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Driving as a physical skill
In terms of the basic physical tasks required, a driver must be able to control direction, acceleration, and deceleration. For motor vehicles, the detailed tasks include:
  • 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
  • Operating other important ancillary devices such as the indicators, headlights, and windshield wipers.
Driving as a mental skill
Avoiding or successfully handling an emergency driving situation can involve the following skills:
  • Making good decisions based on factors such as road and traffic conditions
  • Evasive maneuvering.
  • Proper hand placement and seating position.
  • Skid control.
  • Steering and braking techniques.
  • Understanding vehicle dynamics.
Distractions can compromise a driver's mental skills. One study on the subject of mobile phones and driving safety concluded that, 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.

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