We haven’t all got the luxury of affording tuition or insurance on our own car in order to learn to drive, and from these frustrating ashes were born the twin phoenixes of driving simulators and online driving games.
A driving simulator does exactly what it says on the tin: it gives you experience of being in a car without actually requiring you to drive on real-life roads; instead, you learn inside, using a computer. The effects are generally very realistic, and you’re sat in a cockpit type area which is kitted out like a real car, so it’s pretty effective, especially for getting you used to being in a car. It’s great for learning where all the controls are, and gives you a good taste of driving with none of the risk.
That said, it still doesn’t come cheap – an hour clocks in at not much less than an actual lesson, with up to 6 hours of practice allowed – but if you’re a complete novice and you really don’t know where to begin your driving tuition, it’s worth considering. What’s more, you don’t have to be 17 to have a go. The simulator is run by driving franchise BSM, so they generally know what they’re doing – plus there are several locations around the UK.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to home – or closer to budget – then consider a bit of light-hearted fun with online driving games. No, we’re not talking about rally and Formula 1 games, where you simply belt around a track and if you crash into a wall then the screen wobbles and you carry on. We’re talking about enhancing your practical skills here.
It may sound far-fetched, but games like Parking Perfection (versions 1-4, plus several mutations) are a great way to get practising your parking skills. It’s nowhere near as technical as the real thing, but it gives you an excellent idea of the line you need to follow, how far you need to turn the wheel at a given moment, and the best way to park in a given space. There are different levels to master, and you can try out all sorts of different situations. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes here are there, it’s worth a go. Simply search online for any number of websites that provide the game and its variants.