How to keep up your driving skills during lockdown – part 2
We discussed in the first part of this blog how important the theory of driving is when starting out on your path to passing your driving test. In this part we will discuss how to improve the driving skills you have gained during your previous lessons with your approved driving instructor.
There is nothing worse than the feeling that you will forget everything you have previously learned. The fact is if you have been taught correctly you will not have forgotten the fundamentals on driving but just like any skill practice makes perfect. As I say to my students, you can’t buy experience, you can only learn though experience. The pandemic is making driving difficult and as the Government consistently says:
You must stay at home unless on an essential journey. Driving to learn is not classed as an essential journey but you are allowed to drive if you are going to work for example. We all must do our bit to keep safe at this difficult time. We are only allowed to drive on essential trips as if we break down or have an accident this will put the emergency services under unwarranted pressure and potentially put you and them at risk of catching this disease.
So what will you get out of these limited drives? Hazard perception is one of the key areas within your theory test and on each and every drive you make there may be real life instances to deal with. It’s one think learning to click a mouse when you see a hazard develop on a computer screen but how will you deal with this in real life. Practicing your hazard perception tests at home will help you start to understand what a hazard is (anything where you as a driver has to change course or speed to avoid an incident).
How can you recognise when a pedestrian is going to step out into the road or when a bus is about to stop for example? If you understand the theory of potential hazards and how they develop then you can start to put this into practice whilst driving. Remember it is your responsibility when driving to keep everyone safe. Your accompanying driver doesn’t have dual controls so you have to be aware of your surroundings and how these potential hazards can be safely avoided.
On your essential drive to work you will probably be taking the same familiar route to get there. Do not go onto autopilot and start assuming because there were no hazards yesterday there wont be any today. Ask yourself questions whilst driving. What’s that car doing? What could be around the next bend? Is that pedestrian going to cross the road? Is that car going to pull out in front of me? The list of questions is endless but you get the point; planning whilst driving avoids accidents. Check your blind spots whilst moving off.
Don’t assume you can go, even if the traffic light has turned to green. The more you ask questions of your environment the better you will become in spotting these hazards.
Driving is a skill.
Remember back to your first lesson where you were only thinking where the gear stick was, or which pedal you need to press and when. You have come a long way and you can use your time practicing with family to perfect this newly acquired skill. Like everything in life the more you do something the better you become. Learning to drive isn’t just about passing your test, it is about becoming a safe, confident driver for life.
Use this time to do just that. Good luck and please remember your driving instructor is just a text, call or Zoom away so do not hesitate to contact them of you are finding things difficult or have any questions.