Driving – Made Easy
There is no better person to learn to drive with than an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). ADIs are tested, checked and licensed by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVSA). Private practice with a friend or relative is a good thing. People doing this have fewer serious collisions after passing their tests. Your supervising driver will need to have a lot of patience, as well as understanding. They must be a qualified driver who has held their car licence for at least three years and is aged 21 or over. You are bound to make mistakes, unintentionally. If it doesn’t work out and no-one else is suitable or available, get as much practice as you can with your professional driving school. Passing the driving tests demonstrates your competence and ability to drive safely. Try to find an ADI that teaches the “Goals for Driver Education”. They will better prepare you for driving in the real world.
Why do you want to learn to drive?
What motivates you? One of the main reasons has to got to be because you want to get about places without the worry of public transport letting you down, or taxis being too expensive. If you’re applying for jobs, it gives you more confidence of getting an interview if you can add a full driving licence onto your CV.
So, how are you going to learn to drive? Driving lessons are really not so expensive when you look at what the ADI has to pay for. The cost of motoring for everyone has never been cheap, but most of us need and want to do it. We all had to begin somewhere. What’s your starting point?Your ADI should fully involve you with the planning your own programme for learning to drive. You should expect to set goals for each lesson. At the end of the lesson you will know whether you’ve achieved them or not. You should expect to take responsibility for your own learning. So, where shall we begin?
- Never driven before?
- Had some driving experience a while ago?
- Had some recent driving practice?
- Have you previously failed a driving test?
Let’s have a quick look at where you are.
1. Never driven before?
We need to start with what all the controls are. All cars have the same main controls, thought particular specifications will vary quite considerably. Top Tip: Car manufacturers’ handbooks are online. They come with some good advice on when and how to use the controls to get the best out of driving the car. You don’t need to read this from cover to cover, but do use it as a reference book. It will also help explain the answers to the “Show Me – Tell Me Questions” that you’ll be asked at the start of the practical driving test.
2. Had some driving experience a while ago?
Driving, like swimming, isn’t something that you’re going to forget easily. If your practise was some time ago, things will probably come back to you more quickly than you might expect. Top Tip: Don’t rush yourself. Take your time getting used to the feel of driving the car. Practice makes perfect.
3. Had some recent driving practice?
What do you remember doing? What have you practiced and how much do you feel confident with? Top Tip: Think about the type and size of car you’ll be driving. Will you feel comfortable driving it and will it be easy to complete the parking manoeuvres? Even the same type and model of car that you’ve driven before might have a “different” feel to drive.
4. Have you failed a driving test?
You’ll have been given a report sheet by the examiner. Have you still got this and do you remember the things that were explained in the de-brief? Top Tip: You’re not expected to be a good driver to pass your test, but you must at least be safe. The better driver you are, the more likely you should be to pass.
Learning to Drive – Seven Key Skills
These key skills can be broken down into more detailed components, but let’s keep it simple for the moment.
- Keeping within the law
- Moving off and stopping
- Driving in a straight line
- Manoeuvring – forwards and backwards
- Changing road position
- Changing speed
- Making good traffic judgements
1. Keeping within the law
- Eyesight and driving licence checks
- Roadworthy, legal vehicle displaying L-Plates
- Rules for the supervising driver
- “Show Me – Tell Me” vehicle maintenance questions
- Knowing the exact meaning of and obeying traffic signs and road markings
- Carrying passengers
- Seat belts, mobile phones and drugs
- Preparing and taking both parts of the driving test
- New Drivers Act 1995
2. Moving off and stopping
- The vehicle’s controls and “specifications”.
- At an angle / uphill / downhill. “Safely” and “Under Control”
- The Emergency Stop
3. Driving in a straight line
- Awareness and planning – Good Driving Habits: The “Smith System”
- No such thing as an empty road – 3 types of hazard to look out for
- Two way traffic
4. Manoeuvring – forwards and backwards
- Steering – how to get the feel of this
- “Set-piece manoeuvres”
5. Changing road position
- The “Rule of the Road” and “Lane discipline”
- One way systems and dual carriageways
6. Changing speed
- Using the accelerator and brakes. Choosing the correct gear for the speed
- Making pace / Driving with the flow
- Eco-Safe Driving
7. Making good traffic judgements
- Who or what is following behind or driving alongside?
- When must we give a direction signal or use the horn?
- How do we meet and overtake traffic safely?
- How should we drive in varying weather conditions or at night?
Learning to Drive
How do you choose the best driving school?
Your trainer needs to be someone who makes you feel comfortable and confident while you are learning to
drive. When searching for a good driving school, consider the following points:
- A personal recommendation from a friend is often a good way to find any professional
- Do you have a preference for a male or female trainer?
- If English is not your first language, do you need a trainer who speaks your language?
- What car would you like to learn in? Consider the type and age of cars available
- Do you have a physical disability? You might need to drive a car with adaptations fitted
- How quickly do you need to pass your driving test? You will need to discuss the frequency of lessons and how long each one needs to be
- Where do you need picking up from and what times are you available? Pick ups can be from home or work, depending on suitable training routes being available
- Ask about discounts for course bookings. Remember that the cheapest schools are unlikely to be the
best in the long run, so, do ask about test “pass rate”.
All driving trainers have to undergo training to qualify as Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). Trainers are expected to be patient and understanding of your learning needs.
Drivers who pass first time are the best prepared. A good ADI will ensure that you are not only prepared for your driving test, well before the time arrives, but will also recommend further post-test training.