It’s all about blocks.
The levels in the game are not random (I say from experience in game only), they are based on ‘blocks’. You can see this clearly on the Carbon Farm levels.
The first Carbon Farm level, no matter where it appears in your game, is basic and you can just speed through it.
For every subsequent time you see the words Carbon Farm as the next zone, hold LEFT immediately. If you do not, you will fly through what is in effect the middle of a ‘block’. Sometimes that okay, most of the time I have found it not so okay.
By holding LEFT, you will fly toward where two blocks join, giving you two routes. One might be those irritating gates, but the other might be the better zigzag route. If you can stay close to that line where blocks join you will again see two routes forward.
And if you die in Carbon Farm and you select to Continue and you want to go LEFT again, you MUST hold that direction instantly. You will appear further forward at the start of the level but you will just scrape in.
Looks for these blocks as you play – for instance, Invader Outpost. If you see a ground level tunnel with sides that slope up and in, that have yellow coins, there are ALWAYS three of them, and they ALWAYS are left of the previous one.
Invader Stronghold has lots of blocks where from seeing the first part you can predict and fly safely the next few seconds.
Even Diamond Swarm has blocks…