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|12th July 2008, 21:05||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Some Basic doubts about driving a car
[To moderator:Nothing too much of technical here.So please move it if this cannot be discussed under general Indian cars subforum.]
I have started learning how to drive a car and sucessfully completed ten
classes and even got my license.
What bothers me is that I still haven't mastered steering control - I can
make 90-degree and U-turns with ease but Sometimes the instructor keeps telling me "slighty left/right" "Can't you fell the car is not going in a
straight line?".I learn in a non-power steering(I love the steering feel ! )
In the excitement of learning to drive a car,I do discuss things with my
friends and relatives who already know to drive a car(but may or may not be correct on all things they stand by)I present their arguments/advice too.
How can I keep the car in a straight line ? (I have no problem in aligning
the car and correcting its direction on very mild curves)
My instructor says I grip the steering wheel very tightly and I should see
the road (and not the steering wheel)and keep it as a reference while
making a turn and straightening the vehicle after a turn.
My friend says most of the times,the car will self-straighten out after a
My friend says you have to adjust the seat in such a way so that one can
see the bonnet(or hood) of santro.He drives an Esteem(which is longer than santro) and I told him thats why You are used to see the bonnet.He is also a few inches taller than me.
My Instructor says I don't have to see the bonnet.He says in santro it
won't be visible unless you are real tall.He says judgement will do.I
should also note that I have no problem when it comes to parking close to a wall - without seeing the bonnet.
I don't use the horn much.Is that a bad habit ? In my ten classes I think I
should honked some 2-3 times only ! I have this habit while driving the
scooter too !
And I heard drivers can communicate by using 'horn codes'.Is that true?
For example,a short peemp-peemp means give me way and so on.
Can I switch off the santro when it is in gear ? My Instructor yelled at me
for this once(On my second or third class).
he said one should:
*Apply Parking brake
*Bring gear to neutral even if it is in 1st or R.
*Switch off vehicle.
*Then move the gear to 1st or R position depending on the gradient.
What is the correct situation/way of flashing the headlamps? I have
observed peole flash when they want to overtake a vehicle on a road without opposing traffic,use flash just to say a "Hi!" and use it to warn opposite traffic.Some people flash just once.Some give two quick flashes.
How should I hold the gear lever?(see the attached pics)
(1)We were taught like this and am comfortable with this.
(2)My uncle shifts like this in his Esteem !
(3)Some of my fellow students of the driving class gripped the gear lever like this.I see nothing wrong here as far as one understands how the stick
should be moved and it isn't uncomfortable. (some people tried to slot the
stick to 1st gear from Neutral in a diagonal way.Scary !)
(4)I have seen some drivers hold the stick like this - it looks cool and
they use it for 1st>2nd gear,3>4,3>2,etc.
How can I increase my confidence level while driving ? Am learning before
the peak hour(7-7:30AM) and not managed to annoy anyone on road except my instructor at times.
My instructor says after all the classes are over,I should try driving a
car *alone* in traffic and my confidence levels will automatically improve.
Sorry for the long write up !
|13th July 2008, 01:47||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 9,615 Times
A nice variety of questions there - and its good that you are clarifying your doubts at this stage rather than learning the wrong thing (despite what others say).
Thread moved to Technical Stuff as it is best suited there.
Your instructor has a point - you should be focussing on the road, and probably a little further down the road than you currently are. This will definitely help you keep the car on track. If you focus too close you tend to make a lot more adjustments and go all over the place.
After a turn, the car will straighten out (since the car always wants to drive straight ahead due to the suspension and steering geometery), so just give it some gentle encouragement (not too much, especially at the last few degrees).
As for seating position, there is an ideal way to set your position - and this will help greatly when turning as well.
See this link for more details : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-steering.html (What are the Pros & Cons of A Tilt Steering?) (see posts #9, #14 etc)
However, as Hormazd Sorabjee once said in the foreword of ACI - "The horn is the single most important safety feature in an Indian car."
So in that sense, you MUST use the horn to alert drivers/pedestrians around you if you think they are unaware of your presence and that might cause a problem (this is why trucks say "horn ok please" if you plan to overtake them). Have some foresight (its key to being a good driver, especially in india). Just a simple beep of the horn could save someones life.
1. If you have the clutch pressed and turn the car off in gear and then leave the clutch it could make a small jerk - depending on how fast the disengaged clutch is spinning. (This point isnt so important)
2. Sometimes if you switch off in gear you forget to shift to 1st or R - so you might leave your car parked in 4th on a slope by mistake - not a good thing.
Dont keep the flasher pulled for more than just a flash as it can blind oncoming traffic. Dont flash more than two times at a go - coz it can be irritating, etc etc.
In some ways flashing is like a less intrusive horn.
In India flashing means "im coming right at you, pay attention!" or "move over". In some other countries flashing means quite the opposite - "you go first / you have right of way".
"2" and "4" are obviously to be avoided.
However, if you are in a racing school or any kind of competitive driver, the "correct" way is "3". This is because sometimes if you are holding the lever at the top like in "1" and you shift very fast / hard your hand can slip off the top of the lever, causing a mis-shift and wasting time.
If you hold it like in "3", there is no chance of the lever slipping out of your hand.
Don't go out on your own until you are confident (and know what the correct thing to do if you have a small accident etc is).
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-accident.html (What to do in case of a minor car accident)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...breakdown.html (What to do in case of an Accident or Breakdown)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...t-what-do.html (First accident : what to do ?)
If you can go driving with a family member during low traffic times - that would help too.
The more you practise the more confident you will get, and eventually you will be ready to make that small leap of faith and go out on your own.
Last edited by Rehaan : 13th July 2008 at 01:53.
|13th July 2008, 02:05||#3|
Senior - BHPian
Tell you what, since you're in Chennai, try n make it to the next track day. You don't have to race your car, just drive normally. Inspite of the higher driving speeds, people on track tend to be way more alert than the speeding moron on the highway, so the chances of accidents are actually lesser.
This experience will really boost your confidence, in a safe way.
|13th July 2008, 04:04||#4|
Join Date: Nov 2005
Thanked: 6 Times
And is it really safe for a newbie to get on to a race track with several other vehicles? Can the newbie keep his car in his lane as he takes corners at good speeds? Will he panic when a fellow-racer cuts ahead of him into his lane? Looks more dangerous to me than learning to drive first on relatively empty roads and then progressively more traffic-filled ones.
|13th July 2008, 04:17||#5|
Join Date: May 2008
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on getting your DL. I couldn't help stop laughing by reading your post, not in a sarcastic way but in a good sweet way. You remind me of the days when my mum would go out for her driving class, me thrown on the back seat of a green colored amby with all the ladies(to be read as aunties) and the instructor almost on the verge of throwing his turban off ( I guess you took the hint.. stay away from...... )
Well, I guess that's how even how I learnt my driving. Don't remember much of it apart from this, " clutch chohro, race do" ( leave the clutch and step on the gas). Never heard the instructor talk anything about the brakes so hardly use them
Jokes apart, you've come to the right place and all the answers that you will find will be correct. Each one has their own driving style the reasoning for which is important but won't be discussed, atleast for now. So may i suggest that you develop your own driving style, depending on your city conditions and your temprament. With regards to your "confidence", be rest assured, that by the time this thread is closed, if at all ever, you'll be wanting to compete with Michael Schumacher.
Well, to begin with, this is what I would suggest.
1.Walk down to your car, get inside and just sit there. Try to be as calm as possible and see how the things have been put together. Get to know her better, the odo, the ICE, the seat position etc etc. It's very important that you are comfortable and relaxed while you're seated. Do not drive if, it doesn't feel right.
I know this maybe sounding stupid but what this will do is, calm your nerves down and it's very important to drive in a calm state of mind. Once you know the insides of your car (inside out), it's time for you to walk around your car. Walk around your car and again, see how it all comes together for you. The length, how wide do the side mirrors open, etc etc. Once this is done, move to step number 2
2. Get back inside the car and try to see if you can see the edge of the bonnet without leaning forward. Do this in the position that you would be driving the car in traffic. Anticipate the length of the car and with time you will get the hang of things. Just remember, that it's not just the bonnet, but there's a bumper attached to it, so do take into consideration a few extra mm as well. After this is done, try doing the same for the back of the car, as you may have to back the car as well occasionally and it's very easy to go left while you have to go right and bang it. Post this small excercise, you may chose to drive the car.
3. While on the road, grab the steering wheel with comfort. You should not be holding on to it as if you're life depends on it nor should you be too casual about it. Reason: Holding it too tight will make your hands sweat, thereby, a possibility of a slip may occur during a swerve. Holding it too casually, and you may just not have the grip to swerve it when needed.
4. Do not drive with the thought " oh god! I don't want somebody crashing into my car." If you do this, invariably, you'll end up crashing into someone. Just drive normally but yet, do keep into mind that people are in a rush and the minute they see that little space, they would want to sqeeze in between. So again, the key here is "Watch your mirrors" and anticipate.
5. You being a newbie, I would suggest, stay in your speed limit and do put an L sign on your car till the time you feel that you're not 100% comfortable with the handling of the car and you've understood how your car behaves. What this will do is, automatically keep the drivers away and bigger the L, the better. Although you may consider this embarressing, but it'll be helpful, in case someone does knock your car over. The cops don't leave a stone unturned to find out 1 flaw and you're their bait.
6. The gear knob positions are all ok except number 2. You can use that sytle when you have to pee urgently. Otherwise, I would suggest stick with the first one and then when you feel that you are comfortable trying out different gear changing patterns, you could do that. The reason why your friends do so possibly style(habit) or just to save the energy.
7. Apart from this, there's just no 1 way to increase your confidence. The more you drive, the better you'll get, assuming that you'll learn from your mistakes and would be considerate towards others on the road, although you will find more often than not, others being inconsiderate towards you but this should not stop you from setting yourself the right habit.
Well, I guess i've dished out some pretty "weird" stuff. For the technical and simple stuff, I'd second what rehaan advised you. You can never go wrong with him, so drive safe and be responsible.
Remember, there's more to come, highway driving, hill driving, blah blah blah and the following
2. Be patient even if others are not
3. Respect your car and you'll earn the same respect from her
4. Watch your mirrors
5. Wear your seatbelts
6. Do not drink and drive
7. Enjoy your drive
8. In case you do bang your car, shed a tear but move on to alternatives, whatever they maybe ( read my mind)
|13th July 2008, 05:22||#6|
Senior - BHPian
Moreover, the opposite of what you say is also true. Nothing that you do on the roads can ever prepare you to drive on track. So any person driving on track for the first time is equally vulnerable.
And it's not like he hasn't driven a car before. He's even got his license now. If everyone keeps doubting his skills, he will never be confident.
I just made a suggestion, it's upto the individual to decide if he wants to try it out or not.
Last edited by Shan2nu : 13th July 2008 at 05:25.
|13th July 2008, 05:41||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2007
Thanked: 519 Times
Practice. Continually look down the road often so you can anticipate the situation ahead. Actively look for trouble, do not gaze out your windshield passively like it is a TV screen. Practice some more.
There is rarely a reason to look at the wheel, shift lever or anything else inside your car while you are driving. You should know exactly where these are just like you know where your nose is. And, did I mention it? Practice.
One way to get better quicker is to take your car to a place with no traffic. Put down small stones and see how close you can get to them without touching them and do this for the left and right side and backing and going forward. This will give you a much better idea of the dimensions of your car and will tend to prevent you from having the scraps and fender benders that new drivers often get. It is a way of programming your body and teaching it exactly where the car is. Oh yeah, and practice.
|13th July 2008, 08:14||#8|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 9,615 Times
That is a great suggestion for before you drive, and especially before you drive alone. Take your own sweet time and dont do things in a hurry.
Also please take a look through these threads for more info (there are many more specific ones too!):
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...practices.html (Driving - Best Practices)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ps-thread.html (The Driving Tips Thread)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ng-styles.html (Questions on General Driving Styles)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ing-wheel.html (Driving Position / Where to hold the steering wheel!)
|13th July 2008, 09:02||#9|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Speed-brkr City
Thanked: 1,586 Times
Look at all the mirrors and then in front, in a cycle - this will help you keep track of what's happening on all sides. And also help you maintain your concentration, better than looking just in one direction (front).
Things will take a little time. No need to sweat if you cant remember all that we tell you, and all that you read.
Remember - drive safe. It's an art that nobody is perfect in.
Last edited by condor : 13th July 2008 at 09:05.
|13th July 2008, 10:45||#10|
Join Date: Nov 2005
Thanked: 6 Times
If you see my description above of typical high-speed maneuvers, you will realize that a newbie should keep away from the Expressway till he has the basics right. In fact a Pune-Mumbai drive pretty much gives you the progression that a newbie should master. First Pune city, then the 4-lane Pune bypass highway, finally the six-lane Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Even if somebody has just obtained a license, I would strongly recommend that he gets into the Expressway only after mastering normal highways. Because driving at slow speed on the E'way is equally dangerous, and you just cannot afford to make the kind of mistakes that you can get away with on a normal highway.
I would strongly recommend that newbies first master driving on an E'way *before* getting on to a race track with other vehicles, but that is just my opinion.
|13th July 2008, 12:27||#11|
Senior - BHPian
Trust me, the expressway is nothing like a race track. We all think we're ready for it.....until we get there. Hehe
And the maneuvers you talk about were not caused by the expressway alone, your driving speed had to do a lot with it as well. Similarly, your experience on track heavily depends your driving style and driving speed. Nobody expects a newbie to rip his car. All he needs to do is drive normally till he feels confident.
|13th July 2008, 13:59||#12|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: North America
Thanked: 2 Times
Another thing I've noticed almost no one follows in India is checking your blind spot before changing lanes, which is very crucial. There is no technology in the world which eliminates your blind spot completely. Usually a simple and swift shoulder check should suffice, before any lane change.
In fact in North America during a driving test, if you forget to check your blind spot even once while changing a lane, the examiner will fail you.
|13th July 2008, 14:28||#13|
Join Date: Nov 2005
Thanked: 6 Times
Here there wasn't much traffic, apparently. So it looks safe. But still, note that the Esteem was huffing and puffing around the corners. If the newbie makes a wrong move at one of those corners, he could get rear-ended.
|13th July 2008, 15:17||#15|
Senior - BHPian
Unless you attend a track day, you wont understand what it's all about.
Last edited by Shan2nu : 13th July 2008 at 15:18.
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