If you have asked to google, how to drive a car, that means you are searching for some theoretical as well as practical tips that could help you learn the process systematically and thoroughly.
Seems like you have reached at the perfect place.
Who am I? Why I can explain how to drive a car in a better way?
I have more than 14 years of experience in the car driving. As I have worked in Automobile sales, I was lucky enough to gather some very interesting ways to explain to you How to drive a car.
You can read about me section of my site. But I just want to convey a strong relative message that I don’t only know How to drive a car, but I have experience of how a customer drives a car.
That’s more important here.
Types of drivers.
So now you understood that I have seen almost all type of drivers that includes beginners, intermediate, experts ( Where I used to ask for some tips back then), Man, Women, Teenagers, angry, curious, first time buyers, segment (Small car to SUV) changers, calm, etc.
The list can go on and on if I start pointing out various “Types” of Drivers here.
I know, you are not here to read about my experience. But Trust me I am telling you all these things is just to let you know that you are at the correct place and probably the final place where you need to be to learn How to Drive a Car.
Here is my YouTube Channel if you want
Finally, Let’s Begin the process by learning the basics of Driving a Car.
So before Actually starting the car and driving it, be prepared for the following points.
Get comfortable with the car.
Here what I actually mean is mentally you should be ready to drive the car.
Driving is a procedural memory function. That means if you start doing it on a regular basis, your mind would start taking lessons automatically and gradually it will result in the usual activity for you.
As if you know how to play the piano, you won’t need to see the buttons, if you know how to type, you probably will never need to find the space bar or enter key.
Although, there is theoretical learning is included in all skills. This is theoretical knowledge for learning driving skills.
Similarly, your mind will tell you everything once you have learned to drive. So, don’t get flabbergasted with what you are doing.
Know the car, its functions, engine specs, transmission etc just to know what you are driving. Nothing else as of now.
Focus on what you are doing.
Let me give you one nice example here, assume if you are updating or upgrading your mobile phone or any gadgets and suddenly the device stopped, and the process got interrupted.
In such situations, there might be a chance of a corrupted or incomplete installation, in both the cases you will need to restart the process to get it completed accurately.
After completing the process only, you will be able to use your device.
Similarly, your mind functions the same way, when you start learning your mind starts collecting multiple data from different sources.
So, let it collect everything uninterruptedly.
Hence, while learning to drive your car, forget everything else other than the fact that you are driving and what you are driving.
Silent your mobile phone (Switch off if possible) while learning the process.
Remember some inspirations of driving from your role model.
Everyone has one role model when it comes to driving a car. There could be someone from your family, for example, your dad or your mom or uncle who have really impressed you with their amazing driving skills, your friends, your teacher or anyone.
How they were driving, how smoothly they were changing gears, how effortlessly they were passing through bumper to bumper traffic situations, how easily they managed to turn the car, how accurately they have parked their car etc.
Although, it’s not possible that you don’t have anyone to remind yourself, still if it’s the case with you, just observe the instructor who came to teach you to drive a car.
I will tell you my story of when and how I have started driving the car in the end of this article so you can focus on getting the required information on how to drive a car.
At this point in time, you are most likely be ready to get into the car, but there’s still so much thing that will come in front of you.
These were just the tips to set you mentally to start the process.
Let’s start the actual process of learning how to drive a car.
Take your position.
Here what I mean is now almost every car comes with 6- or 8-way adjustable seat and a tilt and telescopic steering wheel settings.
You can adjust all according to your comfort, and here comfort directly relates to your visibility as a priority.
Perfect Seating position
Your shoulders should be firmly attached to the seat, and your hands should be freely able to hold and turn the steering wheel. I will tell you about holding the steering wheel at a later stage in this post.
You should be able to see a clear view of your front sides and rear in order to drive the car with little more confidence.
You should arrange the ORVM (Outside rearview mirrors) and IRVM (Interior Rear-view mirror) in such a way that you can deal with rear visibility and also the blind spot.
If you don’t know what is a blind spot, here is the video that will explain to you. I made this video to aware people about the problem and its solutions.
For now, lets continue with further instructions.
Before you start the car’s ignition.
The first and most important piece of advice would be wearing the seat belt. If you don’t know its importance, here is the video which will tell you how it can save a life.
Have a look at the meter console.
This is just to get an idea of what all the functions are there and how it will be helpful to monitor while driving the car.
In todays modern cars, all the required information is being displayed here in cars and tells us almost everything we need to know while driving one.
The Speedometer And Tachometer.
Speedometer – It displays the speed of the car,
Tachometer – Displays the RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) of engine,
DTE – Distance to Empty, shows you a rough range that car can cover in the available quantity of fuel in the gas tank.
Some cars also offer features like gearshift indicator, Fuel Efficiency, and other important car-related stats that initially I won’t suggest you go deep into it.
Just focus on the Two main meters that matters a lot while driving a car.
I will tell you why, later in the same post.
Alright, I know that this point you might be the most curious person in the world and the most excited one too to get the car started and get running on the roads.
But there is a twist, I really don’t know which car you are driving to learn how to drive a car, Right?
Hence, I will make 2 Major parts here.
How to Drive a Manual Car?
Alright, first things first, I am a manual car lover and there is a reason for that, I will tell you later.
Now, Look at the gear lever.
Don’t turn on the ignition before you actually know which gear goes in which way.
Usually, the basic gear diagram is as mentioned below.
But there are several manual cars that comes with different pattern.
Some have a reverse gear pointing in the front direction where usually the 1st gear lies.
Apparently, Some car companies use a safety mechanism to avoid the engagement of false gears accidentally.
That means while driving any car, if you want to engage the 5th gear but you end up getting that irritating rattling sound caused because you have tried to dial in the reverse gear when it was not required at all.
Moral of the (gear lever) story Learn the pattern of the gear shifter and then move ahead.
Now finally, its time to turn the ignition on.
Make sure the car is in neutral position.
Get the thorough knowledge of how to deal with the pedals.
Clutch pedal, Brake pedal, and last and most dangerous, the Accelerator pedal.
Correct foot for different pedals.
Your left foot is always reserved for only the Clutch pedal. Keep this not with a tight knot in mind.
Right foot is always used for Clutch and Accelerator operations.
Please note: Some Advanced drivers use the heel and toe driving (Shifting) technique. But this is mostly the case of highly advanced drivers and used in performance driving environments.
So, this might be altogether a different thing to discuss here. I will tell you about heel and toe driving in some future posts.
Points to check before Start accelerating.
After checking that the car is in neutral gear and wearing the seat belts, you can now start the ignition.
Please keep these points in mind before starting the engine:
- If the car has a Push to start feature, you will need to press the clutch even in the neutral gear.
- Check the fuel level.
- Recheck the visibility in front and through all the mirrors.
Now Start the car. Finally.
- While holding the clutch pedal to its extreme end, engage the car in 1st gear.
- Check the RPM meter and see the engine idle RPMs. (I will tell you why in a later stage).
- Release the clutch pedal very slowly.
Now at this point there are multiple variations that could happen.
Help of low-end (initial) torque to push the car.
- If you are driving a diesel car, it has a higher torque level in the low end. This means (in some cars) you won’t need to push the accelerator pedal in order to start the car from a standstill.
- This could also happen if you have a petrol car that is capable of doing this.
Modern cars nowadays have this function called flat torque curve to let its drivers drive their cars with ease even in the bumper to bumper traffic situations.
Let’s assume that your car needs to be accelerated in order to move it from a standstill.
- Again, Release the clutch pedal slowly, very slowly. Keep in mind, your right foot should also be pushing the accelerator simultaneously to push the car from 0 kmph.
- Learn the sync of releasing the clutch and pressing the accelerator at the same time.
There are huge chances that you won’t be able to succeed in the first 2-3 attempts or even more for some people. After all, we are humans and our mind needs time and practice to get the job done.
Here the most famous phrase “try and try until you succeed” can be implemented so well.
Keep in mind: This can be dangerous.
- Too much thrust on the accelerator or release of the clutch too early can result in some unwanted scenarios.
That’s why try to find a good ground where there is no traffic or people around, or even if they are near, they must know what you are doing.
- In order to make them aware, just paste a big L (indicates learning) with red color in front and rear windshields of your car. (Indians will understand this, I really don’t know about other countries.)
Most Important: No Guide can teach you practical stuff like Driving a Car.
So, I would always recommend that you always keep someone with a good experience of driving along with you.
Now, I assume that you succeeded in moving your car from zero kmph.
But before I move ahead, I just want to include some tips for those who are learning to drive an automatic car.
How to drive a car with Automatic Transmission?
These are the points that come after starting the car and the ignition on. Everything above that point remains the same.
So, Automatic cars usually have this type of gear options:
Different Modes of Automatic transmission.
Nothing to learn much about it. D for the drive, R for Reverse, P for park, N for neutral.
On the other hand, The M mode stands for Manual gear shifts. To simplify things, I just want to tell you a short description here.
Manually shifting the automatic gears helps the driver to hold the gear ration and inform the transmission that doesn’t change the gears based on other factors like RPM.
Sometimes you need that control in your automatic car. You will learn once you start driving it on a regular basis.
Why Automatic transmission have the Park and Neutral mode?
I know, you might be wondering that what is the meaning to have a P and N two different selectors?
P means Park mode if you want to park your car obviously.
But understand the advantage of the P selector mode, It not only parks your car but it also holds the brakes for you so that even if you have parked your car on a slope, your car can remain still.
Still, the usage of the Handbrake is highly recommended to add an additional layer of safety.
But what if you want to tow your car and you are with the help of some other vehicle pulling your car?
In that case, if the selector is Set at P than the vehicle will not be able to move your car.
There comes the usage of N means Neutral mode. It will keep your car free to move in such situations.
Now, Pedals comes into play, where in this case, you only have two of those.
Brake and Accelerator.
Clutch’s duty will be performed by various components of the Engine and transmission itself. I am not explaining it here, I will make a different post in the future.
Now as I said in the manual transmission, here too there are some rules to follow.
Rules of driving an automatic car.
Left foot will be free and right foot will drive your car completely.
Never listen to some people who always keep saying, “Left foot on the brakes and right foot on the accelerator”. Its wrong, 100 Percent wrong for beginners.
These points are very noteworthy.
- Keep your left foot on the footrest – (Dead Pedal) in the extreme corner, almost all automatic cars have a separate space for that.
- Still, if you have experience of driving a manual car and you are new for the automatic cars, there is a huge chance that your left foot will go to the brake pedal and apply it as if you are pressing the clutch.
This can be so deadly that it can result in a fatal impact from the vehicles that are coming from behind.
That’s why I would recommend that you fold your left leg in the initial period of learning so that you won’t do that mistakenly.
Remember I discussed the procedural memory in the beginning? This is the same case. Here your mind will tell you to press the clutch od the car when needed and you will end up doing so.
So, stay calm and always keep in mind that you are driving an automatic car.
What after learning to start the car and push it from a standstill?
In Automatic cars it’s not that tough to bring your car in motion, just one thing I would like to add here is to stay soft on the accelerator pedal. That’s it.
Now I explained both the transmission that you need to know, and, in both types, you have learned to move your car from 0. Right?
Now let’s move ahead.
Driving is an art. You can improve it gradually. Don’t worry if you have not started everything smoothly. It will happen and it will surely happen.
How to hold the steering the right way while learning how to drive a car.
As I mentioned above, everything you do while learning a car will stay in your mind.
So, if you start it doing the correct way, you won’t need to improve it in the future.
Holding the steering wheel correctly will be such a beneficial way that you will never be in trouble of Oversteer or understeer etc. (It’s a debatable topic is it also depend on the functionality of the car., But I can debate on this.)
This is the portion where I can write a complete article on. But for now, I will not go too deep as I already know that you are too excited to drive the car so I will keep the momentum after some practical advice.
- 09 by 03 is the correct way. Have a look at your analogue clock or watch, the 0900 Hrs and 300Hrs are on the opposite side of each other.
- This is how you should hold the steering wheel.
In the beginning, do not try driving the car with a single hand or do any fancy stuff.
If someone told you to hold it in 10 by 02, keep in mind that it used to be fact but before 4-5 decades when old classic cars used to have a large steering wheel and it was not manageable to hold it in 10 by 03 mode.
How to turn the car while properly holding the steering wheel?
There are lots of other practical matters involved in just holding the steering correctly and turning the car accurately but these two are the most important tips to understand in the beginning.
Push and pull technique
This is the thing which usually we all will do automatically while learning to drive the car.
Here while holding the steering wheel in 09 by 03 you will push your one hand towards the direction of turn and the other hand will pull the steering in direction towards itself. Simple.
Arrange your seats according to the steering wheel.
Your shoulders should be firmly set to the seat, there shouldn’t be any gap, even while turning the car.
Your hands should in a way that both hands should reach at its ideal place while big turns too.
Never slip the steering wheel
Never hold the steering wheel from inside. I mean why would you need to do that? It will hurt your flexibility.
Fixed input Technique.
As the name suggests, the hands remain fixed during turning. This is the most basic method to hold and turn the steering.
I would still suggest you to practice the push-pull method in the initial duration as it will help you get the most in the learning days itself.
There are various methods just to steer. You will be amazed to see the list below.
- Fixed Input Steering
- Predictive Steering
- 90-degree pull
- 180-degrees pull
- 270-degrees pull
- 360-degrees pull
- Successive cornering
- Other techniques
- Rotational Steering
- Hand to-Hand steering
- One-Handed steering
- Two-Handed Predictive steering
- Push steering
Keep in mind, the performance drivers always use the best technique according to their requirements and situations they face.
I will write about each method mentioned above in future articles, and provide you the link for those articles here. so bookmark this page and subscribe to the email subscription list to get notified for that.
That’s not enough. there are multiple ways to turn the car too.
Here is the list:
- Two point turning
- three point turning
Just to surprise you, there are also many variations of these turning types too.
Why I have not included advanced methods here?
As I said, I can still write so many scientific things just about holding the steering wheel and turning the car but, it’s a beginner’s guide, it’s not required here. Tell me if you want me to write about it.
All the basic settings are applied, and you have already moved your car, what’s next?
No, don’t think that its enough, there are still something to know further.
How to shift the gears?
This portion is dedicated to manual transmission for obvious reasons. And the automatic drivers can skip this. (Although it’s important to know)
Palming method is as simple as its name suggests. Just see the diagram on the gear lever, look at where it directs to shift to next gear.
Once the diagram is observed, use your palms not your fingers or tips. Look at the image below for clear understandings.
When to change gears?
Remember? I have told you that I will tell you about the importance of the RPM meter.
Here it is.
RPM Meter – Technically, its also called a Tachometer. Basically, the tachometer is a device that measures the rotation speed of shaft in Engines.
No, we are not going technical here, I am just telling you the basics.
The tachometer will tell you when to shift at the beginning of your learning of driving a car.
Again remember, I also told you to note the engine idle RPM initially.
What your RPM Meter suggests you?
The number will almost be around 1 to 2 that means your car’s idle RPM is about 1000 to 2000 RPM (Revolutions per Minutes)
Now, look at the redline. You should never let the meter reach its redline. That’s the extreme limit that this engine currently your car is running with do offer you in terms of performance.
Now once you drive your car, normally at around 3000+ RPMs you will feel the need to upshift.
Feel of need to shift gears.
Yes, you should feel that. As relaying on the RPM meter is not a great idea at all.
Note carefully, it differs from cars to cars. Petrol have different, diesels have different, bigger engines has it different and smaller engines have it different.
Feel of shifting is always the same let it be for any car.
Hence, you should feel the need of shifting.
Engine should not scream and pray to you for up-shifting.
At the same time, if you think that your car is near to stalling, it should be instantly downshifted.
Remember, every time when you shift gears, Push the clutch all the way down and once you remove your foot from there, just leave your foot from there.
Keeping your foot constantly on your clutch pedal can cause a serious issue with the clutch plates. (It’s a technical aspect)
If you find a table from anywhere that will suggest you the approximate gears to be used in approximate speeds, it must be wrong. Don’t depend that.
Alright, now you know the basics of Upshifting and down shifting, there still more to learn.
How to reverse a car?
I told you that I will tell you my story in the end, Yes, I will tell you but yet it’s not the end of this post, I just want to tell you a bit about my story.
That is, reversing a car was something that I really learned in a deep manner and thoroughly. I will tell you about that later.
So, Reverse gear, Yes, it is a tough job.
You need to move a car in the opposite direction of your vision and at the same time, you need to turn it in such a way that you need to watch all your car’s corners and sides that not a single portion is getting impacted with any objects surrounding it.
Again this is too deep to explain this thing but still, I will give you all the required information and precautions that you need to learn while learning the driving.
There are multiple ways you can take reverse carefully which includes:
- Straight reverse, where you need to watch your rear portion and moving your car in a straight line where you won’t need to turn your steering very often or too hard.
- Turning while you park in reverse – Well this is the most often situation that you will face in real life. I will tell you about this.
- Many modern cars nowadays have reverse parking sensors and cameras that will guide you. Read again it will just guide you, but I will strongly recommend that you never rely on them.
- For best accuracy learn this with the help of your mirrors.
How to drive your car in reverse accurately?
Well, I must say this is a hard-practical aspect, but I know that you are reading this then you want to gather some basic theoretical knowledge before pressing that gas pedal. Right?
So, first thing, I told you to set your mirrors in beginning of this article.
But setting your mirrors again itself is a huge thing in it. It is the biggest concern that is directly related to safety.
There’s a reason for that. And that is better rear visibility.
What should I see while taking a reverse?
Observe your surroundings in 360 Degrees. (Many cars have this function also but don’t rely only on them alone)
The front portion is also important, see there is a sufficient gap in order to move your steering so that your car’s front portion also remains safe.
Look in the side mirrors (ORVM’s) and see that your side portion stays intact from the obstacles on both sides.
Finally, rear, look in the IRVM (interior rear-view mirror) but at the same time just have a thorough look from the rear windshield it will work like a temporary scanned image to your brain.
After observing everything mentioned above, just start going slowly, very slowly and at the same time having a look at all the mirrors.
Once you gain confidence, start driving.
But this involves parking.
How to park a car?
In parking, there are four options (mainstream)
- & double parking.
This method is a bit technical that involves a good experience to park a car to park it accurately.
Many people try to park parallelly while driving it in the front direction, but I would recommend you park parallelly in reverse mode by taking my above-mentioned steps in reverse driving.
Practice without cars in front and rear. Draw lines of enough distance between them and start practicing.
Keep limiting the distance between lines drawn and see if the car has been parked properly.
Remember, as there are no physical objects you need to draw lines on sides too.
Your car should be parked in between of your front and rear line and in a straight line between the side lines drawn.
The most common parking technique and used widely, this is where your car needs to be parked nearby other cars or near any walls or any objects perpendicularly.
Usually, you need to take care of your sides (one or both).
Easy to learn but important too.
You might have seen some rods or parking lots are filled with cars that are parked in the angular line.
Kind of perpendicular parking is involved in this but still its bit different technique.
Here you need to park in the direction and degree that the car or any object near you directs you. Just park it along with them.
Mostly illegal almost everywhere.
What if one fine day when you decide to take your car for a drive and notice that someone has kept their car in such a way that your car is unable to get out of the parking lot.
In this case, the owner of the other car that’s blocking you has used the double-parking technique.
No one likes this and even cops don’t like this too.
So why it’s really there?
Well, let me give you another example.
What if you visit your car’s service station and you may need to park your car in such a way that other cars can be parked and most of the space of the workshop can be utilized.
Normally, this technique is used to save space and provide a way to other cars to roam freely in a congested space.
Car stockyards, workshops, hotel parking (valet assisted) or any places where there are people designated to manage the parking and have access to all the cars parked in the lot can take a huge advantage of this technique.
Mostly, this is not the technique that you should use in your day to day usage.
Finally, now you have learned from entering a car to park it accurately.
Do you know that’s still not enough? You need to also know about the basic maintenance of a car. But we will not discuss it here. one of the Next articles will be based on how to maintain your car (As a user).
My story of learning how to drive a car.
I was so keen to start pushing that gas pedal. I used to observe my uncle who was a role model for me in the best driving. (Back then).
But as I was not at the legal age to drive, my Dad never allowed me to touch the steering.
Fast forward >>>
As soon as I turned 18, I have applied for a learner’s license which is mandatory even to learn to drive in my country (India).
Now, I have my license to learn driving, I was like the happiest person when my Dad told me that common, Let’s learn how to drive.
Yes, until then, my dad was also not that perfect in driving a car.
We took uncle’s car.
Curious to know which car was that?
It was a Pal’s 118 NE 90’s model and a very roughly maintained vehicle. Not a single part was silent and smooth.
Everything was like a broken pieces joined with a help of a tape.
Still, it was my day, let the car be anything and in any condition. I just want to rule the roads.
How it started?
My uncle came with us for the first time at a nearby open cricket ground where no one used to be there without reason, almost everyone comes there to learn the skill called driving.
I started the process. I was not having this much thorough knowledge and theoretical data.
Although, I was like determined to get it done.
But there are two major aspects you can take from this:
- As my car was not so well in terms of quality of materials, by learning that car, I kind of got confidence that if I learned driving that car, I can now drive any car because it will be definitely better than that.
- I was very excited and curious, but I have never tried driving it without the supervision of my uncle and dad. If you do so, you are not only risking your own life but also risking so many lives around you.
- Never ever go alone and start learning to drive.
After that, I and my dad have started practicing and started doing it systematically.
Kept practicing until we got into the process and our mind took it as procedural memory. (I was not knowing this back then).
How I got my Driving License?
Back in those days, the DL (Driving Licence) examination was not that strict in India.
Still, there were some rules that involve in order to pass the examination. We got the handbook of Do’s and Don’ts followed each point mentioned there, practiced them and finally got cleared.
I learned how to drive a car.
Still, I wasn’t that perfect though. Especially in tricky situations. (Many of them) But especially in reversing and parking.
Now, you know that I told you that I have learned the reversing technique thoroughly.
Yes, I kind of lacking confidence in reversing a car, I know its normal for beginners. I have especially practiced that.
After a lot of practice, I finally learned that too.
My Challenge while learning to drive a car
But one day, I visited my friend’s farm, and I saw him driving a tractor with a trailer attached to it.
I was fascinated seeing that how easily he drives it.
In general discussions, I told him about driving tractor.
He smiled and said, its not your cup of tea, you won’t be able to handle it.
I thought why? Why I cannot drive it?
He said, Tractor is a special purpose vehicle and it has several things that need to be there to solve the purpose.
I said it’s fine, I will drive on your farm and there’s nothing bad to try as there is nothing around there to get hurt.
He agreed with a huge smile and said alright. Here is the key, go ahead and try.
Overconfidence is not good for you.
I went near the tractor and climbed on the seat, hold the steering wheel.
Trust me, I just lost somewhere finding the gear lever. Lol.
I asked Anil (my friend), where’s the freaking gear lever.
He laughed a lot and told me that I told you that it’s not your cup of tea (key I must say).
After a long fight I finally convinced him to teach me driving the Tractor.
I learned and mastered that too.
I was not enough.
Biggest challenge that time was the reversing though.
You might not be knowing that tractor with trailer behaves opposite while turning in reversing.
Again, that’s not something that I want to convey here.
I just want to inform you that I have mastered that too.
You know how?
In order to learn how to drive a car, this is just a reference guide to help you prepare and get the basic knowledge to let you understand what you are doing and how you should do.
It is not possible that just by referring this guide you will be able to be a good and responsible driver. Yes, many responsibilities are involved here.
I have tried to give you everything as per my own experience and in such a way that a beginner or someone who is just starting can get a better idea.
As I mentioned above, Driving is not just a skill, its an art. And you already know, Art takes time, focus, determination, and dedication to get to the next level.
Now, If you found this helpful.
I really hope that you found this article helpful with respect to what I was willing to provide you.
In future articles, I will go deeper and deeper and explain a number of different strings that are attached to driving a vehicle.
So, I would really request you for two things, please share this article with your friends and family so that they can learn how to drive a car with proper theoretical guidance.
Yes, this is a theory, you might be knowing that if you start learning music, you should start with theory, no one can be perfect without knowing the basic theory.
There are two main aspects of all the skills, 1) Theory and 2) practical.
This was the theory and now, you should start taking the practical lessons to get your own expertise.
Thank you for reading this very last line. I appreciate your interest to know stuff in detail not in short.
Trust me, this attitude will help you a lot in many other areas in your life too.
Last thing: If you really like this indepth article just tell me in the comments what you want to read in my future posts, I promise, I will write a detailed post as per your requests.