It is easy to see why many people believe that the most important part of learning to drive is learnt simply by driving the car. It's true that mastering the necessary practical skills is definitely an important part of learning. You will need a good level of practical experience to co-ordinate the controls and also a good deal of experience in varying situations in order to be confident in the decisions you are making and the actions you are taking. But practical skills and experience form only part of what it takes to learn to drive safely and responsibly.
To learn fully and effectively there are four main elements of learning; Knowledge; understanding; attitude and practice.
Nobody likes a know-it-all until it comes to driving. Then every other road user depends on you to know what to do and then do the right thing. If you don't know what to do in a driving situation then you can take too long to make a decision and have an equally good chance of making the wrong one.
This makes you unpredictable and this scares other drivers because it increases the risk of a collision. If you've ever felt annoyed at the person in the supermarket who stops without warning, you'll know how other drivers feel when you are unpredictable.
Lack of knowledge also increases the risk of you breaking a law which could result in a fine or even a driving ban.
Your level of knowledge affects the decisions you make and actions you take when driving. During the test your driving examiner will check to make sure you can consistently make the right decisions and take the correct actions - any gaps in your knowledge are likely to show up in your driving and may result in faults being marked.
What you can do to help yourself learn: Knowledge comes through study, so study frequently - the official publications "the Highway Code" and "Driving - the essential skills" are highly recommended reading materials for all drivers.
Knowing what to do is not always enough to convince you that it is the right thing do or even important to know. Sometimes we need to explore the reasons why this is the best thing to do in order to accept it.
Understanding can be developed through 'doing', so it is important to practice doing the right things.
Take this example; Normally you'd position your car about a metre from the kerb. There's not much to remember and it might not seem that important, but when you explore and consider the reasons why this distance is an important safety margin and then experience the benefits, you develop a better understanding, and in turn a good understanding helps develop a good attitude.
What you can do to help yourself learn: Don't be afraid to ask questions during your lessons,especially if you don't understand or agree with something - in fact your driving instructor encourages you to do so as this not only helps broaden your understanding, it also helps the instructor understand how to support your learning better. A poor understanding can lead to mistakes and mistakes lead to crashes.
Demonstrating a Good Attitude
When you become a driver, you become a member of one of the biggest team participant events there is. In this team everyone depends on one another's co-operation. Some of the team are more experienced than others and some not as good as others - what we all have in common is that we all make mistakes from time-to-time.
We have to show tolerance of other's mistakes and actions because once you become annoyed or upset, your decisions and actions are affected and you become part of the problem, which ultimately increases the risks.
During the test your examiner will be monitoring your attitude to check that you are able
demonstrate tolerance and patience whenever necessary.
What you can do to help yourself learn: You need to become self-aware and recognise the behaviour in other drivers that makes you annoyed or angry and ask yourself why this is. Some drivers get annoyed simply because they've given way to an oncoming vehicle and the driver doesn't wave to say thanks - do you really need to put your own safety and that of others at risk by driving angrily for such a minor reason? Do you really need to be acknowledged every time you give way to someone? Instead, take comfort and pride from the fact that you were courteous and safe.
Developing Your Skills Through Practice
You will need to develop your practical skills and there's only one way to do this and that is by practising.
The key is to practice doing things the right way otherwise you will become very good at doing it wrong.
The sign of a good driver is well coordinated use of the foot controls and steering. This results in smooth driving which is unhurried.
During the test your examiner will check that you can maintain full control, and as you may expect, a loss of control can result in a fault being marked.
What you can do to help yourself learn: Once you have achieved a good level of coordination ask your instructor if they feel you are ready to practice privately with a suitable family member or friend. Remember though that you MUST be insured to drive any car you drive and the person supervising you MUST be over 21 years old and have had a full licence for at least 3 years. Check out Marmalade insurance for provisional licence holders on this link to my website http://www.udidit.co.uk/#!marmalade-/cowz
There's no real secret to passing first time, you just need to take responsibility for studying to improve your knowledge, improving your understanding, developing a good attitude and getting plenty of practice with a professional instructor and private practice.
© UDIDIT Driver Training 2014