Essential Driving Skills



It is important when driving that you have both hands on the steering wheel, you will have to take one hand off on occasions, for example when changing gear, operating the lights, wipers and other controls, but as soon as you have done that your hand should return to the wheel. When practising, find a straight, quiet road where you can steer with one hand while you practise using the controls

When holding the steering wheel your hands should always be either at the ‘quarter to three’ position or at ‘10 to 2’, you should pick whichever of these positions is most comfortable to you. Fold your palms loosely over the rim and rest your thumbs lightly up the flat of the wheel. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms free of your body. To ensure that you are the correct distance away from the steering wheel you should be able to rest the inner wrists of both arms on the top of the steering wheel whilst sitting upright in the driver seat. There should be a slight bend at the elbows

When you are driving along but need to make minor corrections to the steering you can do this without moving your hands around the wheel, you would simply turn the wheel slightly in one direction and then correct it, your hands returning to the correct position as the wheel straightens. When you need to turn the steering wheel more, for example when turning a corner then you should pass the wheel through your hands and avoid crossing your hands over on the wheel or letting the wheel slip.
This is called the `Pull-Push’ method of steering

To steer accurately you should look well ahead at where you are going. You must be able to operate the main controls without looking at them. Looking down will result in your car wandering from side to side Try to keep both hands on the wheel when braking (certainly when braking in an emergency!) The same applies to cornering, try to keep your hands on the wheel and use the ‘Pull-Push’ technique

When turning left it is important for you to maintain a position about a metre from the kerb. The consequences of keeping too close to the kerb are that your rear wheel may roll over the kerb or even strike it, which could damage to the tyre. Swinging out just before you turn could also cause the following vehicle to swerve across the road to pass you.

The Driving Test

On your driving test the examiner will expect you to:_

1. Hold the steering wheel at either the ten-to-two or quarter-to-three position
2. Steer at the correct time and smoothly
3. Avoid crossing your hands over one another when turning
4. Avoid letting the wheel spin back through your hands when straightening up.
5. Keep to the left normally
6. Avoid weaving in and out between parked cars
7. Obey lane markings