If you are thinking of learning to drive for the first time this year, it can be an exciting yet daunting experience.
Carzone’s 2016 Motoring Report findings recorded that almost a third (29 per cent ) of Irish motorists took to the wheel at the age of 17, with the majority (41 per cent ) learning to drive between the ages of 17 and 20.
You may know all of the theory and rules of the road, but getting behind the wheel for the very first time is a completely different story. The first time you sit in the driver’s seat you will be nervous; it is only natural and the only way to overcome this is through practice. Practice appeared to make perfect for 57 per cent of Irish motorists who boasted of passing their test first time round.
Here are the top five tips for getting yourself in gear:
Plan your route: Know exactly where you are going and the route you are taking. Stick to quiet roads or car parks and stay away from main roads and the motorway. Keep to familiar roads so there will be no surprises on your journey. If needs be, get a bicycle and cycle the route first so you’re 100 per cent certain of the route. This will not only get you familiar with the route but it’ll also help you to see how other drivers act on the road.
Feel confident in your own abilities: Sit in the driver’s seat and get used to your surroundings. Adjust the seat so you can easily reach the pedals, and adjust the side and rear view mirrors after you adjust your seat to where you want it. It is also important to know all the basic controls and where to reach them quickly, such as the windscreen wiper, windscreen washer, indicators, and lights. When it comes to your lights, make sure you know how to operate them and when you should change the intensity.
Remove all distractions from the car: Turn off the radio, turn off your phone, and kick everyone out of the car (except the person that is teaching you ). The last thing you need is an audience when you are learning to drive. Set your route and stick to it, and make the trip as simple as possible. Do not drive in bad weather if it is your first time, but once you are more comfortable try to drive in all types of weather. You never know what conditions you will have during your driving test, especially in Ireland.
Keep calm and know the rules: Make sure you know all the basic rules of the road and what different roadsigns mean. If you are not sure, ask the person who is with you. Make sure you have “L” plates and do not worry what other drivers are thinking about you, they were just like you once upon a time.
Back to basics for strong foundations: As a complete beginner, you should focus on the most important things: moving, braking, turning, and looking around. To begin with you will probably stall the car or jerk it as you accelerate and brake. Focus on getting smooth movements and stick with the same car as you learn; even experienced drivers have difficulty accelerating and braking when they get into an unfamiliar car.