Where are the controls that I might have to use in my driving:
Knowing where the controls are, and being able to locate and use them without looking away from the
road is important.
Remember in each vehicle these controls could be in different places:
- Washer and wiper, front and back
- Head lights, high and low beam
- Hand brake
- Demisters, front and back
- Hazard lights
How to adjust the seat:
When adjusting the seat in the car:
The clutch pedal located on your left, should be depressed in to the floor and the seat adjusted so the
left leg has a slight bend in it (about 15 degrees).
The leg should not be fully extended.
Push your shoulder into the back of the seat, and put your arms out in front of you at the top of the
steering wheel, now adjust the back of the seat so your wrists are on top of the steering wheel rim (not
your hand or arm but your wrist).
Most cars now can adjust the height of the steering wheel. Move the steering wheel up or down so you
can see the speedo clearly.
How to adjust your mirrors:
The mirrors should be adjusted so when you look into them, you are only moving your eyes not your
The centre mirror:
The top of your mirror should run along the top of your back window, you should be able to see the
whole back window.
The side mirrors:
On a flat road, you should see road from the middle of the mirror to the bottom of the mirror, and from
the middle of the mirror to the top of the mirror you should see houses, trees, sky etc.
The bottom corner near the door of the mirror you should be able to see the back door handle.
BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION
In this part of learning you do it until you get it right. You will do lots of driving and hopefully turn action into habits, fix your mistakes. Repetition after repetition, do the same thing hundreds times of the correct repetition. (Sounds like fun doesn’t it).
Learning the basic driving skills
During this stage the focus is on clutch control, gear changes, stopping and starting, acceleration and slowing down and steering (this is the frustrating stage of driving).
Get the licensed driver to drive the car to a clear open road. We need a quiet road with few vehicles - a long straight road is perfect, no intersections.
The safe way to get started
Once a quiet road is found pull over to the side of the road, make the car safe (hand brake on, switch off the car). Change seats so the learner is in the driver’s seat and adjust the seat, mirror and steering wheel as demonstrated in that chapter.
What are these pedals on the floor for?
Look down at your feet - you will see three pedals. The one on the left is the clutch (in simple terms it basically transmits power from the engine to the wheels). Now that pedal is used by your left leg only - nothing else. The middle pedal is the brake (which stops or slows down the car). That pedal is used by the right leg only. The pedal on the right is the accelerator (which makes the car gather speed, or give it more power) that is also used by the right leg.
The reason why the right leg is used by those pedals is that you are either braking or accelerating - you should not be doing both at the same time. (Stop or go). More important is that your legs hopefully will not get tangled up with each other, if that happens we will be in all sorts of trouble won’t we.
Practise gear changes while the engine is off.
While the engine is off let’s look at the gear stick and study how we are going to change gears, remember in each car it could be slightly different, your licensed driver will help. It is better to play with them while the engine is off (much safer I think).
Practise going through the gears - first to second, second to third, third to fourth etc. Make sure you’ve got the clutch in when doing this. Keep practising until you can change all the gears without looking at them. Because when we are driving we should be looking at the road not the gear stick . When you are confident with that, then practise going down the gears. Up the gears, and down the gears.