Learning to drive really isnt that difficult
Every day I have conversations with people looking for help, desperate to find a solution to their anxieties about driving.
Typically these cause individuals to either stop driving for long periods of time or resort to changing the type of car they drive.
Three main areas of concern crop up time and time again which are typically caused by, I'm afraid to say, driving instructors.
Manoeuvres and the ability to either change gear correctly or control the car when moving off is the Achilles heel of driving.
I would suggest that these common faults are easily overcome for the majority through clearer instruction and very simply more defined practice.
Reverse Parking as an example.
This is a manoeuvre that mimics the moving off at an angle (forward) procedure just backward.
In all my years, I have not known a driving instructor to teach a pupil no more than, move slowly, turn the wheel in the direction you want to go and straighten up when you can see that you are clear of the obstruction.
Yet, when in reverse gear, all sorts of weird and not so wonderful methods are employed by the instructor.
Two obvious examples of this horror spring to mind, both caused error and distress and have many variations.
In this example, you'll need to clear your mind and focus on the task. The instruction went as follows, "...reverse back until the nearside mirror is level with the bumper then turn 90 degrees, when the front of the car is level with the bumper turn another 90 degrees".
Are you following so far? The instruction then continued, "...when you can see the kerb in the mirror, turn half a turn to the right then continue back until you straighten the steering wheel".
Whilst conducting a teaching observation, the instructor set reverse park as the aim and then continued with, "we will try to do a reverse park but don't worry no one ever does it correctly first time".
The pupil was doomed to fail and didn't get it right in any of the seven attempts. The glass half full or half empty springs to mind.
In neither example was the pupil taught to look behind nor act upon what was seen.
Clutch control and gear changing.
All too frequently pupils are either persuaded or opt for turning to an automatic car because of the embarrassment of stalling too often or alarm at the resulting consequences of changing to the wrong gear.
Very simply, the ability to move a car from stationary and knowing why and how to change gear will need thorough practice after the instruction.
I remember an instructor telling me how a pupil infuriated him because they stalled or didn't stop where suggested after four lessons. When I enquired why, I was told the pupil had only been allowed four attempts to practice moving off before encountering traffic and situations.
Pupils and instructors must be prepared to take enough time to master this skill and boost the confidence necessary to enjoy driving.
Whilst, both areas are part of the syllabus and relevant to driving they do distract from the priority that is observation and planning and shouldn't cause concerns for pupils.
Learning to drive can be really simple and can be achieved through clear simple aims and practice.
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