Driving For The First Time
Starting the process to obtain your driver’s license can be very exciting, but getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time can also be very intimidating and put a damper on some of that excitement. While it is good to have some level of caution and nervousness, you are in control of a motor vehicle, after all. The most important step in learning how to drive is practice, practice, and practice even more.
Before you begin driving, get comfortable with your vehicle whether this is a car you’ve never sat in before such as the one at your driving school or it’s the car your parents have been driving all your life, this is your first time in the driver’s seat. Learn all of the car’s functions such as where the indicator is, where you can find the windscreen wiper switch, how to turn the lights on and off. You also need to know about any unique features the car has. Be sure to read the owner’s manual until you are familiar with the dashboard lights and what to do in various “what if” scenarios. When you are comfortable with the car, adjust its settings until you, the driver, are comfortable. This means that you are able to reach all pedals and knobs, can see out all mirrors, and are comfortably seated. While you are sitting there, imagine yourself driving and what you would do in various scenarios. For example, review where the windscreen wipers and headlights are so you can react appropriately when it starts to rain.
When you are ready to begin driving, do not think about things too much. As a driver, you certainly have to multitask at all times so it is imperative that you calm your nerves and focus on the road in front of you. Avoid unnecessary distractions such as a rowdy passenger or the radio. It is always best to have a calm person that you can trust in the passenger seat when learning. The first time you put the car into gear, start small. Avoid unfamiliar roads, and perhaps you just want to drive through your neighbourhood, and that is okay. Baby steps are very appropriate. Other things you shouldn’t bother attempting when you are behind the wheel for the first time include parallel parking, reversing, or positioning your car at the petrol station to fill up the tank. Your first time should solely be spent on familiarizing yourself with the vehicle and with your new identity as a driver.
If you are with a driving instructor, he will likely be very familiar with nervous first time drivers. A good instructor will be patient and friendly and help you feel at ease in your car if you feel pressured or intimidated by your instructor, it is a wise decision to find a new one. You will make mistakes regardless of how many videos you watch and manuals you read, you will be unprepared for something you come across in your driving lessons. Even seasoned drivers make mistakes. The best thing you can do is to remain alert at all times and try to remain as relaxed as possible.
Finally, be sure you practice often. Getting behind the wheel once a week for fifteen minutes will not turn you into a competent driver overnight you need to enlist the help of your instructor or a parent and go on multiple driving trips each week, varying your route and learning more about traffic, signs, lights, speeds, and other variables you face as a driver.