Friday, August 17, 2012

Driving Lessons for Dummies

This too shall pass, is what I say to motivate myself to go back tomorrow for the actual lessons. I attended the orientation this morning and started with an excited feeling like a youth going to school again, learning something, undergoing an exam and the glorious feeling of passing it. But the minute the instructor announced that we, ourselves, shall handle the wheel tomorrow and drive the car from its parking, I looked behind and observed how busy the streets were outside. My heart sank, I trembled like a leaf and felt cold inside throughout the rest of the orientation.

Inwardly, I had to laugh at myself for the confidence I initially portrayed by choosing to study manual against automatic transmission. My reason was, because it's easier to shift from manual to auto, than vice versa. Glad I was convinced to take the latter. And the lessons from the instructor boosted up my self-esteem a little bit. I figured out that the "clutch," which is not present in the automatic transmission cars, was the main object responsible for the complexities of driving. Feet coordination, along with other physical coordination, is something I don't possess. I remembered getting envious with my little brother who plays the drum as if he's eating cake and thought I could play the drums too. I was wrong. Trying out the drums gave me the realization that I probably lack the nerves connecting from the brain down to the legs and feet, or at least the glands to coordinate them. That was just drums. Say, what more with cars?

Minus the clutch, I'll only have to use the right foot. Whew! That's better. But smart driving is a lot more than feet coordination. Let me just share what I learned this morning straight from my notes.

First is the right sitting position: Adjust the distance of the seat from the steering wheel as well as the back rest. The arms must not be too bent or too straight. If your wrists rest above the steering wheel when your arms are stretched, then you are at the right distance.

Second is the seat belt: Even before starting the engine, secure the belts on. Make sure that the belts are locked by pulling on it.

Third is turning the engine on: For automatic transmissions, make sure that the shifting lever is on P (park) before turning the key from Lock to Acc. In order to undo the lock, turn the key counter-clockwise while steering the wheel upward. Then turn the key from Acc to On. With an interval of one second, turn finally to Start. Once the engine hums (about 3 seconds), let go of the key. It will settle back to On. Do not hold on longer than 3 seconds as this will cause the starter to break. (I wish I had more fetish for machines to appreciate this)

Fourth is adjusting the mirrors: From your driving position, adjust the rear view and side mirrors. Side view mirrors are correctly adjusted if only 10% of you car's body could be viewed (how's that? only the handle at the back door could be seen and the rest are views of the surroundings.)

Fifth is the use of turn signals: With the index and middle fingers of the left hand, push the turn signal upward for right or down when turning left. For city driving, at least 30m (or 3 cars) from turning point, the signals must be started. For highways, at least 90m (or 10 cars).

Sixth is the steering wheel: For frequent steering, which is for city driving, the hands are positioned like this:
Photo here
 This is supposedly for easier steering. Experienced drivers position their hands oppositely, at the lower part of the wheel, for greater turns.

Finally, the driving itself: For manuals, the clutch thing made everything complicated. All I remembered was, you push on it when you start, shift gears, and stop. And all the time gradually releasing the tension. It's like calculating the level in which the car will run smoothly. This is done in coordination with pressing on the gas or break, plus shifting gears with your right hand. For automatics, just don't forget to shift the gear to D (drive mode), step on the gas gradually and break to stop. It's simplified a thousand times but it doesn't stop me from getting nervous.

Tomorrow I shall start my first actual lesson. Just like the Physical Education subjects in college, I'd probably finish this course with... at most a satisfactory level I hope.

40 comments:

  1. me too, i just had my driving lesson this morning with my hubby =) my first time to be on the drivers' seat. Lesson one, he taught me to feel (pakiramdaman) how the gas/accelerator when you press it..
    As my first time, i press the accelerator too hard and the engine sound loudly that our neighbors look at our direction to see what is happening hehehe good thing the car is on P mode and the hand break are not yet release.. This lesson took me some time until my hubby is satisfied with my performance on the accelerator.
    Another lesson he taught me this morning is what he called "stop and go then reverse" According to him i need to learn on how to use the break smoothly and the need to be on the track. I failed this lesson..., 'cause instead of the break, i press the accelerator instead.. and i almost bump one of the pedestrian..But still i made the break on time before i clash with the person.. And my hubby said i should be more careful on pressing the break or the accelerator... I also failed on how to keep on the track straight, because its either I'm on the middle of the road or I'm on the side... So i just said to my hubby that i need to return to our house because our daughter maybe awake already hehehe just to skip his "sermon" to me..
    At least I'm not afraid anymore to be on the drivers' seat =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an improvement, getting rid of the fear. That will be my target for tomorrow. Hopefully, once I overcome this fear, I'll be able to perform well. I try to see this as just another test I took as a student. ;)

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  2. Like I said if several hours or days is needed learning how to drive with manual transmission, you can learn in a few minutes with automatic transmission or perhaps an hour or so. That is why I advised you go for automatic transmission if you can afford it. Its good you did. That is what will actually serve your purpose. (dad)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I drove from Antipolo Shopwise to Tikling this morning. Need more practice with the pedals and steering wheel. Automatic transmission cars just need a very slight push to move. I tend to press too hard out of nervousness hehe...

      Delete
  3. Parang hindi ko na kakayanin hahaha Lalo na when you mentioned there's a need to have coordination between the hands and feet ouch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha... I enjoyed the driving lessons actually. Automatic transmission kunin mo if ever. ;)

      Delete
  4. In most cases it moves by just releasing the brake while the shifter is engaged. Relax! Unlike manual your engine will not stall or stop even if you just push low on gas. You will quickly learn. Automatic is very much easier to operate than manual.(dad)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just learned how ignorant I was with cars to think that we've had one for more than 2 decades! Oh the irony. But I enjoyed the driving lessons. I felt secure because the car says BEWARE to other drivers hehe. Ewan ko na lang po kung regular driving na. Tinititigan ko daw yung side mirrors eh hehe glimpse lang pala dapat.

      Delete
    2. Correct! glimpse lang pati sa back mirror ba yun yung nasa gitna taas ng windshield, glimpse lang din. If you only observed me while driving parang mata ng ibon malikot front, left, right, & back, laging nag gli glimpse pero pinaka maraming concentration ng tingin sa harap siempre, sa road. (dad)

      Delete
  5. Hi,

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    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hello Harry! I will be attending the lecture one of these days and will share about it. Glad you appreciate the share. :)

      Thanks for link also. Will definitely check that out to pick something helpful up. ;)

      Delete
  6. I tried imagining myself playing the drums, just now...I tried tapping with my right foot to set the base rhythm then I tried tapping with my hands pretending to hit different drums. Goodness! My foot lost the tempo lol! I think I have a better future with learning to drive hehehe. I have tried, but not a car. I can actually drive a forklift. :-) I always have a little difficulty with turning corners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I know what you mean. I don't even have to use the left foot for the clapper to lose the tempo myself. As for the driving, a forklift?! Wow, how did you get to drive one? I'm through with my practical lessons and am more confident now. Just don't let me drive a manual car hehe. ;)

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  7. Practice makes perfect. Don't worry. All new drivers experience the jitters the first few times on the wheel. Later on, you'll miss it din. I know I do. It relaxes me, lalo na when driving along a stretch of open road. =)

    I used to almost stopped my driving lessons since I almost ran over a cat. But I saw a documentary about a paraplegic who could drive a car and also became a certified pilot. It got me thinking. If she with missing limbs could drive, why couldn't I with the complete set do, right? Never looked back since and I'm very thankful I do know how to drive a car. =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Quite right! Not everyone passes their driving test first time, infact I think on average it takes people 2 0 3 times to pass their driving test.

    Obviously it helps largely if you have the right instructor, make sure your happy with him/her and then thats half the battle!

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  29. Hi! Manual transmission naman yung inaral ko. Natapos ko naman yung driving lessons pero hindi pa ako super confident magdrive. Practice pa more ang drama ko. :)

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      Yan yung kwento ko hehehe. Sa ngayon pag nagddrive ako medyo wala nang kaba pero I don't really like driving kaya eto newbie pa rin hanggang ngayon. :)

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