Here at Drive4Life we understand that you may be nervous leading up to your first driving lesson, but what exactly will it involve? It’s finally here! – The day you get behind the wheel for what is probably the first time. It’s a big day, but it can be pretty nerve-wracking too. It helps if you know what to expect beforehand, so make sure you prepare. You’ll pick things up much easier if they’re familiar to you and you feel confident about what happens next.
- The night/morning before your lesson:
- Get some sleep
- Do NOT drink the night before
- Breakfast! Something light as heavier food will make you less aware and will give you a slower reaction time.
- Double check where and when you’re being picked up (you would have arranged this with your instructor, usually at your home, but you can meet almost anywhere)
- Choose comfy, non-slip shoes (no heels)
- Take glasses if you need them
- Remember your provisional licence
- The pick-up
Don’t worry – you’re not going to have to get in the driving seat straight away! You’ll be getting in the passenger seat to start with, while your instructor takes you to a quiet place for you to get to grips with the basics. Usually a quiet carpark or a very quiet side street.
3. The cockpit drill
When you’ve arrived at a quiet road with low traffic, your instructor will have you switch so you’re in the driving seat. Your instructor will then explain the cockpit drill to introduce you to the checks you’ll need to do every time you drive (DSSSM):
- The cockpit drill or DSSSM:
- Doors securely closed?
- Seat in a comfortable position?
- Steering position established?
- Seatbelts on?
- Mirrors adjusted?
5. The controls
Next, you’ll get a run-through of the clutch, accelerator and brake; how to use the handbrake and indicator; and how to change gear. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can run through the controls again because you’ll want to be sure when you’re suddenly doing 20 miles an hour and it feels like your speeding. Don’t worry too much though – your instructor will talk you through everything as you go and if you’re unsure about something, just ask your instructor, it’s what they’re there for!
6. The road
Before you start the engine, your instructor will explain a few key procedures:
- Moving off: getting ready to use your gears
- Clutch control including finding the biting point
- Checking your mirrors and blind spot
- Signalling with your indicator
- Changing gear
- Stopping the car, covering the brake and the clutch
- Curb side parking
Once you get going, try to relax and remember that your instructor has their own set of controls so you can focus on learning without being scared. If you get the chance, do move out onto the road so you can experience ‘proper’ driving. You won’t regret it!
If you would like to take your driving lessons with us, or you would just like a quote of our prices, then please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly regarding our next steps.
How to do uphill starts – A quick article to help you on the roads with Pete from Drive4Life
Today at Drive4Life we will be discussing a number of tips for when you’re trying to do an uphill start. These can be quite tricky as you’re used to finding the bite and releasing the handbrake and just moving. But with starting a car on a hill you need to get the revs to 2000 rpm instead of 1500 rpm. Only doing 1500 will force the car to roll down the hill.
Uphill starts are always included in the practical exam and you won’t be able to avoid them (they’re a massive pain at first, until you get the hang of them). When you have parked up on the left (the examiner will not ask you to park up on the right), apply the handbrake and select neutral, the examiner will then tell you to move off again when you are ready.
Select 1st gear and slightly press the accelerator. The usual amount of gas (revs/rpm) needed is around 1500 rpm on the rev counter. You will need slightly more than this for hill starts, around 2000 rpm should do, if you don’t have 2000rpm on the rev counter and you release the handbrake, then the car will start to roll back, this is dangerous and you could fail your test over something so little like this. Although if you start to roll backwards, you haven’t found the bite fully (or your revs are too low), put down the brake and handbrake and start again, although doing this on your test will result in a fail.
You will now need to look into your left blind spot, through all mirrors and finish with the right blind spot. You need to check all mirrors and both blind spots to ensure a pedestrian is not directly crossing behind your vehicle as on a hill start there is a risk of your car rolling back.
If when you move off your car begins to roll back it is essential to take action immediately as failure to do so will result in a failed driving test. You have 2 options; the first is to slightly raise the clutch to prevent rolling back further or immediately depress the clutch followed by the foot brake. The latter option is preferred if you are not too confident with clutch control although it will require you having to start the entire moving off procedure again. When you do start to move you may need to keep the car in lower gears (1st, 2nd etc.) for longer than usual as the engine will require more power to climb the hill in these gears.
If you found this article informative and helpful and you would like to see others like this in the future, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly. Or if you would like to see some of our other articles, like our Recovering from a Stall then click here.
Here at Drive4Life we understand that one of the main things that may be stopping you from learning to drive is the cost of insurance for people aged between 18 – 24 as it is anywhere around £5,000 per year. Although this shouldn’t let this put you off learning how to drive, because you could have your licence after you pass, even if you don’t actually drive for a couple of years. If you were to be the an extra driver on your parents car insurance then you would save a lot of money on your insurance and it would be more affordable although this does mean that the car isn’t officially classed as yours, but you would still have the choice to drive as and when. Now the second way is mostly waiting until you are 25 before you buy your first car, this is because you are then seen as a mature driver and not a “boy-racer”, obviously if you passed your test at 18 and waited until you were 25 before getting a car and insurance then your insurance costs would be a lot lower and they would be the same as what everyone else pays for theirs. At Drive4Life we recommend that you have some refresher lessons to check and enhance your skills.
Many young people are put off from learning how to drive, due to the costs of insurance and that they’d never be able to afford it, so they think what’s the point? Well if you knew how to drive you could apply for a job where driving is part of job description then your firm would then pay for your insurance for the vehicle you’d be using during company hours. This would show insurance companies that you respect other drivers on the roads and after a few years, when you come to buy your own insurance the costs would be considerably lower than when you looked after passing your test although you would have no “no claims” bonus.
If you would like some more information on our Driving Lessons, or you would just like to know some more information like this, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.
When searching for driver instructors Widnes and locate Drive 4 Life, you know that we are constantly keeping up to date with any driving test changes. At present, the Driving Standard Agency are conducting trials to ensure that the proposed changes to the learner driving test reflect real driving. The three-point turn looks set to be consigned to history in the biggest shake-up to the driving test in 20 years.
The three point turn, officially known now as ‘turn in the road’, could be scrapped altogether and replaced by parking manoeuvres. It is a considering replacing the ‘reverse around a corner’ as well as ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more ‘realistic’ everyday manoeuvres, such as ‘reversing out of a parking bay’, or ‘pulling up on the left or right, reversing back a stated distance before re-joining the flow of traffic.
At Drive 4 Life we are cautious in removing basic manoeuvres like a turn in the road which can be essential if sat-nav’s lead drivers down a dead end road. As for the other proposals we are fully supporting the Driving Standard Agency in incorporating these new initiatives.
If you would like to know more on this topic, or you would like to know a few simple steps to prepare you for your first driving lesson, or you would just like a quick quote, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.
Here at Drive 4 Life, we are often asked by our students about some tips for when learning to Drive. Over the weekend we have summed up the top 10 tips for learning to drive (in our opinion) and these tips should help you pass your test a lot quicker, if you keep them in mind during lessons. Below are the Top 10 Tips for Learning to Drive:
- Don’t plan for the test, plan for life!
We believe that you should focus on the importance of learning skills for life, not just learning skills to pass a test. We make sure that we teach our students safe driving skills which they’ll use forever, and ask them if they would feel safe driving with a small child in the back. If the answer is yes, then they are ready for life post-test.
- Practise with the music on
We believe that learning with real life situations is the best way to master this skill and who doesn’t have their music blasting when cruising along on the roads? The majority of learners won’t be listening to music during their driving lessons, but practising with the radio on can be a great way to prepare learners for going it alone on the road.
- Don’t dwell on your mistakes
You shouldn’t dwell on your mistakes, you can’t change them, and there’s no guarantee that your mistake has resulted in a fail. We always tell our learners to concentrate on what they’re seeing ahead of them at that very moment instead of looking back at what’s already happened. There’s no point in dwelling in the past after all.
- Think about footwear
Your shoes might not be the first thing you think of when you start learning to drive, but wearing the wrong footwear while driving can not only make it harder, but it can also be dangerous. Learners should wear something with a flat but thin sole, because you want to be able to be able to feel the car respond to what you’re doing. Females should avoid heels and other difficult to walk in shoes, if you can’t walk in them properly, you can’t drive in them properly!
- Know your routines
You’re likely to hear lots of strange new terms while you’re learning to drive, and it’s very important that you get to know what they all mean. The MSPSL routine, for example, is the Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look routine which all drivers should go through every time they’re on the road. Learn your routines and make sure you’re using them every time you drive.
- Get your gear changes right
There’s nothing worse than a clunky gear change, so we teach how to find the correct palm position to all of our pupils. We tell our pupils to face their palm towards the passenger when changing into 1st or 2nd gear, and towards themselves when changing into 3rd and 4th. This is because taking a moment to position your palm will achieve an unrushed, smooth gear change which will always put you in the correct gear.
- Think about how you learn best
As every learner is different, it’s important that you know which learning style and teaching technique works best for you. Are you a practical learner or do you learn best through reading and listening?
- Forget about the examiner
Having a driving examiner next to you can understandably make you nervous, but we suggest that you should just pretend that you’re just taking someone out for a drive. You’d want to give your passenger as smooth a ride as possible, just like you do with the examiner.
- The learning doesn’t end once you’ve passed
It’s important to keep in touch with your instructor even after you’ve passed your driving test. Having lessons for post-test skills like motorway driving, night time driving and driving in snow can all be crucial for a lifetime of safe driving.
- Break up your learning
Learning to drive can be broken up into small pieces. You will never be able to pick it all up at once, but learning new skills every lesson will allow you to build up safe driving skills which you’ll use for the rest of your driving life.
If you are interested in choosing us for your Driving Lessons, or you would like some more information on our service, or a full list of prices, then please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly. Remember to keep these tips somewhere safe so that you can go back to them when you need to!