Driver's Guide

Professional Tips to Teach Yourself to Drive a Car

Although it is advisable to enroll in a driving course, it is also important to know how to teach yourself to drive a car. You wouldn’t just start driving with no basic knowledge, though. Before you match the gas as a beginner, you would have learned a lot.

Learning to drive a car is easy; it is about becoming a good partner with the car. You must understand the car through practicing how to drive, and you must be consistent to learn faster.

When driving a car, you are responsible for yourself and other road user’s safety. The vehicle is just there to do what you want, and it is like playing a video game.

But before you can drive alone, know the perfect synchronization of the brakes, clutch, and accelerator of the car. You must know how to judge speed, understand traffic decorum and the distance from other vehicles and structures.

Can I learn driving by myself?

You can learn to drive by yourself, but you must learn the basic instructions from an expert. Road rules expect you to get comfortable handling the vehicle before you can drive on roadways. If you rely on teaching yourself everything about driving, you would be learning it the wrong way or learning at a slow pace. Guidance is recommended by at least someone that is licensed to drive. The person should be able to teach you the basic controls and be in the car while you’re learning.

How to Teach Yourself to Drive

  1. Obtain a Permit

First, you need a permit, but you can drive without a license, depending on your state. It is risky and illegal, though, and you must not drive on roadways. You may limit yourself to a parking lot or any authorized private property.

If you teach yourself how to drive a car without a license, you would not like it when you get caught. The government is willing to charge you to court for a jail term sentence or a fine.

The person you would learn the basics must be licensed, too. Meanwhile, depending on your state, there could be a minimum number of driving lessons expected to qualify you for a license.

  1. Practice the Theory

First, learn to start the vehicle. Learn about smooth braking, gear shifting, indicator lights, and car reversing. Always wear your seatbelt when you get inside the car. Also, know how to use the mirrors, including the external and internal. Depending on the modernity of the vehicle you’re learning to drive with, you may be learning with mounted cameras.

It is also advisable to go to slopy roads to learn to stop and move the vehicle backward or forward using the accelerator, brake, and clutch properly.

Learn about the various switches and buttons in the car. All the buttons/switches you find in the dashboard have their functions, and you must know their functions.

When a vehicle is idling, make sure to release the hand brake before starting the engine. Do not always leave the car idling for too long.

When leaving the car, remember to retrieve the car key or key fob. Meanwhile, find out how to start a car without a key fob.

  1. Get Guidance

You need a licensed driver to help you become a self-taught driver. You can’t teach yourself everything about driving, even after watching all the driving videos on YouTube. You may still dare to drive, but it would not be comfortable compared to having an expert guide you.

You may have to pay the person, but the cost would not be as high as you would pay to enroll in a driving school.

  1. Select a Suitable Car

Learning how to drive older cars can make you a better driver, but older cars are challenging to learn alone.

Also, a typical manual transmission car is considered perfect for beginners. The wheel is a bit tight on a manual car, while power steering cars are easier to control.

Depending on the vehicle transmission system (automatic or manual) you are learning to drive with, teaching yourself to drive becomes easier or harder. You would need more guidance to drive a manual car; an automatic car is easier. If you are using an automatic car, make sure to see my guide revealing how to drive an automatic car in the snow.

  1. Choose a Deserted Location

Lots of drivers started out at open fields and large parking lots. The ground you are learning how to drive must be flat, and there must be no pedestrian or other road users.

When setting off to a deserted area to learn how to drive, go with an expert, as mentioned earlier. Do not shy away from paying the person, except they refuse the offer. After all, they wouldn’t charge you as much as a typical driving school.

  1. Practice in the Early Mornings

Most people prefer to begin learning in the early hours of the day when there are very few or no vehicles on the road yet.

Practice how to brake and steer, and use a flag in the front of the vehicle to tell your distance difference between your car and the structure ahead. When you are driving on the road alone, it builds your confidence, and you become a faster learner when confident on the wheels.

  1. Don’t Panic

The best part of teaching yourself how to drive a car is not panicking. When you panic, you could fearfully crash the vehicle at the slightest chance.

Do not also take the car on any major road, especially without a license. As mentioned earlier, you must know how to combine the accelerator, brakes, and clutch. Knowing how and when to use the side and rearview mirrors is an added advantage.

When you build the confidence sitting behind the wheel, get ready to challenge your ability on slopes, terrains, and traffic. Before you get into the traffic, you would have obtained a driving permit. Otherwise, it is illegal and threatens the safety of other road users.

How long does it take to learn driving?

How long it takes to learn how to drive a car depends on various factors, including the transmission system, drivetrain (AWD, 4WD, FWD, or RWD), etc. If you are teaching yourself how to drive with an automatic car, you can learn the basics within a day, while a manual transmission car might take an additional day or two. Also, if you are learning to drive on terrains with any drivetrain other than 4WD, you will encounter difficulties that make learning tougher and longer. Your mindset is important, too, and you must be determined to learn faster.

Is learning to drive a car difficult?

Learning to drive a car depends on the vehicle and your mindset, but it is generally not difficult to learn to drive a car. However, if you are teaching yourself how to drive without guidance, it will be difficult. A car relies on you to take action; when you steer right or left, it goes right or left; it accelerates when you accelerate and slows down or stops when you match the brakes.

Compared to learning how to ride a motorcycle, especially riding in the rain, it is difficult to balance a motorcycle without crashing. And when practicing with a manual transmission car, you will learn to drive even faster. A manual car is preferred for learning to drive, though.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to become a self-taught driver, but not OK if you do not acquire the basic knowledge on controls from an expert.

You must also not drive on roadways and must be comfortable driving the vehicle. When you get in the seats, take absolute control of the car and anticipate every action you take.

When you are confident driving in empty spaces, get a driving permit and test your skills in the traffic. Make sure to drive slowly, and have an expert guide you inside the car. Finally, “the more your drive, the better driver you become.”

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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