Overcome the Fear of Driving for the First Time
Nervous about learning how to drive? Just relax! You have your answers right here.
- Get comfortable with the vehicle. Sit in the driver's seat and learn about that particular vehicle. Find all the basic controls, such as the windshield wiper function, the lights, seatbelts, blinker, and pedals.
- Adjust your seat, seatbelt, and mirrors. First, slide the seat forward or backward so you can reach all the pedals with the correct feet. Then buckle yourself in, and if the seatbelt is adjustable, make sure it is not too high on your neck. The mirrors should be adjusted every time you enter the vehicle, beginning with the rear-view mirror. Tilt the mirror so you can see clearly out the back windshield, and make sure your night-vision function is off. Both side mirrors should be turned so you can see your car on the inside the mirror, and anything behind or beside you should be on the outside the mirror.
- Pretend you're driving. If you were driving, what would you do? Go over stopping procedure, turning procedure, and shifting if you are in a manual-transmission vehicle. Make sure you're familiar with all the basic controls/levers/switches and their locations.
- Remove distractions. Make sure you are driving with a person you can trust and rely on, and kick everyone else out of the car. You do not need to have an audience when you are learning. Leave the radio off - or play classical music quietly. Make sure you're well hydrated and that you've used the restroom before you get into the car.
- Remember that driving should be fun, once you get the hang of it. Don't treat the vehicle like an enemy - it will get you wherever you want to go, if you know how.
- Make sure the vehicle's windows and lights are all clean, to improve visibility. That way you know you can see what is out there!
- If you are driving for the first time, you should go to a big, empty parking lot where you can get familiar with how the car performs, basic driving, turns, parking, etc.
- Learn from someone you know well, and try to pick someone who is not jumpy and does not yell.
- If you have a scent you like, try spraying it or scenting the vehicle with it. Familiarity provides comfort.
- Go to an empty parking lot to practice backing in and out and accelerating/deceleration.
- Watch out for other drivers. We can be a crazy lot and do not always know when another driver needs some leeway.