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Old 23rd March 2008, 21:32   #31
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Here is my 2 paisa of advice to anyone who is starting out afresh:

1. Enroll yourself in a reputable driving school. A patient instructor in a car equipped with a bypass braking system can totally boost your confidence level. Joining a good driving school is the best way of learning the basics.

2. Do NOT buy a brand new car as a novice driver. Get yourself a beater....a used 800 is best. Why used? Believe me, most drivers will abuse their car in the first couple of months of driving. Damage could be mechanical (riding the clutch etc.) or accidental. Its best to learn the art of driving on a beater, keep it for a year, and then move on to a brand new car. Will save you from heartburn, if nothing else. That small 796cc engine is peppy, and yet not too powerful to make you lose control easily. A 100BHP sedan is a suicide tool in the hands of a fresh driver.

3. Ride shotgun with an experienced driver. Watch how he slows down at intersections, what gear he chooses and when, how he reacts to other cars movements.....there is just so much to learn from the front passenger seat alone!

4. Deeply understand all traffic rules and systems.

5. Practice, practice and more practice. There really is no other way to becoming a good driver. However, don't drive at night or in the rains until you cover a cumulative 1500 - 2000 kms (atleast) in proper daylight.

6. Understand your car and its limits; the engine responsiveness, steering, braking ability, handling and grip levels.

7. . Don't get on the highway for atleast 6 - 12 months from the time you have started driving on a daily basis. Highway driving in India is an entirely different ballgame, especially with the errant tourist cabs and truck / bus drivers who will fight you for every inch of road space. Your reflexes, driving style and understanding of the cars limits have to be at a pretty mature level, before venturing out on the highway.

Last edited by GTO - Touring : 23rd March 2008 at 21:35.
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Old 24th March 2008, 03:09   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram View Post

there was so much more to driving than what I had learned before.

Above all, it taught me humility and discipline.
That driving is a privilege, not a birthright.
That driving safely, carefully and observing all the rules, were
the only way I would survive on roads worldwide.
Very well said Ram. I have noticed that the people I like to consider as great drivers are humble, extremely disciplined and they try to insulate the passengers from the harshness of road travel. And just like everything else you do, you can make every ride a great experience for your passengers. Sense of humor helps, playing the 'DJ' helps, pointing to a scenery ahead helps as much as your self-appreciated WRC-ready driving skills in the choc-a-bloc traffic.

A story: When I was kid growing up in Kerala, we had a driver and I once asked him how does one become a perfect driver? And he said, if you can make a routine journey pleasant for the passengers, the you become a better driver (everytime you do that). But I guess the journey to perfection is a journey of a lifetime (no he never said it, everyone thinks they are perfect...).

BH.
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Old 24th March 2008, 14:38   #33
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Good points GTO though I kinda disagree with points 1,2 and 7.

Most driving schools and instructors in them are absolutely terrible, even the reputed ones. All they care for is money and little do they care whether a person learns or not. I'd go on to say that barring a few, most of these so called instructors don't know how to drive themselves. Also if an instructor baby feeds the learner all the time by using the clutch and brakes, he/she will get a false confidence level. When alone, the learner will find it to be a whole new ball game. Learning from someone you know in a normal car without assist controls is probably the best way to learn.

I learnt driving in a brand new opel corsa 1.6 with 100bhp on tap. Never ever did I even touch it anywhere, nor did I screw up the drivetrain.

I hit the highway within 15 days of picking up driving and I don't regret it one bit. The highway is the best teacher imho as long as you know how to control a car. I was immensely more confident after my first highway trip.
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Old 24th March 2008, 16:16   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Most driving schools and instructors in them are absolutely terrible, even the reputed ones.
Good driving schools are not that rare a breed, you only have to look for them. Atleast in Mumbai. Your negotiation skills at the time of enrolling may also determine the quality of instruction you get.

Quote:
I learnt driving in a brand new opel corsa 1.6 with 100bhp on tap. Never ever did I even touch it anywhere, nor did I screw up the drivetrain.
Maybe its your level of maturity that helped, and surely not everyone who starts off with a powerful car has a crash. But 37.5 BHP is better in the hands of a novice than a 100.....better for himself and for others on the road.

I feel pretty lucky that I learnt how to drive on a rusty Premier Padmini. If my family had a OHC Vtec back then, I probably wouldn't have lived to write this post today. Call it immaturity or the teen adrenalin rush...I was a pretty crazy driver back then.

And don't even get me started on the number of Skoda's, Honda's, Toyota's etc. that have been crashed by teens.

Quote:
I hit the highway within 15 days of picking up driving and I don't regret it one bit.
So did I. But then, not everyone is a car enthusiast or a quick learner. For instance, my sisters learnt the basics of steering, braking and gear use after a full month of instructions. Having them drive on the highway within 15 days (or even 60) of driving would have been a recipe for suicide.
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Old 24th March 2008, 16:26   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Also if an instructor baby feeds the learner all the time by using the clutch and brakes, he/she will get a false confidence level. When alone, the learner will find it to be a whole new ball game. Learning from someone you know in a normal car without assist controls is probably the best way to learn.
Completely agree on this point. When my wife started driving our car, first few rounds of trial, she never applied brakes properly. She said, while learning, car used to stop for the amount of brake she is applying! It took her some more time to really understand, learn and practice the 'brake' part of driving. I guess the instructor was always controlling the brakes there and she thought it was she!
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Old 24th March 2008, 16:31   #36
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Well, I was going through all the esteemed advices and narrations by our fellow team members and an advice given by my father just rung in. He said, "It takes time to drive properly than driving fast".

Driving is an art and it is mastered every time you hit the pedal. Today, I am driving for more than 20 years (I started driving much before I was legally eligible to drive) and have clocked more than 85000 kms of driving distance. Despite this fact, I still cannot claim that I know everything that a road can get me into. Every oncoming vehicle is different and so are the drivers behind their wheels. What matters is how “safe” you are while driving “your” vehicle. SAFETY of your passengers and SAFETY of the passengers on others cars should be top priority while driving. There cannot be two ways about it. Trust me as much as you can and I can say that I have strived never to bang my vehicle and get banged by another vehicle. This resolution of mine has paid off and I do not have a single record of any sort of accident what so ever..not even a scratched bumper! Yes, go ahead and call me slow and patient driver, I don't mind it.

It takes not more than 15 minutes to master the mechanical interpretation of mobility with gears in a car, but it takes hell of a time to master the instinctive practice and judgment to drive on roads. City driving is completely different from highway driving where patience and focus plays a vital role. On a lighter note, city driving requires good knees.

So, go ahead and keep driving and master this art. As you drive so would you understand what I mean.
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Old 24th March 2008, 16:57   #37
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I started when i was 9, on a FIAT PREMIER PADMINI 1988. I used to Steal Keys from my Dad's bag.

Last edited by Technocrat : 24th March 2008 at 17:09. Reason: Pleas use proper english sms language is not allowed
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Old 24th March 2008, 17:18   #38
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100,000+ city kms.
This is how long it should take to make one perfffect!
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Old 24th March 2008, 19:21   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram View Post
Maintaining safe distance behind the car in front, at all times

That's easier said than done. I try to do that but then there's always some idiot (mostly bikers & autos) who will squeeze between me and the vehicle I am following.
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Old 25th March 2008, 11:37   #40
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The only way to achieve perfection in driving to be very alert while driving. if you concentrate on the road ahead then you can be a perfect driver. Well this is the advanced stage of driving initially everybody finds it difficult to get the car going....I started driving when I was in 9th std on our good old premier padmini.
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Old 25th March 2008, 13:30   #41
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I learnt driving from one of the best drivers I might have ever seen. He was a driver at my mum's school and he taught both me and my mother how to drive, although I was only 13 at that time.

Although I got the hang of it pretty quick, it took my mother about 3 months to get fully used to the whole thing. Since then I've been driving around town, avoiding the highways and the busy roads until I got my license at the age of 18 (the day before I got on the flight to Canada!).
Whenever I visit India, I make it a point to drive around town and I can say that I can drive around smoothly in cities like Delhi.
Also in Canada, I got my license when I was 20 and have been driving now and then.

I must say that driving here is so much different than driving in India, it's like you are on a different planet. I can't say if its easy or hard, but there's a lot of difference in the driving style, somewhere along the lines ram mentioned couple of posts back.

So I think it also depends on your age when you learn to drive, the younger you are, the better are your chances of learning quickly and effectively.
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Old 25th March 2008, 22:03   #42
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Was 6 months to me. But I was able to came out of my road fear only after 1.5 years - the day when I sold out my Omni and bought new Santro.
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Old 26th March 2008, 11:15   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrous View Post
100,000+ city kms.
This is how long it should take to make one perfffect!
Except for people who are geniuses (self proclaimed or otherwise), age and experience makes for a better driver. I do not know if some research has been done in India, but at least in the US, older drivers (upto 70 yrs) have low rates of police-reported crash involvements per capita, but per mile traveled crash rates start increasing for drivers 70 and older and increase markedly after age 80. The graph below gives IIHS data for number of crashes per capita by driver age for 2005:

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Although Older drivers travel fewer than most other age groups and, similar to low-mileage drivers of other ages, they tend to accumulate much of their mileage in city driving conditions. Even then, number of crashes per mile traveled by driver age declines with age, but increases beyond 70 yrs.

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Last edited by vasudeva : 26th March 2008 at 11:19.
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Old 26th March 2008, 20:19   #44
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Vasudeva, that is interesting and useful. What is the source?
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Old 30th March 2008, 19:08   #45
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One is never a perfeKt driver. One learns all the time, irrespective of the country, city or road one drives on. Thats been my philosophy after driving for more than 20 years and crashing [on bikes], highway driving, city driving, off roading and all.

The day one thinks he's perfect - he looses it all!
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