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Old 9th February 2007, 09:20   #1
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Default Are these basics correct OR am i being taken for a 'ride' ?

I have been learning driving and have already logged in around 4 hrs in a battered 800 ! These are a list of basics that my instructor (a really good and honest fellow) has been teaching me. I at times am not quite sure whether he is teaching me the correct basics. His ideas are more from his 40 yrs of driving experience, whereas i've read a few argued over in these forums itself. Please let me know whether the following are the fundas that I should stick with.

Please keep in mind that he is just teaching me in heavy traffic and small lanes having double parking. So I hardly get to the third gear and am mostly driving in the second or the first.

1. Always use the toe (front part) of your sole to press the clutch so that your heel rests on the floor. (I am actually comfortable with pressing it with the middle part of my sole keeping my entire sole in the air)

2. To slow the car (in any situation), let go of the accelerator and to further slow it down when approaching traffic or pedestrians, fully press the clutch before braking.

3. All braking has to be done only after the clutch is fully pressed.

4. Never down shift to first gear unless you get your car to a complete stand still while braking.

5. While taking left or right turns, always release the accelerator and fully press the clutch (so as to reduce speed to give more car control)

6. Never ever get your right hand to the left side or vice versa when holding the steering. More important when you are taking a U turn or a really hard turn. ( I am very uncomfortable in doing so at great speeds i.e. quick spins of the steering wheel and i tend to steer with my one hand going the complete 360 degrees before the other takes over - is this right?)

7. I am still not able to judge the left side of my car as I cannot see the bonnet (seat height is not adjustable). Any advice/ideas on how to learn to judge the width of the car so as to swerve past the pedestrians or the parked cars ? He has to wildly control the steering wheels whenever i am close to the pedestrians. Mind you, this is while driving in very narrow lanes with double parking and pedestrians walking all around.

Any advice on beginner training will be very helpful, as after learning for around 15 odd hours on this I am planning to try my hand at driving my brother in laws mint condition estilo (power steering would be an absolute new thing for me)! and i dont want be the first one to scratch it :(

I have already scoured the forums and read a couple of threads on the basics, but a lot of times it gets too technical which becomes confusing for me.

Thanks in advance
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Old 9th February 2007, 11:13   #2
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Hi Kalpesh,

Congratulations on learning to drive - Good that you have a capable instructor. Your points seem valid in general, except for the following:

3. This may be true in your case as you're driving at slow speeds probably in 1st or 2nd gear, but is dangerous if done at high speeds. The clutch should be pressed only to prevent the car stalling (at relatively low speeds).

6. I dont really understand this point. I guess you need to develop your own driving style and get comfortable with it. Happens with time. Don't ever put your hands through the steering wheel (to reach for items stored on the dashboard for example) while the car is moving though!

7. Width judgement is something that comes with practice and time. I remember my dad doing exactly what you mention (emergency jerk of the steering wheel) while I was learning to drive. I recently exchanged my old zen for a swift, and again it took me some time to get used to the increased width. Dont worry too much about this now.

Just remember to keep calm as far as you can. When in doubt always slow down or stop and let the other guy (faster / more experienced driver) find his way around you even at the risk of getting honked at / yelled at.

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Old 9th February 2007, 11:28   #3
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^^
3. So if I would try and brake at lower gears without pressing the clutch, my car would stall right ?
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Old 9th February 2007, 11:54   #4
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Welcome to the forum !!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalpeshc View Post
1. Always use the toe (front part) of your sole to press the clutch so that your heel rests on the floor. (I am actually comfortable with pressing it with the middle part of my sole keeping my entire sole in the air)
Do whats comfortable to you. Make sure you can press the brake & the clutch as much as you want and not hampered by anything else. Also, make sure they don't skid of your toes/sole when pressed.
Quote:
2. To slow the car (in any situation), let go of the accelerator and to further slow it down when approaching traffic or pedestrians, fully press the clutch before braking.
3. All braking has to be done only after the clutch is fully pressed.
Slowing in higher gear (3rd & above): Press brake slightly. DONT press the clutch.
Slowing in lower gear( 1st & 2nd): Press brake slightly. Press clutch slowly to the required level.
NEVER brake hard (unless in emergency).
Quote:
4. Never down shift to first gear unless you get your car to a complete stand still while braking.
RULE: Dont stress the engine.
So if 2nd can't pull the car then don't hesitate to shift to 1st.
Quote:
5. While taking left or right turns, always release the accelerator and fully press the clutch (so as to reduce speed to give more car control)
While taking turn, slow down to comfortable speed and take the turn. See response to points 2 & 3 on how to slow down.
Quote:
6. Never ever get your right hand to the left side or vice versa when holding the steering. More important when you are taking a U turn or a really hard turn. ( I am very uncomfortable in doing so at great speeds i.e. quick spins of the steering wheel and i tend to steer with my one hand going the complete 360 degrees before the other takes over - is this right?)
Do whats comfortable to you. Better to use both hands to have control. Take the turn easily. If you can't steer the car as you intend, slow down.
Quote:
7. I am still not able to judge the left side of my car as I cannot see the bonnet (seat height is not adjustable). Any advice/ideas on how to learn to judge the width of the car so as to swerve past the pedestrians or the parked cars ? He has to wildly control the steering wheels whenever i am close to the pedestrians. Mind you, this is while driving in very narrow lanes with double parking and pedestrians walking all around.
Every car has different width. It takes time to get used to it. Judging is by approximation. Be conservative in estimation and in case of doubt, slow down.

Enjoy your learning !!
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Old 9th February 2007, 12:01   #5
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1 - makes sense but I would add to use the ball of your foot, not the toe. This probably gives the best sensitivity and should be followed on the right foot with the brake and accelerator.

2 - true, or close enough

3 - not strictly true but a good initial guideline. This will keep you from stalling the car by accident.

4 - true

5 - I wouldn't really recommend it, but if the engine is at high speed it's better than lifting off the accelerator abruptly

6 - true; learn to "shuffle" with your hands instead

7 - you'll figure it out eventually. Try not to hit anything in the meantime.
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Old 9th February 2007, 13:06   #6
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1. Always use the toe (front part) of your sole to press the clutch so that your heel rests on the floor. (I am actually comfortable with pressing it with the middle part of my sole keeping my entire sole in the air)
This is correct BUT do whats comfortable to you but the disadvantage of this way during learning will become a habit and you will never know that there may be some weight of your foot depressing the clutch and when you have ur car result the clutch will get worn too soon (quite a common practice riding clutch)

2. To slow the car (in any situation), let go of the accelerator and to further slow it down when approaching traffic or pedestrians, fully press the clutch before braking.
"fully press the clutch before braking" let both clutch and brake be simultaneous - as you get confidence and know the engine characteristics u can use the gear with some clutch and braking to help the stopping faster.

3. All braking has to be done only after the clutch is fully pressed.
Not this way always but based on your heavy traffic and ur learning curve to some extent yes as otherwise you will stall the engine.

4. Never down shift to first gear unless you get your car to a complete stand still while braking.
in your present situation it depends on the lugging and if 1st gear is required during movement at low speed you need to shift into as otheriwse being in 2nd will make u slip the clutch to keep moving.(all instructors say pt4. as if you shift from 2nd to 1st above say 10kmph the torque increase will give u a violent jerk and u may step on the pedal kind of panicky and cause an accident)

5. While taking left or right turns, always release the accelerator and fully press the clutch (so as to reduce speed to give more car control)
release accelerator fine but not the clutch doing so will make the car like idle and u will loose control better to be in a lower gear than higher with clutch released (feel the pulling effect)

6. Never ever get your right hand to the left side or vice versa when holding the steering. More important when you are taking a U turn or a really hard turn. ( I am very uncomfortable in doing so at great speeds i.e. quick spins of the steering wheel and i tend to steer with my one hand going the complete 360 degrees before the other takes over - is this right?)
Yes thats right - if you learn to use both hands on steering best as once you learn a wrong habit you can never get it corrected easily . this depends entirely upon your control feel - I do it the same as mentioned by you but dont try high speed U turns as you may roll over.

7. I am still not able to judge the left side of my car as I cannot see the bonnet (seat height is not adjustable). Any advice/ideas on how to learn to judge the width of the car so as to swerve past the pedestrians or the parked cars ? He has to wildly control the steering wheels whenever i am close to the pedestrians. Mind you, this is while driving in very narrow lanes with double parking and pedestrians walking all around.
this is judgement that you have to will gain with some few hours on the wheel the instructors timings are too less for you to learn this aspect.

This is steps to follow as a good driver.
ign key on - let lights on dash go off - start engine - listen for anything unusual (make it a habit) - check door light warnings on dash or physically - - use ur seat belt - engage gear 1 - look center mirror for rearview (incase u need to reverse) - left mirror for any objects (incase u need to go extreme left for reverse) - right mirror for anything coming - and all clear move out.
make use of ur eyes to look out for signboards and signs stamped on the road.
at speeds above 100kmph maintain a speed between urself and the vehicle ahead of you with a +5 to 10 second delay for reaction time to come to halt.

Last edited by 2fast4u : 9th February 2007 at 13:10.
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Old 9th February 2007, 15:02   #7
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Most clutch and brake related tips that your instructor has given you are true, when you are in 1st/2nd gears. Have faith in your instructor, and as you go along, I'm sure he'll tell you to stop doing those things, which don't apply at high speeds (to stop use clutch+brake, etc). If you don't believe in him/her, you'll never become a good driver. Here, or on any internet forum, different people would give you different 'tips'. But, in the beginning, you should only try what's safe and comfortable for you. Later on, you'll develop your own tips and techniques.

PS - Not a good idea to drive a new car when you are still learning. Even if you don't scratch it, some clutch damage can happen for sure. And, a car of an in-law? Never!
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Old 9th February 2007, 15:06   #8
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And... any instructor's first job is to prevent an accident / damage to the school's vehicle. Fuel efficient driving is the least of his worries at that time.
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Old 9th February 2007, 15:31   #9
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I just like to comment on two points.

5.

Fiddling with controls is not recommended AT the turning. Just bring your speed down to low ~20-30 km/h well before turning and preferably get into 2nd gear. Now release clutch fully, and press accelerator gently. Thus car won't stall and you'll be in control as well.

7.

Not being able to see the bonnet is an issue I still face with some unfamiliar cars.
In fact, I started this thread on this in team-bhp.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...g-style-2.html (How does not being able to see the bonnet affect your driving style?)

It is something in modern cars you have to live with it. However, in some cars (in some cases with height adjustable seats) you can see the bonnet (eg. Accent etc.) M800's bonnet is too small but for Palio or Indica - they are still uneasy for occassional driving.

Happy driving
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Old 9th February 2007, 15:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amu1983 View Post
PS - Not a good idea to drive a new car when you are still learning. Even if you don't scratch it, some clutch damage can happen for sure. And, a car of an in-law? Never!
Exactly what I am skeptic of ...and just imagine ..its the first car ever in his family ...and even he doesnt know how to drive it yet !!! he too is learning driving ...
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Old 9th February 2007, 22:59   #11
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I'd suggest you don't move the car from the parking until the instructor okays it. He would be the best person to judge you, as he sees you drive everyday. The worst enemy of your car's paint is the parking area itself, as most scratch-accidents happen while taking the car in/out its parked place. Remember - it costs at least Rs. 10,000 to get a paint job.

But don't keep it sitting idle though. Every alternate day, switch it ON and exercise the engine at low rpm in neutral. This will keep the battery in top condition. Don't rev to hard... be gentle.
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Old 10th February 2007, 09:18   #12
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The instructor is now asking me to spend a 2 hr long session on a Tata Sumo to further improve my skills (it costs extra 500 bucks) !
I generally get trained in the bylanes of Mahim (W). Its exactly like the lanes of Girgaon. Small lanes with double-triple parking and 2 way traffic with a lot of pedestrians. Personally I feel that moving to a Sumo is not going to help. I'd rather practice those 2 hrs in the same M800 to get my small car skills up. Theres no point in moving to a Sumo as for the first hour or so i will be overwhelmed with the size of the beast and will try and change all my judgments to that size instead of a M800

What say ?
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Old 11th February 2007, 02:23   #13
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Stick to one type of vehicle until your confidence is high enough. Then you can try various other vehicles.

Dont forget to always wear your seat belt.

One thing I learnt from my driving school days is that instructors always want you to save as much fuel as possible, so they ask you to shift to fourth at 35 km/h and other such ridiculous things. Maintaing your engine and maintaining maximum control of your car at all times is more important, and therefore whenever you're not sure which of two gears you should be in, always pick the lower gear. Also, as your skills develop try to use the clutch as little as possible.
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