Learning to drive

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Lionheart392, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    I'm currently learning to drive and I hate it :/ Had I think 7 lessons so far (a lesson is 1 hour) and I feel like I'm so terrible at it! I have no co-ordination and I guess my lack of confidence doesn't help. Any drivers here who felt the same when they were learning? The car has manual gears btw.
     
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  2. F-T-S

    F-T-S Rookie

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    yeah it was a b|tch for me too
     
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  3. rovex

    rovex Legend

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    Where the ****
    have you been fed the saviour?

    Welcome on board once more!
     
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  4. F-T-S

    F-T-S Rookie

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    yeah i used to like that poster too [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
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  5. mtommer

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    Look ahead while taking a curve, especially at higher speed. Best tip I received and helped me out tremendously.
     
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  6. PureAlph4

    PureAlph4 Semi-Pro

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    It's tough at first, but as you gain experience it WILL become second nature to you.

    While you've only driven for a few hours your brain still takes time to digest every situation as it is all fairly new, so the whole process seems stressful and rushed. Soon you will be more confident on the road, and you will be subconsciously changing gears and navigating normal traffic.

    After not too long, it will just be your manoeuvres, roundabouts, exceptional events etc which really command your attention, and by the time you take your test even these will become natural to you.

    Make sure you get a good grasp of the Highway Code while you're learning; you probably won't read it again in your life so make things easier for yourself and ground yourself in the rules of the road.

    Stick with it, take it at a pace that suits you and it will all work out.
     
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  7. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    Go to an empty Industrial park on the weekend and drive around with no other cars. You can gain confidence knowing you are the only thing moving so you get a feel for driving. Plus you can practice parking without dinging someone else or running someone over.
     
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  8. mary fierce

    mary fierce Banned

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    It's probably really confusing for you because you live in England, with everyone driving on the wrong side of the road.
     
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  9. Hot Sauce

    Hot Sauce Hall of Fame

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    I had an absolute horrible time learning to drive. There was a period where I was so frustrated that I just stopped altogether. I came back more relaxed, less tense, and with less stress. Take your time if you need to.
     
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  10. TheBoom

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    Nah dude its pretty easy cept learning how to drive with a clutch that is hard but oh well i'll get used to it
     
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  11. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Thanks everyone, nice to know I'm not the only one.
     
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  12. Aggro

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    that is the only way !!

    Im curious about our american friends - do you guys learn in small cars with clutches ? small automatic cars or big cars ?
     
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  13. TheBoom

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    My mom has a ford edge whitch is an automatic and a crossover which i drive a lot. My dad has a BMW that is a stick shift
     
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  14. ProgressoR

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    manual gears is the real way to drive, i learnt that in the UK, now living abroad its all automatic, which can be nice, but its also dull. I quite like going back to the UK and driving manuals.
     
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  15. rovex

    rovex Legend

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    there's nothing quite like going from fourth to fifth in a manual, you don't get that extra and pleasing "oomph!" sensation and power on an automatic.

    Want to feel like an F1 driver? Get yourself a manual and preferably a V8 or V12 engine packed banger!. :mrgreen:
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm (still) teaching my middle daughter to drive. She has completed all of the requirements and is agitating to get her license.

    I say she's not ready.

    We are entering the final phase of driving, which I call "Mom shuts up." In this phase, I sit there with my arms folded, saying nothing. She drives as she would drive if I were not there. I do not speak unless it is necessary to save a human life.

    Part of the final phase is the "navigation test." I tell her to drive me someplace totally unfamiliar to her. This requires her to watch traffic, remember where's she's suppose to be, read signs, and fix navigation errors safely. I had her drive me to Frederick, Maryland, which is about 45 min north of here. This would involve freeways, one-way streets there, and parallel parking.

    Ahem. I had to stop her from entering the wrong way onto the freeway. Granted, the signage was tricky but dang.

    I also had to stop her from mowing down a pedestrian that was foolish enough to step in front of her car as she was hoping to make a right on red.

    So no. She's not ready. For our next adventure, I will have her drive me to Baltimore and back.
     
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  17. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    This is an excellent idea.

    Sometime about age 26 or so, the whole "driving is exciting to do" feeling totally disappeared. Now it's a pain and a bore.
     
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  18. athiker

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    Good tip...most focus way to close in front of them which is bad for safety and also tends cause too much steering overadjustment. Look ahead and you will stay centered and smoother as well be much safer as you will see any potential hazards much earlier. ie) you won't be slamming on the brakes b/c you will see the cars slowing down ahead much sooner.

    When driving at night don't be like a moth and stare into oncoming headlights! Sounds silly but easy to do and easy to get blinded...look at the edge of the road...the lane you are driving on to keep oriented and reduced night blindness but still look well ahead down the road.

    Make sure your seat and steering wheel are adjusted to your stature so all controls are easy to reach. If you don't know how or if your steering wheel adjusts then ask...your parents may not have thought about it needing to be adjusted. In some cars the seat height is also adjustable.

    Make sure your rear view and side mirrors are well adjusted. You should be able to see a car passing you right up until it becomes in view out of your side vision. There should be none or little gap...no need to wrench your head all the way around to see if a car is in the next lane on the highway...just a lean forward while looking in the side mirror and a quick side glance. The passing car moves from your rear view mirror, into the side view and then into peripheral vision. Some cars do have much better mirrors than others though.

    Know how big your car is! You should not have to go back and forth half a dozen times maneuvering out of a parking space or gas station. Its okay to go slow however when first learning (see below). Pick a spot on the very front of your hood so you know when something is inside of that spot you will hit it and out side you will miss it. You can practice by driving slowly along the side of the road and feel the edge of the road w/ your tires and note the spot and with cones (plastic trash can).

    Corollary, there is a saying in boating...don't approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it..the same w/ a car in a parking lot while learning. When you are learning in a parking lot, or for that matter learning to take off w/ a manual from a stop light, don't let others rush you...they all had to learn once too.

    I learned on a manual in the States but that was quite a few years back. I don't think many here do now.

    OP, it might help to have someone really explain how a clutch works. The mechanics/friction of it. Then you can better imagine what is going on in your mind while driving/shifting and perhaps be able to do what's needed more smoothly. It takes practice regardless to get the "feel" of how much gas is needed to prevent stalling and how quickly you can let out the clutch to keep from lurching forward. It will be fun in the end and most parents pretty much have to expect they are going to burn through some clutch life w/ every son or daughter that learns to drive on their car...it part of the deal as a parent!

    Overall think "smooth" over anything else. Light changes to red up ahead start slowing down early and smoothly, turns and adjustments...smooth, working the clutch and gas pedal...smooth. Anticipate and adjust early (remember looking well down the road!) and your adjustments can be smaller and smoother instead of sudden and jerky.

    Finally, out of curiosity did you do any sort of driving as a kid? Lawnmover tractor, go karts, racing video games, Dad's lap in the driveway?...even bicycle riding? Just wondering if there is any correlation to your difficulty/apprehension now.

    Best of luck!
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  19. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Learn to drive The Car first.

    Then learn to drive The Road.

    By those things, I mean get the hang of dealing with your vehicle...the clutch, the steering wheel, the brake. Large vacant parking lots are the spots for those things. Like athiker, I learned long ago on a manual (at the insistence of my father) and I'm infinitely grateful he made it learn that first. What's really scary is this happened when I was 14! (We could get learner's permits at 15, full license at 16...and we were the City kids. Farm kids drove everything even sooner!) I can't imagine letting my kids drive that young. But I'll get there.

    Then, once you have the feel of the car, you can venture out onto the road. As Cindy expressed, there's so much more to the whole "driving" concept. There are soooo many distractions. Sights, sounds....even those designed to keep traffic orderly...can still all conspire to distract you. Turn of the radio/tunes and the cellphone/texting. Keep your focus on the task at hand.

    Good luck. Driving can be hectic, necessary...and, done well in a good car...a pleasure.
     
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  20. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Good points...know your equipment first then less to think about while actually driving on the road. Kind of like tennis...get your strokes down then can just think about strategy adjustments in a match. :)

    One thing I forgot in my long list. While you should obviously be focused on the road your eyes should always be moving and scanning. Don't get tunnel vision. You should be noticing that kid standing on the sidewalk b/c he may be just about to turn around and chase something into the street. Not focusing on him...you are watching the road...but noticing him and anything else near the road. Same with cars at intersections...are their wheels turning...are they about to pull out in front of you?
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Learn on an automatic
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Widespread public transportation is the wiser choice
     
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  23. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    I learned on an automatic and when I got my first manual it was pretty easy to get the feel becuase I only had to focus on shifting and not all the other fun stuff driving brings with it. So I agree with you that learning on auto should be done first.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I learnt on a manual and it was a pain.
     
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  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Do you ride bikes? (Real bikes, not virtual bikes).
     
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  26. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    No absolutely nothing, I'm 23 and my first lesson was the first time I'd ever been in the driver's seat, I'm a total novice. And it's embarrassing to admit but I can't ride a bike either, although haven't tried since I was about 7. When I don't get the hang of something quickly I just forget about it, a habit which I'm trying not to succumb to with driving!

    And sureshs the problem with automatic is that if you pass the test in an automatic car, the licence you get only lets you drive auto. Whereas if you pass in a manual car, you can do either. And seeing as manual cars are MUCH more common over here I thought I should try that first.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Very interesting.
     
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  28. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    IMO the hardest part of driving is not to operate the vehicle, either is manual or automatic, the hardest part is to keep the car between the lines, to follow the rules and to coordinate with the rest of the traffic. my first car was manual and i have drove pick up trucks and big trucks that are manual too, but this days I am happy with an automatic car, driving manual on heavy traffic is a PITA.
     
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  29. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    We dont have that here in the states. When you have a license to operate a vehicle it doesnt matter whether it manual or automatic.

    Hardest part of driving is navigating through the other drivers. There are millions of bad drivers that now a days are also talking on their phone, texting, eating,make up, and a whole bunch of other things.
     
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  30. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    I still remember many of my driving lessons very vividly, even though it 16 years ago. When my instructor explained changing gear, he told me not to think of it as an act of coordination, but as a sequence of instructions:

    Clutch in, off the gas.

    (yes, he called it gas as 'clutch in, off the accelerator' doesn't roll off the tongue so easily.)

    If you can follow instructions, you can change gear :). The sooner you get used to moving the gear stick without looking at it, the better. You should be able to tell what gear you're in, first by the position of the gear stick, and as you gain more experience you'll just know without even thinking (by the speed you're travelling and the sound of the engine revving, in case you wondered).
    Again, to help me with this he had me move the gear stick whilst the car was parked with the engine turned off so that I could focus on it without any distractions. After about 5 minutes, he did some 'tests' where he put the car into gear, and I had to tell him which one just by touch.

    Don't worry about feeling like you're no good - none of us were any good when we started driving. And there's plenty of people who have passed their test who still aren't any good now. :twisted:
     
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  31. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    I empathize with you as I was a horrible driver when I first started and learned an expensive lesson with an early accident (thankfully nobody was injured).

    A couple suggestions:

    Get an automatic to learn on. Granted, us Yanks are biased because the manual transmission has virtually disappeared from our shores. But, there are enough things to learn during this time. The stick shift will be almost as big a distraction as talking on the phone, texting, etc.

    Keep in mind that over-confidence is probably your greatest enemy. Your original post certainly doesn't come across as arrogant, so I imagine you will be okay. But, keep this "healthy insecurity" for as long as you can. Over-confident driving leads to excessive speed, not wearing a seat belt, willingness to get distracted, drunk driving and many other risky driving habits. And those can lead to costly accidents, injuries and even deaths.
     
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  32. Aggro

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    Unfortunately over here, automatic little cars are quite a rarity and will cost a bomb plus insurance = no go area !!

    Just remember - look at some of the other drivers on the road and you ask yourself "how can they drive?!" If they can do it so can you - just give yourself more time, ease off the pressure and try to enjoy each lesson :)

    Try setting little goals for yourself each lesson such as smooth gear changes, nice feeding the wheel etc etc.

    Always a good option get the rents or a friend to take you down to tesco carpark or something and just drive around practicing corners, signalling, bay parking and all that jazz - it will come to you!
     
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  33. PureAlph4

    PureAlph4 Semi-Pro

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    Yes, but becoming a confident, assertive driver is imperative if you are not to be a danger to other road users. Almost as dangerous as the young speedster is the diffident, indecisive and unpredictable driver who will start and stop erratically at junctions and slow to a crawl at roundabouts.

    As long as you get good tuition and gain plenty of experience your confidence will grow. The vast majority of motorists will be very understanding and allow you plenty of leeway while they see that you are a learner.
     
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  34. PureAlph4

    PureAlph4 Semi-Pro

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    Brilliant! :twisted:

    An appropriate indictment of modern Britain!

    A friend of mine's gf is very absent minded and apparently almost always opens her driver side door without checking the mirrors. She has had THREE doors struck by oncoming traffic in the few years she has been driving! REALLY should be disqualified.
     
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  35. siata94

    siata94 Rookie

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    the absolute best way to improve your driving a thousand fold, effectively compressing 20 years (less for some, more for others) of self learning into one day, is to take a "performance driving" class at your local race tracks. It's dirt cheap, perhaps $200 - $300. Better yet, start racing something. Once you do, driving on public roads will feel like doing so in slow motion with heightened awareness.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  36. athiker

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    Interesting thanks. I suspected that might be the case. So nothing to be embarrassed about as your present difficulty is simply that you are starting from zero. It doesn't mean you can't become an excellent driver, just that it might take you a while longer...I mean it would be a surprise if it didn't take a bit longer. Just be patient and methodical about learning and it will come. No substitute for time behind the wheel...you just have to spend it.

    When I lived in Chicago I taught a friend in his late 20's to drive on my stick shift Jeep Wrangler. He had grown up in the city, taken the "L" (subway) to school, etc. and had never needed to drive. It was rough at the beginning but it wasn't too long before he had a car of his own and was zipping around the city enjoying his new found "freedom". In fact he eventually bought a classic stick shift Porsche and loved driving!
     
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  37. T1000

    T1000 Hall of Fame

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    Learned how to drive my dad's durango (5.7L hemi, awesome engine) automatic and then manual in a smaller car. Stick is so much better than auto,
     
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