First Ever Driving Lesson
This video is designed for all learner who wants to learn how to drive a car. Whether you’re a beginner or getting to know and understanding the controls in more depth. However, this video is a must for the beginner. Learners, during their first driving lesson, often take a seat in the car and can get very confused with all the dials, controls and pedals. They can find it extremely difficult to understand what is what. Here, will be mentioned many more tips along with the tips mentioned in the video to help those beginner learners. However, before understanding the controls, a learner needs to understand, what is the safest way to enter a vehicle. Might seem obvious, but these are the little points, which can make a big difference on the day of the driving test. Remember, the First impression is the last impressions.
How to enter a vehicle safely
Now entering a vehicle, may seem the easiest, however, there is a certain way all drivers including learners should enter a vehicle. Failing to enter a vehicle correctly, can lead to being a potential risk or a hazard to other road users.
All driver should enter a vehicle, from the rear of the vehicle. The reasons why are as follows.
You are more visible to all other road users, especially to oncoming vehicles.
- When entering a vehicle from the rear, the car door will only be opened up to 45 degrees. A driver can easily enter the vehicle without the car door opening too wide, and being a hazard to other road users.
- When entering a vehicle from the front, the door is open more widely and a driver is likely to be on the road for a longer period of time as they have to walk around the opened door before getting in.
In this video, our instructor has demonstrated using a Vauxhall Corsa. In most vehicles, all the major controls are often in the same positions however some controls and dials may be positioned differently. Speak to your instructor, or the car owner if the controls are different. It is very important you are aware of all controls, their positioning and use before driving.
Now once entering a vehicle, a learner needs to adjust their seat, so they can effectively operate all controls safely. This is called the Cockpit Drill. The cockpit drills consist of five points DSSSM.This needs to be done, not only on your first driving lesson but every lesson.
These five points should be carried out every time a learner sits in the car. It is also essentials learners, carry out this routine is the exact order.
Let us start with the D for Doors. The purposes of the doors are to the enter and exit the vehicle using the door handles. They are designed to keep the driver and passengers safely inside the vehicle while the car is moving.
Learners need to ensure the doors are safely closed, Not only the drivers’ door but all doors to the vehicles. There are a few ways of making sure the doors are closed. This includes,
- Holding the door handle and giving it a tug. If the door was open, you’ll hear the door shake or make a rattle noise. Ask all passengers in the car to do the same.
- Interior light will stay on if a door was open.
- On modern vehicles, there would be a light which would come on the dashboard. Letting the driver know one of the doors are open.
- Certain Vehicles have an audio sound, which alerts the driver the door is still open.
- By looking into the side mirrors. The car doors should be flush with the rest of the car or it would not be properly closed.
When exiting the vehicle, drivers should check their mirrors and preferable look over their right shoulder. This is to ensure it is clear before opening the door. Needless to say, It is advisable to ask all passengers to do the same.
Learners should take great care when opening the door. Doors should be opened, using the hand which is furthest away from the door. Therefore, If the learner was sitting in the driver’s seat, they should use their left hand to open the door while placing their right hand on the door handle to control the door from swinging opening.
The reason for this is, in case of windy days, the car door can easily fly open. Using the right hand, the door would swing open more much, the learner would have less control, and likely being dangerous for any road users. However using the left hand, the driver has more control of the door.
The driver should advise all passengers to do the same, to prevent risk to other road users.
S for Seat.
The purpose of the seat is to put you in a safe and comfortable position while you’re driving, also allowing to effectively operate all foot and hand controls easily and safely. There are various ways to adjust the seat, the order which should be applied when correctly adjusting your seat is:
- Height- The driver wants to adjust the height so they can easily see through the centre of the front windscreen.
On the Vauxhall Corsa, there is a lever to the side of the seat. Pull this level up to raise the height and push down to lower the seat
2. Distance from the pedals- The forward and backward slide, can you determine the correct distanced require to use the pedals safely and effectively. On the Vauxhall Corsa, there is a rail under the seat, the driver needs to pull this lever to adjust the distance.
The best way to do this is: Keep one hand firmly on the steering wheel and using the other hand pull the lever to work out the best distance, by pulling yourself forward or backward. You’ll know when you’ve correctly positioned the seat when by taking your left foot and fully depressing on the far left foot pedal commonly known as the clutch. Your left thigh should be resting on the seat (not over stretching), there is a slight bend in the knee.
3. Backrest- To adjust the backrest, on a Vauxhall Corsa, there is a small wheel on the outer side of the seat, spin this wheel to adjust the back, rotate clockwise to move the back forward or anticlockwise to move it backward.
To work out the best way to adjust your seat is, by resting back comfortable on the seat. Take your wrist and place them on top of the steering wheel, there should be a slight bend in the elbows, adjust accordingly. You need to be comfortable when driving, and be able to effectively use the steering wheel in a safe way. Try not to overstretch, and avoid leaving any gap between your back and backrest.
4.Head restraint- When adjusting the headrest, there is a small button on the inner side. Push the button, pull the headrest up or down and adjust it accordingly.
To correctly adjust the headrest, You want the middle of the headrest to be level with your eyes or the top of your ears, use the interior flat mirror to help you adjust correctly.
A correctly adjusted seat and also offer a lot of protection in an event of an accident, resulting to minimum whiplash. Drivers should avoid overstretching or be leaving gaps when adjusting seats, as an extra gap means more impact/ more injury in an event of an accident.
S for Seat Belt
The Seatbelt is a legal requirement. Failing to wear a seat belt, can lead to receiving points on your license or a fine. A seat belt must be worn at all times while driving unless carrying out a reversing maneuver. A driver is responsible for their seat belt and passengers under the age of 14.
The purpose of the seat belt is to restrain you from moving forward when slowing down your vehicle or when being involved in an accident.
The correct way to apply the seat belt is by holding the buckle, pull the belt over your right shoulder and plug in the buckle. Drivers need to ensure the belt, run smoothly across the body and over the shoulders. There should be no twist presents. In an event of an accident, present twists in the seat belt can cause major injuries.
Once the seat belt is firmly secured, it is always good to give the seat belt a short firm tug to ensure it is working.
As a driver is it advisable to ensure all passengers are wearing seat belts for the safety and others.
S for Steering.
The Steering wheel is positioned directly in front of the driver. The purpose of the steering wheel is to turn the vehicle into the direction you tend to take.
When holding the steering wheel, you want to pretend the steering wheel has a face of a clock. Ideally, you want to hold the steering wheel at the 10 to 2 or the quarter to 3 positions. Learners need to have a firm grip on the steering while resting their thumbs on top of the steering wheel. These points allow the steering wheel to easily feed through the hands while carrying out any maneuver, as well as maintaining control of the vehicle.
It is important to adjust the steering wheel correctly, before driving. You should be able to see all the dials on the dash broad, through the steering wheel. If you cant see all the dials, to adjust the steering wheel on a Vauxhall Corsa, there is a small lever on the left side behind the steering wheel. You want to pull that down and adjust accordingly. For other vehicles, the lever may be under the steering, always ask your driving instructor or the vehicle owner before driving.
When using the steering wheel, you want to use the Push and Pull Method. The Push and Pull method, is done, by pushing the steering wheel up and pulling down the steering down.
For example, If you want to turn right, you want to push the steering wheel with your left hand clockwise, and with your right hand pull down clockwise. This is the Push and Pull method, it is safest and the most recommended way to steer the wheel.
There are a couple points which learners should avoid to do when steering the wheel.
Firstly crossing your hands over. Learners should understand the danger of crossing the hands over. Well, in case of being involved in an accident, the airbag once exploded, explodes at a speed of 40-60 mph. Having your hands crossed over, your hand will also come at you at the same speed as the airbag. It could be more dangerous if you were wearing any jewelry ie, rings or bracelets.
Secondly is Dry steering. Dry Steering is moving the steering wheel while the vehicle is stationary. There can cause uneven wear and tear on the tires, due to the friction created between the road and the tires. Learners should steer, only when the car is moving.
Once you have adjusted yourself comfortably in the driver’s seat, you want to adjust the mirrors.
M for Mirrors.
There are three mirrors, you have the interior mirror and the two exterior side mirrors.
The Mirrors are designed for your visual aid, they allow you to see what is happening behind you, on the side while driving the car, before moving off or reversing.
The interior mirror, this is also known as the flat mirror. It is position in the center of the car, on the top left side of the driver. The interior mirror gives a true image, of everything behind you.
When adjusting the interior mirror, you want to keep your right hand on the steering wheel, look straight ahead in front, and with only moving your eyes, adjust the mirror with your left hand. Avoid touching the glass, just the outer frame. You want to be able to see as much as you can, try to create a picture of everything you can see through the back window.
The side mirrors, these are placed on either side, just outside of the vehicle. The side mirrors are made of convex mirror, this gives us a wide view, similar to the back of a spoon. Objects in the side mirror would seem further away than they actually are.
To adjust the side mirrors, as controls are different on all cars, so remember to ask your driving instructor or the car owner, when adjusting the side mirrors. On the Vauxhall Corsa, there are controls on the driver’s door, which can be used to adjust the mirrors accordingly.
When adjusting the side mirrors, you want to divide the mirror into 3 sections, in one-third you want to have the side of the car, as well as getting as much of the view behind you in the mirror.
Mirrors should always be checked in pairs. Learners should first check the interior mirrors to get the true image and then the side exterior mirror, assess the situation and react accordingly.
Now we have covered the DSSSM, we can move onto the Foot controls.
In a manual car, you’ll have three pedals, from right to left. There is A, B, and C.
A for Accelerator.
B for the brake.
C for the clutch.
In an Automatic car, you’ll only have the accelerator and the brake.
Let’s start with the accelerator, The purpose of the accelerator is to feed fuel into the engine. This allows us to increase the speed of the car, by pushing down on the pedal.
This pedal is operated by the right foot and right foot only. When using the accelerator, you want to push down with your right out the same amount as the thickness of a pound coin. Push more to increase speed, and ease off when wanting to slow down.
The second pedal is Brake. The purpose of the brake is to slow the car down or bring it to a complete stop. This is also operated by the right foot as well, so you’ll have the right foot riveting between the two pedals.
When using the brake, there should be gently pressure applied on the brake, progressive braking. Now how fat the pedal is pressed with dictate how quickly the car will stop.
Lastly, the clutch. The clutch is only found in a manual car. The purpose of the clutch is to connect and disconnect the engine to wheels of the car.
For example, when the clutch is depressed down, the engine is disconnected from the wheels and when the clutch is up. The engine is connected to wheels. This allows the wheels to turn. Now the clutch is operated by the left foot.
In this video, the vehicle used is a Vauxhall Corsa in this particular vehicle, it has five forward gears and one reverse gear. The purpose of the gears is to match your speed. The first gear is the most powerful, like an Elephant. An elephant can pull the car along from 0-10 mph. The second gear is like a cart horse and can take the vehicle from 10-20 mph. The third gear is a cheetah, a cheetah can push up to 30 mph, even 40 mph. The fourth is the well-trained racehorse and can take the vehicle from 40 to 50 mph. The last, fifth gear is for cruising, once you are over around 45 mph, depending on the road condition, shift into the fifth gear and allow the vehicle to cruise. The fifth gear is normally used on single/dual carriageways and motorways.
The reverse gear is used for reversing.
When using the gears, we use a technique called the palming technique.
Firstly you want to check if the gear is in neutral, you’ll know this by moving the gear stick left to right.
The gears do have a spring, which is, it is not securely placed into the required gear, will spring back to normal.
To enter the gear into the first gear, push the gear stick away from yourself and up into one. For second gear, pull away again and down into second. For the first and second gear, you want the palm to be facing away from you. The third gear is pushing it straight up and straight down for fourth gear. For the fifth gear, you pull the gear stick towards you and up into five. When moving gears 3, 4, 5 you want the palm to be facing you.
When increasing speed, you must change gears one by one, however, when decreasing speeding you are not required to go down one by one.
The next is the handbrake. The purpose of the handbrake is to secure the vehicle once it is stationary. It is very important to only use the handbrake once the vehicle comes to a complete stop, as failing to do can lead to losing control of the vehicle. Unlike the foot brake, which has brake pads on all the four tires to slow down the vehicle. The handbrake only operates the two back wheels.
To apply the handbrake, you want to lift the handbrake up, you would press the button in, lift the handbrake up and once locked in place you’ll let go. The handbrake is now on. Now to release the handbrake, you would lift slightly up, push the button in and push down.
Lastly, the final major hand controls are the indicators. On the Vauxhall Corsa, the indicators are places just behind the steering wheel on the left. On another vehicle, the indicators may be placed on the right side on the steering wheel.
The purpose of the indicators is to let other road users be aware of your intention and which direction you intend to take.
When operating the hand controls, it is important to ensure you don’t take your hands off the steering wheel when wanted to use the indicators. You want to be able to extend your finger out and apply the indicator. Learners need to remember, when applying the direction indicator does not give them priority of way. You are required to check your mirrors and surrounding. Assess the situation and if it is safe to react, then only then react.
Now, that is the end of your first ever driving lesson.