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Taak Farst 10-12-2013 10:54 PM

Learning to Drive
 
Yesterday was my 17th birthday and as a surprise, my foster mother bought me a 10 hour driving lesson block, with the first two hours being yesterday. It went okay, but I kept "kangarooing" and I couldn't figure out clutch pressure and such. Either way, it was nerveracking, my vision appeared to blur under the nerves and the car seemed smaller than it was. I guess all I want to know is, does it soon get easier and better or does it take a long time?

Astor 10-13-2013 11:24 AM

It'll get easier. You'll still make mistakes, but it does get easier. I only recently passed at the start of September (yes, at 25 I really should have learnt sooner!) and I started my lessons in January. But, the amount of time it takes really does vary from person to person - there's no right or wrong amount of time.

Good luck, it's a lot of fun. ;)

Alexrd 10-13-2013 01:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taak Farst (Post 2838742)
It went okay, but I kept "kangarooing" and I couldn't figure out clutch pressure and such.

I remember that when I was having my first driving lessons years ago, I had the same problem. But I eventually got the hang of it on the next two or three lessons. Is the car you're using on diesel?

Marius Fett 10-14-2013 01:29 PM

It's normal to have a bit of difficulty at first, but it does get a lot easier fairly quickly, provided you put the effort in.

The two main issues as you say are clutch control and awareness of the size of the car you're driving.

Clutch control comes with practice. No easy way about it unfortunately.

As for getting used to the size of the car, just make sure you're keeping an eye on what you're doing and remember that your mirrors are there for a reason. :p

Darth Avlectus 10-14-2013 04:23 PM

Ah, manual transmission a.k.a. stickshift.

Just keep with it. You'll be glad you did. It's one of those things which take time, practice and patience to get it right. Just the getting out and doing this will help you to refine it until you're a smooth driver.

You will notice clutches are all different and some are touchier than others.

Tip: Also getting revs higher before shifting (opposite of lugging which is from shifting as soon as possible)keeps the get-up-and-go longer for the vehicle when you are breaking a new one in.


I actually tried putting off getting a license as long as possible. Wound up with a hand-me-down car for my first one, though it was an auto and it was a dog as ever. My folks said "nope, you can't ride your bike through snow and we're not driving you everywhere", so I was almost 18 when I finally went to take my exam. I'd been called out to do driver training and studied the handbook and all but just didn't give a flip.

Eventually reality has a way of forcing our hands.

Taak Farst 10-14-2013 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alexrd (Post 2838760)
I remember that when I was having my first driving lessons years ago, I had the same problem. But I eventually got the hang of it on the next two or three lessons. Is the car you're using on diesel?

It's petrol :)

Thanks for the support, guys!

urluckyday 10-14-2013 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taak Farst (Post 2838742)
Yesterday was my 17th birthday and as a surprise, my foster mother bought me a 10 hour driving lesson block, with the first two hours being yesterday. It went okay, but I kept "kangarooing" and I couldn't figure out clutch pressure and such. Either way, it was nerveracking, my vision appeared to blur under the nerves and the car seemed smaller than it was. I guess all I want to know is, does it soon get easier and better or does it take a long time?

Oh yes, it gets much easier as you get used to it. It's just like riding a bike. One day you'll be crying your eyes out because your dad let you go after he took the training wheels off, the next you'll be cruising down the street like you own it. Just something everyone gets comfortable with after some time behind the wheel.

Don't worry, you'll start loving the idea of driving a lot more when you realize how many possibilities it opens up in your life! Good luck!

Boba Rhett 10-15-2013 04:44 PM

Protip: When you kill it at a stop light, DON'T PANIC. It happens to everyone. Just fire her back up, take a deep breath and try again. :)

Taak Farst 10-15-2013 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boba Rhett (Post 2838816)
Protip: When you kill it at a stop light, DON'T PANIC. It happens to everyone. Just fire her back up, take a deep breath and try again. :)

Oh hell, that has been the one thing I have been thinking about. So scared about that. He made me do a three point turn (He did the pedals (dual control) and I did the steering, as it was only my first lesson) and there was a line of three or four cars waiting to go past! So embarrassing!

Pho3nix 10-16-2013 06:29 AM

I'm gonna take mine with a stickshift, but no way in hell would I ever buy a car that's not an automatic.

Astor 10-16-2013 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taak Farst (Post 2838822)
Oh hell, that has been the one thing I have been thinking about. So scared about that. He made me do a three point turn (He did the pedals (dual control) and I did the steering, as it was only my first lesson) and there was a line of three or four cars waiting to go past! So embarrassing!

It is embarrassing, but you have to remember, they were learners once too. They might not think that way, but it's true.

And if anyone ever tries to force their way through a gap whilst you're in the middle of a turn, it says a hell of a lot more about their road attitude than it does your ability.

Quanon 10-17-2013 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pho3nix (Post 2838834)
I'm gonna take mine with a stickshift, but no way in hell would I ever buy a car that's not an automatic.

Lol; I would never buy an automatic. Love shifting gears, it's what makes driving a car so enjoyable for me. My first lessons I was nervous to and that made things more difficult at first. But that passes, the more you drive the more experience you get. You'll level up soon ;-p

Taak Farst 10-17-2013 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quanon (Post 2838878)
Lol; I would never buy an automatic. Love shifting gears, it's what makes driving a car so enjoyable for me. My first lessons I was nervous to and that made things more difficult at first. But that passes, the more you drive the more experience you get. You'll level up soon ;-p

From what I read, there are next to no reason to own an automatic, as the disadvantages are too prominent to just want to give up the "task" of shifting gears...

Boba Rhett 10-18-2013 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taak Farst (Post 2838882)
From what I read, there are next to no reason to own an automatic, as the disadvantages are too prominent to just want to give up the "task" of shifting gears...

Not so fast, chief.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quanon (Post 2838878)
Lol; I would never buy an automatic. Love shifting gears, it's what makes driving a car so enjoyable for me.


You don't have much of a drive to work or around town, do you. Shifting is only enjoyable for play driving.

Quanon 10-19-2013 07:22 AM

Quote:

You don't have much of a drive to work or around town, do you. Shifting is only enjoying for play driving.
Méh, I don't see what's so nasty about shifting. The whole thing gives lots of controle on what your car does. It takes practise, certainly when driving in a city, lots of traffic; bikers, pedestrians... Hahaha, done if before. I did a lot of road for my first job, second job is a bit more relaxed, can do it by bike.

I remember the first day I got to use my 1st car to go to my job. I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the middle of the city; there was just a big market going on. Had to drive really slowly and up hill most of the time. I learned to use my clutch and pedals really well that day.

But I'm in Europe; Belgium, you have to ask a car dealer for an automatic. Almost all cars are stick shifters .

Taak Farst 10-21-2013 10:37 PM

Question: Why do you have to find your biting point when moving off to start a journey, or at traffic lights, but you don't have to find your biting point when stopping to give way to oncoming traffic at, say, a crossroad?

Tommycat 10-24-2013 06:08 PM

Biting point? I assume that when the clutch begins to grab the flywheel?
In that case, it's the point at which you can begin forward momentum. As you lift off the clutch you begin adding throttle so that you can get going. Stopping, you simply push the clutch all the way in, to allow for a gear change(to first).

I love manual transmissions. Sadly the US auto makers seem to have forgotten how to make them. I mean even the Diesel TRUCK(pickup, not lorrie/18 wheeler) I drive had no manual trans option. But there are many advantages of automatic transmissions. Two hands on the wheel during turns. One handed driving for those without the second hand. One foot driving. Long stop and go traffic(I swear one time I though my clutch leg was going to fall off... Probably the WORST time to have a racing clutch)

Q 10-25-2013 09:00 PM

I think it's great that the OP is learning how to drive in a car with a manual transmission. I think that everyone should learn to drive this way. I prefer a manual, because they give the driver more control and the only part that can wear out over the life of the car is the clutch. And if you're really good with it, even that won't wear out.

Rhett's points are valid, though. A manual can be a nightmare in heavy traffic, so I would consider an automatic if I lived in a city.

Sith Sizzle 10-29-2013 04:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Q (Post 2839129)
I think it's great that the OP is learning how to drive in a car with a manual transmission. I think that everyone should learn to drive this way. I prefer a manual, because they give the driver more control and the only part that can wear out over the life of the car is the clutch. And if you're really good with it, even that won't wear out.

Rhett's points are valid, though. A manual can be a nightmare in heavy traffic, so I would consider an automatic if I lived in a city.

Not to mention the fact that most teens get hand-me-down vehicles from their parents, and in modern times their vehicles generally are automatic. Every year I'm sure there are less and less manual vehicles on the road.
I prefer automatic because you have enough to worry about on the road and shouldn't have to be scrambling around with your feet since there is an easier option. However I agree that more people should learn how to drive in a vehicle with a manual transmission. It's a good life lesson and if someone for whatever reason has to drive a stick shift they will know right away what to do.

jonathan7 10-30-2013 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Astor (Post 2838849)
It is embarrassing, but you have to remember, they were learners once too. They might not think that way, but it's true.

And if anyone ever tries to force their way through a gap whilst you're in the middle of a turn, it says a hell of a lot more about their road attitude than it does your ability.

Astors right, its a long time since I passed my test, but don't let people get ratty with you. It takes time to learn, and generally I'm amused how stressy people get on the roads in the UK. Personally I always give learners time - don't be embarrassed, you're learning so take your time.

Boba Rhett's right we all stall occasionally - hell, I've been driving for over 10 years, never get caught speeding or had so much as parking ticket, but I did stall the other day.

I remember when I first started to drive, there seemed to be so many things you had to do at once, the car seemed to be going much quicker when I was driving than when I was in the passenger seat - but as time goes on it all becomes automatic. As a real encouragement to you, these days it cost £10 to insure me on my dads 911.... Now THAT is a lot of fun to drive!

As for automatic vs manual (stick shift) - in the UK, if learn to drive a manual you can drive either, but if you just learn and do the test in an automatic, you are only allowed to drive automatics. Personally I prefer manuals as they give you more control of the car...

Sith Sizzle 10-30-2013 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonathan7 (Post 2839388)
As for automatic vs manual (stick shift) - in the UK, if learn to drive a manual you can drive either, but if you just learn and do the test in an automatic, you are only allowed to drive automatics. Personally I prefer manuals as they give you more control of the car...

In the U.S. whether you use an automatic or manual car during the final driving test, the license allows you to drive both. Motorcycles and transport type trucks have special licenses however.

Jae Onasi 11-01-2013 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taak Farst (Post 2838742)
Yesterday was my 17th birthday and as a surprise, my foster mother bought me a 10 hour driving lesson block, with the first two hours being yesterday. It went okay, but I kept "kangarooing" and I couldn't figure out clutch pressure and such. Either way, it was nerveracking, my vision appeared to blur under the nerves and the car seemed smaller than it was. I guess all I want to know is, does it soon get easier and better or does it take a long time?

First, get an eye exam. Second, breathe! :)

Here's the tip a good friend of mine taught me when I had trouble with getting the car into first gear. The clutch controls it all. You can have the accelerator petal floored and the engine revving at max, but until you let the clutch out, the car won't move. So, the trick is to give it a lot of gas at first, and let the clutch out extremely slowly. Practice this in a huge parking lot like I did--a college or mall parking lot on a very early Saturday or Sunday morning works great. You want to find a flat surface so you don't have to worry about rolling up or down hills.

My friend and I practiced this a lot--give it a lot of gas, let the clutch out extremely slowly until the engine engages, and go. Do this a ton of times, and you'll eventually be able to use less gas. After you do it a lot of times, you'll get a better feel for the clutch, and you'll be able to do that part faster, too.

Hope that helps if you aren't already cruising around like a pro!

The reason to own an automatic is so that people like me with really crappy knees can drive. When I had my left knee replaced 3 years back, I was able to drive the automatic minivan but not the manual Honda Civic we had--I could only use the right leg to drive. I just had the right knee replaced so I can't drive for another week and a half, but if I had an absolute dire emergency (like my kid was dying and the ambulance couldn't come for an hour), I theoretically could drive with my left leg. You have to have 2 good legs with manual, but only 1 for automatic. It's also a good choice for people who have hand, arm, or shoulder problems from injuries or bad arthritis since they don't have to shift the gears. Also, having driven in Chicago rush hour for a few years, I can tell you that automatic was far more convenient and a lot less annoying than braking and shifting into first gear non-stop for an hour or more.


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