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Why is it important to get lots of practice?
If you want to be good at something, you need plenty of practice – and in different conditions and times.
Learning a new skill
Think about this; learning to drive is learning to play a sport – for example tennis.
First, you develop an interest and find out the requirements to play (How old you must be to drive, who can teach you, what the basic rules are, etc.)
You find a good coach (the driving instructor) and someone to practice with (you parent/guardian or older friend)
You learn the basic skills (Steering, braking, turning, etc.), and practice at the local level.
As you improve, you begin to realize there is more to it than you first thought. You need to learn how to position yourself to have time and space to react to opposition players; how to anticipate what other players may do; and how to cope with different playing surfaces and conditions (You practice driving on different roads and at different times and in different conditions.)
After lots of lessons and practice you are ready for greater challenges (freeways, night time driving, wet weather)
Eventually after more practice, you no longer need either your coach or your practice partner. (You gain your Provisional (P) License)
If you skills begin to slip, (for example, reversing or changing lanes) you can take another couple of lessons.)
How much practice is enough (when learning to drive)?
Driving is more difficult than it looks.
There is more to it than just handling the vehicles controls and maneuvering the car around the roads. (These are called the physical skills of driving)
There are a lot of decisions to be made while driving, like “who has right of way here?” Can I turn left from this lane?” and using the road rules. (These are called the cognitive or thinking skills of driving) At the same time you must look out for and manage unexpected hazards – such as other road users and changing weather conditions. (These are called perceptual or detection skills).
It takes a long time to put all these skills together and be a good driver. In fact, most road safety experts warn you will need at least 120 hours of driving practice. That sounds like a lot, but it is not that difficult to build up this number of hours.
Most young people have their learners permit for at least a year, and practicing 2-3 hours a week is achievable. Every time you are in a car, you should be behind the steering wheel! Even short trips to school, work or sport can quickly add up to a lot of hours.
It is important that over the learner period every possible type of driving experience is practiced. The support – and extra set of eyes – that your supervisor can give during practice drives is invaluable
Make sure that the first time you come up against a difficult driving situation isn’t when you are in the car on your own, after you have got your ‘P’s’.
The more experience you get in the learner period the safer you will be when you are on your own!