Learn How to Drive a Car

Driving demands concentration, attention, and patience. Whether you are an experienced driver or learned it recently, you need to keep certain things in check as long as your hands are being the steering wheel. With more than 60% market share, automatic cars are becoming more common among people.

Nowadays, most people are pretty comfortable driving an automatic car, but not everyone knows how to handle a manual one. This article is an effort from us to help people learn to drive automatic and manual vehicles.

Part 1: Prepare Yourself

Before learning to drive, you should prepare yourself mentally. Just follow these step-by-step processes, and you will learn to drive within no time.

Learn the Driving Rules

You need to be a responsible driver before you apply for a permit. The first step towards this is to know the rules and safety precautions. Start by reading the driver's handbook provided by your local department or DMV.

Some standard safety precautions you should learn −

  • Obeying traffic signs

  • Wearing seatbelts

  • Stopping for pedestrians

  • Maintaining the speed limit

Getting Your Permit

The legal limit to apply for a permit ranges between the ages of 14-18, depending on your area. With a permit, you can drive a car with adult supervision and a curfew. You must pass a written test about driving rules and regulations and road safety. Minors must get a signature of approval from their parents or guardians before driving.

Practicing with a Guide

After getting the permit, it's time to focus on your driving skills. You need to get comfortable behind the wheel before you start driving on the busy road.

To learn to drive, you need to practice it under the guidance of a responsible driver who is an adult. The law dictates the guide to sit in the front seat next to the driver.

Try to find a safe and isolated location to practice. Take your time to understand the braking system, acceleration, and how to maneuver the car. Since each vehicle has a distinct feel, it's essential to get comfortable with the car before you hit the street.

Part 2: Learn to Drive Safely

Safety is an important factor while driving. So you must cautious about safety.

Making Adjustments

Stay safe and focused on the road while driving by making some adjustments. The first this to do is adjust your mirrors and seat to have a good view of the road and your surroundings.

Make necessary adjustments to the side mirrors and rear view, ensuring you have a clear idea on both sides and behind your car.

Cross off the Checklist before Driving

Make sure the car is in good condition and you're mentally prepared for the driving.

  • Lock all the doors to prevent any accidental opening while driving or during collisions, hijacking, or someone entering the car

  • Fasten your seatbelts to avoid injury or fatality during an accident

  • Check your dashboard for any alarming light signaling that your car needs servicing

  • Adjust the seat in a way to make it easier for you to reach the pedals and look at your surroundings

Eliminate Any Possible Obstacles

Remove any obstacles hampering your view or focus.

  • Put out your cell and avoid taking any calls or answering texts while driving

  • Turn down loud music or put on shooting music

  • Complete any makeup or grooming before you start the car

Part 3: Driving an Automatic Car

In this section, let's understand the steps to drive an automatic car −

Start the Car

Put the keys in the ignition and turn it ON; you will hear a sound when it's turned on. Put your foot on the brake, followed by releasing the handbrake.

Put Your Car in Gear

An automatic car's gear is D (drive) and R (Reverse). Put your car in D for driving forward and R for moving backward in a driveway or a parking spot.

While reversing, make sure to check your rearview mirror, then turn your head to look behind by keeping your hand on the passenger seat

Accelerate Slowly

Take off your foot from the brake and slowly press the gas to start driving. Drive within the speed limit. If you notice your nearby cars going slower, you must slow up. Most importantly, you should know the speed limit while driving in a specific area. However, you can go with the flow of the traffic.

If everyone is driving faster, you need to accelerate your car to slow down vehicles behind you. Be gentle, and don't push the gas too hard, or you may accidentally trigger the car at full speed.

Steering Your Car

Keep your hands on the wheel at either 8 or 4 o'clock or 9 and 3 o'clock or 10 or 2 o'clock, depending on your comfort. This allows safer maneuvering and avoid taking sharper turns.

While making a turn, pull down the side of the wheel towards the direction you want to turn and push up the opposite hand.

Use the hand-over-hand turning method to make sharper turns while driving slowly. To do this, bring your pull hand over your push hand while moving the when in the direction you wish to turn.

Using the Brakes

Don't stop the car abruptly, as it could lead vehicles behind you to crash on your rear. Always keep one car directly from your front car so that you don't crash on it if you make a sudden stop.

Use the 2-second rule while driving faster. That means you are at least two seconds behind the car directly in front of you while. Don't forget to consider weather and road conditions, as cars tend to slip on wet and snowy roads.

Signal Properly

Use signals to communicate with the driver behind you, telling them you are taking a turn or changing a lane. Make sure to use the signal at least 5 to 6 seconds beforehand. Always use lights for signaling during night.

Use a mnemonic device like S.M.O.G. to change lanes safely.

  • S − Signals the cars around you to let them know you are about to change lanes

  • M − Check your mirrors

  • O − Check over your shoulder, ensuring now it's safe to turn

  • G − Go

Learn to Use the Wipers

Learn to use the wipers. You would need them as soon as it starts raining. Adjust the speed depending on the speed of rain. You may have to turn on the headlights while using the wipers, if it is required in your state

Park Your Car Safely

Turn off your car once you reach your destination and park it safely at a good parking spot.

  • Put your foot on your brake to stop the car, shift gears to "park," and turn off the engine.

  • Pull up the parking brake, and lock your car.

Part 4: Driving a Manual Car

While automatic and manual cars differ, some rules apply to both. This includes Part 1, and Part 2, including the rules for signaling, changing lanes, using lights, wipes, and steering.

Learning the Controls

Driving a manual car is trickier than an automatic one as you need to learn some extra steps. This includes −

  • The clutch − It connects the engine and transmission. Pushing it will disengage the engine from the transmission while releasing it will do the opposite. You need to use the clutch to keep the car in the current gear you have selected.

  • The shifter − Also known as a gear stick, gear lever, or shifter, a gear shifter is used for shifting gears while driving. The number of gears and patterns may vary by model. However, N is considered neutral, R is reverse, and the numbers range between 1 and 5.

Starting the Car

  • Start by pressing the clutch to start the car, followed by placing the foot on the brake and releasing the emergency brake

  • Place the car on 1st gear while moving forward, or place it in reverse if moving backward

  • Slowly release the clutch by slowly pressing the gas pedal

  • If your car moves forward without stalling, then congratulation, you have started your car, and it's on 1st gear

Switching the Gears

Shift gear by pressing the clutch pedal and disengaging the clutch. Then shift the gear and re-engage the clutch by slowly releasing the clutch pedal while pressing the gas pedal.

The pressure you apply on the Clutch and gas pedals acts as a see-saw. Meaning if one goes down, the other goes up. It is a trickier part that needs constant practice. Once you learn it, it will be a piece of cake.

Each car comes with its individual speed range assigned to each gear. Some even direct you to change the gear when the speech reaches a certain R.P.M.

Applying the Brakes

Move into the neutral position by pressing the clutch pedal. Downshifting to decelerate can help you save gas and improve your brakes' life.

Parking Your Car

Please don't leave your car in neutral mode, or it won't stay in one place. You can either put your car in 1st gear or reverse mode. Then, remove the keys from the ignition.

Part 5: Get Your License

Once you get a permit, you need to drive the car on the road for a specific period to be eligible for a driving license.

To get the license, you need to −

  • Pass a written test

  • Pass a short driving test where you need to showcase your driving skills, including how to parallel parking, make K-turns, etc.

  • Pass a vision test

Drive Responsively

Rash driving or driving under the influence or ignoring rules and regulations can make you lose your driving license and it may also invite legal actions.

Never compromise on safety, such as allowing more than legally permitted people in your car, driving without wearing a seatbelt, or driving while texting. Signal ahead of time before you take a turn or stop the car. Make sure your passengers are wearing seatbelts, not hanging out the windows or breaking any rules.

Updated on: 31-Mar-2023


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