First Driving Lesson Cockpit Drill Hand and Foot Controls

Introduction – Today is a Monday my first driving lesson with John. He has told me he has never driven before and is unsure as to how to start

A Fictitious Blog Diary of a Driving Instructor

I Meet John for his First Driving Lesson

I turned up 5 minutes early having previously checked where John lived for his first driving lesson. Just after I have pulled up John is coming down his driver all very excited. I’m not going to have to text or knock on his door.

Hi John, I am Tony of 12drive driving school I am going to be your driving instructor

l know you have taught a couple of my friends already

Great you have some idea of what we are going to do then for your first driving lesson. Have you brought your driving license, please? Thank you I need to take some information from it just in case some driver makes a mistake and hits us.

I write down his Name Address License Number and Telephone Number on my google documents on my phone then give him the license back.

Now we get to the interesting part do you know how to drive, have you ever been behind the steering wheel?

I’ve sat behind my dad’s car wheel and tried to start and move the car but all I did was stall it

OK, that gives me an Idea of where to start training you. I can let you choose two places to start your lessons from. First, the Big Somerville’s Car park which if you remember is very big and has an area that seems empty all the time. Or else we can go to the Wayne Estate which is very quiet with few cars this time of day where you see lots driving school cars.

Can we go to the Somerville car park please that way none of my friends will see anything if I make a mistake?

That’s a good Idea right get in the passenger’s seat and I’ll drive you there.

Johns first attempt at driving my car

Ok, John, we have arrived at the car park I’ve parked the car in a roadway and made sure it is safe and secure, so we can change seats. Now as this is your first driving lesson please can you come around to sit in the driver’s seat as you see I’m a bit bigger than you I’m only 6ft 5 so now you need to adjust the seat for yourself

cockpit check hand control foot control

Wow, you have got long legs how do I get the seat to go forwards?

I tell him, and we discuss how to adjust the seat to make it more comfortable for him to drive

Now John there a couple more things to do to complete something I call the cockpit drill which when completed makes the car as safe as you can to drive. Do you know what else we could do? To give you a head start you have done 2 of the 4 things you need to do. That checks all the doors are closed and you have adjusted the seat, so you can reach all the controls comfortably.

What are the other 2 things you need to do before we start to drive?

I’m not sure but I don’t feel comfortable it’s as though something is missing

That’s good I like to hear that you are uncomfortable yes something is missing if you were to start to try to drive I would stop you and tell you that if the police were to see you trying to drive as we are now they would fine you £60. Does that give you a clue about what is wrong?

Of course, it’s the seatbelt Mums always going on about when I go swimming with my friends. Oh, the belts on the other side. Now that’s 3 down and 1 to go. Please, can you give me another clue?

It’s something you need to see

It’s not the lights I don’t need them nor the windows. Is it the Mirrors? How do I set them?

Now we talk about how to set the mirrors and why we need to check them for different purposes while we drive.

In the end, I confirm we have covered the first part of Johns first driving lesson.

We discuss the use of the hand controls

Now we need to talk about the different hand controls of the car. First, the hand controls then the foot controls. Let’s start with this handle next to your seat what is it?

First Driving LessonA Handbrake

Great please, can you switch it on and off for me? Now, what is this handle with the numbers on?

Gear stick

Even better do you know how to change gear? John nods his head with a smile. Please, can you change the gears and tell me when you would use each gear?

Dad says you use gear 1 for moving away and you then change to 2nd gear as soon as you are moving. 3rd gear is for driving in town and 4th for doing 60 mph and finally, 5th gear is for Motorways.

Not bad but I would suggest that the gears are more flexible than that. To start with the I suggest to my students they separate each gear change by 10 mph so its

0 – 10 1st gear

10 – 20 2nd gear

20 –  30 3rd gear

30 – 40 4th gear

Now that is only a start in a couple of hours of driving I will change this framework, so you can feel when to change your gears

Now what is this stick on the left of the steering wheel what is it used for?

When not to Flashlights

That’s for flashing the headlights. Dad uses it to force his way through gaps along with the horn that is there. John points at the horn

Well, you can use it for that, but I don’t flash my lights very often I use it to show people that I am turning. Please, can you show me how you would signal left and right? John does

Now the last hand control the steering wheel. Please can you switch on the engine John does but only after I show him that my car has a stop-go system and I needed to explain to him how it works

Has your father shown you how much the steering moves? You are used to using a bicycle handle but to get the tyres to move you will have to turn the wheel a lot more. Please, can you start the car and turn the wheel all the way to the left and then to the right.?

Wow, that’s a lot?

I now go and explain why there is so much turning needed and show him how to be sure whether the steering is full left or right or the wheels are straight.

Foot Controls

Now that completes the hand controls for your first driving lesson, let’s look at the foot controls. You have 3 pedals in front of you what are they?

That’s the Gas or Accelerator the Brake and the Clutch

Very good now what do they do?

The Gas pedal makes the car go faster the brake stops the car and the clutch changes the gears

Great, that is not far out but I need to improve on what you have said. Please, can you start the car and then press the Gas pedal gently?

How to use the clutch

That wasn’t very gentle was it please try again, and this time just press it lightly. I only want you to move the pedal about the thickness of a couple of £1 coins. That’s better you do not need to press the pedal to the floor. Now please press the brake.

That’s different I can’t push it to the floor something seems to be stopping me.

That is as it should be however when you brake you should not jab the pedal down. Then gently increase the pressure to stop. As you get to the stop you will need to release the pedal a little to prevent the car from juddering to a stop.

Now we come to the pedal that I think you were saying you have had trouble with. So, I know where to start from please can you show me or tell me how this pedal works

I put the clutch to the floor and select 1st gear then as I bring the clutch up and the car moves. I gently press the accelerator.

That sound about right but not completely what I would have expected to hear. That doesn’t matter because sometimes it is hard to say what you are doing if you are not used to being asked to do that. Please, can you show me what you do?

So, John shows me what he does and the car stalls. I see John start the car put the clutch to the floor and engage 1st gear. (that is correct) now he brings the clutch up and gently applies the gas and the car stalls (not Good)

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