Learner Driver Tips: From Frightened Lamb To Confident Lion*

When you first sit behind the wheel, you’ll note how much larger the wheel looks and feels. The bonnet looks so long and far away from you. You’re tempted to scoot up your chair as close to the wheel as possible, so you can judge the distance between the front bumper and everything else. You may be short so your feet don’t fully reach the pedals and you’ll want to move them up. This is all normal and millions of people just like you, feel the same way. However, the trick to becoming confident isn’t to mush your face up against the screen. It's not helpful to be so close to the wheel. It's better to sit back, relax, and follow these tips.


Map out the power band


Yes, most car manuals are more boring to read than watching paint dry. They do have some useful information which you can utilise every day. Take a look at the power band of your vehicle or at least, try to understand what a power band is. There are two things to focus on, torque and horsepower. No, they are not the same thing. The former is the pulling weight of the engine and the latter is the prolonged acceleration ability. Once you can map which revs give you the best torque, you’ll know what level of throttle you need to give to make the car move forward in a stable manner. Too little throttle and the torque of the engine won’t activate, leading you to come to a ‘rumbling stall’. Map out when you receive maximum horsepower and you’ll know what revs you need to change gear at.

Trust your instructor


You’re sitting behind the wheel of someone else’s car, taking orders from a complete stranger. This is what upsets many people at first. How do you build trust? You can start off by only choosing to have driving lessons with a trusted instructor. BSM has been teaching people to drive for over 100 years. They have a wealth of knowledge. The best part of their approach is, they demand their instructors understand the mechanics of how a car works. This way, they can explain to new drivers what they are doing to the car and why. They also offer you personalised plans, so if you need to take it slow, that’s not a problem. If you’d rather learn to improve your steering more before moving onto braking and reversing, they will create specific lessons just for you.


Be unashamedly selfish


It's common for new drivers to be scared of a number of things. One of which is looking foolish and being embarrassed in front of other more experienced drivers. You may never hear this from your instructor or from other people who have recently passed, but you need to be utterly selfish. Everyone was a learner once, you need to cater to your needs and make other people wait for you. Take your time in every manoeuvre you do, it's up to the other drivers to give you space and time.

The second you accept it's okay to be slow, precise, and selfish as a driver, the more you’ll focus on getting better and less on feeling embarrassed. Confidence is a great weapon when you first learn to drive.
*Collaborative post, for more information on what this means please see my Disclaimer.

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