What does it feel like to drive a car?

You would be thinking when you begin, "how many turns at the steering wheel does it take before the wheels lock?", or, "if the turns of the steering wheel vary from car to car, will I be able to drive this car?", but in fact, you just feel it.

Turn too shallow? Turn more. Turn too deep? Turn less.

There's also the case of the throttle. How do I step on the throttle? Too deep, the car will jump. Too slight, the car will stall. It becomes muscle memory over time.

In fact, it becomes an extension of your body and mind. Need for speed? Step on the throttle. Tired and tipsy? The car is just as wobbly.

Then the time comes when you have to drive in the middle of civilization. Too many laws, too many other cars that don't follow the road lines, too many jaywalkers. Will they die? Will I die? Truth is, nothing will happen if you don't think about it.

Then you start realizing that the controls aren't really complicated. They were when you were a kid, because there were no words. (which is exactly why kids aren't allowed to drive on the street) Now it's just like reading the labels on a stove.

As an enthusiast, though, driving a car feels like watching my favorite show every second. The smile on my face is put there every time I realize that I'm driving physics around. That some exploding metal pieces can make me go faster than a tree-hugging commuter.
When you are learning how to drive a car, you have to think about each and every thing that you need to do. Just making a car with automatic transmission go forward requires you to
a) put your foot on the brake,
b) put the key in the ignition,
c) turn the ignition,
d) put the car in gear
e) look ahead to see if the road is clear
f) Check your mirrors to see if they are properly aligned
g) Make sure there are no other cars/pedesterians coming in to where you want to go
h) Release the foot of the brake to make the car go forward

8 steps that need to be done in the proper sequence. And this is going forward, in an automatic transmission. You have a car with manual transmission, and you have to add about 3 more steps. You are trying to reverse, you need to add 3 more.

So, just trying to remember all these steps can be overwhelming. On top of that, you are trying to remember all these things while the car is moving. Once the car moves, it moves. You can feel the momentum of a 2 tonne box of metal move with you. Trying to remember all the steps that you need to do while the car is moving can be stressful for many. Note: In google, type "Scared of learning", the first suggestion that comes up "Scared of learning to drive"


I remember when my stepson was a couple of years away from driving, and yet car-obsessed. He played countless hours of console video driving games. We got him pedal-and-wheel setups, and since I had a competition driving background, he invited me to play along with him.

He was an experienced gamer, and adapted to the new "rules of engagement" rapidly, beating even the most advanced games at the highest difficulty settings rapidly.

I was an experienced driver, and could barely keep the damn "car" on the "track" at "clueless n00b" settings.

He was baffled, and asked how could this be.

I said "You gotta remember, driving is only partly about visual perception and eye-hand coordination. You hear things, you feel things - the engine winding up, the gravel under the tires, the slight slip as you overcook the entrance to the turn - things that you can never EVER translate into a video game."

He didn't get it. Until he did, years later, driving.

Driving is visceral. Particularly if you chose to do so in more primitive machines - no ABS, no automatic transmission, narrower tires, taught suspension, lower power.

You feel everything. You hear everything. It's a full immersion experience, from the roadside moving past you at high speed to mentally calculating "closing distance" as you come up on slower moving traffic to the vestibular pull of the G-forces as you round a corner quickly or your head snaps back as you downshift and punch it.

Its the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Oh. And watch this.

It's an awesome experience. Once you develop the automatic, intuitive way of switching indicator lights, interchanging clutch/brake/accelerator pedals so smoothly you barely notice it yourself, listening to the revs on the edge of your conscious to know when to switch gears; once you master not the HOW, but the WHY of the traffic rules - the logic of how they've come to be exactly the way they are; once you've agreed to the silent assumption that others can and often should be expected to drive worse than you do, so you have to drive extra carefully and with every ounce of traffic intuition that you can find -

you become one with the heavy steel-and-plastic animal, you are a part of the single organism that is the car with the driver, your hands and legs are extensions of its gears and axles, making the complex mechanism fulfill its transportation task impeccably, your eyes on all sides of your head and in three mirrors at once. You acquire the exoskeleton that flies you along the highway, obeying your every little command. If you know how this organism functions, then it will serve you well and the joy you will get from moving at speeds higher than your fastest running will be comparable to soaring through the sky or gliding through water.

Oh, and if there is music that you like and good suspension, this awesomeness has just been magnified twofold.

It feels like you're inside a moving box sitting on tires, lol. Feels awesome generally, when you first start driving after getting your license, you feel like driving non-stop. You may even feel like you're playing a car race game, especially on highway while on high-speed or trying to race other cars/vehicles. When I started learning, I didn't go to highway straight away, I started in our compound then later moved to very low traffic streets. The first day I would drive on express way feels horrible, if I was the only one in the car, I would have involved in accident. Firstly the feeling of going to the highway made me feel so anxious, I was really afraid that the worst could happen, my hands were shaky, my leg was also shaking on the gas pedal. When I finally got to the highway at about 70km/hr the car was swerving, was really going from left to right, I didn't know I had to press brake pedal before getting too close to vehicles in front of me. Big thanks to my tutor, he cautioned me. After driving on highway for about two weeks, I already got over the fears and became confident while driving till today. Now I could go up to 140km/hr.


Learning to drive is the best.

First few weeks you enjoy the part of driving to your destination. Little things like parking well in one try makes you happy. You don't mind the slow traffic (depends on your place, here in Philippines it sucks bad) while listening to your lovely playlist in your car stereo.

Then after a few months when this becomes a habit, driving is now a part of your routine. You mainly drive just because you need to get to somewhere and not because you enjoy the fact that you learnt to drive yourself from one place to another with your car. Traffic, the hassle of parking, etc. is now a burden.
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