Often associated with being independent and free, driving is a fun activity and a useful skill that new learners hope to master. Although, many fail to learn it properly with the right guidance due to incomplete or sometimes even incorrect advice. This could result in frustration and lowered confidence while driving on the road.
Most of the learners either join a driving school or learn from their parents, relatives, or friends. But there are some tips that only a few people will tell you.
Here is a set of driving tips for a beginner:
Remember, safety is the topmost priority when learning how to drive, and one must avoid causing harm & damage to their own or others’ life, property, and vehicle.
- Firstly, before starting to actually drive, getting into a driving position that suits you is essential. Adjust the driving seat so that your hands comfortably reach over to the steering wheel and dashboard while your feet are at a comfortable distance from the pedals.
- In most of the newer cars, the driving seat can be adjusted in multiple ways like front & back, backrest recline angle, seat height, headrest, lumbar support, etc. Apart from the seat, even the steering wheel can be adjusted for height and reach.
- Be sure to adjust all the mirrors in your car. There are three different mirrors in a car, the driver-side ORVM (outside rear-view mirror), the passenger-side ORVM, and the center-mounted IRVM (inside rear-view mirror).
- Thoroughly go through the various features & controls of your car before starting to drive, as they differ from brand to brand. This is important so that you do not end up fumbling around with things like headlights & wipers while driving around.
- A learning driver struggles with the biggest things, which are gear shifts, clutch action, and pulling away from a halt without stalling. The clutch and accelerator pedal should be pressed oppositely, so when you release the clutch after slotting the gear lever in any gear, press the accelerator pedal gently at the same time as you slowly release the clutch. Doing this will make the engine rev slightly and prevent it from stalling as you gain a crawling speed, but don’t press the accelerator pedal too much as it would heat up & wear out the clutch quickly.
- Just as the clutch & accelerator are to be pressed oppositely, the brake and clutch pedals should be pressed together again to prevent the car from stalling.
- Have a basic understanding of the engine. Watch videos on YouTube explaining the working of an engine, clutch, & gears. This will give you an idea of where you go wrong when your car stalls or makes a rough noise while changing gears.
- Practice is key, but not on public roads. Take your vehicle on an empty space or closed-off road to practice going through the gears, including reverse. Aim at pulling away with as minimum jerks as possible.
- Practice parking the car in a space on the ground to improve. Doing this will reduce the chances of anybody getting hurt or damaging your vehicle.
- Have a good patience level as the gear-clutch-accelerator action requires one to build muscle memory. Only then can one focus on the rest of the aspects of driving, i.e., steering, parking, navigating through traffic, tight streets and gaps, highway cruising, night driving, monsoon driving, hilly driving, etc.
- Go for short drives on a weekly basis to maintain driving practice. Regular practice will help you in building your confidence & muscle memory.
- Remain well-versed with the rules and regulations of traffic & road safety to avoid unnecessary fines.
- Start off slowly. While driving on the road, it isn’t necessary to match your speed with other cars. Drive at a moderate speed that feels safe to you.
- Understand & accustom yourself to the sensitivity of the controls of your car. Sometimes, new drivers are taken by surprise at how sensitive the car’s controls are, especially the accelerator and brake pedals.
- Put your phones away! While driving, one’s complete attention should be on the road, the car, and other cars. Any sort of distraction, such as phones, could result in serious mishaps. So, beware.
- Learn to multitask. A person who’s driving is expected to control and manage loads of stuff in order to ensure a smooth driving experience. Things like indicators, wipers, headlights, AC controls & infotainment controls, and more.
- Carry all documents, owner’s manual, and paperwork at all times. You’ll never know what could happen next, so all the documents about the car and the driver must be present with you while driving.
- Do not play loud music during driving. The road is being used by multiple other vehicles at any given time, and honking is an important way of communicating with other road users. Loud music can cause mishearing of other cars’ horns and potentially lead to an accident.
- Don’t use headlights at high beams all the time. High beams of headlights are only to be used when there’s no oncoming traffic from the opposite side of the road. High beams have a partially blinding effect on other road users resulting in them not being able to see the road ahead.
- Follow lane discipline. When driving on highways with multiple lanes, it is important to check your ORVMs and indicate them before making a lane change, as there could be another vehicle traveling beside your vehicle.
- Check the area before parking. Before attempting to park in a spot, get down and check the area for any animals, large stones, or any other thing which could damage your car. If possible, ask your co-passenger to guide you by getting out of the vehicle.
- Acknowledge your vehicle’s blind spots. Every vehicle has a blind spot. A blind spot is an area around your vehicle that is not seen from your mirrors. If there’s any vehicle present in the blind spot, the driver will not be able to see that vehicle unless he/she looks over his/her shoulder.
- Understand the right of way. The concept of right of way is fairly simple to understand by watching a few videos on YouTube. The application of this concept makes the flow of traffic fairly smooth, given that others use the concept as well.
- Avoid driving while sleepy/tired. It is dangerous to drive while one’s not in the right mental or physical state. Driving for long periods causes fatigue to the eyes, back, and feet of the driver, making it more likely for the driver to fall asleep. So, take sufficient breaks and freshen up in washrooms in order to avoid falling asleep.
- Understand your car and its various functions prior to driving by reading the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual comprises vital information related to various functions of your vehicle, which could come in handy in certain situations.
- Learn to change a flat tire. The roads are very unpredictable, and you might find yourself in a situation where you’d need to change your car’s flat tire with your spare wheel.
- Maintain the right tire pressure in all tires. Running your car at the right tire pressure is essential to achieving good fuel economy as well as ease of driving. So, make sure to check and fill in the right amount of air on all wheels. This also includes the spare wheel, as you might have to use it.
- Do not honk excessively. Horns are meant to be signals to let others know of your presence. Excessive and unnecessary honking is not only disturbing for everyone but also against road etiquette.
These tips may prove vital if you wish to learn to drive skillfully on the road. One’s passion or need to drive will make him go through all the practices to become a safe and swift driver.
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