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Common Driving Faults and How To Correct Them

 In Driving Lessons, News, Road Safety

Learning to drive can be quite a daunting experience. Often during the first lesson a student will turn up thinking it is easy to drive but it soon becomes apparent that it’s not as easy as they thought. The feeling that if their idiot brother can do it they will find it easy just isn’t true.

Common Driving Faults

There are many common driving faults that often hamper the improvement of each and every learner. These often lead to the feeling that they will never be able to do it. Just like everything in life, practice makes perfect. Once the student has got over the initial hurdle of the various faults then learning often becomes fun again as the belief they can do it starts to appear again.

In summary, the speed of learning is often linked to the confidence and belief of the learner. Try driving with a smile on your face, stay relaxed and never be afraid of asking your driving instructor questions if you do not understand what is being asked of you. Learn various breathing techniques to keep yourself calm and stop the worry or fear kicking in in the first place. Remember, your driving instructor is there to facilitate your learning. Very few young drivers achieve anything on the first attempt, so don’t allow yourself to get frustrated if you can’t do it first time.

So what are the most common faults which occur in the first few lessons and how can you correct them?

Steering

You will often be asked to position your hands at the ten to two or quarter to three positions on the wheel (assuming the wheel is a clock). If you have correctly set yourself up in your driving position during the cockpit drill then one of these positions should be comfortable for you. Driving in this position, with two hands on the wheel, gives you maximum control and stability of the car. Whatever you have learned about steering by watching racing drivers or playing video games should now be ignored. You should try to adopt the pull push method of steering.

There are many YouTube clips on how to do this. The key to successful steering is not to think about the position of the steering wheel but to look where you are going. Your hands will follow the instruction of your eyes. You have to believe that this will happen or a part of your brain will want to check your hand position on the wheel (which will always mean you will not steer where you want to go). You can practice this without moving by looking out of your side window and imagine you want to drive to the house opposite for example. Practice this at home by sitting on the edge of your bed with a paper plate in your hand (with the numbers of a clock written on it).

Practice, Practice, Practice

Imagine steering somewhere and allow your hands to feed the wheel from hand to hand in order to get there. In steering right for example the pull push method means that you pull the wheel down with your right hand only, when your hand gets to the bottom of the wheel your left hand then takes over and pushes the wheel up the top. At the top of the wheel your right hand takes over again. The key here is to remember that at any given time only one hand is actually steering the wheel. This goes against what you have subliminally learned on how to steer. Practice, practice, practice! Keep your hands relaxed and don’t look at the wheel!

Stalling

Everybody worries about stalling the car. After all you don’t want to hold anybody up! Don’t worry about this. Remember you are learning and anybody behind you is capable of driving around you, if they want to. Everybody learned once upon a time. To avoid stalling you must be calm and relaxed and above all do not rush to get going. Once you have found the biting point of the car you need to gently feed the gear in by slowly lifting your clutch pedal up to a slow count of three seconds. Whilst doing this you should be gently squeezing the accelerator pedal (by the width of a small coin).

This pivot motion of your feet will enable you to smoothly pull off and avoid stalling. If you are looking in your rear view mirror whilst doing this and see a car close up behind you you are likely to rush this process, and will often end up stalling. Concentrate on going forward under control and this will happen. It’s important to think of the positives on what you want to achieve and not the negatives on what you don’t want to happen. Think negative ie holding people up or stalling or rolling backwards and this is exactly what will happen.

Driving is a learned skill and like walking for the first time as a baby, you will fall over a few times until your body has learned to do it. Keep calm, relaxed and enjoy the learning process. Your driving instructor is there to keep you safe and don’t worry about getting it wrong. Remember, after all, you are not getting it wrong, you are learning to do it correctly!

Happy driving!

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