Learning a new skill can be exciting as well as daunting especially in the initial days, as it often throws up new challenges. The same holds true if you have just started to learn how to drive a car. You might get butterflies in your stomach, that’s absolutely okay. But, before you hit the road, keep in mind the following driving tips. This way you can enjoy the learning process and remain stress-free.
Many car learners tend to become nervous and start to shiver when they sit behind the steering wheel for the first time. This is not going to help. Take a deep breath and relax. Driving requires a lot of focus and concentration. Listen to the driving instructor and try to enjoy the drive.
Get Familiar With The Car
Before you begin to drive, you need to first get familiar with the fundamentals of the car. Learn how to operate the ABC (Accelerator, Brake and Clutch), when to shift gears, applying/releasing the handbrake, etc. Take a moment to mindfully register the controls before you begin using them.
Make sure to adjust your seat in a comfortable position. Your seat should neither be too close nor too far away from the steering wheel. You should be able to easily access the gear lever and fully press and release the clutch. Adjust the center mirror and the outside rearview mirrors. Don’t forget to wear your seatbelt. Ensure you do all this before you start the car. What’s the rush? After all, a couple of extra minutes is totally okay to ensure safety and comfort.
To get the best control of the steering wheel, it is recommended to hold the steering in a 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position or a 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position. Assume the steering wheel as a clock and place your left hand where 9 would be and place your right hand where 3 would be located.
Gear & Clutch
Many drivers including the experienced ones tend to rest their left hand on the gear lever. This adds more weight to the lever and leads to early wear and tear. The same goes for the clutch pedal as well. Press the clutch only when you need to change gears. Keeping your foot constantly on the clutch pedal will affect the fuel economy and reduce the life of the clutch plates.
Needless to say, speed is dangerous. This is applicable even for experienced drivers. Driving at higher speeds might result in losing control of the car and end up in an accident. As a beginner, it is important to stick to lower speeds.
In India, many drivers have a bad habit of not maintaining adequate distance between two cars. We often tailgate and end up in a collision when the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly. By maintaining a safe distance you will have enough space and time to react and avoid a mishap. And yes, this applies in bumper to bumper traffic situations as well!
Use The Turn Indicator
You are not the only person out there on the road. When you are about to turn or change lanes, it is important to let other vehicles know about your intention. Using the indicator alerts other vehicles and helps maintain a safe distance. With most cars using air conditioners, no one uses hand signals any more. Use of lighted indicators is a must.
The purpose of a horn is to alert pedestrians and other vehicles. But in India, we use it as a tool to show frustration. Honking unnecessarily irritates other motorists and at times can result in road rage. Keep honking to an absolute minimum and keep stress at bay!
At times, you might stall the car and the vehicles behind you might honk repeatedly or might even bully you, especially if you have a Learner sticker/label on your vehicle. Ignore them and concentrate on moving the car forward. Everyone was a learner driver once!
End of the day, it is all about the mindset and being confident. The more you practice, the better you will drive with confidence. Happy learning from all of us here at Cholamandalam car insurance.