Tips for learner car drivers
Buying a new car is a pleasure and dream come true for a family. But it takes quite some time for a person who does not know driving to get used to it until the time he is in complete comfort with his vehicle. This article attempts to highlight problems and hesitations a new car driver is likely to face during their learning phase.
When a new car comes in a family it is a matter of joy for the family members as now gone will be the days when they have to depend on public transport like bus, autos and taxis. They can now plan any trips as per their own convenience and it gives a feeling of independence. But for a driver of a car who will generally be a male member of the family feeling will be of excitement mixed with nervousness and fear if he is a new driver. He may have completed his driving classes but real confidence only comes when you own the vehicle and drive it independently. So with own car key in your hand, a learner has to figure out how he or she would go about learning to drive a car in a stepwise manner so that he becomes completely comfortable in driving and is in position to take a drive with his family for outings. It is seen that family members of the new driver will be over-enthusiastic and impatient in such cases and will wish that you quickly get mastery in driving within a week and take them out for a ride. But you as a responsible driver should take your time and explain them the situation and learn driving slowly as per your comfort level. When you feel that you can manage on the road with traffic then only it is advisable to go out for a ride with the family. When trying to learn driving in your own car several doubts arise and some mistakes get committed which need to be slowly addressed by the new driver. Below I would like to highlight the same.
Major areas to focus as a learner
Rotation of steering wheel – Steering coordination is a major thing if one wants to drive a car. So a novice driver should master it foremost even before he moves his car out of parking lot. It is often confusing for a new driver to figure out the relation between steering rotation and front wheel rotation. They cannot judge the amount of movement of steering required to turn the front wheel by a certain angle. So a new driver should first do trial and error on this while the car is not moving and get comfortable with this steering and front wheel movements. He should practice which are straight and reverse positions of the steering and how does direction of steering wheel rotation relate to the direction of car movement. For example, if the steering wheel is turned right does car turn left or right?
Positions of the clutch, gear and brakes – A new driver should note and memorize the position of the clutch, gear and brake which are all in a straight line below with clutch at left, brake at middle and accelerator towards the right. There are very high chances of getting confused between the three positions and hence a driver should make a point that without looking down he is able to visualize by placing his foot as to which is clutch, gear or brake.
Positions of gear – Knowing gear positions thoroughly is equally important as gear needs to be operated at frequent intervals while driving hence its position should get engraved in mind of the driver such that he need not look at the gear positions numbers mentioned in order to change it.
Coordination of gear, clutch and accelerator – This is another important point that needs to be practiced by a novice driver as it is the first thing that needs to be done to make your car move. Improper coordination can result in car stalling or else engine revving too high.
Rear view mirrors – While driving on a road with traffic rear view mirrors play an important part in giving driver view of the vehicles coming from behind. So when a new driver emerges with his car on the road he should make sure that he carefully examines left, inner and right rear view mirrors periodically to view vehicles approaching from both sides and from behind. Forgetting to see rear view mirrors can have fatal results.
Parking – Ultimately you need to take out the car from your home parking and put it back again there when you return. Also if you are going to some spots like a shopping mall, hospitals, offices etc there also you need to park your vehicle and take it out again. So parking is a very necessary skill which a new driver should focus to learn as sometimes it is very tricky and difficult to handle. Parking your vehicle in parking lot means you need to do a lot of coordination between steering, clutch, accelerator, first gear and reverse gear and maneuver your vehicle efficiently so that it fits inside the parking space. For a learner, this may be a very tricky task to handle in beginning. Sometimes parking itself seems more difficult than driving. Therefore a new learner should very carefully and patiently devote time to learn parking skills slowly and steadily and understand the maneuver of the car during parking. This should be practiced in home or apartment parking lot first and learner should slowly try to take out and put back the vehicle independently.
Slope driving – Driving on upward slope poses a major challenge for a new car driver. Reason being that a new driver needs to press the accelerator to sufficient extent such that car is able to climb the slope and does not halt. Once the car halts there are more problems as the car will start sliding backward and the driver has to control that also. Again if a car is halted on a slope making it move forward will be a difficult task for a new driver as, by the time you establish coordination between clutch and accelerator to move the car forward, it would have already started sliding backward due to the slope. In such cases engaging the hand brakes and then using clutch and accelerator usually helps. Moving down the slope will be a comparatively easy affair. So this skills has to be very meticulously practiced by a new driver as in case of basement parking at home or outside places like hospitals, malls etc this skill will be very much required.
U turns and crossing the road - These two aspects of driving are also very important and should only be practiced after the new driver is somewhat comfortable with the basic operations of the car. The judgment of traffic and time is very important in driving. Taking a U-turn across the road and crossing the road require driver judgment to a great extent. The driver should be careful to judge the traffic properly before performing these actions so that chances of an accident are minimised. This judgment sense develops over a period of time while practicing driving on the road so a novice driver should not panic and handle U-turn and crossing the road with patience and cool mind.
Eyes on the road - A new driver should ensure that while driving on the road he does not become engrossed in looking at gear, accelerator, clutch, brake and take his eye off the road. This may prove dangerous and may cause an accident. Eyes should always be on the road.
So these were few basic things where a learner car driver should focus. There are many more points to be kept in mind other than what is mentioned above. This was just a broad summary. Learning to drive a car is not a rocket science and if a novice driver approaches it in a step by step manner it will just be a matter of some time by which a new driver will get comfortable with it. Initially, it may seem difficult to cope up but with practice, your driving skills will no doubt increase and you will start enjoying the drive. Once the controls of the car and art of driving get into your subconscious mind it will become your second nature and you will not need to focus hard on the controls like brakes, clutch, accelerator and steering. Your hands and leg will automatically start working in tandem without your need to concentrate on it. Soon a time will come when you will be able to enjoy driving in a carefree way.