Learning how to drive a car fist time
If choosing a qualified driving instructor, learning how to drive a car for the first time will involve them explaining the cockpit drill to you on your first driving lesson. Once they have completed the cockpit drill, if time permits, you may be able to move the car off and stop.
Driving instructors use driving routines such as the well-known Mirror Signal Manoeuvre routine. These are used to help learner drivers remember safety routines which is essential for passing the driving test and road safety. Learning these routines will help you learn how to drive a car safely and quickly. The following routines are:
Once you have a reasonable ability for driving a car and if you are planning on taking the UK driving test, learn the driving test manoeuvres as soon as possible. They are used in the driving test to demonstrate to the examiner that you have a good level of control of the car. They require excellent observations, technique and clutch control. The 4 possible manoeuvres are:
When learning how to drive a car, an essential part of training is how to deal with pedestrians on pedestrian crossings from a drivers perspective. Read our pedestrian crossing tutorials to gain an understanding on how they should be dealt with as a driver.
How to drive a car and advancing
As you reach a more advanced level of learning to drive a car, an essential skill is to know how to deal with all junction types. Junctions and T-junctions come in all shapes, sizes and vary on how busy they are. Sometimes the quieter 'closed' junctions can be the more dangerous. The in-depth junction guides will teach you how to deal with all junction types effectively.
Roundabouts often strike fear into learner drivers as they can often be unsure when they should proceed or wait. Statistically, roundabouts are the safest type of junction in the UK and once mastered, are often easy to navigate. The guides below offer advice on how to deal with roundabout traffic, mini roundabouts and large multi-lane roundabouts.
Learn the driving test routes
The sooner you become familiar with these routes, the better as this will increase your chances of passing the driving test.
Before learning to drive a car, you will need to familiarise yourself with the car controls and basic functions. This is known as the cockpit drill. This is usually completed by a driving instructor on your first driving lesson and will include seat adjustments, use of foot pedals, hand controls including steering techniques and mirror adjustment. The cockpit drill tutorial explains all of these functions, just as a driving instructor will. Once you have gained a sufficient knowledge and understanding of the cars controls, have your seat and mirrors correctly adjusted, you can begin learning how to drive a car.
How to drive a car
The following instructions if to learn how to drive a manual car for beginners, for the first time. If you are learning how to drive a car on a public road, choose a quiet, residential area and start on a straight road. Although some believe country roads are the ideal starting location, these types of roads are in fact the most dangerous roads and are not advised for a novice driver.
Ensure your seat belt is on, the handbrake is secured and the gears are in neutral. Now start the car by turning the key clockwise till it stops for around 2 seconds or so and remove your hand from the ignition key. What we shall do is to drive the car off from a stationary position, for a short distance and park the car in a similar position to where it is currently parked, close to the curb a little further down the road.
Get the car ready to move
Safe observations is an essential part of learning how to drive a car. Before releasing the handbrake and moving the car, take a look around to see if it is safe. At the very minimum, you should check your internal and right mirror, followed by the right side blind spot. If taking a driving test, failure to check the blind spot before driving off is highly likely to result in a failure.
As the car gains momentum, keep raising the clutch in small amounts and after around 5 seconds, fully release the clutch. Ensure to cancel a signal if you applied one. As you are learning how to drive a car for the first time, keep the car slow at around 5-10 mph and remain in first gear.
Parking the car
We will now park the car alongside the curb just a little further up the road from where we moved off. As a beginner, it is often difficult to judge where the curb is in relation to the car. The curb parking tutorial offers some reference points to aid in understanding where the curb is to establish an acceptable distance once stopped.
Before moving over to the left to park, mirror checks need to be completed. Start with the internal mirror, followed by the left door mirror. As with moving off, there is no need to signal to the left if there are no other road users or pedestrians. If there are, a signal to the left must be applied.
Cover the brake and the clutch, this means placing your feet over the pedals but not pressing them. This is in preparations to stop. Covering the brake is especially important in many situations whilst driving, most often when a hazardous situation is developing such as busy pedestrian crossings.
Gently steer to the left to move closer to the curb. Do not steer to harshly as there is a higher probability of you hitting the curb. To help with this, steer in sections. So steer left, straighten up, steer left again etc. This will keep the car more parallel with the curb instead of a harsh angle where the front will be at risk of hitting the curb. Use the reference points found in the curb parking tutorial and just before you stop press the clutch to the floor, gently apply the brake until you stop. Keep your feet and pedals as they are, put the handbrake on and select neutral. You can now remove your feet from the pedals and cancel the signal if applied.
How to drive a car step by step
Try not to do too much too soon. Learning to drive a car must be done step by step and to slowly increase your ability. Moving the car off and parking should be completed until you are reasonably confident in your ability. The next step should involve traveling further distances and to use the gears as your speed increases. See changing gears for the correct procedure.
Below are some tutorials and tips on mastering how to drive a car.