Driving for most is an exercise that takes them from one point to another, and maybe back – what a chore! So learning how to drive is an easy process, and although you keep learning new things everyday, here are ten tips that shall help you get the basics right.
Since we’re talking about the basics, let’s start with the most basic thing. And that is to be attentive. If you practise driving in the morning, ensure that your mind and body are ready for a session of hand-feet-eye coordination.
Keep a mobile phone handy, but refrain from using it. It’s a boon during an emergency (more on which later) but can be distracting. So, no windscreen mounts please.
The car’s papers, your driving licence, and emergency assistance numbers (police, ambulance, emergency contact, and even manufacturer’s 24h assist) should be with you always.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be headed to a busy street (you should not!) during your early practice sessions, but still, having a learner’s sign on the car is absolutely necessary.
Know your car
Before you embark, spend some time knowing your car. Button and switch placement, how heavy/light he controls are, gearshift pattern and how to switch between pedals, etc. should be practised before taking the car out. Some cars have indicator and wiper stalk positions interchanged, so adapt yourself to that as well.
Also ensure that there’s enough tread in the car’s tyres, and the vehicle is serviced, too. You don’t want it to lose grip or break down.
Say no to friends
Although that’s a very personal thing, but while driving it’s best to just have your instructor with you. Your practice sessions can be without him/her, but taking friends out will not just add weight to your car, the interesting conversations could take some of your attention off the road. And that’s not a good thing!
Get to grips with how the car drives, gain some confidence, hone your driving, and then take them out on a long drive instead. But before all that, concentrate on the driving part.
And now some important points:
Finding the right road
It’s not a steep learning curve, and gradual increase in difficulty is bound to keep the whole process rather simple. Start with an empty ground/straight road without traffic. Move on to slightly busy roads. And keep very busy urban roads and highways for later.
Some people venture out on the highways thinking that they are empty, but there’s certainly higher risk there. Not just because you’re still learning but also the average speed of fellow road users is much higher.
And the right time?
Visibility at night is bad, and so is the case with dusk. Venture out after dawn, but ensure there’s enough visibility and you aren’t facing the sun. As you proceed, you should start driving in varied weather and lighting conditions. But only once you have the basics in place.
Keep a check on adrenaline
Both power and torque can corrupt, so don’t let the two have the better of you! Don’t drive rash, don’t cut fellow road users, and don’t be aggressive.
While the same holds true even when you have learnt how to drive a car, following this right from the day you start is certainly going to be helpful.
Follow all rules
Keep in mind that no matter how new you are to driving, you should always follow all rules. There’s no excuse to jumping traffic signals, nor there’s one for not following lane driving. And if you have a query, get it cleared with your instructor.
Turn signals are a must, so use them. Also, once you’re confident with your driving and are out on the highway, stay on the slow (left most) lane. Drive within the speed limits and be extremely careful while changing lanes.
Seatbelts are there for your safety, so do yourself a favour, and use them. Don’t use high beam in the city, and those fog lights are meant to be used in fog, so keep them off.
An area of no or blocked visibility is created while you’re driving, and is certainly a potential accident waiting to happen. Unless you check your blind spots and ensure that you aren’t in anyone’s, either.
Use all three rear view mirrors of your car, be extra cautious of approaching traffic, and keep an eye for merging traffic at intersections. The use of mirrors (like the one pictured above) widen the view, and include the usual blind spot, too.
On the move, either overtake or stay at least a car length away, so that you aren’t in the other car’s blind spot.
Give way to others and always be courteous.