What Is Car Control?
You’ve got your provisional driving licence, you’ve got Auntie Sue supervising you, so you get
behind the wheel, start the engine and go for a drive, right? After you’ve stalled the car on the
driveway a few times and kangaroo-hopped the car down the road putting everybody in the
neighbourhood in danger, you realise that maybe there’s more to driving than just getting in and
turning the key, so Auntie Sue takes you to the nearest empty car-park to learn some car control.
There are two main aspects to learning to drive – car control and road craft. Road craft is all about
how to use the roads and interact with other road users, but you have to know how to control the car
Car control is about starting and stopping the car, changing direction and manoeuvring. It’s a lot
more difficult than it looks, as you have to co-ordinate your observation, adjusting your feet on the
pedals, and your hands on the steering wheel as well as changing gear and using the indicators. Just
like learning to ride a bike you first learn to put the pedalling, balance and steering together in your
back garden or the park before you start learning about riding on the road. It’s the same with car
driving. Your brain has to build new neural pathways to put all these fine controls together until
they become second nature. In just a couple of hours of lessons you’ll be able to look around,
indicate and move off smoothly without stalling the car. In a few hours more you will start to be
able to do it without having to think through every step. In between, you’ll need a lot of practice to
develop the co-ordination required.
When you start working on car control your driving instructor, or whoever is supervising you, will
take you to a quiet car park or very quiet streets. The first things you will learn are how to move off
smoothly, finding the clutch “bite point”, and how to slow down and stop smoothly. Once you can
do that, you will be taught to always make observations using your windows and mirrors before and
during any manoeuvre. With the bite point and observations mastered, you can add in steering and
signalling, and will be taught how to turn corners smoothly. It will only be once you are completely
confident in these basic areas of car control that you can be expected to drive along a road with
other road users and start learning road craft. Alongside your road craft you will keep returning to
car control as you learn more complex manoeuvres such as reverse parallel parking, reversing into a
bay or around a corner, and performing an emergency stop.
You may also hear about “The System of Car Control” which is a term used in Advanced Car
Driving, and although that’s not what we are talking about today, it’s worthy of a mention. It’s one
thought and driving process that you think through whenever you approach any hazard: Information
- observation of the hazard and other road users; Position – to get better visibility or protect your
driving space; Speed – adjust your speed as you approach the hazard; Gear – select the most
appropriate gear for best car response; Acceleration – once safe, smoothly accelerate to move away
from the hazard.
To find out more about learning to drive in Glasgow contact TX Driver Training now on 0141 764