How to Learn to Drive a Car for the First Time
Whether you're learning independently or having driving lessons, having a few concepts clear in your mind is useful in facilitating the process of learning how to drive. Knowing how the gears of the vehicle work, the best way to travel on the road, the optimal way to stop, etc., are all important when it comes to driving the car more safely and absorbing more information during your lessons. OneHowTo offers a number of tips on how to learn to drive a car for the first time.
Many people with newly obtained license do not feel secure enough to drive a car. Some uncertainty is positive in the sense that you will move more cautiously. However, certain levels can lead to dangerous manoeuvres or can even cause the driver to suffer amaxophobia, a fear of driving. These situations of fear of driving can be avoided if we know how the car works and have some basic knowledge of how the driving process is developed.
To learn to drive a car, having some knowledge of how it operates is vital. The subject of speeds you have to stick to when driving is very important. The lower the gear used, the more power the engine will have; but as the car picks up speed, you'll have to move up gears so that the vehicle requires less power.
Also in connection with the gears of the car, you should know that starting in first gear is not always advisable. For example, if you are downhill, simply releasing the brake will cause the car to move forward, so starting in second gear is fine. On the other hand, if the road is slippery for whatever reason, it's always best to drive in high gears. This is because the gears have less pressure and it is less likely for the car to skid.
Novice drivers often drive around in a low gear until they reach the highest speeds. However, remember that you can drive at 45 mph in fifth gear - there's no need to stay in fourth. Get used to hearing the noise emitted by the engine; if it is loud, it's probably time you moved up to a higher gear. On the contrary, if it seems to be waning, the gear is too high and you should move down into a lower gear. This will entirely depend on your car and the power it has. At the beginning, when you start taking driving lessons, the instructor will explain you how you need to change gears in the specific car you'll be using. Then, when you pass the exam and you drive your own car, you'll be able to know when it's the right time to change gears, as your car might be different from the one you used during your lessons.
The position of the arms on the steering wheel is another basic factor to consider when learning to drive a car. If you do not do so properly, you run the risk of crossing your arms around a tight bend. Thus, on sharp turns, hold hands so that, if the steering wheel were a clock, you hands would be at 10 past 10. Keep them there and slide the wheel between your hands when turning, rather than moving your arms.
Knowing how to take a bend from the point of view of speed is also very important. Whether the bend is smooth or sharp, a basic principle should be followed: reduce speed by half and start accelerating when you've taken the bend and are starting to drive away from it. You always have to stay in your lane at a speed at which you can control the car. It's best to go too slowly to begin with rather than having to brake suddenly as the car slips out of your control.
Another issue you must consider when learning to drive a car is the brake. You do not always use the brake pedal to slow the car. Moving down a gear will also slow down the car. Do it in a gradual manner because the vehicle will not manage to move at a high speed in very low gears.
Having knowledge of your car in detail will help you to control it and thus to drive more safely. Read the car manual well to know where all the lights are; the horn; how to operate the water; what type of fuel it needs; how to open the bonnet, etc. The first thing you need to do when entering a new car is get acquainted with all these features. You need to sit in the cockpit drill, the place in the car where there are all the controls and basic functions. Sit there and take a look around. You will need to familiarise with all the controls before starting the engine. Also, make sure that all the mirrors are in the correct position and you see everything perfectly.
This is probably the first thing your instructor will teach you on your first driving lesson. If you want to save some time you can start getting used to this at home, checking your parents' car to get used to all the different controls. The car you'll be using for your lessons might be different, but the majority of cars include the same controls, even if they come with different shapes or located in different places of the cockpit drill.
It is essential that you know all about these things throughout the learning process and have no doubts. If you go to a driving school, ask all the questions you have, even if they seem very obvious.
Automatic cars work slightly different from manual gear cars. You can learn how to drive an automatic car in this article.
If you'd like to read similar articles to How to Learn to Drive a Car for the First Time, we recommend you browse around our Cars category.