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Lesson Zero: What is driving really?


In my daily life of teaching driving, I have found that a good number of learners are “driving” but not really driving. They tend to unnecessarily learn slower than usual, simply because they have an incorrect concept about “driving”. If you have at least two of the following points which are incorrectly conceived in your mind, you need to “wash your brain” early to avoid these known traps, helping you to learn driving with less struggles, and more enjoyments.

Please note this discussion here is about the correct concept about driving, it’s not about you know the actual driving skills before you have driving lessons.

  • Driving is safer than walking. If you’d rather walk than to drive because you think driving is dangerous, please read on. The fact is, over 2,000 pedestrians are hit by a vehicle  every year in Australia. When this unfortunately happens, do the poor pedestrians have the steel frame and airbags to protect them like drivers? Think again, the protections you have as a driver, is far greater than what you have as a pedestrian.
  • Driving is logical not emotional. Some learners’ driving depend on their confidence level. If they feel calm and collected as they drive, they drive better, otherwise they could drive terribly. This type of “driving” is certainly no good. Look, as a human being, I don’t feel 100% physically or emotionally everyday, but I will make sure I drive the at the same level and quality despite my emotions. If I face a red light, no matter how I feel, I simply stop. Driving based on emotional feelings is very very dangerous. Our driving should only be based on the driving data around us.
  • Driving is about doing your job. Look at this scene: in the 3rd driving lesson, our car is approaching a queue of cars stopping at red light. From about 30 metres away I reminded the learner “you need to brake”, about 20 metres away I said “brake”, about 10 metres away I had to use my brake. What is missing? The learner is not doing his/her job. Do I need to remind him/her to brake? This shouldn’t be my job. If the learners are not doing the capable job they should be doing, it’s very hard for the coach to teach. This is only referring to the techniques they have learnt and practised (can do), not about doing the things they can’t do yet.
  • Driving is achievable. Some learners think driving is highly difficult and dangerous, they are afraid of it and think that they might never make it. May I tell you that driving is achievable, I have taught people from 16 to 65 years old. Driving is only difficult and dangerous when you don’t do the jobs you should be doing like discussed above.
  • Driving is driving friendly. This is in contrast to being “driving proof”. I have found a number of learners in our school who are unaware of the basic knowledge when it comes to driving. For example, some of our students don’t know their family or our school car’s brand, not sure of reversing light colour etc.  If you happen to belong to such group, I do encourage you to change your mindset and behaviour, start learning one thing a day about your car/driving. Become a friend of driving, and driving will be a friend to you!
  • Driving is factual and current. The learners should have a wide scope of what’s happening around real time, they detect the dangers before it even happens; they can logically think about what they see, and after good calculations they choose the safest approach to handle all situations. Your mind should be full of driving data. But many new drivers their mind were full of worries, the past mistakes, little information about the driving environment NOW, of course this is dangerous and should not be called “driving”. True driving is sensitive and responding accurately to the fast-changing driving environment properly at all times.
  • Driving is independent. Please form a habit of doing the things you can do, make the decisions you can make. Forming a habit of waiting to be told what to do and what decision to make is dangerous, because that person will not always be sitting next to you and directing your every move. Yes, legally speaking, you still needed to be supervised, but technically you should do more and more driving along the way, and rely on the supervising driver less and less.
  • Driving is instinctive, never lose your instinct. Please look at this scene: in lesson 2, we were turning left on a T intersection, from the right hand side there was a car reaching us in 2 seconds. The learner pushed the car and tried to go ahead, of course I braked the car. What was missing? The instinct. I would not have expected the learner to know T intersection give way well in lesson 2, but looking at the car approaching in 2 seconds, if his/her instinct was working, he/she would not want to go ahead. So please never lose your instinct in driving no matter if you are new or experienced drivers.
  • Driving is simple, don’t over-think.   While some students minds are frozen when driving, another group of students tend to over-think while driving. They worry about what if I make that mistake again, or they stress over the car behind trying to bully him/her, or a tree may fall onto the car. Over-thinking takes away the limited room for concentration a driver already has and makes the driver under-think the things he/she should think about as a good driver.
  • Driving is about driving in all situations.  Do you hate main roads/changing lanes? you hate raining or snowing, oh how about hailing? You hate idiots? OK you will drive with these situations, and your driving skills should cover ALL situations. I mean attitude wise, you should accept in your mind you going to learn to handle these situations. I don’t mean you know these driving skills before your first lesson.
I hope by discussing these known traps about “driving”, we can help more learners start right and save the time and effort, not getting stuck in the dark tunnel of “fake driving”. Wash your brain early and you will enjoy the process a lot more.
what driving really means
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