What tips and advice do you have for folks learning to drive much later in their lives? Am I a lost cause at 32?
BHPian lordtottuu recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
So I have a bit of an odd confession to make (for a car forum): while I’m 32 years old and have owned cars for well over a third of my life, I’ve never formally learnt how to drive or driven more than a few metres. My only actual driving experiences have been taking my beemer around, very tentatively, at 5 kmph on a private road.
I didn’t have a dad around to teach me early in my life and the older I got, the more anxious I became of learning to drive or driving itself. Overwhelmed is the word I would use to express how I’d felt.
I’ve always had a chauffeur as being insulated from having to deal with the general nuisance on our roads was something I was happy to pay for.
Enter an unprecedented pandemic. The world as I knew it had been upended — nothing really made sense anymore. All three cars sat in the garage while the wife and I would carpool with our neighbors on their weekly supermarket run. As things started settling down, it dawned on me just how reliant I had become on having someone to drive me around.
As my wife had been driving years prior, she took over driving duties with the implicit understanding that I would learn soon, even if just for emergencies. After months of hemming and hawing, here I am. I started classes to learn how to drive stick last week and am about six classes in. While I understand an internal combustion engine and all the theory and science behind it, actually operating one myself has been a very revealing experience.
Before you ask, yes, I stalled the engine more than once and did tap the gas pedal when I intended to brake. With the initial nervousness gone, I’m now merely doing my best at getting my muscle memory right. I realised I do much better when I’m chatting with the instructor and letting my nascent muscle memory do the work instead of gripping the wheel and allowing myself to over-analyse myself into a spiral.
So as we end this, I have two questions:
- How did you learn how to drive? And from whom?
- What tips and advice do you have for folks learning to drive much later in their lives? Am I a lost cause at 32?
Here’s what BHPian Eddy had to say on the matter:
I hope you are prepared for a million answers on this forum, a majority of which would say that they started before the legal driving age. The conservative ones (like me) started at 18 years and 1 day.
That said, I don’t think there will be a challenge at all for you to learn. My dad learnt at the age of 47, he didn’t own a car before that. And from your post, it is quite evident that you’ve already won 70% of the battle. All it needs now is practice.
My only request is to learn on the Triber as much as possible, the other 2 are quite powerful machines and can be a handful for a new driver. And it always helps to know how to drive a manual (assuming that the Triber is a manual variant).
Here’s what BHPian FlashMustang had to say on the matter:
Congrats on taking the steps to learning to drive by yourself! You are on the right track. Continue practicing to drive and you would get it in no time.
1. I learned by enrolling myself into Maruti Driving School in Bangalore. I learned from the various instructors they had at the driving school. I was 28 when I joined the driving school for my driving lessons. Post completing my driving classes, I got my driving license.
2. Ensure that you learn it right the first time and learn it from the right people. I was taught everything from having to adjust the mirrors and the seating position before starting the car, checking the dashboard indicators, parking (parallel, perpendicular, angled), driving in congested situations, narrow lanes, free flowing city traffic, driving on mild inclines, driving over flyover, using the rear view mirrors, and many more. Most importantly, I was also given an overview of defensive driving. These truly gave me confidence to drive.
Thereafter, I bought my car after a couple of months and started driving from day one.
I was apprehensive initially, and I used to drive slowly and more cautiously, but, I kept at it. Cabs who honked behind me used to give me jitters; cabs, auto rickshaws, and two wheelers who drove with inches of separation between them and me used to give me anxiety. But, with time, I got a better understanding and gained better judgement of distances between my car and other vehicles.
With time, you gain a better understanding of the capabilities and limits of the car you drive, and its blind spots.
I also practiced defensive driving. With time on the road, through observations of patterns, my ability to anticipate the potential actions of other drivers increased. I practiced the thumb rule that, if something can go wrong, it will, and it’s up to us to prevent it from happening.
I started making a few short distance highway trips after the first couple of months or so, thereby increasing my exposure to driving and the time I spent at the wheel and the kilometers I drove. With time, I gained confidence.
I took every opportunity to drive – I created many of them. I enjoy driving and it’s a cathartic experience for me.
At 32, you are not far from where I started at 28. You have the advantage of not having the adrenaline rush of the early years of life. You have less urge to prove a point to other road users. You are more in control of your decisions, and you have better maturity to let go of nonsensical behavior on roads and stay at peace, and not get worked up or get provoked by others’ actions. So, you stand to benefit from starting at 32 years of age!
In a nutshell, my suggestion would be to increase the time you spend at the wheel, practice driving, and keep at it and you would be comfortable driving in no time!
All the best and happy driving!
Here’s what BHPian abhishek46 had to say on the matter:
I have tried to clarify, based on my own experiences.
1. Get Enrolled in a good quality driving school. Maruti’s Driving Schools are quite good. I recommend them.
2. My Father learnt driving at the age of 60. An age of 32 is Nothing.
Here’s what BHPian RedTerrano had to say on the matter:
One day I realised my dad was leaving home earlier than usual. So I asked him why and he said, he is going for Yoga classes. Hearing this, my mom just smiled.
Later on, when he took us to book the car (Premier Padmini, floor shift, bucket seats), he confessed he had been attending some motor school to learn driving. There was no way he was going to let someone else drive his very first car home. He was 55 back then.
Here’s what BHPian gopikb had to say on the matter:
Learning driving is never too late mate. It is just the mind and the anxiousness which is typical for every Newbie driver. Dont worry about it and you are bound to get settled within a couple of weeks and your subconcious mind takes over.
Just ensure that you drive at a safe speed depending on the condition and vehicle density on the road, always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, follow lane discipline, always use indictors when making a turn, use both side mirrors and rear mirror diligently, and never bring vehicle to an abrupt halt unless there is a critical emergency on the road ahead of you.
My father was always chauffeur driven when he was working and one fine day at 60 years he got retired and was given a car as parting gift. He could not even drive the car back home since he was zero on 4 wheeler driving. He started learning to drive at 60 years and did manage alone until he was 75. Now, we have plugged his driving due to his incidence of Vertigo occasionally. So age is just a number. Learning new skill is possible at any age as long as you are enjoying it.
For the record, I learned driving when I was 26. All the best as you start driving and I am sure you will enjoy every bit of it.
Here’s what BHPian akshay4587 had to say on the matter:
My Mom Learnt to drive at 53, she knew the basics and had learnt to drive earlier too; but could never continue with it. At 53, she was taught to drive by my Wife, and she was extremely patient with her. The moment she was confident, she bought a car, and didn’t look back.
Here’s what BHPian Gansan had to say on the matter:
I learned to drive on a used Sipani Dolphin I bought when I was about 33 years old! In fact I bought it just to learn driving! It is a relatively young age to learn, trust me. I occassionally see retired gents learning to drive in my vicinity, and buy a car from their retirement funds!
I had been riding Motorbikes from 18 years of age, of course. So there was no fear about the traffic. I was used to road conditions. I thought what is the big deal, a car simply has two more wheels and clutch/brake/throttle are placed differently and one has to account for the bigger dimensions than a bike.
The friend from whom I bought the Dolphin brought and left it at my home. I employed an old friend from my school days who was driving cabs, as my “instructor”. He applied for and got me a learner licence. The first day he drove the car with me in the passenger seat, to an open ground. I learned to engage first/second/third gears and slowly drive around the open lot. The second day I myself slowly drove the car in first gear to his home nearby, from where he took the wheel and drove to the same ground. That day it was about engaging and driving in reverse gear. He placed some rocks to simulate “In” and “Out” gates, parked cars etc and I had to drive in/out/around them in reverse. We spent two to three hours in the ground on both days.
From day three he made me drive on the road, with him as passenger and corrected / instructed me as we went along. I went up to top gear and drove at moderate speeds. In about ten days I felt comfortable and terminated his services, paying the agreed amount of Rs 500! After a month I appeared for and got the LMV endorsement in my licence. That was in 1993!
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