Your first driving lesson as a new driver, and this is what you can expect to learn.
Driving instructors follow the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) syllabus for driving cars and light vans. This syllabus aims to provide a structured approach to gaining the skills, knowledge and understanding to be a safe and responsible road-user in this class of vehicle.
The first thing you will learn is about your vehicle and it’s controls which we covered in an earlier blog.
In this blog we are going to cover moving the vehicle away from the kerb followed by pulling up alongside the kerb to stop for the first time.
Well it might look easy when done by an experienced driver, but as a novice it’s your first driving challenge.
Let’s look at a system that driving instructors use to help you grasp the concept of moving the car.
The system is called POM which stands for Preparation, observation and manoeuvre. Each part of the system is broken down into its own elements making it easier to remember the sequence.
Some people new to learning might already have an idea of how to move a car and should be given the opportunity to explain how they would accomplish the task and the risks involved.
By doing so helps the instructor to gain and understanding of a student’s knowledge.
But let’s look at how to use POM to assist you in the task of moving the vehicle.
So, the instructor first role is to explain about gauging the vehicles distance from the kerb so that the student can steer away from the kerb and return the vehicle to the kerb to stop safely, without damaging the vehicle.
This literally involves finding a reference point that the learner can use as a basic guide. A common method is to note where the kerb touches the cars body work or windscreen. In the picture below of a stationary vehicle the kerb can be seen just left of the fixing point on the passenger side (left hand) wiper blade.
This means that if we steer the vehicle to the right (away from the kerb) the kerb will move further away from the driver towards the left of the wiper blade, as we steer left, the kerb will move back towards the original starting position.
The skill is not letting the kerb move to the right beyond the original position on the wiper blade, because this will result in striking the kerb with the vehicles left front wheel.
your first driving lesson
Preparing the vehicle ready to drive.
Firstly, check that handbrake is on and that the gear lever is in the neutral position. Give the gear lever a good rattle both right and left, get used to knowing the difference between the car being in gear and in neutral.
Next, follow the sequence, depress the clutch pedal to the floor, Select first gear using the palm of the hand, set a tad of gas in other words slightly increase the engine speed, bring the clutch steadily upwards until you reach the biting point. The biting point is where the engine is taking the strain of the vehicles weight. You should hear the engine taking the strain and maybe even feel the front of the vehicle lift very slightly.
If ether engine noise or vehicle lift sound or feel excessive, slightly depress the clutch by the thickness of a one-pound coin and continue doing so until you feel the engine has the strain without putting it under stress.
If you can’t feel the biting point, then depress the clutch to the floor and try again.
Once at biting point keep both feet still and move on to observations.
What is biting point?
Imagine you’re in the iron man challenge and one exercise is pulling a truck. Your first priority is to take the weight of the truck by taking up the slack on the rope around your body.
Now you know that an enormous amount of effort is going to be required to get the truck moving and that it will take small steps at the start until you find momentum, which is when it gets easier to move the truck.
Well this is the same for the vehicle’s engine.
The biting point is talking the strain, and then a slight upward movement of the clutch is required to move the vehicle, but pressure must remain on the pedal until the vehicle gets momentum with forward movement, then you should steadily lift the pedal until your foot can come off the pedal.
Your first driving lesson
Next at biting point keep both feet still until you’ve checked all around the car that it’s safe to move. You are checking for any road users which includes cyclists, motor cyclists, cars, vans’ busses, lorry’s and pedestrians in the road.
You should start your observations by looking over your left shoulder into the blind spot, which is the area to the side of the vehicle that cannot be seen through either the interior mirror or door mirror.
Then move your head clockwise until you can see the blind area clearly over your right shoulder, while taking in to account anything between the two points, and making sure you check all three mirrors during the process.
Your first driving lesson
Now that you can see it’s safe to move the vehicle from the kerb, you can release the handbrake.
Next lift the clutch slightly up until the car starts to move and then maintain pressure on the clutch pedal.
Increase the pressure to the gas to give the engine more power, as the car moves steer right 10 minutes past twelve until the car is approximately one meter away from the kerb, then steer left 10 minutes before twelve, finally centring the steering wheel once the car is parallel to the kerb and in the centre of the your lane.
By this point the vehicle should know have momentum so steadily let the clutch fully up and take your foot off it.
You are now under control with the engine and you can increase pressure to the gas pedal to increase the vehicles speed and reduce pressure to slow the vehicle.
So, remember POM
Preparation = Clutch down, 1st gear, slight gas, clutch to biting point.
Observations = start by looking over you left should, move your head clockwise until you can see over your right shoulder, checking every area between the two points.
Manoeuvre = Release handbrake, clutch up slightly, increase gas, steer away from the kerb and bring the vehicle parallel to the kerb, clutch steadily all the way up.
On the Next Blog we will talk about bringing the car back towards the kerb and stopping.