Driving is one of the most useful skills in the world. But before you start driving, remember that driving is a privilege, not a right, and you must learn to be a responsible driver before you turn the ignition key. All the driving rules and regulations can seem overwhelming, but if you learn these rules one by one, you'll be a professional on the road in no time. This article gives you general advice and does not replace learning the rules of the road in your country of residence.
Part 1 of 5: Getting started
Step 1. Learn the rules of conduct in your area
Before getting a driver's license, it's important to master the rules of driving and know the basic safety precautions you need to take to be a responsible driver. It makes a lot more sense to learn the rules before you get behind the wheel, so you won't have to improvise or make mistakes as you go. Here's how to do it.
- Read the Highway Code. It contains all the legislative and regulatory provisions governing traffic on public roads (sidewalks, pavements, highways, etc.) of users, in particular pedestrians, vehicles with or without engines and animals. If you haven't learned the rules, you won't be able to get your license.
- The few basic rules and common safety precautions everyone should know include: stopping for pedestrians, obeying road signs, obeying speed limits, and wearing seat belts.
Step 2. Obtain your license
Your license will allow you to drive under the supervision of an adult and to respect a curfew. Consult the regulations in force in your region to find out from what age you can qualify for a driver's license (generally between 14 and 18 years old) and what you need to do to obtain it. Here are some general recommendations.
- If you are a minor, you will need the consent of one of your parents or guardian.
- You will have to take a written test covering the rules of conduct and regulations.
- Some jurisdictions will require you to provide proof of a certain number of hours of driver training in order to obtain your driver's license.
- If you are still in school, consider taking the driving and road safety courses, which are offered in most schools.
Step 3. Practice driving
Once you have your license you will need to hone your driving skills. Before hitting the highway, you need to practice to be comfortable behind the wheel. Practice day to day and be patient. No one is a perfect driver at first glance. Here are a few tips.
- Train with a trusted adult. Drive with a responsible driver over the age of 21 who can guide and give you advice without getting excited.
- Practice in a secluded and safe location, such as an empty parking lot on the weekend. This will help you understand how your car accelerates, how the brakes work, and how to maneuver your car, in general. Every car is different and it is important to have an idea about the peculiarities of yours.
Part 2 of 5: prepare to drive safely
Step 1. Make the appropriate adjustments
Before you set off, it's important to adjust your mirrors and the seat so that you're ready for driving. Doing this before departure guarantees you to drive safely while being focused. Here's what to do.
Check your interior mirror and side mirrors and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure you have a good view of the cars on either side and behind you. Do not adjust your mirrors while driving, it can distract you
Step 2. Make sure you are ready to start
Before you get behind the wheel, it's important that you, your body, and your car are ready to take to the roads. Here is what you need to do.
- Put on door security to prevent intruders from entering your vehicle and to reduce the likelihood of doors opening in the event of an accident.
- Fasten your seat belt. Depending on where you are, it is very likely that a law requires you to wear a seat belt. If you do not comply with this requirement, not only will you be prosecuted for breaking this rule, but also your chances of injury and death in a traffic accident will increase exponentially.
- Consult your dashboard. Make sure your car is ready for departure and that there is no alarm signal that requires the car to be repaired.
- Adjust your seat and make sure you can easily reach the pedals and see the road well.
Step 3. Minimize sources of distraction
Minimize sources of distraction before stepping on the pedal. Remove any obstacles that prevent you from concentrating on driving. Here are a few tips.
- Put away your cell phone. Do not get behind the wheel if you are texting your best friend on your cell phone. Reschedule the conversation, saying you're going to be driving. You can even turn off your phone if you are prone to receiving a lot of calls.
- Lower the volume of the music. Put on something soothing and relaxing to help you focus.
- If you need to re-style or put on makeup, don't do it while driving. Make an effort to complete whatever you need to do before starting the engine.
Part 3 of 5: driving an automatic car
Step 1. Start the car
To start your car, you need to follow a few easy steps in the right order. Here is the procedure to follow:
- release the handbrake
- put your foot on the brake pedal
- put the ignition key on and turn it. You should hear the sound of the engine
Step 2. Engage the gear lever
For a car with an automatic gearbox, the lever position should be either D which corresponds to the normal driving position, or R which corresponds to driving in reverse, depending on how the car is parked..
- If you are going to drive forward, place the lever in the forward drive position (D).
- If you are going to drive in reverse, to exit a private lane or parking area, your lever must be in the drive reverse (R) position.
- If you are going to be driving in reverse, check your rearview mirror first, then place your hand on the passenger seat and turn your head to the right to look behind you.
Step 3. Release the brake pedal by lifting your foot and the car will start to move
Congratulations, you are driving a car!
Slowly put your foot on the accelerator pedal to accelerate
Step 4. Speed up your car
You must speed up your car to reach the speed limit in the vicinity. If you are on the highway, you must know the speed limit, but above all follow the flow of road traffic.
- If cars around you are going much slower than the speed limit due to heavy traffic, drive accordingly to avoid hitting them.
- If the cars around you are driving much faster than the speed limit, you don't have to break the law, but you can speed up a bit so that you don't slow down traffic too much.
- Remember that a speed that is too slow can be just as dangerous as a speed that is too fast.
- Accelerate your car calmly. Don't push your foot too hard on the accelerator or you'll go much faster than you want. Know that each car has its own rate of acceleration.
Step 5. Steer your car correctly
Proper steering wheel handling techniques will help you drive smoothly and avoid collisions. Steering your car properly can help you take turns and position your car in the most convenient way. Here are some tips for good driving.
- Make sure you have both hands on the wheel.
- Place your hands in the 8 o'clock 4 o'clock position or a position slightly above the 9 o'clock 3 o'clock position, depending on your preference. In this position, you can safely maneuver the steering wheel without making any sudden movements.
- When taking a turn, pull the steering wheel down and to the side where you want to turn and push it up with the opposite hand. This is called the “pull-push” outfit.
- To take tighter turns at low speed, use the so-called one hand at a time method. To do this, turn the steering wheel using the pull-push method and move the pulling hand over the pushing hand to continue turning the steering wheel in the desired direction.
Step 6. Understand how the brakes work
You need to know the time it takes for your car to come to a complete stop when it is moving at different speeds.
- Always drive at least a car's length behind the vehicle in front of you. If you have to stop suddenly, it will prevent you from hitting it.
- When driving at a faster speed you will need more than a car length to safely stop when needed, so understand and observe the 2 second rule that you must be at least two seconds away. behind a car in front of you to keep a safe distance. Take weather and road conditions into account.
- Avoid stopping suddenly unless it is an emergency. A vehicle following you may be surprised by your sudden stop and therefore strike the rear of your car.
Step 7. Signal yourself appropriately
Remember that the person following you cannot read your mind. She won't know which direction you are heading if you don't signal it. You need to send a signal in the following situations.
- When you are 30 meters from a turn (left or right turn).
- Before changing lanes, be sure to signal it at least 5 seconds in advance.
- Before you park or leave a parking space along a sidewalk.
- When you change direction.
Step 8. Use your lights
The lights in your car can help you see more clearly and avoid danger. You should use them when it is dark, when it is raining or when there is mist.
- As a general rule, if you have to ask yourself: do my lights need to be on right now? The answer is always yes.
- Observe the other cars on the road. If most of them are showing their fires, turn on yours.
- Remember that some cars have lights that come on automatically under certain conditions. If your car is not equipped with such a lighting system, be sure to turn off your lights when you park your car to avoid draining your battery.
Step 9. Use your windshield wipers
Find out how your windshield wipers work before the first rains arrive. You can adjust the back and forth motion at different speeds depending on the strength of the rain.
- In some countries, it is mandatory to turn on your dipped beam headlights when it rains.
- You can also use your windshield wipers to wash your windshield by spraying it with cleaning liquid and removing dirt or stains.
- Don't drive if your wipers aren't working. Driving in a storm without wipers is extremely dangerous.
Step 10. Change lanes like a professional
Follow the rules for safe and clean lane changes. Here is a useful mnemonic to remember what to do before changing lanes. V. I. E. F.
- V: check your mirrors to see if there is room for safe maneuvering.
- I: Inform other drivers of your intention to change lanes using your turn signals.
- E: Check that the way is clear by glancing quickly over your shoulder.
- F: take or take action.
Step 11. Park your car properly
Once you've arrived at your destination, you'll need to safely park your car and turn off the engine. Here's how to finish driving.
- Find a good place to park, then stop your car by pressing the brake pedal.
- Place the gear lever in the garage position (P).
- Stop the engine.
- Apply the parking brake.
- If your lights are on, turn them off.
- Lock your car to prevent theft.
- Get out of the car and check that it is parked correctly.
Part 4 of 5: learning with a manual transmission
Step 1. Remember that many basic driving rules apply to cars with an automatic transmission and cars with a manual transmission
The differences between the 2 types of cars will be mentioned later, as for the common rules, they are as follows:
- steps to prepare for driving, such as adjusting your mirrors and avoiding distractions
- signaling rules,
- lane change rules,
- the use of lights and wipers when necessary,
- the position of your hands on the steering wheel.
Step 2. Familiarize yourself with the supervisory bodies
Most people agree that a manual car is more difficult to drive than an automatic car, due to the extra steps that must be taken to drive well. However, many people believe that driving a manual car can be more fun and rewarding, due to more intense involvement in the process of driving. If you have a manual car, you need to recognize and use two additional organs which are as follows.
- Clutch: the clutch makes it possible to couple the engine and the transmission. When you push down on the clutch pedal, you disengage and the engine disconnects from the transmission. When you let go of the clutch pedal, you shift and the engine couples to the transmission. While disengaging you effectively freewheel the car regardless of the position in which the gear lever is engaged. By clutching, you put the car at the speed which is already selected by the gear lever.
- The gear lever: the gear change is done by moving a rod called the gear lever. The number of speeds and the modes of travel vary by model, but the default position is neutral N, followed by speeds 1 to 4 or 1 to 5, then reverse position R.
Step 3. Start the car
Starting a manual car is a bit more complicated than starting an automatic car. Plus, it takes more practice. When you are a beginner, make sure you are in a secluded location to avoid any mishaps. Here is how to do it.
- Start by depressing the clutch. Most manual cars will not start if the clutch is engaged.
- Once you have started the engine, place your foot on the brake pedal and release the handbrake.
- If you want to go forward, engage 1st gear. If you want to back up, engage reverse gear (R).
- Slowly release the clutch while gently depressing the accelerator pedal.
- You will hear the engine roar and then feel the clutch slip. If the car moves forward without stalling the engine, then you've done a great job! You have started the car and are driving in 1st gear.
Step 4. Select your speeds according to your pace
Change the position of the shift lever to achieve higher transmission ratios as if shifting from neutral to 1st gear. Before changing gears, remember the following points.
- You must change gears in that order. Disengage by pressing the clutch pedal. Change gears using the gear lever.Engage by slowly releasing pressure on the clutch pedal while pressing on the accelerator.
- Remember that the pressure you exert on the clutch pedal must be proportional to the pressure on the accelerator pedal. They must act together like a swing. When one of the pedals goes up, the other goes down.
- Accelerate gradually while in the clutch, to change gears smoothly. It will take time, but once you have mastered both movements, it will become automatic for you.
Step 5. Shift into higher gears as you increase the pace
Each car has its own speed range for each gear. Some manufacturers will tell you to change gears when the engine has reached a certain number of revolutions per minute (NTM).
Listen to your car and shift gears when you think the engine needs it
Step 6. Brake appropriately
Depress the clutch pedal and shift into neutral when braking. This gear change will disconnect the transmission and prevent you from stalling the engine when braking.
You can potentially save gas and improve the longevity of your brakes by downshifting to slow down, but it takes practice, so start by just using your brakes to slow down
Step 7. Park your car
Once you've found the right place to park your car, it's important to follow a few essential rules for proper parking. Here is what you need to do:
- leave the gear engaged and not in neutral. Usually this will be either in first or in reverse. If you leave the gear lever in neutral, your car will not stay in place,
- remove your ignition key.
Part 5 of 5: Obtain the permit
Step 1. Take the appropriate steps to obtain a driver's license
Once you have passed your tests, mastered driving your car either automatic or manual, and driven for the required probationary period (six months in some places), then you are ready to get your driver's license! The driver's license will allow you to drive alone, at any time and with other people with you in the car. To obtain the permit, you must complete certain formalities, the nature of which depends on the region in which you are located.
- Take a written test.
- Take a short driving test, which will assess your basic driving skills, including how to niche and how to turn around.
- Have a visual acuity test.
- Check with the local authorities of your place of residence the age required and the formalities to be completed to obtain a driving license.
Step 2. Remember that driving is a responsibility
Once you've done all the right things to get your license, remember to be safe and responsible and think about your safety. If you do not drive by the rules, your driver's license will be taken away and you may get into legal trouble. Here are a few things to keep in mind after obtaining your driver's license.
- Always think about your safety first. Safety must be your priority and must come before the pleasure of driving. Don't do anything that compromises your safety like cramming seven people into your car or driving without your seat belt on or being distracted while driving.
- You can always improve your driving skills. Write down the points you want to work on, for example taking smooth turns or warning and work to remedy your driving faults.
- Take care of the safety of your passengers. Before setting off, make sure your passengers are behaving appropriately. Do not start the car if they lean out of the windows or if they do not want to fasten their seat belts or if they do not obey the rules of the road network.
- Observe others as they drive and ask questions. Although concrete experience is irreplaceable, it may be advisable to review the rules and driving techniques.
- When approaching an amber light, stop if it is safe to do so. If you are already engaged, suddenly stopping will be more dangerous than continuing to drive.
- Anticipate the movements of other drivers. When driving, the main danger usually comes from others, they will not necessarily do what seems logical to you, the logic is relative.
- When you have an aggressive driver behind you, let them pass, you are in no rush to go to the cemetery …
- Pay close attention to motorcycles and cyclists, they don't have the same view of the road as you do. Respect them!
- Be careful of stopped vehicles which prevent you from having good visibility, they can hide a potential danger, for example a pedestrian can appear without you being able to see him.
- Focus on driving without getting distracted.
- Do not drive a vehicle when you are under the influence of any substance.
- Do not drive a vehicle if you feel tired. Rest and take a nap if necessary.
- While driving, do not text or talk on the phone unless you have a wireless headset. It is absolutely dangerous and it can have fatal consequences.