Driving Classes

The driving classes taught by driving schools have the mission of preparing their students about the daily situations of traffic. Some applicants who will have to demonstrate at the wheel, on the day of the exam, if they are prepared as drivers to function on a public road together with the rest of the users, cyclists, and pedestrians who share the same space.

We have already seen the most frequent mistakes during driving classes/practice and, today, we will see some practical tips to correct those errors and successfully pass the driving classes/skills and behavior test. A test that the DGT requires to obtain a driving license and that takes place on roads open to traffic.

To do this, we will see some practical advice that tells us, driving classes teacher with more than thirty years of experience in the field of road education and training for new drivers. Some tips on learning to drive that are divided into four phases and in this order: Steering wheel, observation and space management, exercises on maneuvers, and advice prior to the exam.

Hand and foot coordination

In this first phase, a professor tells us that the first driving classes are geared towards vehicle handling skills. The coordination of feet and hands is done initially with the vehicle stationary. In this way, the student becomes familiar with the pedals and steering binomial.

First driving classes/practices in a closed circuit or with little traffic for the coordination of feet and hands. An adequate touch and handling of pedals and steering wheel as a continuous reference of simple control operations. The active intervention of the teacher on exercises and demonstration for better performance in driving classes of the vehicle.

A continuous intervention of the teacher during the driving classes will have to explain to the student how to take the steering wheel and how to turn without binding and avoiding unnecessary forces. The technique of ten minutes to two or placing your hands on the wheel to make turns is proof of this.

Installation in the vehicle: seat, mirrors, headrest, and seat belt before you start moving. Once in circulation and learned the operation of the clutch, it is essential to master the friction point, that is, that the engine does not stall or that the vehicle pulls unnecessarily. On the gearbox it is necessary, in the beginning, to make gear changes with reductions to notice the engine brake and become familiar with it.

Observation and management of space

The observation distances and so to know the reference points is achieved with the first accelerations and decelerations. The beginning of the first complex operations, such as the use of pedals and gear lever, will initially require a partial intervention of the teacher.

 To do this, in wide sections open to traffic, the use of rear-view mirrors, mastery over the control of the engine brake and service brake will be mastered. 

The incorporation of driving classes into the circulation: monitoring, signaling, and execution, that is, applying the RSM rule (rear-view mirror, signaling, and maneuvering). 

The difference between sight and gaze, the diffuse attention of the concrete to avoid the tunnel effect. We must not only look ahead but also at our environment. The theory of the child with the ball to maintain the necessary level of alertness in any risk situation.

The visual information from the position of the driver. A clear example of our common life is when we travel by car. The accelerations to which we are subjected inside the vehicle (starts, braking, curves, etc.) form a horizontal component, (inertia or centrifugal force), which together with the action of gravity, results in a force and vision different. 

The driver’s seat is not the same as that of the occupant, sitting or standing. They are sensations that help when managing the distance and space in a vehicle parking lot as well as the proximity and distance before an intersection or crossing.

Maneuvering skills and behaviors

In this phase of learning in driving classes, after overcoming the previous two, we move on to real situations applying the skills gained. Practical exercises of parking (inline, battery, and ramp), reversing, ascending, and descending slopes. 

All this, with movements and steering wheel, turns to an increase in skill and dexterity. Driving classes/skills that students should have as future drivers. It is important to highlight this point since the driver’s work is carried out in motion and that is why the evaluation (tests of coordination, reflexes, and perception) must simulate movement and control over it.

Faculties that the driver must possess in terms of visual ability, to estimate movement, coordination (eye-hand, eye-foot) when maneuvering can pose a risk to circulation. In this phase, turns with a give-way signal with low visibility, turns with a vertical or horizontal stop signal and the necessary double stop are put into practice to demonstrate confidence and ease. Indirect turns and traffic in roundabouts to understand conflicts are also necessary to successfully pass the driving test.

Resolution in complex situations

At this point or fourth phase, the teacher’s intervention is no longer necessary unless he has to avoid a conflict. For this, the best tips would be to put into practice everything learned in the previous phases. Once in circulation, it is convenient to go through the most common points, circuits, and itineraries in the practical exams to obtain a driving license. 

Complex situations and decisions on the part of the student will help to solve part of the activities of driving classes: The choice of the lane, separation (front and side), speed adapted to the circumstances, lateral movements, overtaking, taking intersections, change of direction, stops and parking lots, etc …

The driving classes teacher reminds us that we must review and put into practice everything learned from the first class to the last. In the practical car test, there can be no doubt or indecision before any maneuver or instruction given by the examiner to the student. 

Therefore, it is worth reviewing the theoretical concepts and even those related to vehicle documentation. Some notions, when the vehicle is stationary, about basic mechanics (location of the oil and water levels), location of the reflective or high visibility vest, placement of the triangle in case of an emergency on the road, the spare wheel, tire inflation and shape to change a wheel after a puncture are a practical advice that aspiring drivers should know.

This is what requires us for the exam

Applicants for a driving license, according to the General Drivers Regulations, must demonstrate prior to the practical test that they are capable of preparing for safe driving and that they are fluent in handling the different controls of the vehicle. During the practical exam, they must give an impression of security. 

The errors while driving or dangerous behavior that threatens the safety of the test vehicle, its passengers, or other road users, whether it is necessary or not the intervention of the examiner or companion, because enough to stop the test and qualify his lack of aptitude. However, the driving classes examiner may decide to continue the test until the vehicle can be stopped safely.

In the aptitude and behavior control tests in circulation on roads open to general traffic, applicants must carry out the following operations in complete safety and with the necessary precautions:

a) Preliminary checks. Among others, the applicant must verify the various security systems and technical elements of the vehicle as well as its documentation.

b) Driver’s position, seat, and rear-view mirror adjustment, and use of the seat belt.

c) Starting the engine and starting and unlocking the steering.

d) Normal progression. Position on the road and use of the appropriate lane. Driving in curves. Safety distances or separation. Speed ​​adapted to traffic/road and suitable gear ratio. Observation before the different traffic situations.

The crossing of tunnels and underpasses. Inexpensive and environmentally friendly driving.e) Maneuvers: Observation of traffic, signaling, and execution of maneuvers. Incorporations. Lateral displacements. Overtaking. Behavior at intersections. Changes of direction. Stops and parking lots.

f) Abandon the parking place; starting after a traffic stop; exit into traffic from a road without traffic.

g) Changes of direction: turn left and right; change lanes.
h) Entering and leaving a highway (if any): incorporation from the acceleration lane; Exit into the deceleration lane.

i) Other road components (if any): roundabouts, level rail crossings, tram or bus stops, pedestrian crossings, driving uphill or downhill on long slopes, tunnels.

j) Take the necessary precautions when leaving the vehicle.
k) Obedience of signals.
l) Use of lighting and optical signaling systems.

m) Vehicle handling and its controls.

When asking about the minimum number of driving classes that they have to teach to the students, they tell us that it will depend on the level that the student has. The system that is implemented has a level of demands and many times the students do not reach that minimum due to lack of classes. 

The greater the number of driving classes, the better the preparation but, in many cases, the student wants to obtain a driving license quickly, at a low price, and with fewer classes. However, this aspect is not taken into account by young students or their parents. 

The driving classes teacher keeps telling us that investing in training is investing in security. The lack of practical classes means not knowing in depth some risk factors that driving presents, such as driving unforeseen events in traffic, driving at night, in the rain, with heavy traffic, and so on.

Finally, it warns us that during the development of the test or practical exam, the examiner may suspend the student aspiring to obtain a driving license if he commits a certain number of offenses. Not following the examiner’s instructions, getting on a curb, not respecting a traffic light or a stop sign, are some of them.