The Science Behind Learning To Drive & How To Learn Quicker

Every new driver is a little different.

Some new drivers can’t quite get the hang of parallel parking, while others are still working on changing lanes. We’re all unique and there’s no way to tell how long the learning process will take. But there are ways to learn more quickly. In order to understand this, let’s take a look at what’s going on inside the brain.

Neuroplasticity: “The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.”

Neuro-what? Neuroplasticity sounds like a scary word, but it’s actually one of the reasons you’re able to do all of the amazing things you do. Neuroplasticity simply means that your brain is like plastic and it changes as you learn new things. Think about it this way - when you practice something over and over again, like parallel parking, there are little groups of neurons that fire together. When this happens, roadways (AKA electrochemical pathways) are created and this activity becomes way more memorable. When you stop practicing parallel parking, those roadways become smaller and the activity might feel a little trickier. So, the more you practice, the easier it is to remember. The old saying “practice makes perfect” might be truer than you thought.

Active Learning Vs. Passive Learning

Okay, so now we know that in order to get really good at driving, we’ve got to practice- a lot! But the way you learn also matters. Passive learning is kind of like being a passenger in a car - you notice where you’re going but you aren’t paying attention to every red light or stop sign. Active learning is like being the driver and absorbing everything around you. The Learning Hub is spot on in saying that “in an active learning environment, the student is engaged, empowered, and excited to learn.” So as you’re learning to drive, jump into the experience feet (or wheels) first.

Get Familiar with the Vehicle’s Controls

Before you hit the road, there are also a few things you can do to help you focus on the task at hand. Forgetting how to signal when you’re trying to change lanes isn’t ideal, so get familiar with all the different functions and controls in your car before you leave the driveway. It’ll help make the driving experience way less stressful. Practice pressing your foot down on the gas pedal and brake pedal, adjust mirrors and shift from “drive” to “park.” This familiarity will make it so that pressing on the brakes as you near a red light is just second nature.

Find the Right Location to Start Learning

After you’ve gotten familiar with the vehicle, it’s time to start driving. But before heading off to conquer rush hour traffic, find an empty parking lot where you can begin practicing the basics. Once you’ve mastered them, start navigating lots with more vehicles until you conquer the full and busy parking lot.

Practicing Hazard Perception

Hazard perception is a your ability to look at a situation and decide whether or not it could become dangerous. This is really important on the road because even if you’re following all the rules, you’ve also got to keep your eyes peeled for other drivers, pedestrians, and road obstructions (to name a few). The more aware you are, the better a driver you’ll become.

Major takeaways

  • Get comfortable with your vehicle.
  • Practice the things that make you uncomfortable.
  • Drive often and in different places.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Have fun!

Check out how Carrot by InsureMy can help you track your driving habits and have you conquering rush hour traffic in no time!


Carrot is as easy to use as 123:

  1. Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
  2. Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
    a. (Download it on iTunes or Google )
  3. Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!

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