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Good Driver

The Good Driver :

With the coming of the 'horseless carriage' at the end of the last century, a new era in personal transport was born. The early motorist certainly had his problems - perhaps the biggest one being his vehicle.


This problem has almost disappeared today, but others have taken its place. More traffic and faster vehicles mean that the driver has to have much more driving skill than ever before. Today's drivers cannot escape their own direct and personal responsibility for the accidents that happen on the road every year.

What makes a good driver?

A good driver acquires experience and skill, only with time. But a sense of responsibility for the safety of others, a determination to concentrate on the job of driving, patience and courtesy must be part of him from the start. Together, these become the driver's attitude. Not everyone is patient or attentive talent by nature. But because attitude is so important as a part of safe driving, every driver must make a real effort to develop these qualities - and this effort must start from the first lesson So, before we go any further, let us look at these qualities in a little more detail.

Responsibility :

As a driver, you must have concern for self, your passengers and every other road user, including pedestrians' safety. - If you pay close attention to the varying traffic situations you can plan your own actions well in advance and avoid danger or inconvenience to others. At times you may be tempted to make a rash move - but don't.

Concentration :

You must concentrate all the time if you wish to deal with present day traffic, usually heavy and fast moving. If you let your mind wander, even for a moment, the risk of making a mistake and thereby an accident is increased enormously.

Anticipation :

Concentration helps you to 'anticipate'. In motoring, anticipation means acting or changing course or behaviour according to the situation. Experience and anticipation together will enable you to act to prevent possible danger from becoming actual danger.

Patience :

If you are impatient or lose your temper in odd conditions, you are well on the way to an accident. Never drive in a spirit of retaliation or competition. Don't let your mind be diverted or annoyed by the incompetence or bad manners of another road user.  Remember 'anger' is just one alphabet away from 'danger'.

Confidence :

New drivers will, of course, be unsure of themselves. Confidence grows with experience. But a good driver never lets himself get over- confident. Over confidence leads to carelessness, and eventually, accidents.

Planned tuition :

Drivers often begin to learn from a parent, relative or friend. But many good drivers are not good instructors. A planned approach is essential when teaching someone to drive. - There are no shortcuts to being a good driver, either in time or money. The best way to learn to drive properly is to have a good professional tuition - and plenty of it. It will prove worthwhile in the long run. But you need plenty of practice too.

Mechanical Knowledge :

If you know how the different parts of a car work, and what happens when you use the controls, you will develop a sense of car sympathy. This will not only make you a better driver, but also will add to your interest in driving and prolong the life of your car.


The Controls of a Motor Car :
  The main controls of a car can be conveniently grouped according to whether you use your feet or your hands to work them.
  The foot controls, leading from right to left, are: accelerator, brake and clutch.
  The hand controls are: steering wheel, handbrake, and gear lever. (If you intend to drive a car with automatic or semi-automatic transmission you should see Chapter 'MAKING THINGS A LITTLE EASIER').
  The instructors will tell learners about the controls, but here we shall look at each control in some detail because, simple though they may seem, each needs a particular skill. Proper understanding and use of the controls is a must for safe driving.


Fig. 1: Proper adjustment of seating to reach the controls conveniently

The Driving Position :

You must be able to reach the controls easily and comfortably. Always make sure that you are positioned correctly in the driving seat. You should be able to push the brake and clutch pedals down without moving forward and simultaneously, you should be able to hold the steering wheel, lightly but firmly, with your hands. Your body should be resting firmly against the back of the seat. You can check whether you have got the right position by pushing down any two of the three pedals: your legs should be slightly bent at the knees - not stretched right out. Seeing properly at the rear side through the driving mirror is another 'must'.