8 essential car driving tips for beginners/learners

Snapshot: Learning how to drive is the first hurdle between you and automotive nirvana. Once you know how to drive a car, the sheer feeling of mobility and freedom that this life skill offers has to be experienced to be believed. Many beginner/learner drivers make common mistakes while learning how to drive, and the whole process of learning to drive becomes more traumatic than enjoyable. CarToq gives you a few tips on how you can improve the way you learn to drive a car.

R-E-L-A-X

Stiff limbs are often the biggest hurdle to a non stressful driving experience. Many learners freeze when they get behind the wheel, and this often results in them unable to move their limbs seamlessly to control the car. So, the first step while learning driving is to take a deep breath of air and R-E-L-A-X your limbs.

Driving Posture

While you sit inside a car for your first driving lesson, in most cases perhaps a dinky set of wheels that the neighbourhood driving school offers, you have to ensure that you sit in a comfortable position, with a posture best suited for car driving. By a comfortable driving position, we mean a position that is neither too close to the steering wheel or too far away. An ideal driving position involves your arms stretched comfortably enough with a slight bend in your elbows, and with your back comfortable settled in the seat-back. Adjust the seat to the correct position. Also, the gear lever, hand brake and accelerator-brake-clutch should be within easy reach – you shouldn’t have to stretch to access any of these critical controls. So, take your time to find an ideal driving position. Some cars come with tilt-adjustable steering as well. You’d be lucky to learn driving in such a car.

Always use a seat belt

Once you find a comfortable position, the first thing you have to do before starting the car is to wear your seat belt. Seat belts save lives. Many driving schools tend to ignore these minor details. You need to make this a habit.

How to judge the distance between your car and the one ahead of you?

Judging the distance between the car you’re driving and the one ahead of you can be tricky and rear ending cars is a common issue with learners who are yet to get their judgment of distances right. Here’s an easy way to figure this out.

When a car is ahead of you at a safe distance (when you’re following a car), you will see a strip of road between your car and the vehicle ahead. When the car in front stops or is moving slowly, you should ensure that this slight strip of road between your car and the car ahead is visible at all times. This will ensure that you don’t overshoot the gap and rear end the car ahead of you. The moment the strip of road between you and the car ahead of you disappears, it is time to hit the brakes and stop. Simple, and very effective. 

Always use the inner rear view and both the wing mirrors

In the initial days when you start learning how to drive a car, most learners focus too much on the road ahead and forget to observe their surroundings. A sudden vehicle popping out from the left or right often disconcerts the learners, leading to accidents. To avoid surprises, keep checking the inner rear view mirrors and the wing mirrors. Regular but fleeting glances will do. Do not choose a driving school which offers learner cars without both wing mirrors.

Reversing

While reversing, you should learn to use the mirrors rather than putting your head out or turning back every time you go backwards. However, there will be tight situations. When in doubt, you can always lower the windows and pop your head out to see how far an obstacle is. Don’t feel shy. It is always better to check rather than have a damaged bumper or worse still, run into someone.

Poles/Trees at street corners

While turning, you will often come across an electric/telephone pole/tree positioned right at the apex of a curve/street corner on a 90 degree turn. To turn your car without rubbing against the pole, it is imperative that you take a wide turn rather than turning too close to the pole. The same applies in parking lots in malls, offices, etc where the ubiquitous pole/tree is replaced by a concrete pillar.

Learn to ignore compulsive honkers and bullies

When you’re learning how to drive, you will usually be the slowest car on the block. Compulsive honkers and bullies, on spotting a learner/driving school car will usually try to bully you either by tailgating or honking incessantly. Simply ignore them and concentrate on driving ahead. It will be tough initially, but you have to get used to this so that you don’t end up making a mistake by getting nervous at all the honking and bullying that happens on Indian roads. Remember, you’re in a car that has metal protecting you. It is in the bully or honker’s best interest not to hit your car. Sometimes, when you stall the car while learning, traffic behind or ahead of you might honk incessantly. You have to take a deep breath and slowly try to move the car forward rather than panicking. This will take a while to learn but you need to do it to survive on Indian roads. Happy learning!