Driver Knowledge Tests

8 ways to simplify learning to drive

Learning how to drive can seem impossible at first, with all of those road rules combined with the task of learning how to operate a vehicle for the first time, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. 

Most people do at some point or another learn how to drive and use a car in their day-to-day life, but this doesn’t make it any simpler for new drivers who are stepping into the driver’s seat for the first time. 

To make this new and scary experience a little easier, we’ve compiled the best tips and tricks for making learning how to drive as straightforward as possible. 

Tips for before you hit the road

  1. Know your theory 

The best way to make you feel more confident before you even go out for your first drive is to study the road rules properly and begin revising well before you obtain your learner’s permit. Too many people cram for the learner’s theory test just before it comes around with the objective to simply pass, rather than a genuine commitment to understanding the road rules before their first lesson. 

  1. Find the right supervisor 

It is up to you whether you decide to have your first lesson with a parent/informal supervisor or a professional driving instructor. Opting for a professional driving instructor can be a good idea, as they generally are used to dealing with first-time drivers and can give you a more structured and formal introduction to the road, however, it can feel difficult for some to have their first driving experience with a stranger. Finding an instructor to put you at ease is important. For example, you may be interested in finding a female driving instructor on sites like EZlicence for religious reasons or just as a general preference for your own comfort. 

  1. Prepare your car 

You’ll need to ensure your car is roadworthy and adjusted to your needs for your safety and peace of mind. Before you operate the car:

  • Check all of the lights, including your brake lights and indicator lights
  • Ensure your oil and water are filled 
  • Check the inflation and tread of your tyres 
  • Notice the positions of the brake accelerator and handbrake and practise finding them quickly
  • If you’re in a manual, get your supervisor to explain the gears and help practise gear changes with the clutch 
  • Adjust your side mirrors and rear-view mirror to suit your height for optimum visibility 
  • Adjust the seat so that your feet comfortably reach the pedals and you are not too close to the steering wheel
  • Identify blind spots with the help of your supervisor

Your first few drives

  1. Stay within your comfort zone 

Try to keep your first drive or first few lessons within a carpark or on quiet back streets. Starting off small is safer and allows you to dip your toe in the water without diving in head first and drowning straight away. 

  1. Eliminate distractions 

In your early days, keep the radio off and reduce the possibility of any distractions. This means keeping passengers limited to just you and your supervisor at first – siblings or friends making noise in the back seat is the very last thing you need at an already stressful time. 

  1. Stay calm

The best thing you can do in the more challenging moments of your driving lessons is to take a deep breath and relax. Everyone makes mistakes, and learning to drive is hard! Be easy on yourself and stay cool, calm and collected, or you’ll only make a sticky situation worse. 

As time goes on

  1. Listen to your instructor 

The good news is that over time, you will gain confidence in your driving ability.  When this moment comes, it is important to remain humble and ensure that you let overconfidence override the critiques and feedback from your supervisor. While getting better at driving is an achievement to be proud of, staying humble makes you a safer and more skilled driver in the end.

  1. Keep practising 

 As your practical test nears and you have completed the required hours, you might feel bored with driving practice. This is not a sign you should slow down – there is always room for improvement. Try going on more casual drives with a parent or guardian, because every time you get on the road counts towards improving and developing the skills needed for when you’re out on your own! 

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

Posted in Advice