How to Operate the Vehicle’s Primary Controls to Pass Road Test

– Hi there, smart drivers,
Rick with Smart Drive Test. I am licensed driving instructor teaching cars, trucks,
buses and air brakes. And I’ve authored the book
“Air Brakes Explained Simply”. You can find that over
at the website there: Today, we’re talking
about primary controls. The steering wheel, the
throttle and the brake. And the throttle can also
be called the gas pedal or the accelerator. For those of you driving
manual transmissions, you’re also gonna be
working with the clutch. Now, if you don’t have any
previous experience driving, you didn’t grow up
driving the lawn tractor cutting the grass, home, didn’t grow up on a farm driving equipment and those types of things, or you haven’t ridden
a bicycle in traffic, this is the place to start. (chuckles) If you drop me a question
down in the comment asking me how much to
turn the steering wheel when you go around a corner
or your corners are too wide and those types of things, these are the exercises
that you need to do. These are the fundamentals
of learning how to drive. These are comparable to drills in sports and they’re comparable to scales in music. When learning how to sing or
play a musical instrument. These are the fundamentals
of learning how to drive. It will make you a better driver overall. And accelerate your
learning in preparation for taking a road test
and earning your license. So, do these. And for a handout of
the exercises done here, click the link down in the description. And, as well, when you
get about halfway through your driving lessons, come
back to these fundamentals and practice them again to get mastery of the primary controls in preparation for your road test and
earning your license. So without further ado, let’s get started. First thing you wanna do is just drive straight forward and backwards. So, set your cones up at
a fair distance apart, probably six or eight car lengths, and then just drive forward. So, we’re just gonna drive
down the parking lot. Seatbelt on, both hands
on the steering wheel, (engine roaring) and we drive up to the pylon, and just a little bit a throttle, and then just brake so you
can see the top of the cone. Don’t worry about driving into it, that’s what the next lesson is for. So, reversing, looking out the back, hand over the back of this, looking out the back window,
and driving straight back, (engine whirring) to the other pylon, (computer beeps) and then just a little bit of throttle, see what it feels like, push down, let up, push down. Okay. And then come to a stop. Do that three or four times. You can see, I’m not in line, so I’m moving the steering wheel, okay. So just back and forth a couple of times, get used to that, get used to reversing, (gear shifts) into reverse, looking out the back window, because you have to do that for
the purposes of a road test. (engine whirring) And again, I’ll put, and all this, the videos down in the description about what you need to do
to pass your road test. Okay, so we’ve done
that a couple of times, now we’re gonna work the
steering wheel a little bit. And what I want you to do is just go down and drive around the
one pylon and figure out what the steering radius
is on the vehicle. (engine roaring) So, we just turn the steering wheel hand over hand for most of you. Some of you are gonna be hand to hand. (asphalt crunching under wheels) But for most of you, you’re going to be, hand over hand. All right, hand over hand
and we’re just working the steering wheel here,
a little bit a throttle. You can let down, push down
on the throttle a little bit, and then let up on the throttle. And just see what the
response is on the throttle. Driving around in circles here. (engine whirring) Okay. And it’s not that complicated, just get used to the steering wheel. Get used to the throttle,
throttle up a little bit, drive around the other cone up here, and then let off the throttle. All right. Now, next one I want you
to get used to the brake. So, race down the parking lot, give it some throttle, (engine accelerating) And then push the brake in really hard. See how it feels, okay, get used to that. So, another one. Up the parking lot, hit the
brake, and see how it responds. (engine roaring loudly) You can see in throttling up quite a bit, on the tachometer there,
it’s going up to 4000 R.P.M. Okay, so now, you’ve, steering wheel, the
throttle, and the brake, and I would suggest you work
on that for half an hour to an hour and you get really comfortable with what the pylons are, sorry, what the primary controls are doing. You don’t really have to
worry about hitting the pylons and those types of things. And then the last
exercises we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do figure eights, my favorite. For figure eights, you’re
gonna need the pylons about three car lengths apart. And as you get better and better at it you can move the pylons closer together. Essentially, you just drive forward, (tires crunching on asphalt) cross the pylons like this, and then come back around the other way. And remember, the slower you go, the sharper the vehicle turns. So, know that when your trying
to go around the pylons. As you get the pylons closer together, you’re gonna have to go slower in order for the vehicle to turn. Okay. It’s a, when you see
cars in the parking lot and they’re backing up
and you watch the driver and it’s a really tight space, they’re close to the other
vehicles and they go, (gasps quickly) (laughs) The car doesn’t get smaller, that’s the, not the car getting smaller mechanism. What happens is, is they
suck in their breath, they let their foot off the
throttle, the car slows down, and it actually turns sharper.
So that’s what happens. So, nice and slow, do that a few times. Forward figure eights, when you get comfortable with
doing forward figure eights, and the fun part begins. You’re gonna do reverse figure eights. And this is gonna mess with
your head a little bit, as well. It’ll also make you a much better driver. So, nice figure eights. And the other thing
is, is don’t, you know, you’re gonna be looking around, you’re gonna be moving
your head around a lot as you’re doing this exercise. And it’s really good for
combining the primary controls, combining the steering wheel,
combining the throttle, and if you’re working in
a manual transmission, it’s also combining the clutch as well. A little bit a brake because
we’re going down hill here so we’re gonna have to brake a little bit. So, those are the exercises
that I want you to do. Straight back and forth. Work the throttle, work the brake. Be aggressive with the
throttle and the brake. And then go around in circles, and get used to, turning the vehicle, feel what the steering wheel does, throttle up a little bit
in the corners as well, and feel it break loose a little bit. What it’s called over steering
or under steering, as well, when you’re going around corners, and then finally do your figure eights, forward figure eights and
reverse figure eights, and you can see I’m doing
reverse figure eights here. And I’m not going very fast. (engine roaring) and this exercises, these three exercises, straight forward, around in circles, and forward and reverse figure eights is going to teach you mastery
of the primary controls. And you need to have mastery
of the primary controls before you head out into traffic. Please do not head out into traffic if you don’t know how far
to turn the steering wheel when you’re making a right or left turn. Because you are not ready
to be in traffic yet. You need to do this by yourself without any other vehicles
around so you can focus just on doing this, because you can see, I’m a veteran driver and I can talk to you at the same time while I’m
driving around the parking lot doing reverse figure eights. I’ve got enough experience
that I’m able to do that. But you as a new driver,
a learning driver, are gonna have to give your
complete concentration to this. So, do that. For another video, click here. And remember, pick the best answer, not necessarily the right answer. Have a great day. Bye now.


  1. Hi Rick, firstly thank you for what your are doing for all those who want to better their skills with driving or the new drivers and coming to my concern I drove in a place where rules were not followed but now I’ve moved to Canada and my concern is I’m unable to concentrate on the navigation boards and then maintaining speed I swerve when a big/small vehicle comes next to my lane I automatically hit the breaks.
    I have issues maintaining speed or curvy roads

    Please suggest steps how to over come these issues

    Thanks in advance for your time and help

  2. Well done Rick for these Maneuvers can they also count as slow speed maneuver drills in addition to three point turn parallel parking and stopping positions.

  3. This is so so timely! I had sent you an email recently and we talked about how my instructor just threw me right on to the streets with zero previous driving experience. So I really appreciate this video a lot. Thank you.

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