The above directions do not pretend to do more than give the barest outlines of the movements to be carried out in order to set the car in motion. It is impossible for a novice to learn to drive a car without a teacher by her side. The seemingly inexplicable technicalities of the internal-combustion engine can, as a matter of fact, be very readily understood when the car itself and the teacher are at hand to illustrate the lecture. I will, therefore, pass over the intermediate stages of driving between the first beginnings and the point where the novice has been permitted to drive herself on the open road and in traffic, and has gained complete confidence in her ability to make the car obey her wishes and to stop it at will.
I. Never drive faster than is necessary.
2. Do not regard the top speed as the only natural gear upon which the car should run. The modern habit of "holding on to" the top speed until the engine is literally gasping is a wilful breach of the laws of good driving.
3. Always drive with the spark advanced as far as it will go without causing the engine to "knock." When running along a good level road at high speed, gradually bring back the throttle-lever until it reaches a point where the engine runs with silky
Always start and stop with the utmost gentleness. Unless in an emergency (such as having to get out of the path of a runaway horse, or having to pull up to avert a collision) remember that there is no hurry. If you start away in such a manner that the back wheels spin round and dig trenches in the soil, and if you stop in such a way that the wheels are locked and scrape along the ground, you may perhaps save five seconds of time. You will also lose about a month's wear on your tyres, and you will throw a heavy strain on every part of the car.
Never drive fast at night, on slippery roads, or round corners. Your brakes may be excellent, but they will not save you from drunken carters, skidding, or the mistakes of other car-drivers. Always drive as if the other people you meet were beginners.
Do not drive fast downhill. It is bad for the engine and dangerous for yourself.
Finally, never drive fast through towns and villages.
An enormous amount of highly conflicting information has been compiled on the subject of cost, both in special books and in the daily and technical Press. The yearly cost of motoring has been variously assessed at sums like £500 and £50, and between the different statements the bewildered novice has groped in vain towards the answer to her own particular problem.
It is quite impossible to give a general figure. Motoring means a different thing to nearly everybody. One may use one's car simply as a vehicie of pleasure, drive everywhere in it, take it to Scotland in the summer, and to Italy or the Riviera - or, if one is really up to date, to India - in the winter, and keep it in commission six days of the week.
Or one may use it wholly as a vehicle of business, driving up to one's work in London, making it do station work, and never using it for the actual pleasure of the drive. Or one may combine the two principles. The only way to compute the cost of motoring is by the mileage run, by the employment or not of a paid driver, and the necessity or the reverse for hiring accommodation for the car. My own experience goes to show that an open car of from 12 to 16 horse-power may be kept in the country, where a coach-house is available, for £75 a year, provided the mileage does not exceed 5,000 annually. This sum will include all expenses, fuel, lubricants, insurance, and tyres, small repairs, and spare parts. If you keep a chauffeur, you must add 30s. to 35s. a week for his wages, although, if you are fortunate, a converted groom or coachman may be had for 25s. About £10 a year might be added for his clothes.
If you live in London, £65 a year must be added for garaging the car, and the cost of your chauffeur's board and lodging. The cost of running a closed body, of the landau-lette or limousine type, generally exceeds that of the open one by some 20 per cent. This is accounted for by the increased petrol and oil consumption, the use of larger tyres and the heavier wear thrown on them.