Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Driving Lesson #1

Monday, August 4th, 2008

I had my first driving lesson today with Kevin Tant, started off a little nervous however I got more relaxed as the lesson continued. I am going to try and write down what I learnt here to help me remember for the next lesson – please do not take this as official or instructional (in fact it may well be TOTALLY WRONG!) if you are learning to drive there are lots of excellent resources on Amazon and I honestly can’t stress how important it has to have an Approved Driving Instructor.

I suppose this post is inspired to an extent by several other learner drivers such as Sean Moore who have very kindly been sharing their experiences with the world.

First I had to check the doors, driver’s side was easy enough as you can see that it is flush with the side of the car, the passenger side can be done the same, then checked the hand brake was secure by pulling it up. Adjusted the seat, and in theory adjusted the steering wheel (if it was adjustable, which it wasn’t). Next task was to adjust mirrors, and then finally fastened my seat belt (and checked anyone under 14).

So that makes the cockpit drill – doors, hand brake, seat, steering wheel, mirrors, and seat belt (DHSSMS).

Next thing we went through was actually starting the car and moving (or ‘Moving Off’). With the handbrake on I started the engine, changed to first gear by pressing the clutch down to the floor and moving the gear stick into the first gear position. From there I was taught to find the biting point with the clutch pedal (that is where the clutch plate just meets the flywheel – to the point where some of the rotational drive is transferred from the flywheel to the clutch plate and thus through the transmission, driveshaft, differential and eventually the wheels). To actually move off I lightly pressed the accelerator (or ‘gas’ – grr Americanism – easier to say though) and brought the clutch up to the biting point. This is the point we checked the mirrors (internal, right door and left door) and blind spot before releasing the hand break. All of this got the car moving forwards, at which point the clutch could be released.

Just to point out that my instructor had explained stopping in advance of moving off! I was struggling to the foot work right and it was nearing the end of the lesson so I don’t really remember the sequence.

Once of the things that I found hardest was concentrating on what I was doing in the car (feet, hands, dials and so on) and managing to steer in the right direction and pay attention to the road, this is why we are not allowed behind the wheel of a car without ample instruction.

Driving Theory Test

Friday, July 25th, 2008

I passed. Had a good chat to the guy at the desk who did wonders to ease my nerves by being funny and blunt. I got 50 out of 50 for the multiple choice questions and 53 out of 75 for the hazard perception. Which according to Kev is good, the pass mark for the hazard perception was 44.  I scored 6 for the double hazard clip, 5 on 3 clips, 4 on 4 clips, 3 on 4 clips and 2 on 2 clips. Which means that I was only below the pass mark on 2 clips.

The most annoying thing is there was absoloutely nothing about stopping distances in there, so all of my crazy maths to try and remember the distances was to no avail, maybe they will help someone else who has a odd mind like my own.

Thinking and Breaking Distances

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

I have been trying to find a way of remembering my thinking and breaking distances for my theory test, part of my problem is I think in metric not imperial except for road speeds which are always in miles per hour.

According to the book…

@20mph thinking distance is 6m and breaking distance is 6m

@30mph thinking distance is 9m and breaking distance is 14m

@40mph thinking distance is 12m and breaking distance is 24m

@50mph thinking distance is 15m and breaking distance is 38m

@60mph thinking distance is 18m and breaking distance is 55m

@70mph thinking distance is 21m and breaking distance is 75m

So from that I can deduce that thinking distance in meters is equal to the road speed in miles per hour multiplied by 0.3 (or mph divided by 10 and multiplied by 3 if your brain works that way).

Breaking distance is a little harder as it is a curve however the simplest equation I can muster is road speed in miles per hour divided by ten, multiplied by itself (i.e. to the power of 2) all multiplied by 1.5 [i.e. 1.5((x/10)²)].

It isn’t perfect by any means, and if anyone has a good formula they use then I would be greatful if you share in the comments. My formula is spot on for 20 and 40 mph, however it is off by 1.5 @ 70mph it does however give you a good idea of the magnitude of your answer. The creation of a formula also gives me the opportunity to work out some silly things, for example if there was a straight road from Land’s End to John o’ Groats you would have to be traveling at Mach 10.5 to require the entire lenght of the road to stop… of course I have yet to see anyone traveling at Mach 1 along the M4.


Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

I have had my Provisional driving licence for some time now, however I have done little or nothing about it since the idea of driving doesn’t exactly fill me with joy. I don’t know why that is but never the less I don’t particularly want to spend the time and money on learning to drive.

That said, it would make sense now Catherine and I are living in Peacehaven to be able to drive, it would also open up more job opportunities for me as I would be able to travel further than the bus can carry me, as well as being able to drive company cars and the such.

Well as it turns out I booked my theory test, so I have a little over a month to learn everything I can about the theory test and driving in general, then after Catherine and I get back from holiday I can start on lessons with my good friend Kev!

Fun Stuff!