Driving is probably one of the most practical skills that a person can learn in one's life. Most people lose sleep over the anticipation of learning how to drive but a few tend to learn late due to an assortment of issues from anxiety or a busy schedule. Fortunately, learning how to drive isn't really that hard.
Before you get started
You should first learn about how the licensing system works in your country/area. It is most likely that you will have to secure a student's license first before you can be allowed to enroll in a driving school or receive instruction from your father, brother or friend about driving on national roads. Make sure that you have this ironed out before getting behind the wheel. Most countries issue student licenses to those sixteen years and older.
Driving is a skill so even if you read tons of material about it, it's undeniable that you will learn the most if you actually do it for yourself. For practical experience, enroll in a local driving school or have one of your relatives or friends help you while you're actually behind the wheel.
The actual driving
Once you have a license and an instructor, it's time to get driving. If enrolled in a driving school, it's very likely that you will be trained on a manual transmission (commonly known as stick-shift) vehicle. A lot of people don't really know how to drive a stick shift so it's a really valuable skill if ever the need should arise. Before stepping into the car with your instructor, relax and prepare yourself for a learning experience. Don't over think it - it's just driving after all!
There are three pedals on a stick shift car (as opposed to just two for an automatic). One is for the gas, one is the brake and the other is the clutch. The clutch is the pedal that you use to change gears.
- To start the car, place your feet on the brakes and the clutch as you turn the key. If you do this right, you will hear (and feel) the motor hum and you're ready to go driving.
- Move to first gear by pushing in the clutch. Once you've shifted gears, ease off the clutch (slowly!) while easing in on the accelerator, and wait for the car to move. It will take some time getting used to, but once you feel that you're running smoothly, you can let go of the clutch completely and feed it give some more gas.
- When you feel like the engine is tiring out, push in the clutch and change gears to the second. Again, ease off the clutch and don't let go until you feel that you are running smoothly. If you let go prematurely, you might stall the engine and you will have to restart your car again.
Driving is all about practice and a week is more than enough time to polish your skills on the stick. And it's not just about running the engine and steering. Driving is also about following the rules of the road, and displaying courtesy to other motorists. Most driving schools only limit lessons to about four days worth of training so it's very doable. If you don't want to have the hassle of having to use the clutch, learn on an automatic transmission vehicle then - a lot of new cars run on automatic, anyway. But whatever you do, keep your eyes on the road and stay safe!