*** Hope Iím posting this on correct thread. If not, Mods please forgive me and move this to appropriate thread.***
For my daily driving needs my bike was more than enough for me. For work related drive I had vehicles from the company. When itís a family (4 members family including me) drive, we used to hire a cab. So never felt the need to own a car and driving experience. I was happy with the long drives I made with my bike and in cabs. I used to sleep as soon as I get in the car (yep!) or may be was lazy... And I was more comfortable in passenger seat.
One Journey while I was working on a short film made me to think again.
Six months back I worked in short film directed by a friend of mine (We met while another Film shoot and he was an Associate director then). The project was on a tight budget. The shoot went for 3 days and the postproduction was a real mess. Since the actors and technicians worked for a small payment, director said that he didn't want to disturb their others works which are currently in progress. For dubbing and all, we had go to their place. Also I had to take my gears and luggage along the journey.
So in-order to travel to places our music director, who is a friend of the director, came with his INDICA VISTA (don't remember the model spec, it was diesel though and almost new one). We frequently travelled between Trivandrum and Kochi that too without any breaks. I was like editing on the way. Our sound engineer was working on major production feature film so we had to schedule our travels according to that. I enjoyed the ride as a CO-passenger. I felt lot of space in the front and rear and I was able sit with my laptop and work smoothly. (Never expected this from a Small Tata car)
The worst pain came when he asked whether I could help him on driving. Bingo! I don't know driving. Even the director too. That day I felt so bad. Anyway we continued our journey and finished the project. Afterwards I got busy with other projects. But a desire to learn driving started budding inside me. And the turbo kicked in so badly that I couldnít concentrate on any other things. All I wanted was to learn driving. I don't have any 4 wheeler at home. So only way I can learn is by joining a Driving school.
Time passed, on completion of a major project, I decided to take a break and learn driving. (Often time I will have travel when in work. So if join a school I wonít be able to complete course on time. So decided to take a break.) Also I felt like if I have a car it will be easy for me to get to any location without any delay. I travel to location with my assistant with both our luggages and gears.(Necessity is the mother of invention , Now I understand its meaning)
The Maruti Driving School.
I have seen MDS vehicle passing through my area. So decided to check on them first before approaching any local Driving School. (Though my Uncle's friend is an instructor in a nearby driving school). I went to MDS (Elamkulam branch, Kochi, Kerala). I talked to them. They gave me a corporate brochure type syllabus and explained each and everything. They said about the choices of cars. Explained simulator and theory classes. I felt bit of Okie with everything, Theory class, simulator training, practical classes, flexible timing, AC cars, 1:1 training, and obviously choice of cars and increase in fee as we go for specific car. (I never liked to be in Alto and M 800.Period. Most people teach in these and have seen Nano in some schools.) I asked some friends about their experience in local driving schools and got comments like much cheaper than MDS (likely to be ⅓ of fee) Good practical, etc. One of my friends scolds me very badly for spending this much money in MDS. But I was Okie with the MDS. So I decided to join and take the risk.
The first 5 days were theory classes. Basics of car to the RULES and REGULATIONS and MV ACTS.
The Instructor explained every road rules and regulations. Explained everything about car and its mechanisms, road safety features, driving techniques, etc. Meanwhile interacted with my friends to share their driving experience. Did a search in Internet to get more knowledge of cars. (In one such search I found TAI
). I was like doing all that it takes to make myself a GOOD DRIVER. (I know itís more of experience but theory really matters, without knowing the rules and safety precautions how Iím supposed to drive) I doubt about this theory class in local driving school. Never heard from anybody talking about the theory class.But definitely they will get you pass the test.
We had a compulsory RTO theory of 2hrs.(Its compulsory in our RTO, I'm not sure about other RTOs) Since I went after completing the theory classes from MDS, so could find anything new there and for the 8:00 AM class the Officer came only by 8:45. The session got over by 9:45. But the officer was very nice in terms of teaching.
When the theory classes got over (MDS classes) we were introduced to Simulators and Demo class. In this we gained practical experience with the Foot controls, hand controls, Basic things to check before entering or driving a car (all round inspection, Under hood inspection for oil level, water level, fluid level.)
Before taking the car try in a controlled environment and be familiar with the roads and controls of car. (This class comes mixed with the practical class. So once we try car on road, then we will start to feel the simulator like a mess. Itís much softer than the real car and won't make any sense afterwards.) Though it helped to practice night driving. Seen people correcting mistakes they made in roads and practicing safer driving in simulators.
Once I started driving I tried to apply the things I learnt from theory into practical environment. We had a progress card, which keeps track of our driving skills. After 4 days I asked for a particular instructor with whom I felt more comfortable.(I got mixed up with the driving style and thought, it will be good if I follow one particular style. And when this particular instructor came I felt more confident and comfortable.)
I'm a slow learner. May be he understood this in first class itself. He took his time to teach me things and gave me enough time comprehend things.He seldom used the controls in his side while teaching and always allowed me to drive my own. This helped me to gain confidence and better control over the car. At least I know Iím driving a car. I drove peacefully in most of the traffic area.(But there were some situations in which I panicked and did some mistake.) He was very patient to correct my mistakes and taught me some nice techniques to tackle the traffic. (Especially the private buses here in Kochi. The Red Colored Vampires). Also he was teaching me to drive a car in real life not just the sake of DL test.
The routes are very much picked up to sharpen our driving skills. First 4 days not so much crowded area and it is like almost a maze. Lots of intersections and pocket roads. So once we complete the 4 days class we will almost learn clutch control.(depends on students capacity. heard that there we some students who actually started driving their own in 2nd class.) Afterwards taken to main roads. Mainly vyttila Jn * (One of the busiest and crowded junction in Kochi. You will start sweating in AC), and other main junctions.
For H class another instructor came. He explained me the importance of H formation and purpose.(Parallel parking, Reverse Left Turn, Reverse Right Turn, Controlling car in half clutch etc) That way I was sure why I should learn to take an H.
- Detailed theory Class (Rules and regulations, Vehicle maintenance, Vehicle basics) (very impressed)
- Vehicle choice (Alto, Wagon R, Ritz, Zen Estillo and Swift Dzire)
- Well trained Instructors
- Very patient and helpful instructors.
- AC Cars (Be aware that while on test we have to ride without AC and should show hand signals.)
- One student at a time.(Driving and H class)
- Simulator Training. (Help full in the beginning, bad weather condition driving, Night Driving experience etc)
- Demo Class. (One class to get acquainted with car in detail)
- Progress card. Keeps track of our driving skill. Very helpful.
- Pricey (Depends upon the car choice)
- Front office is bit corporate. But manageable.
- Simulator feels bit odd after we start-driving a car. (Subjective I guess. Never found any others complaining)