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Last post Author Topic: Help? Learning how to drive...  (Read 16135 times)

wreckedcarzz

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Help? Learning how to drive...
« on: August 22, 2009, 03:32:52 PM »
An odd topic for DC, I know, but this is the most family-like forum that I know of, and because I am most comfortable here than anywhere else on the interwebs, figured why not :)

I am 16 and 9 months, currently in a Drivers Ed class at my high school, with Behind the Wheel (6 hour, in-car with driving instructor from school) lined up for sometime in Sept-Oct, but I have extremely minimal driving experience (no permit yet, getting it next week-ish). I'm hoping that some of you can give me some thoughts on how I can prepare myself better before I go out to BtW (prior experience is a requirement). Also, I live in the US, but anyone at all can help me out - I may be going overseas in a couple of years anyways, and any knowledge is good knowledge! :Thmbsup:


Yesterday I went out for my first actual 'driving' attempt with my mom, in her 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe (AWD model - explanation below). We went to an almost-abandoned parking lot and she let me have at the wheel. After an hour and 15 minutes or so, I had gotten comfortable and run several self-tests (parking, etc, more below) and we headed home.

FrontView.jpgHelp? Learning how to drive...
BackView.jpgHelp? Learning how to drive...

AWD info:
Spoiler
The AWD isn't real AWD - the Hyundai uses the old 'when traction is lost and/or excessive acceleration demands are met, engage AWD mode'
Therefore, its FWD until I punch the accelerator or the SUV starts to lose traction (I did the former twice)


I am looking for suggestions as to increasingly-difficult maneuvers that I can do (I may be able to have my grandmother and/or dad drive around the lot with me in the coming days/weeks, so multi-car situations are great as well). The parking lot does have light cross traffic, and each end has businesses still open (Blockbuster Video on one end, assorted convenience stores on the other) but it is a good size lot. (Image below is at least 4 years old, if not more, the Wal-Mart there is long gone)

ParkingLot.jpgHelp? Learning how to drive...

Here is my self-made log of what I did last night:
Spoiler
August 21st
5:30 - 6:45PM
Abandoned parking lot/shopping mall @ Peoria and 83rd
Max 25MPH

Slolam (concrete dividers)
Slolam (concrete parking blocks)
Abrupt braking (accidental)
Abrupt acceleration (2x) with auto-engaged AWD
Smooth acceleration
Smooth braking
Parking into/backing out of angled parking spaces
Backing into/pulling out of angled parking spaces
Avoidance of road hazards (glass, etc)
Turn signal use
2-way traffic (1x)
Passing parked cars (1x)

Need to:
Work on backing (farther, less angled) into spaces
Work on pulling (farther) into spaces
Smoother turns
Use turn signals more often
Stop earlier at 'intersections'
Parking into/backing out of straight parking spaces
Parallel parking
Stay closer to right side
Test different gear options (N, +, -)
Test AWD mode
Use cones/obstacles for better practice/prepared tests


Anything that can be done, any suggestions, any thoughts - post 'em! I'll take all the help I can get :)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 03:34:53 PM by wreckedcarzz »

Josh

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2009, 03:43:09 PM »
You want a challenge? Drive to Springfield, VA and try the mixing bowl at rush hour. You will hit every conceivable obstacle you can imagine. Also, try NJ. You will not be allowed to make a left turn and as such your driving adventure will vary from anywhere else in the world.

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2009, 03:53:04 PM »
You want a challenge? Drive to Springfield, VA and try the mixing bowl at rush hour. You will hit every conceivable obstacle you can imagine. Also, try NJ. You will not be allowed to make a left turn and as such your driving adventure will vary from anywhere else in the world.

 ;D

Keep in mind that I'm in Arizona, the #1 state for Red Light Runners (even WITH the cameras); also, the speed limit law is, essentially, 'go at a reasonable speed as to keep with traffic' - so even if the Speed Limit is 65 (freeways), most cars do 75-95 and you have to 'keep up with traffic'

I have the danger, I just need the preparations for that first :P

Shades

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2009, 03:59:13 PM »
Actually, three general tips spring to mind:
- Remain in comfortable state of mind during each whole drive.
- Use your mirrors! All of them!! All the time!!!
- When in doubt, it is generally safer to wait or don't do the maneuvering you were planning to do (highway).


MilesAhead

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2009, 06:40:31 PM »
Assuming the vehicle is automatic transmission, driving is easy.  It's parking, parallel parking, and doing the y-turn(if those are part of the tests there) that require a bit of practice.  The other stuff is just turning and break/gas.. pretty much self-explanatory.

My advice would be, unless the parking lot is utterly deserted, you are better off when you have your permit to get out on a real road with sparse traffic to start.  Parking lots are one of the most dangerous places around.  The yahoos think since they are not out on the road, there's no rules other than gun it to get past the other guy!!  Many of the twerps just back up until they hit something(no looking first.. that would be cheating.)  Also some of them will have it up to 40 MPH and as soon as you start to back up, they clip you.  Guess who will be at fault if you have a permit and they have a license?  So it's just better to stay out of lots.

Use roads that have good vision.  Try to stay away as much as possible from blind intersections.  You know the ones with 14' high hedges on the corner so you can't see the oncoming traffic until you are out into the intersection.  If you can see the yahoos coming, that's your best defense.  Watch the traffic and think to yourself "what's the lamest thing these twits could possibly pull?" and watch. 90% of the time, that's exactly what happens.  That's why they call it "defensive driving."  You're defending yourself against the yahoos!!

Shades

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2009, 06:50:58 PM »
A tricky thing to do is;  on a empty parking lot make a slalom course (10+ pivot points) that you can easily manage driving forward. Now do the same course backwards without looking back. Use only your mirrors. When you manage to do the course forwards and backwards in the same amount of time, you will have enough 'feeling' for the car you are driving.

The Dutch army was my driving instructor and I had to learn a lot regarding the Dutch traffic rules and how to handle cars in different situations.

Here in Paraguay you are allowed to drive a car if you can afford the car and the drivers license at your 17th birthday. Driving lessons are optional here. Because of this the difference in traffic between both countries is enormous.

The tree tips I mentioned earlier saved me/the car from a lot of damage, because of some idiot trying to a stupid maneuver completely disregarding the direction of traffic. Now I could go on about how badly people park their cars here but then it starts to look like ranting.

 

momonan

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2009, 10:29:13 PM »
You must be so exited about learning to drive!  By now, you know that the act of driving is easy (step on one pedal to move and another to stop, plus a wheel to turn the.  The hard part is knowing what to do when.  I've taught several people to drive, and suggest you do the following:

1.  stick with with 45-minute practice sessions:  keep the sessions short and end before you lose your confidence.

2.  find someone to ride with you who doesn't make you crazy. and can break down the maneuvers in a way that is helpful for you.  I have heard it said that it shouldn't be a parent, but don't believe it. If you have a parent or grandparent who you trust to do the job, go for it.  Probably the only taboo would be a sibling; they can really make you crazy.

3.  remember that there are "rules" and protocol.  It is helpful to know the rules, but even more important to know the protocol:  who is "supposed" to be able to do something, as opposed to watching the behavior of other cars and letting them know what you plan to do.

4.  Stay far enough behind the car in front of you that you can accommodate any stupid thing they might do.  Put even more space between you and the car in front of you if it looks like the car (or truck) in front of that car, or behind you, is apt to do something stupid.

5.  Remember that the purpose of your signals is to let other drivers know what you want to do.  So, apply them early enough and they find the right opportunity to do what you meant to do -- and be sure to discontinue the signal once you have done what you want to do.

6.  Scan the perimeter of the road, the way you would a video, looking for speed-limit signs, and comply with them.  Drive like there's a cop behind you -- probably because there will be, especially if you're young.

7.  Never never ever text or talk on the phone while you're driving!!  This is the most important thing to remember (and sometimes the hardest when your friends are accustomed to having you respond right away).  Just tell them you will not be responding while you're driving and wait until you have reached your destination safely to take a look.

Driving is a real sign of independence.  Think how great it will be to be doing it for a long, long time.
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2009, 11:06:01 AM »
Actually, three general tips spring to mind:
- Remain in comfortable state of mind during each whole drive.
- Use your mirrors! All of them!! All the time!!!
- When in doubt, it is generally safer to wait or don't do the maneuvering you were planning to do (highway).

I did relax about 45 minutes into it and it did become much easier, so I'll try and relax earlier from now on
I actually ended up seeing several cars that my mom did not because I was using my mirrors and looking over my shoulder (when backing) properly
Ah, yes, I actually had an issue where I was pulling out of the Blockbuster's mini side-parking lot and had to wait for a car that wanted to turn in (I was blocking the lane, unfortunately, but they used the next closest entrance)

@MilesAhead
The SUV is full automatic, and all the cars I will potentially be driving are as well. The parking lot is only used for minimal cross-traffic (about 5 cars an hour, manageable). I also have watched my mom and dad driving (very tuned into everything they do) and have been able to point out things that they don't see yet (ex: that black car right there is gonna merge, you can tell from his slowing down and pulling left a little). My parents want to send me to Bondurant to do advanced driving after I get my permit, so I'll have stable knowledge and skills for defensive driving (thank god they are paying, though ;D).

A tricky thing to do is;  on a empty parking lot make a slalom course (10+ pivot points) that you can easily manage driving forward. Now do the same course backwards without looking back. Use only your mirrors. When you manage to do the course forwards and backwards in the same amount of time, you will have enough 'feeling' for the car you are driving.

I can do a forwards slalom through all the large concrete barriers in the lot (about 15 of em) but I did not try them in Reverse. Might give that a go if I can get my mom to let me have another chance later today :)

You must be so exited about learning to drive!  By now, you know that the act of driving is easy (step on one pedal to move and another to stop, plus a wheel to turn the.  The hard part is knowing what to do when.

Nice list! #1 I'm not sure about - I was still fully alert and excited after almost 90 minutes, but I guess after more stressing situations it could become fatiguing

I don't need to worry about #6 because my dad is a retired police officer and... yeah - getting a speeding ticket would be... less than pleasant

#7 drives me mad - I don't have a cell phone (I do miss the old phone-in-car though!) but the idiots that DO and simply cannot get it through their concrete brain that they need to pull over because they are doing 10 under the limit and swerving worse than a drunk, they make me want to get out and beat them until they are no longer able to physically use the phone (there should be a law allowing that... :P)


All great input :) I'll see about the reverse slalom and see if I can't get some family members to drive in the lot with me to practice distance and other-car interactions

MilesAhead

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2009, 01:26:53 PM »
Oh yeah, the other thing I forgot to mention.. most important.  When you have it on Cruise Control(tm) keep one eye open while you're snoozin' & cruzin'. :)

You never know what might come up unexpectedly.

jgpaiva

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2009, 02:08:45 PM »
Oh, and never-ever use Cruise Control in a rear-wheel drive car at intersections with dirt on the floor. Ever.
(yep, bad experience: did that when I first got my license and ended up on a dirt bank :) )
Actually, the more general advice would be "don't use cruise control out of freeways" ;)

MilesAhead

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2009, 02:19:51 PM »
Well, cruise control can come in handy if you're trying to save some time by getting a pedicure while traversing cities.  Sometimes one has to multi-task. :)

jgpaiva

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 02:22:22 PM »
Yeah, and when you need to do something with both hands, like posting to DC. You can use the feet to drive in that situation. Please notice that this is probably THE only situation where using cruise control while traversing cities is acceptable!

MilesAhead

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2009, 02:36:17 PM »
That and if you happen to be doin' some scratchin' .. samplin' of the vinyl!!  Can't drive without tunes man!! :)

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2009, 09:30:14 PM »
Yeah, and when you need to do something with both hands, like posting to DC. You can use the feet to drive in that situation. Please notice that this is probably THE only situation where using cruise control while traversing cities is acceptable!

That would give me an excuse to use my new Eee, too! :D

bgd77

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2009, 01:59:54 AM »
As an ex-beginner, I have 3 recommendations:
- practice: practice as much as you can, before and after you get your license; after you get your license, travel as much as you can on different types of road, from city-center at rush hour to mountain roads
- if you make mistakes, don't loose your confidence; it is just the normal process of learning
- if you find yourself in a situation when you have to make a choice (e.g.: an intersection), and one of the alternatives would put you into a dangerous position, don't do it; do just what you are confident you can do, even if the other drivers start to car

After 3000-5000 km you will become very confident into yourself and will know very good the car's limits. Be careful when changing the car. Every car behaves differently and the type of the motor (diesel or gas) as well as it's power are very important. If you plan to drive in Europe, it could be necessary to learn how to drive cars with manual transmission, as there are few cars with automatic transmission here.

Good luck and drive safe!

MilesAhead

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2009, 06:12:33 PM »
Oh yeah, on a serious note... and I've seen this happen right in front of me while walking down the road, plus it's one of those tips they used to give all the time on public service announcements on TV:

If you happen to be driving and a vehicle is coming the opposition direction, like on a 2 lane road, not divided, and the car starts drifting into your lane(the guy is falling asleep at the wheel.. prolly drunk) do not try to sneak over into his lane and sneak by his car, even if there's nobody on that side of the road after his car.  What will happen, at the last second, the guy will open his eyes, see he's on the wrong side of the road, and instinctively steer back to the correct side of the road.  If you are trying to sneak by, he'll steer right into you.

All you can do in that case is slow down, stay on your side of the road, move over onto the shoulder if possible, and you can try beeping the horn incessantly.  He may wake up and correct his steering.

I've seen a guy try to "sneak by to the left" and the dude woke up and plowed him just like in the PSAs on TV.  Fortunately I was far enough away I didn't catch any shrapnel.   :Thmbsup:

Stoic Joker

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2009, 01:29:02 PM »
So you're looking for a safe, simple, cheap way of learning to steer around obsticals, maintain your lane, backup & etc.

(Don't Laugh)

Scare up a riding lawnmower & go do some lawns. You get all of the above plus non-lethal penalties for taking too sharp a turn.
Mower = tore up patch of grass
Car = Expensive parts & death.

The biggest danger to most drivers is inattention; they're busy doing X and then... :) ...it happens. On the mower going 5mph you're attention will wander quickly...which (in a typical small yard) will put you into alot of "oh shits" (safely) in a short period of time.

and you might make a few bucks in the process.

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2009, 06:04:14 PM »
Thanks for the tips, gonna keep watching this thread :) - I can go out and get my permit any time now (got a certificate that waives the written test, only vision required), and my mom is supposed to let me go back to the parking lot sometime in the next few days

Also, I have a riding lawnmower, and have used it many times over the last few years... hmm, never really thought about it when I was 'driving' it though

alivingspirit

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2009, 06:23:53 PM »
I just got my licence today. It was a very easy driving test ( Illinois ). The guy testing me just asked me to drive around a little bit. No parallel parking or anything like that.

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2009, 06:26:35 PM »
Yeah, out here the driving test is a 3 point turn and a drive around the block.

Some test *rolls eyes*

alivingspirit

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2009, 06:33:32 PM »
Exactly. 8)

jgpaiva

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2009, 06:40:35 PM »
Congrats, alivingspirit ;)

MilesAhead

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2009, 06:45:48 PM »
I just got my licence today. It was a very easy driving test ( Illinois ). The guy testing me just asked me to drive around a little bit. No parallel parking or anything like that.

For my motorcycle driving test the guy took me to this narrow road the public works guys use to heap tar on top of the heaped tar when they have nothing else to do.  Narrow and bumpy in the extreme.  To get to work that day I had to drive the bike through thunderstorms at @45 MPH.  The water was running out of my shoes.  I changed to a work uniform but I was cold and damp and shaking trying to go over these bumps in little figure 8s.  Finally the guy says "how long you been ridiin' bikes?" and I say "6 years."  He just looked at me weird.  I said, "I'm still kind of shaken up because I had to ride through that thunderstorm at 45 MPH to get here. I changed into dry clothes  but I'm still shaking from being soaked."  The guy says "you road through that thunderstorm?" and I said "yeah."  He then said, "if you made it here through that you know how to ride."  He wrote me up for the license.  Then said something to the effect "we're not all s.o.b.s you know" and laughed.



mouser

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2009, 02:07:27 PM »
hahahahahahaha. great stuff.

app103

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Re: Help? Learning how to drive...
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2009, 07:14:55 PM »
You want a challenge? Drive to Springfield, VA and try the mixing bowl at rush hour. You will hit every conceivable obstacle you can imagine. Also, try NJ. You will not be allowed to make a left turn and as such your driving adventure will vary from anywhere else in the world.

 ;D

There is a reason why you can't make left turns in a lot of parts of NJ. We are the most densely populated state in the country, and we have the highest insurance rates. By eliminating left turns in some areas, we eliminated a lot of accidents. (left turns are more dangerous than right turns)

Nobody should drive like this, but keep in mind there are a lot of people that do.

Yes, it is supposed to be a joke, but sadly, it is based on truth. Ask Josh, he has driven here before. I never learned to drive because the thought of being on the same road with them terrifies me. I even have issues with crossing the streets around here. It's scary.

Be aware that NJ drivers don't stay in NJ. They travel to other states, seeking less crowded conditions. If they all stayed here, NJ would be a 3 story parking lot. So you will eventually come across one or more of them. Drive as if everyone on the road is originally from NJ and you should be ok.