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Normal driving lesson

The normal lesson is based around a two hour period (this has been shown to be the most productive method of teaching) e.g. two one hour lessons will consist of a recap of previous lesson, what was learnt? etc. Then set a target or objective for the next lesson (allow 10 minutes). Drive to suitable area for the lesson (allow 5 minutes). Lesson brief for the exercise (allow 10 minutes). Practice and develop new skill set (allow 20 minutes). Return to home and debrief (allow 15 minutes). Times this by two (120 minutes) this only give 40 minutes of actual hands on practice. Whereas a single two hour lesson cuts out one return trip and debrief 15 minutes, one lesson briefing 10 minutes and one drive to a suitable practice area 5 minutes adding an extra 30 minutes to your practice time. Making much efficiency in your time management.


For your very first lesson we will introduce you to the car identify and name its controls and how to use them. This is a question and answer session and is usually performed away from your home in a quite area. Next we will discus some of the terms and acronyms used during your driver training, followed by setting the car up for you as the driver so that you can reach and use all the controls and instruments including the mirrors safely. In some cases we will even drive the car for the very first time during this lesson.

The Syllabus
Cockpit check Dual carriage ways
Use of controls & instruments Turning the vehicle around
Moving away & stopping safely Reversing
Safe positioning Parking
Mirrors - vision & use Stopping in an emergency
Correct use of signals Legal responsibilities
Anticipation & planning Safety checks
Appropriate use of speed Environmental issues
Dealing with other traffic Carrying passengers & loads
Using junctions Coping with adverse weather conditions and night driving
Roundabouts Security
Pedestrian crossings Independent driving

You may need to refer to the Controls and the Gears page in conjunction with this first lesson. When you have an understanding of the controls and instruments it is then time to set the car up for you as the driver.

Every time we have a driver change it will be likely as not that we have to make some adjustments to the seat, steering column/wheel and the mirrors etcetera. DSSSM is an easy way to remember the adjustments we are likely to want to make.

Doors Seat Steering Seat belt Mirrors

As you are the driver of the car you are solely responsible for the the safety of your passengers so it remains to you to ensure all the doors are closed properly. In the school car when any of the doors are not secure a red indicator is displayed on the instrument panel, ask the person seated nearest the door to make sure it is closed properly.

Adjust your seat so that you can depress the clutch pedal fully with your left leg and whilst keeping your heel off the floor make sure you still have a little flex left in your leg and is not fully extended. There should be no hip movement required to reach the full extent of the pedal range, the seat has a lever to the side at your right this will allow to adjust the seat up or down. Finally a round knob to the rear of the seat will adjust the back/upright position holding the steering wheel at ten to two or quarter to three position your arms should not be fully extended.

If the steering wheel is too close or far away from your knees there is on the underside of the steering column a small lever when released this will allow a slight up and down as well as in and out movement of the steering column make your adjustment as necessary and secure the lever.

When applying your seat belt make sure the belt is not twisted. In the event of an accident if a belt is twisted, it is weakened at the fold. Also at this point the belt is now narrower and will apply a greater force to the body and may compound any injuries sustained in the accident.

The mirrors are the window of the world behind you and it is equally as important to know what is going on behind as in front so a half second glance in the centre mirror will keep you informed of any change in the situation behind you. Adjust the centre mirror so that you can see the entire rear screen, avoid touching the lens with your fingers. The door mirrors are adjusted using the electronic switch in the door panel to your right.


Now that the car is set up for you you are ready to start the engine but before you start the engine you MUST ensure that the gear lever is in the neutral position and that the parking brake is firmly on. This routine must be carried out before starting the engine at ANY time even after a stall. This is called the 'safety check'. Ford recommend you depress the clutch fully whilst starting the engine when the engine fires release the ignition key.


Preparing to move off

Prepare Observe Move the preparation involves getting the car to a state of readiness with only the parking brake stopping the car from moving off.

Clutch down select 1st gear bring the clutch to the bite point and prepare the parking brake by lifting up the brake handle until you can fully depress the release button keep the brake on.

Do a 'six point check' left blind spot (over left shoulder through the rear passenger window), left door mirror, centre mirror, the road ahead, right door mirror, right blind spot (over right shoulder through the rear passenger window). If another road user would benefit by seeing a signal apply a right signal or if no signal is necessary slowly release the parking brake with a final check over your right blind spot if all is clear fully release the parking brake count to three and slowly release the clutch, return left foot to rest at the side of the clutch. Steer right then straighten the wheel when the car is approximately 0.5 metre from the kerb. Apply a little pressure with the right foot to the gas pedal.

To stop the car check centre and left door mirror and apply signal if of benefit to other roads users (remember oncoming traffic and pedestrians may benefit) lift your right foot completely off the gas pedal and steer left and straighten the car when you are approximately a drain covers width from the kerb left foot on the clutch and depress fully to the floor, right foot gently on the brake and stop. Keep feet on the pedals secure the car by applying the parking brake and select neutral, relax feet.

The Mini is fitted with the latest 'Stop Start' technology and when coming to a rest in neutral and applying the parking brake the engine will cut off! the moment you depress the clutch the engine will restart automatically.