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Bre2003
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13 Jul 2021, 4:28 pm

I'm going to college this August and it's an hour away from my house. I live in a pretty rural area, so I'll have to drive myself around.

The problem is, I suck at driving. I live in Virginia and here you have to drive 45 hours with a family member as part of the application for the driver's license. And I almost have all my hours done, but I'm so not confident in my driving ability.

The actual driving on the road part is fine. I can manage the speed, the curves (i live on a mountain so it's pretty curvy), and the other cars.

What's messing with me is everything else. Parking, making sure I'm straight when I pull into a space, stopping at red lights and managing the other 10 cars and trying to figure out if it's my turn to go.

My dad is the one who has been telling me. But the problem is that he's getting old and it's difficult for him to think and explain things, especially in a way I can understand. Often he will tell me to do something only to tell me to do the opposite just seconds later.

It's so stressful and I almost had a meltdown because I couldn't line the car up straight in the carport. I was literally about to pull out my hair or make an impulsive decision to ram into the wall. I felt like crying and him yelling at me wasn't helping at all.

The fact that I have 1 month to learn all of this AND test with a random person at the DMV in a car I'm not familiar with in an area I'm not familiar with is stressing me out so much. But I have to have it. I don't live in an area where Uber or lift is common and there aren't any stable buses here I could ride. I don't even have any friends who could drive me.



Fenn
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18 Jul 2021, 2:51 pm

My oldest son also finds driving very stressful - driving requires you to have many skills and keep track of many things at the same time.

Unfortunately, the best way to learn to drive is driving.

My wife and I tried to teach driving to my oldest son - he still got into an accident one of the first times he was on the road alone - we was licensed, but he lacked experience and there were some things he needed to know we hadn't known to tell him.

Working with a professional driving instructor might help. After my son's accident we asked around and found one that sounded good. They had a specific program for new drivers who had an accident and needed help. The instructor asked questions about the accident and took my son to a similar spot on the road and they practiced specific skills for similar situations. A professional driving instructor has more experience teaching than a mom or a dad.

There are also special driving instructors and schools who work with people who have fear of driving or other special needs.

My daughter failed her parallel parking test the first time she went to get her driver's license test. We went to the location where the test was given on the weekend (they were closed on the weekend) there was about 8 or 10 new drivers practicing parallel parking. They were all lined up in a circle at the exact spot where the test would be given (a small parking lot with orange cones marking two places to parallel park. Everyone took turns trying to parallel park in those two spots then got back in line to try again. We were there for about an hour. We saw a friend the same age as her doing the same thing. After parallel parking I made her get out of the car and walk all the way around the car and decide how well she did, then we would go around again and try again. Your eyes can only see so much when you are parallel parking - you need to know where the other cars are, where your car is and then make your car do what you want it to do. You cannot realy see the wheels of your car when you are parking so you have to learn from experience what things look like and where the car really ends up. The only way to learn is practice. I think there was a rule that to pass the test you had to go back and forth no more than three times in order to pass. She came back another day with her mother and practiced again.

There was also a requirement to park in a parking spot against the building at the end of the test. She failed that part too so we practiced that as well. Again I made her get out and walk all the way around the car to get an idea of how well she did each time. I was not sure how to instruct her on this - I could do it but I didn't really know how to explain it when I was not in the driver's seat. Finally We just switched places and she watched me do it - I had to turn the nose of the car too far left then curve back right to get into the narrow spot. I hadn't know that I would do that until I did it and so couldn't tell her that was what she needed to do. Also when we got out we discovered that the lines were not painted straight and so this worked like an optical illusion and made the spot look like it was a different shape than it really was - if you parked along the one line the other would be very crooked. Finally my advice to here was to imagine there was a line down the middle of the space and to try to line her car (an imaginary line down the middle of the car) up with that line and park on that. After trying, watching me, and tying the new "imaginary line" thing she was able to park well in the odd parking spot.

If you cannot afford a professional teacher, ask other people, not your parents, to give you a lesson - sometimes parents are too nervous with their own child and have a tendencey to "freak out" when someone else would not.

My daughter preferred to work with her mother most of the time - I was not nervous enough! The first time we went out I didn't yell at her when we turned a corner on a hill and she drove the right front wheel over the curb. The curb was new and very high with a very sharp square edge on top - the wheel promptly went flat and she then learned how to change a tire.

She chose to work with her mother most of the time after that.

I didn't think I needed to tell her not to drive over the curb - I guess I should have yelled - or anticipated the problem and given more instructions. The car was hard to control on that hill for a brand new driver.

There are advantages to working with a professional driving instructor or at least someone who teaches the way you can learn.


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shortfatbalduglyman
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18 Jul 2021, 6:48 pm

Online lessons


Self driving car



Double Retired
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18 Jul 2021, 7:04 pm

Fenn wrote:
Unfortunately, the best way to learn to drive is driving.
Yes.

Also, while you are still getting used to driving, try to avoid busy roads and busy times on the roads.

And if your legs work then remember you can deliberately choose a poor parking place in the parking lot...that is, a parking place that makes you walk further. Other cars will try to park to minimize how far the driver has to walk, if you're willing to walk a bit then you can park further out in the parking lot where it might not be as crowded.

Oh. Obvious things: Leave the phone alone when you are driving, no texting, no talking, no peeking. And if there is someone else in the car...keep the chit-chat down, and don't do it when things are "interesting" (intersections, parking, heavy traffic, turns, etc.)

Hmmmm..... My comments apply after you pass the test. To prepare for the test, read Fenn's post.

And good luck on the test!


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Mountain Goat
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18 Jul 2021, 7:18 pm

With parking on your own driveway is it better for you to practice that bit yourself? I found when towing a caravan (Trailer with a 17ft body) I was fine reversing it until I got home and my Dad came out. Every time he shouted instructions it would go wrong. When I said to him to go back in the house and let me do it without any outside help I would reverse it in to quite a tight space straight away first go.

It was when he kept saying "Right hand down" it all got confusing in my mind. Yet every time I just did it myself I had no issues.



Fenn
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22 Jul 2021, 6:44 pm

Another thing I did with my kids to help them learn parking is look at how other people park.

There is a road next the library that is also next to a park. People also live along this road all in the same block or 4.

It is very educational to walk along this block and look at exactly what other people have done when they parallel parked. Some people leave a wide gap between the curb and the car. Other people actually parked on the curb. Some park with the wheels touching the curb and some with the wheels only an inch away. Some are rather crooked. It is very educational to see what other people do, both to learn what NOT to do and to learn what is typical and acceptable.

You can do the same thing at the parking lot at the mall - or anywhere where there are a lot of cars parked.


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idntonkw
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23 Jul 2021, 2:52 am

Bre2003 wrote:
I'm going to college this August and it's an hour away from my house. I live in a pretty rural area, so I'll have to drive myself around.

The problem is, I suck at driving. I live in Virginia and here you have to drive 45 hours with a family member as part of the application for the driver's license. And I almost have all my hours done, but I'm so not confident in my driving ability.

The actual driving on the road part is fine. I can manage the speed, the curves (i live on a mountain so it's pretty curvy), and the other cars.

What's messing with me is everything else. Parking, making sure I'm straight when I pull into a space, stopping at red lights and managing the other 10 cars and trying to figure out if it's my turn to go.

My dad is the one who has been telling me. But the problem is that he's getting old and it's difficult for him to think and explain things, especially in a way I can understand. Often he will tell me to do something only to tell me to do the opposite just seconds later.

It's so stressful and I almost had a meltdown because I couldn't line the car up straight in the carport. I was literally about to pull out my hair or make an impulsive decision to ram into the wall. I felt like crying and him yelling at me wasn't helping at all.

The fact that I have 1 month to learn all of this AND test with a random person at the DMV in a car I'm not familiar with in an area I'm not familiar with is stressing me out so much. But I have to have it. I don't live in an area where Uber or lift is common and there aren't any stable buses here I could ride. I don't even have any friends who could drive me.


i can teach you how to drive (most likely)
to pass the test, you need to hire a driving school to take you in their car to the test, this way, the tester will do a wink wink with the driving school and pass you
practice doing Left, Right, Stop and Go in a car and say it outloud each time you do it. you will learn!
this may be good to learn from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPUPciP ... JQgw-kuOkj



QuietThoughts
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24 Jul 2021, 1:01 am

Try finding your reference points. Forward bay parking: use the mirror and align it with the bay line (when you think it does) before turning in, for example.