Learning to drive a car and becoming a responsible driver requires a certain skill set that includes:
- Studying and memorising the rules of the road (Highway Code)
- Sustained high levels of concentration
- Practical skills to operate the vehicle controls
- Observational skills for knowing where to look and when
- Situational awareness to accurately perceive and understand what you’re observing
- Confidence to appropriately manage ever-changing situations
- Spatial awareness to accurately judge distances
- Ability to anticipate circumstances that may potentially be hazardous or dangerous
- Multitasking ability
While that might seem like a lot of skills you’ll need to learn, the fact is that you already know most, or even all of them already and use these skills on a daily basis. Simply crossing a road as a pedestrian requires many of these skills.
The difference with driving, is that it often requires you to use all of these skills at once and to make rapid and appropriate decisions. It’s often the high level of multitasking and quick decision making that learners find difficult when learning to drive and tests are often failed when one of these key skills is weak.
So is it Difficult to Learn to Drive?
It really depends on the individual as one person may begin learning to drive with these skill sets already at an advanced stage or can learn them quickly, whilst another person may have underdeveloped skill sets and will require more time. What’s quite common is for a learner driver to develop most of the skills at a reasonably fast rate, but one or two of the required skills lag behind, hindering their entire learning process.
How Can I make Learning to Drive Easier?
You’re not going to know whether you find learning to drive difficult until you start, but it’s always worth knowing what can make it easier.
This is how you can make learning to drive easier:
- Study the Highway Code
- Find a good driving instructor
- Take regular lessons
- Gain extra experience with family or friends
- Consider learning in an automatic car
Study the Highway Code
There’s no legal requirement to have any knowledge of the Highway Code when you start learning to drive. All you need is your provisional driving licence. But if you do start learning to drive with knowledge of the Highway Code, it’ll be one thing less to worry about as you’re learning.
Find a Good Driving Instructor
When we say find a good driving instructor, what we mean is a instructor that you feel comfortable and relaxed with. You’re going to be spending a lot of hours with this person, so a grumpy instructor is a definite no no as they’ll only make you feel anxious and nervous. It’s a fact that when you begin to relax during your driving lessons, the more you’ll learn and the quicker it’ll be to passing the driving test.
A good driving instructor will help you progress through your skill sets at a rate that you’re comfortable with. They will also be able to identify any skills that require more attention and will focus on bringing those skills up to an equal standard.
Take Regular Lessons
Learning to drive certainly gets easier when you take regular lessons, so aim for one lesson per week minimum. Leaving gaps here and there in your lessons means more catching up with where you were last time and generally make the entire process more time consuming and difficult.
Gain Extra Experience with Family or Friends
The fact is that the more driving experience you get, the better your driving becomes. It does take some learners more time than others, so there’s no specific amount of time you should spend driving. Essentially, the greater the experience, the easier your lessons become.
Consider Learning in an Automatic Car
Let’s face it, manual stick shift cars are soon to be a thing of the past. Most modern hybrid cars are automatic and it’s likely that all electric cars will also be automatic. From 2030 new cars being sold will be electric and for a short period of time, hybrid cars will be sold after that date.
In a few years electric cars will be cheaper and more accessible, so it’s now quite debatable whether there’s any point in learning to drive manual. Automatic cars do away with the clutch and gears, meaning there’s less time learning clutch control and worrying about which gear you should be in. If all you want to do is learn to drive and pass your test, go automatic.