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Now that we’ve gotten our new driver into the right position (see our previous article here), we’re ready to get started building the basic skills of driving.

Where Should I Start? The Basics.

As a first step you’ll want to find a big, empty parking lot to run through the following drills. If you have some cones, or a plastic trash can, bring those along.

• Stationary Drills: With the car in Park and the engine running, work through the controls: pivoting between pedals and steering wheel range of motion (turning lock-to-lock – practice hand-over-hand)

• Low Speed Motion: Creeping (car in gear, foot off the brake but no added accelerator pedal), gentle acceleration and braking in a straight line, stopping on target, and turning around objects (use your cones or trash can to drive in circles and do U-turns around them). Be sure to maintain proper form and check for turning of the head to move the eyes as needed.

Given the complexities of driving, the key is to start small and work each new skill until it’s boring for both you and your driver. In this case “boring” means that the skill is nearly automatic and can be executed without the driver having to think about it. Because this process is so learning intensive, we recommend keeping your sessions to 1 hour or less to avoid fatigue and minimize the chances of a bad experience behind the wheel as a result. Note that it may take multiple hours of practice to finish these basics, so don’t rush. Make sure it’s really boring before moving on.

What’s Next?

Once your driver has proven their consistency in the above basic drills (aka it’s boring), we’re ready to move forward with some larger scale activities. These will be low to moderate speed activities in the parking lot (10-30 mph max).

Create figure 8 and slalom (winding) routes and have them drive them in both directions on repeat. Be sure to use the Figure 8 to work on practicing speed adjustment into and out of corners. For the slalom, make sure to stagger the distance between the cones rather than using a consistent distance. The varied distance will force your driver to move their eyes and calculate the appropriate trajectory through the slalom.

Want a Head Start?

Greenlight Simulation will get your new driver started by teaching them these basics and more with their state-of-the-art simulator-based technology. Our training packages were designed by driving experts who have trained professional race car and special ops drivers around the world. No matter what route you take, this is an exciting milestone that will give you both more freedom and we wish you luck!