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Fred931's avatar

What/where is the best environment to learn how to drive a car?

Asked by Fred931 (9392 points ) November 20th, 2009

For instance, should I start with a manual in the pasture or an automatic in a subdivision? New model? Old? City or town? Mom or dad in the passenger seat?

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44 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

driving school. insist on manual if possible.

rangerr's avatar

I learned to drive a manual on country roads.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

I learned on country roads. If you are going to learn a manual transmission, learn on gravel roads. Teh gravel will help keep you from burning up the clutch. The person teaching you should have the patience of a saint and the sense of humor of a god. When I learned to drive, there were no driving schools, and even if there had been, no one would pay for something that it was your Dad’s duty to teach you anyway.

Drawkward's avatar

Abandoned parking lot or cemetery.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I learned on a manual in the car park of the local university and country back roads.

rangerr's avatar

@Drawkward That’s where I first got behind the wheel. My granddads theory was that I couldn’t kill dead people, so a cemetery was okay.

milla101's avatar

In space.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@rangerr LOL, your Granddad sounds like a real hoot!

rangerr's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra I’m from the country and I like it that way.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@rangerr me too, only way to be, in my opinion.

holden's avatar

In San Francisco or L. A. (just kidding)

I learned manual in an empty parking lot.

Christian95's avatar

into a simulator

Sarcasm's avatar

My siblings and I all learned on Automatics. My brother and sister learned in empty parking lots, I learned in country roads.
I still, after 3 years of driving, have never learned Manual

Judi's avatar

I learned to drive a manual in a Community College Parking lot on the weekends.

Garebo's avatar

This question takes me back 30 years watching my mom drive. Take the bumpy road manual all the way. Keeps you concentrating on your driving and so much more fun.

galileogirl's avatar

With a professional driving instructor, Both my father and brother tried to teach me. The experience changed us forever.lol

Val123's avatar

Country roads. Also, have your instructor take you to the first iced over, empty parking lot that comes up, and have you practice what to do when the ice grabs your wheels. (I had to spend several minutes demonstrating donuts and sliding to my kids before I let them behind the wheel, while they’re yelling “MOM!!!” They were old enough to be worried, I was experienced enough to know I had it totally under control. And that I was having a blast!:) But yes. I then put them behind the wheel, and randomly told them to “Stomp on the brakes,” vs “Pump the brakes,” or “Let it coast, turn carefully and slowly,” so they’d get a feel for what they WILL experience someday. I only had to make sure there were no light poles in our path!
Country roads…...

buckyboy28's avatar

School parking lot on the weekend. You can take your time, drive around in circles, and nobody will bother you.

Judi's avatar

@buckyboy28 ; Hey, that’s what I said!

Val123's avatar

@buckyboy28 X2! Best place. Where I taught my kids. But you have a licensed driver with you to ‘splain what’s up!

Val123's avatar

@Christian95 I WISH they had simulators. So they could simulate, oh, driving on a two lane highway at night, when suddenly there is a car, in your face, passing oncoming traffic in a no passing zone…..that’ll wake the kids up to the dangers of driving in a hurry!

SeventhSense's avatar

The Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Just jump right in. Learn fast or die.

Val123's avatar

@SeventhSense Hail no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No no no! (I’m from a small town in Kansas. NO!!!!)

SeventhSense's avatar

@Val123
it’s ok Dorothy you can ride in the back

Val123's avatar

@SeventhSense Hail no! I’m behind the wheel or I’m not in da car! Period!

SeventhSense's avatar

@Val123
Oh forget it..the honeymoon’s over :P

Buttonstc's avatar

I would strongly advise either taking Driver’s Ed in school or paying a professional driving instructor for at least part of your training.

One of the main reasons I say this is because it will be done in an organized way in which certain crucial principles will be taught and emphasized in a progressive manner as your level of skill increases.

I can’t begin to count the number of adults in whose cars I have been a passenger who learned from relatives who never learned the importance of the simple concept of developing the habit of braking BEFORE entering a curve. If you miscalculated your speed and find yousrself at risk of skidding out of control, braking at the apex of the curve increases the chances because that’s when centrifugal is highest. Braking prior to entering the curve and then accelerating gradually INTO the curve is the way to counteract the pull of the force.

It is counter intuitive, so it must be explained and taught so that it becomes a muscle memory habit.

The amount of adults I’ve encountered who do this simple maneuver bass-ackwards still amazes me.

It’s things like that which makes formal instruction necessary.

Someone upthread mentioned the importance of training on icy roads and that’s another example of the preference for formal instruction in an organized manner which covers all the bases. Steering INTO a skid is also counter-intuitive and needs to be taught. NOT every parent or relative is as thorough as the poster who originally mentioned this.

For just logging in enough time to get in practice time can certainly be handled with family and friends, but I think it would be wise to use that in combination with some type of organized formal instruction is best so that you will be fully prepared for EVERY type of challenge you will face at one time or another.

avvooooooo's avatar

I learned on country roads on an automatic. We actually don’t own a manual transmission, I’ve never driven one… Other than the tractors. :P The bad thing was that I’m only 5 feet tall now and when I was 13 and learning (and talking to the sheriff about learning because he’d rather people learn on the back roads than not learn and have to scrape ‘em up) I was sooo short it was hard to reach anything.

Val123's avatar

@avvooooooo—Damg man! You short! S’Ok. I’ll mark the tall stuff for ya.

@SeventhSense Fine. The Honeymoons over an’ I’m STILL in the driver’s seat!! Oh Lord. How did this come about, 30 years later??

augustlan's avatar

I learned in an automatic, brand-spankin’ new, king cab pickup truck (my father’s) on the icy, snowy roads of a state park. It was absolutely deserted at that time of year. I wish I had learned to drive a manual early on, because after 23 years of driving an automatic, I still can’t drive a manual. :/

I’ll second what @Psychedelic_Zebra said about your teacher. Choose a calm, patient, happy person. My mom tried first and would scream “STOP SIGN” when we were like 50 feet away from the thing, thus freaking me right the fuck out. My boyfriend tried, and yelled at me for not knowing what the hell I was doing, thus making me nervous and upset. My father taught me in one day what they’d been trying to teach me for weeks.

markyy's avatar

I figured paying a professional 30 bucks an hour to sit next to me was cheaper than getting fined for driving without a license. He asked me to turn the ignition and said: drive. Scary at first, but it worked. I hated the old geezer’s guts because he saw every little mistake I made (no matter how well I tried to cover it up), but I would not be the responsible driver I am today if it wasn’t for him [read: I drive like an old lady]. Get someone who spend the last 10 years of his/her life teaching people how to drive, it will pay for itself (by you not crashing your car into other people every 6 months :p).

Learning to drive manual by stick (which is what all cars are here anyway) made me kind of scared when I had to drive an automatic for a while. Controlling the gears makes me feel more in control, plus it gave me a bigger understanding of how the engine works. I need that third peddle.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Isn’t this funny! I just asked my FB pals where a good driving school is in my area. I figured even though I live in a city where one only truly needs a car if they’re leaving town, it’s time I learned how to leave town.

Fred931's avatar

A lot of you suggest a manual for first timers, but the only friend I’m good enough friends to borrow a stick shift from who actually has a stick shift, has a 3-series BMW convertible. She might be a little sensitive to teaching or lending, but I guess its worth a shot.

Val123's avatar

@markyy Not to mention you can get a better burn on in a manual! Vewy important!

When I was learning how to drive, Mom and I were going to pick my dad up from work to go to lunch. I was driving. Came up to this on Y-intersection on a fortunately not-so-very-heavily traveled road. Next thing I know Mom’s saying, “Well. You just ran a stop sign.”
I’m like “WHAT???”
Very calmly she said “Yep. Had a feeling you were going to do it, so I just made sure there were no cars coming, but yes. You just ran a stop sign.”
Freaked me out! And I was a little shocked that she handled it the way she did because usually she was more like agustian’ mom, screaming, like, at my very first left turn from stop sign in town when I was driving in town for the first time “PULL OUT NOW! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??!!!” And, at a green light, turning left, “GET UP INTO THE INTERSECTION SO YOU CAN BE READY TO TURN WHEN THE LIGHT TURNS YELLOW!” All like, “How can you be so stupid??”
When all was said and done, though, in the end I taught both of my sisters to drive, and my boyfriend, and eventually my kids and even THEIR boyfriends.

avvooooooo's avatar

@Val123 I hate being short. :P I need a tall guy to get stuffs for me… and a step stool.

If/when I get pregnant I’m going to have to learn to drive again… With pedal extensions like they use when little people drive since I don’t think I can get very far along at all and still fit behind the wheel while touching the pedals! :P

Very rural areas are the best to learn to drive in for the basics. For the fancy stuff, I like the parking lot suggestions.

Val123's avatar

@avvooooooo See how ya are? A tall woman wouldn’t do for to help you! Has to be a guy!

avvooooooo's avatar

@Val123 Hey, boys have their uses! I’m on the hunt right now… So nope! You already caught one, gimme a chance! In the meantime… Can you get that thingie off the top shelf over there?

Val123's avatar

@avvooooooo No. I put it up there to drive you nuts! It’s working!

AnnieB's avatar

I took driver’s training in school, and would strongly suggest practice driving BEFORE that.

My mom used to take my sister and I down dirt roads in her automatic. We both learned how to drive before the school training. The teacher and other students much appreciated this. Though, I’m not sure you can fully understand this appreciation until you’ve been a passenger in a car with a driver behind the wheel who has had absolutely NO driving experience…OMGoodness! We all thought we were goners!

I learned to drive a manual a couple of years later. My first husband taught me, also down a dirt road.

Kraigmo's avatar

First you go to Driver’s Ed. Then you have someone train you in a church, school or government parking lot on a day the place is closed

Response moderated
Nullo's avatar

Parking lot.
My folks suggested that I drive home from the license bureau right after getting my permit. I dunno if it was any good instruction-wise, but it did show me that there was more to driving than I had thought.

ItsAHabit's avatar

A large, vacant parking lot is an excellent place.

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