OK, so you decided you want to learn to drive, learning to drive gives you an opportunity to learn a completely new skill, a skill that will open up a whole new world of independence for you. It is important that before you apply for your practical driving test that you are not only fully ready to pass but also are well prepared for a lifetime of safe and responsible driving.You need to be able to drive without any help or prompting consistently as well as know and understand all the road markings and traffic signs therefore you will need to gain all necessary skills to pass the test. Here I have prepared a quick guide for you, to give you some idea about things to come when you start your journey to get the full UK licence.
The first step is to apply for the provisional licence but before you do so there are few things you need to think about. First of all your eyesight, you can not drive on the road unless your eyesight meets certain requirements, one of the method of checking yourself is by trying to read a vehicle number plate from a specified distance. The highway code state that in good daylight you should be able to read a number plate from the distance of 20.5 metres which is about 67 feet. If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to read number plates then you must wear them at all times while driving, you will also be required to pass the eyesight test at the beginning of your practical driving test. The testing method will also be making you read number plates from the required distance, You must also be at least 17 years old or over before you can apply for a provisional licence.
OK you have all the required documents and you are legally ready to take driving lessons, you must also make sure that you have the financial means to cover the cost of lessons as they can be very costly. You will also need to decide how quickly you want to learn as more hours of tuition you take per week the quicker you will become test ready, taking single lessons per week can take up to 10 months. If you have a family member or a friend who is over 21 then you can practice with them in addition to your driving school tuition but the accompanying driver must be over 21 and must have held (and still hold) a full UK licence, in the relevant category for three years.
If you are going to pay someone to teach you to drive than you want to make sure they have the experience and willingness to teach and are not there to just take your money. There are many driving schools who recruit trainee instructors and it's very unlikely that other than an ADI, a fully qualified DSA approved instructor would have the knowledge and experience to train you properly. What is the difference between a trainee instructor and an ADI and how can you tell the difference? - a trainee instructor who is still under training and has not completed the full training or passed all the tests to qualify as an ADI. Trainee instructors are granted a licence so they gain teaching experiences before their qualifying examination. ADI is an instructor who has completed the full training and has passed all the qualifying tests set by DSA (driving standards agency) to be approved and entered in the ADI register. To find out if your instructor is an ADI or a trainee, either you can ask or have a look at their badge usually displayed on car windscreen, pink badges are granted to trainees and green ones are to fully qualified instructors.
Now That You Booked Your Driving Lessons - Here Is Your First Few Lessons.
Once you are in the driving seat here are some of the things you will see, the instrument panel, foot controls, hand controls and last but not least mirrors. OK what are the foot controls? they are three pedals that you control with your feet known as the accelerator, footbrake and clutch. The accelerator and footbrake is operated by your right foot while the clutch is operated by your left foot only. Hand controls - the parking brake, gearstick, steering wheel and the indicators are all operated with your hands, there are many other hand controls such as the horn, windscreen wipers, demister controls and headlights.
Before you can safely pull away you should make sure all your mirrors are adjusted correctly so that you get a clear view of the road behind you. While seating in your normal driving position adjust your mirrors so that you can see with minimum head movement, try not to touch the interior mirror with your fingers while adjusting as this will leave finger print marks on the mirrors and blur the view. Make sure you adjust the interior mirror in a way so you get the full view of the back window or the best possible view, the side mirrors should be adjusted in a way so that you're only seeing just a little bit of your car and most of the road. Make sure you adjust mirrors before you move away as adjusting them while driving is very dangerous, if you do forget than always pull up to adjust them. You must make all adjustment after you have correctly adjusted your seats, if you need to move your seats for any reason than you must adjust the mirrors again as they will not be adjusted to you anymore. While driving you must not look at any of your mirrors too long as it is very important you keep your eyes on the road ahead at all times, just do quick glances at them. Remember the side mirrors are not to be used to make your judgements as they are designed slightly curvy to give you wider angle of view therefore objects will appear further away then they really are, while the interior one is made from flat glass which gives you the true image, always use the interior mirror to make your judgement.
Emerging at a T junction - this when a vehicle is moving out of a minor road and crossing or turning to joining a major road.You will need to be familiar with the MSPSL routine and Give Way lines, a give way lines across the road means you must give way to traffic already on the road you wish to turn in to as they have priority over you. you must make sure you pick a safe gap and must not emerge and cause other drivers to alter their speed or change direction, otherwise be patient and wait for a safe gap. You may come across some junctions that do not have any markings, you mast not assume that you have priority over others, just treat them as a give way junction. As you wait on the give way line and the vehicle approaching is signaling left to turn in to the road you are in then wait until you are sure the vehicle is turning and not pulling up on the left, there are times when motorists can forget to cancel their signals after making a turn. Sometimes your zone of vision can restricted by parked vehicles, walls or other obstructions, you will need to edge forward until you can clearly see, if another vehicle is not in your zone of vision then you are not in theirs. You will need to particularly look out for motorcyclists when emerging as they can be very difficult to see, being smaller than other vehicles but approaching just as fast. Once you have emerged you will need accelerate to pick the speed up to a safe speed for the road condition as soon as possible, check the interior mirror to find out the speed and position of the vehicle behind you and make sure to cancel the signal.