Steering clear of trouble

Learning to steerLook at what you want to hit!

Your first response to the statement above might be "I don't want to hit anything!" But...

You will be drawn towards whatever you put your main focus of attention on (what you look at). So it follows that if you look at the obstacles, you will probably hit them! Almost all steering problems are related to observation.

By looking well ahead and keeping your eyes moving you will be gathering as much information as possible, this is essential for effective steering control.

When steering through narrow gaps, for example, between parked cars, keep looking well ahead and aim for the clear space. If you look ahead early you will always be on the correct course, you don't need to look at the obstructions.

Steering to turn right  - learning to driveThis is a bit like throwing a dart or shooting an arrow from a bow. The aim is taken early and then the arrow follows the correct course.

Turning right (or left in the USA)

Many new drivers have problems when turning right or completing the final leg of the turn-in-the-road (three point turn) manoeuvre. This is because they are looking in the wrong place!

The natural tendency is to look at the end of the bonnet or directly in front of the car, but you should be looking through your driver's door window. Fix your view well along the new road and then as your head or your eyes start to move back towards the front (this will happen as the car moves around the corner) move the steering wheel with them.

On the diagram below, the drivers starts to steer at point 'A'. At this point observation should be (assuming that it is safe to turn) through the driver's door window, towards point 'C'.

At point 'B' the driver's head will be moving back to the front as the view of point 'C' is moving from the driver's door window to the windscreen.

As the driver's head moves, the wheel should also move (gently) to straighten up the car. This is because, although the car is still angled across the road at point 'B', the front wheels are pointing towards point 'C'.

Drivers who do not 'Look at what they want to hit' (point 'C') will usually straighten up late or need to rush the steering, turning the wheel faster than is really necessary.