My Driving Lessons - Experiences


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My driving lessons

As far as my understanding goes, driving is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Invitation of the tarmac is too tempting to resist. But such enjoyment is possible only when a person has been able to learn how to drive properly, and that’s where my story starts – learning to drive.

In my previous story I have narrated the necessity for and my experience of buying a car. However, I thought that it would be more convenient if I know at least the basics of driving before buying a car. Of course, the major part of learning will happen only when I start driving independently. So, I went to a nearby driving school and told them my requirements – a car and an instructor who knows English. Unfortunately, availability of such an instructor was scarce. Finally, the owner himself agreed to teach me driving.

With alacrity in my heart I went to the school the next day. Along with the owner I walked towards the Maruti Alto which was parked at the roadside for the first drive of my life.

First time driving

Here I should mention that the preliminary details may be a bit boring for the experienced drivers here, but it might come in handy for the uninitiated neophytes. The first thing I noticed was the clutch, accelerator and the break. Common sense told me the basic functions of accelerator and the break, but it took much longer to understand the function of the clutch. [By the way, I am still not very clear why it is necessary to press the clutch while changing the gear.]

Starting of the car was the major hurdle. After fastening the seat belt (necessary as per the laws I guess) I released the handbreak and put the key in the ignition. The gear was in neutral, therefore the engine just purred but nothing else happened. Now it was time to change the gear. The instructor had told me how to change it to first gear. I pressed the clutch, shifted the gear, and lifted my foot off the clutch. And lo! The engine stopped. Well, then the instructor told me that I need to release the clutch sloooowly and not as if it had bitten my toe. This is where the difficulty started. No matter how much I tried to release the clutch slooowly and press the accelerator at the same time, I couldn’t synchronize it and ended up stopping the car. After 2 or 3 failed attempts, the owner got impatient and started scolding, “Why don’t you understand that you have to release the clutch slooowly and press the accelerator at the same time? I tried to explain to him in vain that my understanding is not faulty but he would be too optimistic if he expects a first time driver to start the car very smoothly. This is when it occurred to me that while asking for an English speaking instructor, I should also have mentioned that he must have adequate patience. Here again my advice to majority of girls, if you are not super-efficient engine savvy (read 95% of the boys) then make sure that your instructor has lots of patience otherwise you will end up getting frustrated in the process of learning to drive and losing interest altogether.

Well, after some bickering, I was determined to start up the car, no matter what. The result was startling. As soon as I released the clutch I pressed the accelerator hard enough to make an elephant screech which in turn resulted in the car being pelted forward like a bullet from a swan off shotgun. To prevent a disaster, I immediately hit the break equally hard, bringing the car to a sudden halt. I don’t know how I managed to perform the circus, but I am glad that there was no traffic on the road. After this incident, till date the instructor has not entrusted me with the operation of clutch, break, gear AND the steering wheel. Since then, all the classes with him has been either him operating everything or me trying to do something but failing due to lack of practice.

The second instructor

Well, coming to the next phase of my driving, it was much smoother, but challenging in a different way. After two classes with the owner I realised that I am learning practically nothing. The owner was also getting impatient and wanted to assign his employees to assist me. Finally, I agreed to have another instructor. I have to admit that this person was much calmer and better in teaching. In fact, starting of the car and movement of the wheel I have learnt from him. But the challenge was somewhere else. Firstly, he knew very little English. Therefore, the instruction would be like “clutch put”, “no put” or “wheel turn”. It served the purpose, no doubt, but I wouldn’t learn why I was performing those actions, which means I may not be able to do it independently later. Sometimes he would use words like “half clutch” which I wouldn’t understand, but can’t get further explanation due to language bar. (I still do not know what ‘half clutch’ means. Can someone help me there?)

The second problem was more serious. On the first day itself I had perceived a pungent odour while driving. By the second day I was convinced of its identity – alcohol. The reddish eyes of the instructor also testified in favour of the efficiency of my olfactory nerves. I did not know whether it was safe to be out with him because I will not be able to operate the vehicle at all without his guidance. Anyway, I decided to take the risk. Well, his inebriated condition did not prevent him from giving instruction, but in his over jubilant mood, he instructed me to drive to a nearby shop where he invited his friends to join us inside the car. I guess I don’t need to explain my condition any further. There was I, a complete novice in charge of the wheel in a market road with a half drunk instructor who, head turned at the back seat is busy chatting with his friends and throwing occasional ‘clutch put, no put’ at me! It took a sharp rebuke on my part to make him throw out his friends from the car and get back to teaching.

I was between Scylla and Charybdis – on one hand I had an instructor who expected me to drive like Formula 1 driver right from the first class and on the other hand I had a very high spirited man who is always full of spirit (pun intended). By the time I got done with my classes, all my enthusiasm about driving was squeezed out of me like a lemon crushed in a squeezer.

Obtaining Learner’s Licence

The driving course consisted of 10 classes, each class for 1 hour. I was supposed to get my Learner’s Licence after 5 hours of practice. Therefore, in the prescribed Form, along with a copy of photograph, I applied for LL. This was again done by the driving school. The instructor told me it will not be much of a problem; I just need to memorize 5 symbols and that would suffice. I asked him to explain me the rest of the hand signals and symbols but he said it is not required because those are not being asked for the test! I wondered whether the symbols were meant only for show if memorizing 5 signs would make one eligible to get a licence.

In the RTO, I did not depend upon the owner to explain me the procedure. I took it upon myself to enquire about the whole thing. I took the trouble of going through the Motor Vehicles Act and the pictorial representations of all the symbols which one may come across on the way. (Fortunately or unfortunately, I happen to be an LL.B graduate). Finally, after a longwinded procedure, I finally managed to get my LL.

Third phase of driving lessons

This started after I bought my car. Nothing exceptional happened in this phase because I am learning from a friend who is a competent driver. But while taking lessons from her, I have noticed that girls tend to be over cautious. E.g. applying handbreak for every little thing when mere clutch and break would be enough. I appreciate the necessity of being cautious, but being over cautious may be self-defeating.

Anyway, that brings me to the end of this lengthy narrative. I have not yet learnt to drive independently, but I believe that now I require more of practice and less instruction.

Moral of the story

I don’t want to sound like a preacher, but from my personal experience I have learnt the following:

• If you are a girl and want to learn how to drive, it is always best to try with some friend who is experienced, can spare the time, has patience and can explain even elementary basics which may be like involuntary actions to professionals. (e.g. need to press the gas pedal more while going up on the slope, press the break on rough roads, necessity to look at the mirror etc.)

• If you choose to go to a driving school, then make sure that they meet your requirements, i.e. patient, explains everything properly, and most important of all, does not come drunk and invite friends in the car. Also, they should allow YOU to operate the car and not do everything on their own.

• Do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot perform the task at the first go. Ultimately, practice is what you need the most to make yourself efficient.

• Always remember, driving is fun, so external experiences should not have adverse effect on your interest of driving.

• There is no harm in having basic knowledge of the laws related to traffic and transport. A glance through Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 would come in handy.

• While obtaining licence, don’t depend blindly upon the driving school. Make sure that you ask the authorised officials about correct procedure. It will prepare you for future renewal of licence.

• Never compromise with safety. Your anger should not get better of you.


Happy Motoring!
 

Varun560061

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Re: My driving lessons

So, is the training still going on ? Nice write up..

Half clutch, depressing/releasing the clutch half way so that the car moves with out presseng the accelerator/gas pedal ...

Best thing, is learn driving in your car ! It will build up confidence..
It might cause some dents on your car, but it will remind you how to drive !!

I guess you also need to learn some technical stuff of a car, like changing the tires,
basic trobleshooting etc..
 
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Re: My driving lessons

I can see you have a good amount of enthusiasm from your writing,keep it up!
Well make it a habit to using your left external mirror when needed even though you mite be driving a small car you may never know what is on your left in city traffic so better to be aware of your surroundings,as i have seen some dont use there side mirrors(both of them) & it can get scary/annoying while overtaking them.

Tip-Take your car out early mornings(remember to switch on your lights) on roads you know well & eventually your grip over the car will set in after which you can look at driving in traffic as a next step.
 
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Re: My driving lessons

To be true , it was fun reading!

I hope , i figured out the problem , 'a lady drive by rules'
Just forget everything and drive by what the car needs?

If a car needs more accelerating , just accelerate , if it suffers , just downshift.
Not like - if in upward slope - more accelerate kind off.

For many - learning through driving school it will be like a HUGE process.

In simple , driving is a skill , that develop with time and not in day

Drive by requirement .

Understand the vehicle in first 2 min - each vehicle has different clutch and brake position and also have different acceleration too.

Slot into a gear and leave the clutch slowly and at one point the car tend to move. that is the start point kind of.

And do not drive with foot over the clutch - many ladies(i though a lot of not using the word ladies , but cant help) tend to do so and worn out the clutch soon.
 
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Re: My driving lessons

Once again a very nice write up brutus.

I also learnt from a driving school but even after my course was completed i was not that confident to take drive my own car. Then one of my friend suggested me to practice every night [late night after 10 P.M] for some 20-25minutes as the traffic would be quiet less. I did that for a week and i felt some what confident. Then i gradually upgraded my lessons to the next level. I used the same technique but this time it was during rush hours i.e 7.30 - 8.30 pm and i always had a friend accompanied with me to tell me what i was doing wrong.

I would advice you the same as practice is necessary.

Drive safe.
 
Thread Starter #6
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Re: My driving lessons

ilango[speed thirst];144302 said:
To be true , it was fun reading!
Thanks, but the experience was not much fun. [:D]

[QUOTE='ilango[speed thirst] 'a lady drive by rules' [/QUOTE]

Not necessarily, but at the initial stage certain guidelines help.

[QUOTE='ilango[speed thirst] If a car needs more accelerating , just accelerate , if it suffers , just downshift.
Not like - if in upward slope - more accelerate kind off. [/QUOTE]

That was just an example [:)] not a hard and fast rule.

[QUOTE='ilango[speed thirst] Understand the vehicle in first 2 min - each vehicle has different clutch and brake position and also have different acceleration too. [/QUOTE]

It may not be possible for a first time learner to get the feel of a car within 2 mins.
 

350Z

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Re: My driving lessons

Nice and well written topic. It's certainly going to assist the beginners. From your post I understand that a bigger challenge was to find a suitable instructor. Just give a shot to Maruti Driving School. It's a bunch of trained professionals who start teaching driving right from the basics. Also, I'm attaching a couple of useful related links:

- http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/f...sense/1348-basic-guide-road-safety-india.html

- http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/f...ll-about-indian-motor-vehicle-rules-laws.html

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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For the first timer , no one know how a clutch works.

Every one jerks and stops.

But anyone can/will master in a couple of days.

But when they try a different car just try to understand in first few min.

May be used to own a garage , i may be different . But my friend who drives a car for almost 2 to 3 years , a regular at highways , hits 140 to 170kmph when ever possible , find it difficult when in other cars for first few min.


In short in a few couple of days , your legs will work automatically! cheers!

Simple solution - Do not read articles of how to drive , kind of! hehe
 
Thread Starter #9
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Driving Lessons Part II



[Dear all, since my initial driving lessons with the driving school instructors, I have advanced a little toward independent driving, that is now I can drive provided the road is in good condition, has minimal traffic and I am only at 20 km/h.

Reflecting upon my past 2 write ups, I have a feeling that I have been overtly sarcastic or humorous. To a certain extent this was deliberate because of the following reasons:

First of all, dry narration of basic operations like shifting the gear or pressing the clutch will not be an interesting or entertaining read.

Secondly, though the experience was quite frustrating and certainly not funny when they were taking place, remembering them indeed gave me an opportunity to smile.

My only objective is to make it a little more entertaining for the readers.
I don’t know whether experimenting with writing style violates the policies of this forum or not. If such is the case then I would stick to bare narration of the incidents.]

“It is the cause, it is the cause, my car,-
Let me not name it to you, you oblivious pedestrians!-
It is the cause. - Yet I’ll not hit a tree;
Nor engage in road rage or tailgating,
But drive smoothly and steadily as a determined tortoise.”
- Original borrowed from Othello, Act 5, Sc. 2

Had Shakespeare been in my position, probably he too would have changed the dialogue of his plays. Now that I am trying to drive independently on the road, I find it to be a far greater challenge than I have ever experienced.

In my previous write-up I had mentioned that after buying my car I have been practicing to drive with the help of a friend. But before that, I had encountered the first (and hopefully the last) ‘mini-accident’ of my life. While purchasing the car, I was told that I need to rev the engine every day. Once the delivery man left after safely parking the car, I could not hold my enthusiasm any longer and decided to ‘rev up the engine’ though it had already travelled quite a few kilometres that day.

Empowered by the limited knowledge that I had gained in the course of my driving lessons, I decided to start the car. Till then I had the notion that a car can be started only if it is in first gear. But as the saying goes, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ … I had no idea that when the car is in first gear, it can start moving automatically without pressing the gas pedal if the clutch is released properly. As it happened, the parking lot in my college is at a slightly elevated platform, surrounded by rocks and trees. The boundary of the parking lot is marked by embedded bricks and then the slope starts at about 45 degree angle, the whole area being covered by trees.

Anyway, the moment I started the car in first gear, it lurched forward and started rolling down the slope without me doing anything else. So panicked was I that I complete forgot about having a break and a hand break at my disposal. I sat helplessly as my Margarita carried me headlong towards a tree. It is my good fortune that both me and my car remained unharmed. This incident taught me a few valuable lessons – never try to drive on your own after only four and half hours of mismanaged driving classes. Also, be sure about what is the function of each objects (what would be the right word, instrument, machine??) before trying to operate them.

As I disembarked like a vanquished general from the car I found two or three guards standing nearby who had come running when they saw a car rolling down automatically from the parking lot. To save my face I told them that I was just trying to take the car out and wanted a short cut instead of reversing it from the lot. Of course the lie was quite obvious because the ‘short cut’ would take me inside the garden, destroying a few flowerbeds in the process before I can go to the road. My poor Meg remained stranded there for two days before I could persuade someone to reverse it back upward through the trees, stones and brick boundaries.

After this experience I was convinced that I am not yet to be trusted with my vehicle. Therefore, the next day I sought refuge at my friend’s doorstep who has been driving for fast few years. I have already mentioned that she is a competent driver so nothing much happened. But to be truthful, nothing much happened because both of us were over cautious and we would switch our places whenever we saw a vehicle anywhere near us, which happened as frequently as after every 2 minutes.

Here if I may mention something for new drivers, learn from your past mistakes but do not be afraid in future or lose confidence. A few minor hits are in the cards when you are learning to drive and skills will develop gradually. Mistakes certainly help you to improve yourself – as I will never try to idle the engine unless the hand break is engaged and the gear is in neutral.

My friend was doing a good job of instructing but due to time constraint I had to look for another friend. With him I learnt steering balance, which was quite a job. Often I would find myself either crossing the middle line or crawling into the hedges at the extreme left.

Another challenge which I faced was reaching the clutch with my foot. Unfortunately, my height is such that though nobody would call me a dwarf, I can easily walk into 6th standard classroom without attracting anyone’s attention. Even after maximum seat adjustment I could not reach the clutch properly, except with my toe. As a result I could not put full pressure when required, leaving it at half clutch most of the time. This I have mentioned before and I am mentioning it again – please see that you are comfortable at the seating position, at least when you are at the learning stage.

Because I was not okay with driving in traffic, we decided to go to a secluded and less travelled road. Unfortunately for me, many other had similar thinking; therefore, when we reached there we saw that there are already few learners’ cars as well as scooties - all of them moving in a groggy manner.

This is the time when I started practicing how to start the car smoothly without making it jump like a bullfrog. Well, if you have problem of synchronizing the clutch and the accelerator at the same time, try not to use the gas pedal at all while starting. When the car is in first gear, if you start the engine and slowly release the clutch, a point will come when the car will start vibrating. If you hold it there for a second or two without releasing it any further the car will start moving a little on its own. This is the time when you can slooowly press the gas pedal so it continues moving smoothly.

Shifting the gear may become another problem. Since we tend to put all our concentration in changing the gear, and often by looking at it, we forget to see the road. So until changing gear becomes an involuntary action, you have to keep practicing it. The most comfortable way I found was to practice it for five minutes every day before starting the car, that is just press the clutch and keep shifting the gear and release clutch without putting the engine on until you are familiar with the H shaped movement. (But I don’t know if it might spoil the clutch or not.)



The rest is coming soon, hopefully by tomorrow or day after. By the way, how do I edit this and join the rest since the editing is disabled after 15 mins.?
 
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Common sense told me the basic functions of accelerator and the break, but it took much longer to understand the function of the clutch. [By the way, I am still not very clear why it is necessary to press the clutch while changing the gear.]
Turn of the car at some convenient place probably in garage or parking lot .

1.try to shift gears lever without pressing clutch .

2.try shifting gear lever with clutch fully pressed.

For a beginner understand this much that clutch maybe a kind of "key" to unlock or lock the gears lever in its place.
clutch full pressed means unlocked , clutch released means locked (to move).

hence use it generously .


Secondly, though the experience was quite frustrating and certainly not funny when they were taking place, remembering them indeed gave me an opportunity to smile.
I hope by now you might have realized Driving is less of learning and more of Balancing between body and machine .
it will happen naturally.
more you drive, better the mind will adapt to its various aspects ,no need to feel bad and stuck .

Ps: there is no hard and fast rule in driving ,every sane driver is uncertain and have a layer of anxiety/fear moment he press the gas and that is the fun part of it.
 
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I learned driving from a driving school and obtained license, however, got in to regular driving only after about 5 more years. First thought to go to a driving school again, but then decided against it. Though it was after 5 years I was holding the wheel, my steering balance was still intact. So, took the car out with our experienced driver seated beside me with his hands alert-fully resting on the hand-brakes!! didn't have much problem. Then after a week or so I alone took the car to a non-busy road in our village and practiced the stop-start on an up-hill, that was my bottle neck. It isn't that difficult to get used to with your car. We might encounter some shocking moments initially, but never give up and be determined. At the same time, never be over-confident as well. Now, i'm again employed abroad and drive only during my vacations, but i don't have any problem to drive.
 
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I also learnt driving in school but still after getting my DL I was not so confident to drive my car alone in the road. As per my opinion I was not a bad driver in the school. After purchasing the new car I engaged a professional driver who will just sit beside me when I shall drive for two months. i practiced in the morning initially for a fortnight, then started negotiating lanes and by-lanes. After that I changed my driving session in the evening and went to malls with that fellow to practice spirals and under ground parkings.I also drove with that fellow to bridges just to handle ascending and descending. After two and half months I started solo driving.

In my opinion easiest way to handle clutch / gear problem is AT car.
 
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