.
There is really only two places the Pilot cars should be; at the front and at the back. Your job is utterly defeated by hanging in the middle of the convoy for extended periods of time as a pilot car.
Here's a (poorly drawn) Illustration of pilot cars in relevance to a convoy on a 4 lane highway:
Not a few things:
The pilot cars are not blocking or obstructing any traffic.
Non-convoy traffic has a clear route to pass the convoy, which will likely be driving slower than normal traffic due to its size.
The convoy trucks are contained within the two pilots. The pilots job is to make sure the truckers know about other traffic and that the other traffic knows about the convoy.
I understand controlling Convoys, particularly large ones, can be very hard, but AVOID the convoy taking up multiple lanes of a multi-lane highway. It's bad form and there will be other drivers who will want to pass the convoy. Take up the most-right lane (or in Britian, most left) and only use the others for people passing within the convoy or for making turns. On larger convoys you usually can count on having at least 1 admin able to help you out with this.
Some times, pilots must also take initiative to ensure the convoy can safely traverse a adverse situation. A few examples:
If approaching a tight turn/intersection, and traffic is nearby, you're better off letting that traffic through before proceeding. You're about to potentially hog up that intersection for a while with the convoy and there's no use forcing the traffic to be stuck. Particularly true if you need to make a tight turn and the traffic is in the other lane which the truckers might need to use to turn.
When approaching a left hand turn (or right hand turn in UK) on a two way highway, the rear pilot car should swing out *before* the convoy and occupy the left hand lane. Illustration:
Spacing + Small roads/tight corners
While spacing isn't as important on divided highways, on rural/two lane roads, the lead pilot car should increase its spacing from the convoy. It may be practical to shift the convoys arrangement from the typical highway arrangement to this:
This is for several reasons:
The highway/road is no longer divided. Oncoming traffic colliding with the convoy is now a real possibility.
Many roads have tight/blind corners that are prone to truck collisions.
The lead vehicle, 3-500m infront of the convoy, can act two fold; to act as the convoys eyes and ears for oncoming traffic, and to let oncoming traffic know there is a convoy approaching.
This ensures both the convoy and oncoming traffic knows about eachother before they meet on a small road or blind corner. Both are more prepared to safely navigate the situation, both slow down, etc.
Pilot 2 takes over the role of 'leading' the convoy from its direct front. A rear car is no longer as important compared with the threat of oncoming traffic.
Setting up your ride for pilot duty
You've read the guide and want to shred it, what do you do with the Skoda?
Dump the big engine. You won't be needing it, it's way too finnicky, hard to handle, and you won't be needing to go 140mph anyways.
Use the pilot lightbar (Duh.)
Use the pilot skin. Don't be that guy who is like "BRUHHH IM A PILOT!" when you have a savefile modded metallic skin on the car. You just look like a troll and no ones going to take you seriously (If anyone will anyways)
If in some kind of official convoy, set your clan tag to CONVOY PILOT or something among those lines. It reaffirms who you are because there will be trolls in fake pilot cars pretending to know what they're doing. The key difference is they don't and you do.
I hope this guide has at least partially taught you how to pilot. Hopefully we can fix the reputation all pilots are trolls one convoy at a time.