Driving is the controlled operation and movement of a motor vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. Permission to drive on public highways is granted based on a set of conditions being met and drivers are required to follow the established road and traffic laws in the location they are driving.
EtymologyThe origin of the term driver, as recorded from the 15th century, refers to the occupation of driving working animals, especially pack horses or draft horses. The verb ' to drive ' in origin means "to force to move, to impel by physical force". It is first recorded of electric railway drivers in 1889 and of a motor-car driver in 1896. Early alternatives were motorneer, motor-man, motor-driver or motorist. French favors "conducteur", while German influenced areas adopted Fahrer, and the verbs führen, lenken, steuern —all with a meaning "steer, guide, navigate"— translating to conduire.
Introduction of the automobileThe world's first long-distance road trip by automobile was in August 1888 when Bertha Benz, wife of Benz Patent-Motorwagen inventor Karl Benz, drove Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany, and returned, in the third experimental Benz motor car, which had a maximum speed of, with her two teenage sons Richard and Eugen but without the consent and knowledge of her husband. She had said she wanted to visit her mother, but also intended to generate publicity for her husband's invention, which had only been taken on short test drives before.
In 1899, F. O. Stanley and his wife, Flora, drove their Stanley Steamer automobile, sometimes called a locomobile, to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire in the United States to generate publicity for their automobile. The journey took over two hours ; the descent was accomplished by putting the engine in low gear and much braking.
Driving skillsDriving in traffic is more than just knowing how to operate the mechanisms which control the vehicle; it requires knowing how to apply the rules of the road. An effective driver also has an intuitive understanding of the basics of vehicle handling and can drive responsibly.
Although direct operation of a bicycle and a mounted animal are commonly referred to as riding, such operators are legally considered drivers and are required to obey the rules of the road. Driving over a long distance is referred to as a road trip.
In some countries, a basic both practical and theoretical knowledge of the rules of the road is assessed with a driving test and those who pass are issued with a driving license.
Physical skillA driver must have physical skills to be able to control direction, acceleration, and deceleration. For motor vehicles, the detailed tasks include:
- Proper hand placement and seating position
- Starting the vehicle's engine with the starting system
- Setting the transmission to the correct gear
- Depressing the pedals with one's feet to accelerate, slow and stop the vehicle and
- * If the vehicle is equipped with a manual transmission, to modulate the clutch
- Steering the vehicle's direction with the steering wheel
- Applying brake pressure to slow or stop the vehicle
- Operating other important ancillary devices such as the indicators, headlights, parking brake and windshield wipers
- Speed and Skid control
- Observing the environment for road signs, driving conditions, and hazards
- Awareness of surroundings, especially in heavy and city traffic
- Making good and quick decisions based on factors such as road and traffic conditions
- Evasive maneuvering
- Understanding vehicle dynamics
- Left- and right-hand traffic
after controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, drivers talking on a phone exhibited greater impairment than drivers who were suffering from alcohol intoxication. In the US "During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving according to the publication on the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Another survey indicated that music could adversely affect a driver's concentration."
Seizure disorders and Alzheimer's disease are among the leading medical causes of mental impairment among drivers in the United States and Europe. Whether or not physicians should be allowed, or even required, to report such conditions to state authorities, remains highly controversial.
SafetySafety issues in driving include:
- Driving in poor road conditions and low visibility
- Texting while driving
- Drug–impaired driving and driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Sleep-deprived driving
- Reckless driving and street racing
Driving lawsA driver is subject to the laws of the jurisdiction in which he or she is driving. The rules of the road, driver licensing and vehicle registration schemes vary considerably between jurisdictions, as do laws imposing criminal responsibility for negligent driving, vehicle safety inspections and compulsory insurance. Most countries also have differing laws against driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Aggressive driving and road rage have become problems for drivers in some areas.
Some countries require a vision screening test for individuals to acquire or renew a driver's license. A 2010 systematic review found insufficient evidence to assess the effects of vision screening tests on subsequent motor vehicle crash reduction. The review concluded that there is a need to develop valid and reliable tools of vision screening that can predict driving performance.
Motorists are almost universally required to take lessons with an approved instructor and to pass a driving test before being granted a license. Almost all countries allow all adults with good vision and health to apply to take a driving test and, if successful, to drive on public roads.
In many countries, even after passing one's driving test, new motorists are initially subject to special restrictions. For example, in Australia, novice drivers are required to carry "P" plates;, in New Zealand it is called restricted both are subject to alcohol limits and other restrictions for the first two years of driving. Many U.S. states now issue graduated drivers' licenses to novice minors. Typically, newly licensed minors may not drive or operate a motorized vehicle at night or with a passenger other than family members. The duration of the restriction varies from six months to until the driver is 18 years old. This is due to the mental aptitude of a young or inexperienced driver not being fully developed.
A few countries banned women driving in the past. In Oman, women were not allowed to drive until 1970. In Saudi Arabia, women were not issued driving licenses until 2018. Saudi women had periodically staged driving protests against these restrictions and in September 2017, the Saudi government agreed to lift the ban, which went into effect in June 2018.