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How (and when) did you learn to drive ?

2692 Views 29 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Fast Bob
This is a subject worthy of revival every few years, so here goes....I`ll lead off....

I learned to drive at around 13....I had 2 friends (brothers) whose father operated a coal yard (many homes and businesses still used coal for heat in those days) which covered about 4 or 5 acres, and we started out driving pickup trucks, later moving up to the bigger rigs in the yard. We became adept at acquiring cars that people were about to send to the junkyard, and eventually all three of us had "our own" cars, and we would tear ass around the gravel lot way in the back, learning how to steer with the throttle . As the days got longer, we would drive our junkers through a few hundred yards of woods that seperated the coal yard from a large cemetary (which closed promptly at 5 p.m.), and do our best impression of road racers on the (narrow) paved cemetary roads. We always joked about the cemetary workers looking at our skid marks the next day, and wondering how the hell they got there
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I started on a snowmobile at 8 and rode those fourwheelers and dirtbikes since. Then I had to learn how to drive various tractors (a few fences are missing in Iowa) and large trucks as my grandparents were farmers. I bought my first car when I was 15 almost 16 which was a 97 vr4 (rip). When I entered mizzou I joined the Formula team and after a few mounth they started me out learning how to drive a racecar and taking proper racing lines. That's when I really learned how to drive.

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My brother and i used to swipe my stepmothers keys when she went out with friends and drive her car around the neighborhood. The first time I drove it, being 13 or 14 and never having had instructions, I just stomped on the gas, then panicked and hit the brake, then back on the gas, then the brake again... Took me a while to figure it out. It was just blind luck that neither of us hit anything.

One point of pride, even though I'm the youngest of three children, I was the first with a drivers license.
When I was 8 on fishing trips with my dad. He would let me drive the dirt roads near the cabin where we stayed.
I learned to drive to some extent riding lawnmowers and my grandfathers large farm tractors. Then driving his truck in the fields.

I learned to drive a stick shift when my stepdad left me at the dealership where I got my first car, a 1972 toyota celica. Salesman asked if I knew how to drive a stickshift and I said no. Then he's like how are you going to get home then? I said I guess I'll wing it :)

Didnt kill it but 2 times I think. Was a wild ride home.....

Learn to really drive auto crossing.
I lived in Japan at the time and Dad put me in his 4 spd VW squareback. (maybe it was 5) Weird learning a left hand drive in a right hand country. About that time is when I found out that I couldnt push start my moms automatic corolla, that would flood as my friends and I joy rode while she was sleeping. Then when I was 17 had to relearn to drive in the USA on the right side of the road with my 71 super beetle. Had to get use to NOT stopping at railroad crossings and making left turns at major intersections were challenging because I always wanted to turn into the wrong side. (On comming traffic) LOL
I used to drive down my street in my moms car when I was about 13, then I drove a few tractors, pickups, stuff like that. then when I was about 14-15 my father taught me how to drive stick, on the car I drive today! Not much of a story compared to your wild adventures, but it's something
Learning to drive and learning to operate a motor vehicle are not the same thing, in my opinion. My dad taught me to operate a motor vehicle when I was 16. I remember it as if it were yesterday... took the family's 1977 Buick Le Sabre land barge, complete with white vinyl roof and powder blue velour seats, to a huge local parking lot and the instruction began. Of course I was a natural. :)

I learned stick on my first car, a 1977 Toyota Corolla. Self taught after watching others do it.

I actually learned to drive, as in mastered safe manipulation of a motor vehicle, much later in life when I got involved with the local BMW CCA chapter and took their car control clinic. I now share my knowledge with students of all ages as an instructor for that program. There's a lot more to being a competent driver than knowing how to operate the car. I'd say 95% of US drivers on the road don't even have basic car control skills mastered.

Be careful out there! :)
My father use to put me in his lap when I was like 6 to steer the car. He actually got pulled over once when I was doing that. He had me do this on a street next to one of my familys old houses. The whole street was basically just our house lol.

When I actually drove my first car was when I was about 13-14 and no one told me how to drive it I just drove it and had no problems. Then learned how to drive manual at 15.
Learned how to drive a tractor at 13 (agriculture all around here in central california) cuz my dad is a heavy ag machine mechanic and needed an assistant at times
Then learned how to drive a stick at 18, when I bought my first car (e36 325i) without looking at it or anything :eeps:


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Used to watch Dad shift and match his foot movements from the passenger seat as a kid. We lived in the sticks in France, and one day when I was 11 he just pulled the Citroen CX over along the road that led to our house and told me to drive it home.
How comfortable were the seats in that Citroen ? :)
Used to watch Dad shift and match his foot movements from the passenger seat as a kid. We lived in the sticks in France, and one day when I was 11 he just pulled the Citroen CX over along the road that led to our house and told me to drive it home.

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Couldn't tell you cuz I was a tad young. That suspension was supposed to be like a magic carpet ride. We just had the "Pallas" which was one step up from base so no leather seats.
How comfortable were the seats in that Citroen ? :)
Bob working on the starter of his first car......:D

I learned to drive at around 13....
Thank God I had the strength to crank back in those days.... :D
Bob working on the starter of his first car......:D

My dad would put me on his lap when I was 5, and I'd have to steer the pickup while driving on the 2-track road, on the side of a irrigation outlet ditch. On one side was water, and the other side was a small cliff. Once in a while a jackrabbit would jump out in front of us and dad would try to run it over, while I was driving. That required my undivided attention.

Then, when I was 12, dad gave me the choice of driving back to home (15 miles away), an old 1949 Studebaker Army 6x6 dragline/crane, or a Ford dump truck pulling a trailer with a Caterpillar 933 track loader on it. I chose the Ford truck because it had power sterring! :D

Dad also built my brother and me a go-cart, and we had an extra set of wheels and motor for it. So, we'd drive it around our homemade track and then do a pitstop in the shop, floor-jack the front up, and use the air impact wrench to quick-change the front tires. We got rather fast at doing that. Fun stuff!
I started buying mopeds when I was 14 or so, one of them had 4 gears which is where I learned the concept of a clutch.

My dad taught me to shift gears in the car from the passenger seat when I was 14 or 15.

Then my mom taught me how to full on "drive" when I moved to the United States in 1995. Flat white 1989 Honda civic hatchback, 5-speed with no power steering. I LOVED that car.
Started with tractors at a young age (great way to learn to parallel park and backup trailers), then moved on to karts and a dirt bike. From there, Dad taught me how to drive a manual transmission at 14 (trivial after riding a motorcycle). From the moment I got my learner's permit shortly after my 15th birthday, I drove anywhere the family went and mastered the manual transmission before taking the test for my license at 16.

However, there were certain things I learned from reading books by racing legends like Jackie Stewart - be smooth, look far ahead (and where you look is where you'll end up), etc. - long before I ever drove on the road or attended Driver's Ed.
Funny that Bob brings this up as I my oldest son got his learner's permit recently, and we have been doing quite a bit of driving together. He is learning on a 5spd Honda Civic, and while he's not quite at the heel and toe or rev-matching on downshifts stage yet, he has gotten pretty competent with the basics. I have tried to impart as many of the things I have learned at driving schools to him, though still worry at the idea of him going solo. Definitely plan on doing a BMW/Tirerack Street Survival school with him, or the Teen Clinic at the BMW Performance Driving Center. I did the M-school there last year and had tons of fun.

I don't remember getting lessons from my dad... I had driven a few friends cars and had driver's ed in HS, but that's about it. I was 30 before I went to a week-long Panoz racing school at Road Atlanta that I really started to learn anything about car control.
I learned to drive on four wheelers and motorcycles from the time I was about 7 years old. When I was 10-11 my dad would let me shift gears in his cars while he ran the clutch. When I was 14 he handed me the keys to my first car (an 92 S-10 long bed 4 speed) and said "drive". Lots of stalls and clunking later, I had it down pat and was hooked. I got my first "real" performance car at 17, an 88 Mustang GT. The rest, is history. How I survived those Mustangs I'll never know. I can only assume God has a plan for me.
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