Getting your drivers licence is an exciting and nervous time. Seen as a rite of passage, attaining the small plastic card that gives you permission to drive an automobile is an important part of becoming independent in the modern world.
While there is a range of sources that prospective drivers should be scouring for driving knowledge, one of the most effective ways of becoming a qualified driver is to spend time on the road with a registered driving school and instructor.
While road rules can be learned from a book and general driving best practice can be gleaned from hours of practice under the amateur tutelage of parents, specific and critical driving skills learned from a driving instructor from a reputabledriving school are the icing on the cake of being a responsible driver.
When booking your driving lessons, ensure that these important techniques are learned:
1. Head-checks - This is where you physically turn your head to see what's around you, to your sides and behind. Cars are fitted with mirrors, but every vehicle has blind spots and only swivelling your head and your eyes effectively can give you a proper image of your surroundings. Ask your instructor when, where, and how often you should be performing head-checks and the potential ramifications of not.
2. Parallel & Reverse Parking - Contrary to popular misconceptions, most regular cars are more manoeuvrable in reverse than in drive. Knowing how to judge angles and short distances around the car and correct input controls is one of the most critical things that can be learned best through a driving school. Ask them to plot out for you a plan of attack for both parallel and reverse parking, as these are skills you can translate to many other driving tasks.
3. Roundabout Etiquette - It seems like every second driver has a different idea of the rules around using a roundabout, but the fact of the matter is that there's only going to be one correct way, and your local driving instructor is going to be the best source of that information. Ask them when you should use an indicator, a proper head-check technique, and what lanes you should be using for the exit you want to take.
4. Traffic Flow - A daunting revelation for many new drivers is the flow of traffic on the road. Knowing how to interact with the traffic around you in a safe and courteous manner is critical to maintaining the flow of traffic, which in turn keeps every safe and on-time. While an ability to understand the flow of traffic will come with time, ask your driving instructor for hints and tips to look out for in cars around you to make your journey safe and give you more time to execute your trip.
Getting your licence is fun, but it's no joke. Information is plentiful and prospective drivers should go through as much training as is required before they and their driving school instructor feel they are confident enough to take the plunge. It's never too late to stop learning!