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LondonRascal

Rascal's Learning to Drive

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Good luck with your lessons Robin.

I'm pleased to hear that you have not gone down the "intensive route".

In my opinion anyone who wants to learn to drive should be able to prove that they have had lessons in every month of the year ( i.e. in all weather conditions) before being allowed to apply for a driving test.

Too many people learn in the summer months and have no idea what to do in ice, rain, snow or fog

Jeff 

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good luck Robin, hope you get the coveted licence very soon.

cheers

Trev

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4 hours ago, LondonRascal said:

Just a little update, I've booked 5 hours worth of time with AA Driving School. 

Wow I really don't think Alcoholics Anonymous would be my choice for driving lessons.......but hey ho .......:facepalm:

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As others have mentioned check out the lead time on driving tests.  I started on my 17th birthday end of June 89 and had to wait until mid November for a test date. 

My dad was brave enough to venture out in my old mk2 Escort, once I'd welded the sills back on!! This gave me more experience on the roads without having to pay for lessons and I'm sure it helped me pass first time.  

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Right read all of your posts (And t'others too of course) and all I will say is 'About damn time too'.  If we lived closer I'd give you a helping hand, I have successfully taught lots of mates male and female to pass first time, although not for an age now.

Good luck with it, press on

Griff

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So a little update since I have now had my second lesson - a two hour one too.

I have been surprised not only how busy the local driving schools are, but also how unprofessional they can be when you make first contact. I recently  had seen a nice looking car at some traffic lights for a local driving school and down the side of the car was a mobile number and so on, I took a note of it and thought I would call.  I duly did and a lady picked up and was very short and sharp with me not going on their website and calling to ask for availability. Needless to say I gave up. I then found the AA Driving School - only £4.00 more than the local people.

I booked online and pre-paid for 5 hours worth, I can then easily top up my account as I go and can check their calendar to see when my Instructor is free. 

Yesterday (Sunday 11th June) she duly turned up.  Nice new Fiesta and very pleasant lady Instructor. She is Indian and a real character - a mix of laid back 'norf lundan' meets Calcutta.  She asked about my previous experience and single lesson and opted for a 10 minute 'free drive' to see how I coped. The Fiesta is so much nicer than the 'clapped out' Micra I had on my first lesson. Clean, tidy, silky smooth gear change and softer clutch. The bonus about this car I was told too is you can 'get away' with stalling when you come to a stop if you forget to depress the clutch since the engine cuts out being 'start stop'. You press the clutch and the engine starts automatically again. The problem is it takes some getting used to when you stop and the engine also stops and for me thinking 'woah did I just stall it then' when I had not.

Anyway first 10 minutes was a breeze, I was confident and things were going well.  We pulled over and then she asked me to go on a different route down local roads with a lot of cross roads to them these also have the 'old school' speed humps - you know the ones that are like mini mountains the first generation of speed humps not just raised squares more to the middle of the road.  This meant constantly slowing, then speeding up and being jostled about and it took my mind off my left foot.  She also would be talking generally about road craft and layouts and then suddenly say 'take the left tun'.  My issue is the fact I know not enough to do well but enough to be dangerous lol and I was trying to rush and not take things more laid back.

We pulled in and I explained how I felt and she said we would try something unusual but she would not give me instructions unless I was making a mistake and let me choose which road to turn left at or right and work our way around the back roads.  I was doing well, concentrating and getting some flow - I also would say 8 out of 10 times I was no longer thinking about the clutch it was coming naturally.

I was however being told off for how I was steering. Not that I was going in too wide or tight, but I was not using 'push pull'.  Thing is, push pull steering feels so unnatural and I have to actually keep thinking about the steering which then leads me to taking my mind off, for example, checking my mirrors as I go to turn. I asked her if steering with crossing my arms would fail my test, to which she said it would not 'but was not the correct way'.  What the Examiner seeks to see is you being in control of the car at all times.  She also told me if you cross your arm as your steer and had a crash the air bag would fire and send your arm up and into your head causing more injury.  I think I annoyed her coming back with how do you cope when you turn into a left turning with a wide opening that rapidly narrows surly push pull would take longer to get the wheel turned on a rapidly reducing radius of a turn.  Anyway I have promised to try and work on my push pull technique more but she admitted one of the first things to do after passing a test is not worry about it.

After the first hour we were off the back roads and on to the main primary roads - this meant dealing with two roundabouts which I did not think she was too happy about when she said "Damn this road has roundabouts in it" and then asked if I knew about how they worked - since I seemed to have a fair grasp of them I tacked both with ease. I was enjoying things now, the nerves had gone.

She asked me to pull over and I did but while we were talking a car came and pulled up in front of us - it meant we would need to reverse to get out of the space we were in and since I did that making good all round observations she has decided that our next lesson (this Friday) will feature bay parking and parallel parking.

One of the things that is helping me a lot is watching videos online from actual Instructors so I know things and can put such into practice when in the car. So 3 hours of driving under my belt and looking forward to the next installment.

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When you get used to it, push/pull steering is (in my opinion) easier than arm crossing and comes naturally. Not a bad habit to get into. I always thought that arm crossing was a test fail, so probably best not to risk it. Get used to doing it right.

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While it's not the DVSA's "recommended method of steering", students will not incur any driver faults for crossing their hands as long as they have the car under full control. 

The official DVSA Guidelines from DT1 Steering: Erratic steering, overshooting the correct turning point when turning right or left, both hands off steering wheel or hitting the kerb. How I see it therefore as long as you're safe and have one hand on the wheel at all times you should not receive a penalty in a test for this.

I've even been told that 'palming' the wheel when doing a reverse maneuver will not result in a penalty this though I am not so sure about.

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Do remember you are being taught to pass the test and once passed that's when you learn to drive .

often methods used by instructors seem wrong but they ARE what the examiners are watching for , like moving your head slightly so they realise you're using your mirrors , I'm sure you'll "sail through" and soon be stuck in the M11 or A11 traffic like the rest of us wondering why you didn't catch the train 

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My father taught me in an old (not sure if it was pre-war or just post) Hillman Minx that would slip out of 3rd gear on the overrun which it duly did on my test, but I did pass 1st time even though I ran over a kerb on a left turn due to the gear slipping.  I had been driving milk floats (electric and ic) and tractors for some years ago through.

Robin, don't let anybody tell you that driving a car is like driving a boat, cars steer from the front :Stinky(unless it is a dumper truck).

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The great thing I have found about a car is when you stop - you stop. You do not begin to drift sideways, or otherwise get the wind or surface you are on affecting you ;)

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19 minutes ago, LondonRascal said:

The great thing I have found about a car is when you stop - you stop. You do not begin to drift sideways, or otherwise get the wind or surface you are on affecting you ;)

Ah but Robin...you've not been driving in winter on black ice, snow, or excess surface water yet. That's when it get's really good...especially if you dab the breaks or give the handbrake a judicious nudge at the right moment! :naughty:

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Robin, It is imperative on your test, that when you stop, getting out of the car and tying it up will NOT impress the examiner. Do not do that, and all will be well. 

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Oh, I should have added, don't be taken in by pristine learner cars, especially in London. An old college friend's father was a driving instructor. We were all invited to a 'ding party'. A 'ding party' was where he had his new instructor car delivered and the brand new car would sit on the drive gleaming. A guest's name would be pulled out of a hat, they would be presented with a lump hammer and told to give the new car it's first 'ding'. So sick had my friends Dad got of his new car being 'dinged' by other people, not always his pupils, that he decided the first 'ding' would be his...or a guest.

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Keep it up Robin, you can probably drive better now than all the non insured drivers in London mate. You will have your eyes opened I promise you lol

good luck

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1 hour ago, LondonRascal said:

The great thing I have found about a car is when you stop - you stop. You do not begin to drift sideways, or otherwise get the wind or surface you are on affecting you ;)

if you do stop then find yourself drifting sideways - that is black ice, same with trying to go up hills and drifting into the kerb (though that can give you some grip using the sidewall of the tyres).

Then there is the crossing of high bridges where the wind will suddenly hit you and you find yourself struggling to stay in lane.

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On 04/06/2017 at 8:53 AM, MauriceMynah said:

Barry, I heard that you failed your first test for driving too close to the poor guy walking ahead of you with the red flag :) 

The only reason he was driving at all was because his horse  failed its mot the day before...;)

On 06/06/2017 at 4:52 PM, ranworthbreeze said:

I think Robin would prefer to be joining the team on Amazon Prime:naughty:

Regards

Alan

He'll need more protection than a life jacket if he does though there may currently be a temporary vacancy!

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10 minutes ago, JanetAnne said:

The only reason he was driving at all was because his horse  failed its mot the day before...;)

Nay!

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Hill starts will be tricky as you have to get the clutch to bite at the same time as you lift your mudweight, and remember you can't do a three point turn by stuffing your nose into the weeds and powering the back round.

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A word of advice for anyone taking lessons, if your Instructor asks "What do you do at a red light"......Touching up your make up and checking your phone for texts is not the right answer apparently :naughty:

Good luck Robin

Grace

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Robin, If you are going to Drive that BMW.. I really wouldn't worry too much about learning to drive.. :coat:

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I think I know what happened to your first car, I know that Griff wanted to help, so he chose this car for you. Great choice.

 

However, it was cancelled at the last minute, as there wasn't a blue fender on board.

Lol

Good luck Robin, tip... when reversing into a tight space, don't keep reversing until you hit something, and then go forward.

Also when slowing down or stopping, don't slam it into reverse and increase the revs, in theory it should work, lol.

For a laugh, have a listen to Bob Newhart's " The Driving Instructor" someone will give a link lol... get you in the mood for sure, but more likely get you back on the water lol.

Richard

image.jpeg

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Then there is the crossing of high bridges where the wind will suddenly hit you and you find yourself struggling to stay in lane.

This happened to me on the Mighty Tiger (Only a couple of weeks after I had bought it and wasn't yet used to it) on the M180 flyover, over the river Trent - it's quite high up.  Adrenaline that day was definitely brown in colour :shocked

Griff

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I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet, unlike boats, with a car, we keep to the left of the road. lol

A habit hard to break lol.

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