I can't drive.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TheShinyMac, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. TheShinyMac macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #1
    Today was my first day behind the wheel. I went out with my father and began to "drive." I have no problem using the throttle and brake pads but turning...oh turning. I keep crossing my arms when I turn and I don't know how much or how little to turn the steering wheel. This resulting with me crashing into the curb scratching the rim on my Dad's TL, therefore making me shaking with nervousness and then I had to keep driving. What are some tips for turning?
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    Practice in a largish parking lot with cones.
     
  3. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #3
    Why don't you figure out, first, how the steering wheel affects the direction of the car. You can do this while changing lanes, and you can try going through a roundabout, since it'd be a gentle curve.

    Once you get a handle on how far you have to turn the wheel to turn the car a certain amount, try a right turn, a left turn, then turns in reverse.

    You can drive, I'm sure of it.
     
  4. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

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    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #4
    I think the key is not to stress out.

    I was just the same when I learned to drive. It took me ages to get to grips with turning and getting the car in the right position to turn. After practice it becomes easier, and then eventually you stop even noticing that you are doing it.

    I'm sure your Dad isn't angry about scratching the car - he will understand. So no need to get worked up. Take it easy, have fun and it will come naturally.

    EDIT: Are you learning in a manual or an automatic? If a manual, perhaps you could have a go in an automatic to get the hang of the position of the car and steering then move on to using a manual. It just gives you one less thing to think about for a little while.
     
  5. v66jack macrumors 6502a

    v66jack

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #5
    Just practice lots, that how I learnt to drive. And I guess you are in an automatic, i had to think about clutch control and gears aswell, trust me thats harder than steering when you start out.

    But like anything - you'll get better with more practice.
     
  6. kalsta macrumors 68000

    kalsta

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    No one has mentioned anything about actual steering technique yet. When I did an advanced driver training course (many years ago) one of the things we were taught was how to steer around tight bends. It's better demonstrated visually than in writing, but I'll try. Rather than reach one arm across the other, here's what you do… With both hands on each side of the wheel, turn until the one hand is approaching the bottom (i.e. approaching 90 degree turn of wheel). If you have to turn further, you bring your top hand down to meet it at the bottom of the wheel, then the other hand goes up. So let's say you have to do some crazy sharp turning, the motion is one of both hands moving up and down on their respective sides of the wheel — never crossing over. At least that's how we were taught.

    (I still drive a car without power steering BTW, so this probably affects me more than most people.)

    But yeah… apart from that, just lots and lots of practice! :)
     
  7. 63dot, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #7
    Realize that we all start out unable to drive. It's something you have to learn. Even if driving is not something that appears to come naturally, enough practice will remedy that situation.

    The large parking lot idea is a good thing to get used to turning and getting the feel of the car. I wouldn't start out with parallel parking for instance.

    I can't even get parallel parking right every time after more than 30 years driving. However, I have what is now a stupidly large car and the towns around me have very small parking spaces. But if I am in a place like LA or San Jose, even the worst drivers can parallel park there in most cases. ;)

    Practice makes perfect.

    After you get the feel of simply turning, set up some cones in a space (but make it larger than real life) and practice that all too dreaded parallel park.

    Eventually work the cones closer together until you can do it in a regular sized space. And before you take the test, put the cones closer together than normal and try to parallel park. Eventually you will get that and when it comes to the real parallel park test (the part that makes most drivers fail in California - the toughest state as they claim), you will pass it with flying colors.

    After you get the feeling of the car, you will find highway driving a breeze, but make sure you have the in town and parking parts mastered because that's where the test is most heavily weighted (people pull out of driveways, there are delivery trucks/school buses/business owners picking up and dropping off mdse, double parking b/c they think they won't get caught, pets, skateboarders, and many people not following the rules of the road).

    I had kind of jerk of a tester and he had me navigate the whole test through narrow and poorly painted streets which happened to be the ones around the DMV.
     
  8. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #8
    I'm learning how to drive too in my Dad's Land Rover and my mum's car. It does take a while to get the feel for the car... My mum's car was an old BMW, and it was a lot smoother and more sensitive than my dad's car which was a 4WD.

    What I like about the Land Rover is the fact that your high up so you can see all sides of the car a lot more easily, as well as your surroundings :)
     
  9. v66jack macrumors 6502a

    v66jack

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    London, UK
    #9
    Learning to park in a land rover must have been exciting.
     
  10. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #10
    Oh, and for steering I've found its better to turn the wheel fast but doing a little bit at a time rather than swing the wheel round in one arc. You keep the control preciser that way :)
     
  11. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #11
    Well it sorta was... The vehicle is quite short compared to other cars, but its bigger in all other dimensions (wide, tall) so you think you have very little room however when you get out and look you actually have tons of room!

    Also the spare tyre can be annoying for backing :eek:
     
  12. TheShinyMac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #12
    I am learning in an automatic. I think my problem is I don't let go of the wheel after i turn and let it slide back into place. Is that even correct?
     
  13. v66jack macrumors 6502a

    v66jack

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    May 20, 2009
    Location:
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    #13
    I take it you learnt in a Defender then. Learning to drive in a Range Rover would defiantly be a challenge.
     
  14. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #14
    Nope, it was a Land Rover Discovery Series 2.
     
  15. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #15
    So all you have to deal with is go, stop and turn. Learning clutch control is really difficult and takes time to be able to drive without stalling, or knowing when to change gear. Now all of that is instinctive and most of the time I don't even realise I've changed gear.

    The one thing I remember from learning is that turning the wheel in real life isn't the same as an analog stick, or even the steering wheel on an arcade game.

    You need to practise in a big parking lot and just experiment. Force your hands to pull and push the wheel at the same time, start them at 10 and 2, or 9 and 3 if you're more comfortable with that. Go very slowly, and turn the wheel all the way until it stops, see how the car responds, then turn it the other way and see how long it takes for you to go straight again.

    Stay calm and breathe.
     
  16. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    Feb 6, 2010
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    On the fence
    #16
    Haha, I was in this situation when I first started driving. It takes a little bit to get used to, but eventually you'll get the hang of how the steering affects the car and how it changes with speed, etc. Soon it will become second nature, and you'll be able to direct the car exactly where you want it without a conscious thought. I have only had my license for about 3 years and I feel very confident in my driving. I can get used to a new car very quickly, and I can even drive stick without difficulty. It's just all in the practice.

    My biggest word of advice to any drive though, is under no circumstances should you freak out. Ever. If you get in an interesting situation, control your reaction to it, as overreaction from being scared can be very dangerous, especially if it's slippery. Also, don't feel pressured by other drivers. If you don't feel comfortable taking a turn or pulling out, wait.

    Good luck!
     
  17. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #17
    if I understand this correctly after you finish the turn and going the direction you want you let the wheel go back in place on it own. Then yes that is correct.

    You should be forcing the wheel the straight out the car will do that on its own.

    As for driving it just takes time and practice. Right now you are having to actively think about everything and process everything. After a while that becomes all automatic and you no longer have to think about it. I drive a manual and hell I do not even think about shifting any more. I just do it with out thinking.
     
  18. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #18
    Keep the wheel under control at all times. You control when the car stops turning, not the car.
     
  19. TheShinyMac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #19
    Now my question is lets say after a right on Red do I turn the steering wheel back to straight with my hands or "let Go" and have it slide? I don't know what to do with that part. I'm just glad I can brake and accelerate almost perfectly. That's just because of my old go kart though.
     
  20. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #20
    It should naturally return to straight after turning. Don't completely let go, but let it slide through your hands so you can correct it if need be. When to let it go back is another thing you will just learn over time, you just don't want to have a death grip on the wheel.
     
  21. TheShinyMac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheShinyMac

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #21
    I noticed I had that and corrected it as I went. Driving by neighbors and seeing their reactions were awesome. So many double takes now that I was in the drivers seat!
     
  22. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

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    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #22
    +1

    A lot of the time it's okay to let the wheel go and wait for the car to centre, but sometimes you need it to centre more quickly (on a sharp bend) or not at all (on a long sweeping bend) so you need to be aware of how the car will react. This can change depending on speed and road conditions. Let the wheel run through your fingers and get a feel for how quickly it is moving. If you need more or less than that, guide the car yourself.

    It may sound a little daunting, but you soon get the hang of it.

    This is how I was taught to steer. It's very good as you can turn the wheel very quickly without ever taking your hands off and your arms never cross over. Having said that, I find that I don't do it that often when driving normally, just when manoeuvring.

    I would think of it like this. You start with both hands at 12:00 on the wheel. Only grip with your right hand and leave the wheel loose in the left. Now bring both hands down to 6:00 running your left hand along the wheel. Swap so that you are only gripping with your left hand (right hand loose) and move back to 12:00 in the same way. Rinse and repeat.

    That would turn you right, to turn left start with gripping with the left hand.
     
  23. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #23
    Learning how to drive. That was a fun experience. Thankfully though I never had any trouble learning how to operate a vehicle( parallel parking is another story :p). I was "driving" ever since the age of 5 when I had those electric powered power wheel vehicles. Than at age 11 I graduated to a 10 HP go-cart. So I have had the basics of how to operate a vehicle down. Just needed to transition to car driving and you can't always floor the gas pedal where I did in the go-cart. :p

    Biggest tip is relax. It's scary at first. When I first got my provisional and got into my first car( my parents 2002 Chevy Suburban), I pressed the gas pedal and it took off( like I said I am used to flooring a go-cart here). The thing you need to get into your head is that you're driving a 1.5 ton moving piece of metal that can kill. A lot of people don't take driving their vehicles seriously. It's why I am an advocate in making getting your drivers license as tough as it is to get your private pilots license. You need to learn the rules of the road. If you're going to go the speed limit or lower on the highway, stay in the right lane. The left lane is for passing only and people do go faster than the speed limit( the speed limit is artificially low, IMHO) and you have to stay out of their way.

    If you decide to go faster than the speed limit and start to venture into the left lanes, if you notice someone behind you that wants to pass you or you notice cars changing lanes to get around you, than you need to change lanes and get over to the right lanes. Another factor is if you do go into the left lane to pass someone else, please speed up to the speed of the left lane. It keeps everyone happy if you're not interrupting the flow of the left lane. And please use your turning signal. You may know where you are going, but I don't.


    There is a lot of things that I could go on and on about things you/people need to learn when it comes to driving. But, good luck. You'll get the hang of it.
     
  24. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #24
    Just out of interest, are you allowed to drive on the highway while you are learning in America?

    I think one of the biggest problems with the UK system is that you can't go on the motorway until you have your license. I took some extra lessons (only 2 hours or so) to learn about motorway driving and the right way to do it (etiquette etc) but there is no obligation to do so. I would bet a lot of new drivers just go for it and keep any bad habits they pick up for the rest of their driving careers. Middle lane hoggers - I am looking at you ;)
     
  25. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #25
    Yeah, we are allowed to go on the highway when we are learning how to drive.

    Oh another tip. If you have it in your area, do the skid car. I did it and not only was it a lot of fun, it teaches you how to control your vehicle when in a front or rear skid( I prefer the rear skid since it is power that saves you. :D :p ).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR45hsZ1FE0&feature=related
     

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