Your Turning Point to Success
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Here we go then, this is where it all gets exciting… This is a big lesson and there are lots of things to think about and remember. Your instructor should explain all the points on this page to you before you start the engine. That way when he or she is talking you through what to do, you will understand and be able to carry out the tasks involved. Something else you can do at this point is to familiarise yourself with where the car is in relation to the kerb. It will help you later when you come to stopping. Take a look in your door mirror and see how much space there is between the wheels and the kerb also have a look at the bottom of the windscreen where the kerb appears to intersect it. Is there something you can use inside the car to locate that position? Maybe there is a mark on the windscreen or a bump on the windscreen wipers, possibly it might be in line with one of the dials on the instrument panel. Use whatever you think will help you best. Your instructor may give you some hints where it might be beneficial to look. Remember though, that everyone sits in a different position so no-one’s reference points are the same. You will have to find your own.
Starting the Engine
There are a couple of things to remember before starting the engine.
First of all, make sure that the hand brake is on firmly. Just the act of getting in the car or starting the engine, could be enough to start it rolling, if you are on a bit of a hill and the hand brake isn’t on properly.
Secondly, you need to make sure that the gear lever is in the neutral position. Give it a good firm wiggle from side to side and make sure you can feel it spring back into the centre. ( The gear lever will still move from side to side a little bit if it is in gear, but there won’t be as much movement and you won’t feel the spring. ) If this is the first time you have used the gear lever, try pushing it into one of the gears and give it a good wiggle there too, then move it back to the neutral position and feel the difference. Continue reading
It is important to remember that the foot controls are just that – controls – not on off switches! They are arranged from right to left; Accelerator, Brake, Clutch. Just remember ABC backwards.
Foot Controls – Accelerator – Right Foot
The accelerator more often than not, will be referred to as the gas pedal as it is easier to say. When you squeeze the gas pedal down, it feeds the engine with more fuel and air which makes the engine rotate faster. It does not necessarily mean that the car will go faster. This depends on other factors which we will go into later on. This is your GO pedal and should be squeezed gently down and eased gently up. Sudden movements with this pedal will make your driving jerky and uncomfortable. Continue reading
If you have followed lesson 1 correctly, you should be sitting comfortably, be able to reach all of the controls and see all of the dials in front of you. So now the fun begins. We need to know what all the levers and pedals are for, what they actually do and how to use them. Unless it is freezing cold, raining or dark, you won’t be asked to remember how to use the heater, the wipers or the lights on your first lesson. You will have enough to contend with, however, I am mentioning them here, because you will need to learn how to use them at some point.
Hand Controls – Indicators
The indicators, as I am sure you know, are the orange flashing lights that tell everyone where you are going. These are usually on a stalk type lever, situated just behind the steering wheel on the left hand side. However, in some older British or Japanese cars the indicator stalk may be on the right hand side. To turn on the indicator lights, you click the lever either up or down in the direction that you will be turning the steering wheel. If you are going right, you will be turning the steering wheel in a clockwise direction, therefore you would click up for right. If you are going to be turning left, then you will be steering in an anti-clockwise direction and you will click down for left. (If your indicator is on the right. It is up for left and down for right. )Usually, the indicators will turn themselves off after you have turned the corner, unless the corner isn’t very sharp. In which case, you will just need to click it off yourself. Continue reading
It’s a Car Cockpit – Not a Plane!
Before you can drive away it is important that you make yourself comfortable, you can reach all the controls, the instruments in front of you are not obscured and you can see the correct view in your mirrors.
Your instructor may give you an acronym to help you remember the order in which to set everything up. Although the order is not desperately important, it makes things easier otherwise you could end up doing part of the routine twice. Once you have your own car, that only you drive, you should only need to do this once and after that you just need to check that you haven’t jogged your mirrors out of place. In your instructors car, though, you will need to set yourself up at the beginning of every lesson. Remembering the order will save you time.
So if you can remember DSSSM that will help. Continue reading