Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Driving Lesson #21

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Today was quite a lot of driving around and a couple of manoeuve, based upon the deficiency in my driving last week. The majority of it went well, both turning round in the road and reverse parking worked well, it helped me greatly to look back over my notes and refresh my memory.

The other major thing we worked on was gear changes approaching junctions, particularly my lack of them! I have a tendency to forget to change gear and try and do roundabouts at 15mph in 4th gear or something equally daft. We decided that this was because I am pre-occupied with understanding the situation, and thus I forget to go through all of the essential steps when approaching a junction.

I am getting there, slowly but at least I feel like I am driving. Kev discovered that the Brighton and Hove DSA test centers are closing in January meaning we (and all Brighton and Hove students) will have to drive to Eastbourne or Burges Hill to take their test, adding a good 20-30 minutes travel to and from the test centers. Never mind eh.

Lastly the car started smoking as we pulled up, it had possibly been smoking before that. It appears that part of the high preasure water system had burst leaving the radiator with little or no active cooling. Feel sorry for Kev he has only got the car back from the garrage recently.

Driving Lesson #20

Monday, November 10th, 2008

So today was a mock test, one of several before I take my actual test. We drove down to the test center in Brighton Marina where Kev explained the test to me, how majors and minors worked and what would score as what. I still haven’t done emergency stops so we could not cover that, other than that it seemed pretty much as I had read and expected.

Kev got me to do three manoeuvres, the first was turning round in the road, which I did, not without hitting the kerb (I forgot to steer when reversing) so that was a major. Reverse parking was difficult as it was pitch black and my steering was off at best so Kev had to intervene as I was misjudging the position of the car rather seriously. Reverse round the corner went better, however I hit the kerb again as I overcompensated – all three would be easier in the daylight so I am not overly concerned about them.

My general driving wasn’t that bad, in a couple of places I was slow to move off, and my use of mirrors and the MSPSL routine left something to be desired, particularly after making a mistake.

In the end I had 4 majors and 13 minors, which isn’t too bad – it does show how important plenty of practice is.

So, next week should be more practice. In the mean time I have bought myself a copy of Focus’s Driving Test Successs – Practical Simulator which seems okay, not really that close to actual driving although I think it is helping me learn the sequences.

Going to give myself tonight off to watch Spooks and maybe play a little Team Fortress 2 or EVE Online (Who have their winter expansion released tomorrow).

Driving Lesson #19

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

So, Kev sprung a surprise on me today… a silver car, not just a silver car but a Renault. More or less the same thing I guess, well all the foot pedals were in the right place if somewhat sticky (not good). And most of the controls make sense.

The lesson itself went much the same as the past three lessons, having issues with my feet but getting my way through it. Moving off wasn’t perfect either, stalled more often than I would of liked and stuck around at junctions longer than I should have.

So, next week Kev is going to give me a Mock test, or assessment if you will. This should be interesting as it gives me a chance to be under a little more pressure, which hopefully will speed up the learning process and motivate me a little.

So, stay tuned for next week!

Driving Lesson #18

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I had another ‘funny feet’ day today, not as bad as two lessons ago however. I was being a little hasty trying to move off – this is part of becoming more confident we think, I am no longer able to crawl away without any gas on the flat as I am bringing the clutch up much faster. This means I have to adjust my technique sligtly by putting on the gas and then bringing the clutch up, this is often coupled with taking the hand brake off. It is a lot to think about at once, but I picked it up well.

I was proud of my turning round in the road, I managed it without prompting, questioning myself or hitting the kerb, thus I only had to do it once, much nicer on my legs. Reversing round a corner in the dark was hard work as I kept loosing the kerb, had to try it three times before I managed it. Didn’t do great on the last try either.

I am still happy with my progress! Next lesson same time next week!

Driving Lesson #17

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Today was another funny driving lesson my feet weren’t quite right, and I kept doing silly things made a bit of a mess of turning round in the road and didn’t get reversing round a corner quite right. One of the things I was doing particularly wrong was putting the clutch down while breaking, for some reason I have it stuck in my head that clutch goes down when slowing down, rather than just before I come to a stop. Kev got me too take my foot of clutch pedal when driving and rest it on the side (which has done wonders for my ankles) it also delays me putting the clutch down.

The second thing I had problems with today was again braking, I was a little heavy on the brake which probably comes down to anticipation or not as my case is.

I learn’t something about roundabouts though, if I scan round the roundabout in a clockwise direction when approaching/stopped at the roundabout I check the most important thing last, i.e. traffic from the right.

There were many more little things, Kev seems to think that after the current block of lessons are up I probably won’t need another full block before I am ready to take my test. Scary stuff.

Driving Lesson #16

Monday, October 6th, 2008

So, today went much better than last week. We did quite a nice loop of the area  I am contemplating taking a GPS with me next time and leaving it logging on the back seat so that I actually know where I have actually been. Maybe I will do that when I have passed my test, could be a little distracting if it started beeping at me.

I got two major things from my lesson today; first being that after last week driving isn’t that bad after all, the second is that speed limit signs should be seen on both sides of the road like a gate.

The above example is taken from the A259 (actually it is flipped along the horizontal axis for the sake of clarity) moving towards Peacehaven in a 40 zone, passing a side road that is national speed limit before moving into a 30 zone.

What I did was see the national speed limit signs and speed up, in my head I had seen the signs but not really thought about it too careful, what I need to remember is speed limits are like gates you have to pass through them for them to take effect, i.e. if I had been turning left up the side road I would have passed through the national speed limit gates.

Another lesson next Monday.

Driving Tips

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

The BBC has posted a list of 10 “driving tips” to make your driving experience more enjoyable and rewarding, the article has the added advantage of providing an insight into the day-to-day driving skills that people develop on thier own without any formal instruction.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7635486.stm

I particuarly liked number 3 – “Make Eye Contact When You Can”; which is something I picked up a few years ago while walking around town making eye contact with people walking towards you often helped both parties to pass eachother without bumping or jostling. It is not something I had thought about with regard to driving, although I am going to try and put it into practice at pedestrian crossings if I get a chance.

Driving Lesson #15

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Grrr… argh… that didn’t go so well had massive problems with my feet today stalled on hill starts wanted to accelerate round corners, people beeping at me – if you are in the 0.01% of people that beep at learner drivers please try to remember it makes it worse! – Kev went through strategies for keeping moving on minor to major junctions.

I can’t think of a way to draw it as a picture but basically it is as follows:

  1. Coming up to a junction, whilst scanning – ask yourself “is it clear?” (this is in the “I can see no cars” and the “I can clearly see both oncoming traffic and traffic you are joining)
  2. If the answer is “no” – continue up to the “commit point” – that is the give way line – asking the same question.
  3. If the answer becomes “yes” check your speed and change gear as appropriate (<5mph = first, everything else = second).
  4. If the answer remains “no” when you reach the commit point, stop, put the handbrake on, change into first and be ready to move off when it is clear.

My brain is a bit “fuzzy” after that lesson, so as with everything don’t take it a good driving practice or anything similar – it is just what I taken away from what Kev has taught.

Next Lesson: Same time next week.

Driving Lesson #14

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Finished my 14th driving lesson about an hour ago, we covered much of the same thing as previous lessons some driving on fast roads and town roads the some manoeuvre. Not much to be said really I felt more relaxed despite stalling more than in the previous lesson. My observations were more than a little lax in places, I completely forgot to check my blind spot while reversing round the corner.

Kev did get a chance to fill in my driver record, I now have:

  • 4x 5’s (Cockpit Checks, Safety Checks, Controls and Instruments and Signals)
  • 8x 4’s
  • 5x 3’s
  • 1x 2’s
  • 1x 1’s
  • 1x 0’s (Emergency Stops)

Please with my progress so far, need plenty more practice only got to wait till Monday for my next lesson, looking forward to it!

Driving Lesson #13

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Had my first ever evening driving lesson this evening, Kev and I went to Seaford and back again over the course of the lesson, using some national speed limit single carriageways and some town driving.

Had a slightly hairy moment when I decided to change lanes while going round a roundabout, actually scratch the “slightly hairy”; it was down right dangerous. My mistake was; I had this image in my mind that if you are going straight on at a roundabout you go round the out side… what I had not got straight in my head was that if you are in the right hand lane stay in the right hand lane, all comes down to Mirror-Signal-Manovure.

I messed up turning round in the road and had to do it in four points rather than three, which was no big deal really it was slightly frustrating.

A huge upside was that I had not forgotten as much as I expected to, I spent some time revising from what I have posted up here – Really helped. So fellow learner drivers practice “stealth revision”:

  1. Do your lesson
  2. Write down what you learned
  3. Next day… read through what you wrote down, correct as required
  4. Day before your next lesson (or after a week which ever comes sooner) read through your write up again
  5. If possible read through it again just before your lesson to keep it in your head

Kev is more than happy to read through what I have written, and I am sure your ADI will be equally as happy. I check back on my notes when ever I have a free minute on the bus. It is stealth because it dosn’t feel like revision!