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LondonRascal

Rascal's Learning to Drive

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The difficult part is remembering to drive on the left after being on a boat for a week. Graham momentarily forgot this year when we turned out of Ferry Marina. Good job there wasn't anything coming the other way!

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I've  never had a driving lesson.I  was taught by my husband,  passed my test first time in 6 weeks. He also taught our daughter and she passed, aged 17,  first time after only a few weeks. He has recently taught our two granddaughters who have now both passed their tests although not at the first attempt. I remember when I was learning on one occasion  my mother-in-law was a passenger and I had truly forgotten she was in the back seat until, we pulled into garage for some fuel  and while my husband was out of the car,  an indignant voice came from the back "Well, I never knew my son was such a pig!"

 

 

Carole

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Like most 'country boys' of my generation I grew up driving tractors and took my tractor test at 16. We tended to look on the move to a car as, well, just a smaller but faster tractor. I had three lessons with a lady instructor the week before my driving test. The three point turn was a doddle. When you are used to flinging a 50 series IH 5488 with a plough on the rear linkage a Mini Metro was a bit like a peddle car. having said that I was very lucky to pass my test first go. Straight out of the test centre some idiot on a BMX jumped off the pavement straight across the front of the car. I did the emergency stop OK, it was the winding down of the window and shouting that should have cost me the test. But I was allowed to carry on.

On the hill start I was instructed to pull up behind a girl also taking her test. She lost her clutch control and her car rolled backwards. I still hadn't come to a stop so slapped on the indicator and pulled out to avoid her backwards roll. I did remember to look in the wing mirror, although the instructor told me to go back to the Test Centre. I just knew I'd failed.

Back at the centre, the examiner asked me what a couple of road signs meant. Congratulated me on avoiding the BMX and the other learner, warned me not to shout at people while I'm driving, 'even if they are imbeciles young man', and told me I'd passed.

It turns out the examiner had been based in another town which he hated and I was his first candidate on his return to his hometown...very lucky.

The best thing my lady instructor did for me was to insist on taking me for a lesson a motorway and a lesson on the local skid pan after I passed my test.

 

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I passed the 1st time after 16 lessons, ok I was also learning in a VW old round fronted transporter (camper van style) doing the milkround the gearbox was like 1st went over to 11 o'clock with a 3 foot stick. I remember reversing into the dairy to load up and him saying use your mirrors I was looking out the rear. Week later there was a big advert sticker so I had to use the mirrors and it's a lot easier because if you can see either side and if you can't see don't do it. So on your reversing sneek a look in the wing mirror to line up with the kerb.

I used 9 - 3 for my hands and remember the 1st time I crossed my hands it wasn't good and have not do it since but steering is that light i use both hands or 1.

I think stop/start should be turned off for learners till they learn to recover from a stall. Depending on engine size turn the a/c off for more power when pulling off.

It cost me £2600 ( double lessons)+ £1500 (car) to get my niece through her test a few years ago.

Only tip I give is remember every other driver around you is a clown and you can't trust what their going to do next. ( oh and old women with wicker baskets will walk out in front of you )

 

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An old woman complete with basket walked out in front of me during my test. the examiner said "what a silly old bat, would you walk out in front of a learner driver?" then answering his own question he added, " No neither would anyone with an ounce of brains"

 

 

Carole

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You know the most scary thing of all for you fellow drivers out there is the fact once I pass the test (Positive thinking Rob) I've already got a car to use - indeed it is most frustrating knowing this and having paid for the Insurance (lets just say the excess is £3,000 so imagine the premium) all I do is every few days go and sit in it and move it along a private road. I want to be able to take it myself for its MOT at the end of September.

However, one of the things I have done is disconnected all he indicator wires.  Once I am actually out on the road, I also need to remember not to check in my mirrors at all, drive close to the car in front in an aggressive manner and generally behave like a moron.  I then will be a fully fledged BMW driver.

I'm also liking the idea of a personalised number plate - RAS 0706 - being my initials and the day and month of birth.

I'll just put on my :hardhat: now.

BMW.jpg

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Ouch, I could not even get any insurer to insure my volvo for a learner driver, and even with all my no claims I am only just under £1000 pa- mind you the value of the car is low, but I do a high mileage and have it insured for 30,000 miles personal use and 10,000 miles business use, both of which shove the premiums up by a fair whack.

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Good on you Robin, it will be a great benefit to you , maybe not so getting around in London where public transport is so so easy but anything further afield  can only be a positive, nice car to start off on your long journey of learning to drive but wouldn't a newer cheaper to buy ,cheaper to insure and cheaper to run and of course cheaper to repair car make more sense to you in the first couple of years

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Back in the early 70's someone I knew had bought a Lotus Europa it cost him £2500.00 his problem was the £3000.00 for the third party insurance on the one company that would insure him, I think it spent most of its time in the garage.

Best of luck Robin with the lessons and getting your car on the road.

Regards

Alan

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In the early 80's I bought a Lotus Elan, I had 10 months left on my current policy for an Escort Maxico but no reg number just stated any vehicle so I enjoyed 10 months of driving the Lotus until my renewal time when only Norwich Union would quote and in excess of £2000 so it had to go.

Doug.

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Robin if it makes you feel better I have just renewed the insurance on my year old 1.2 turbo Nissan pulsar hatchback and its was £245 fully comp ,that took us to Norfolk in comfort and still did 51.1 mpg and that was fully loaded with the wife's essentials and a father in law wedged in the back...

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2 hours ago, LondonRascal said:

 

However, one of the things I have done is disconnected all he indicator wires.  Once I am actually out on the road, I also need to remember not to check in my mirrors at all, drive close to the car in front in an aggressive manner and generally behave like a moron.  I then will be a fully fledged BMW driver.

I'm also liking the idea of a personalised number plate - RAS 0706 - being my initials and the day and month of birth.

I'll just put on my :hardhat: now.

BMW.jpg

Both my car and bike don't have working indicators apparently they were optional extras which wasn't specified when the first owner bought them, well that's my excuse.

:hardhat: :hardhat: :hardhat:

Doug.

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2 things to remember LR,

1 never stop learning.

2 if you see a silver TT coming  behind  you move over 'cos I'm  coming  through!

Sorry 3, avoid the A17, they drive at 45.5555 mph everywhere!

The test is quickest half hour of your life.

paul

 

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I could always lend you this little un.  A real drivers car and awesome fun once you get the hang of it.    I managed to avoid being saddled with a 'Q' plate when I finished it around 82-ish so the reg you see is the first one it was issued with.  (Apparently the 'FFS' means something or other nowadays - It didn't when I obtained it)  For the petrol heads amongst you, some stats:-

2Ltr SOHC Ford pinto uprated to Stage 3, fast road/race cam, bigger valves, tuftridden crank. downdraft Weber.  3 x Ltr Capri 5 sp box, Back axle Ford RS2000, Front brakes - Mexico,  rear brakes RS2000.  Power to weight ratio - Ridiculous, 0-60 - Forget it, 0 - 100 is more relevant, top speed? - One eyed stag tbh, however I did once take it down the main runway as was then RAF Finningley (Got a mighty bollocking of the SWO for doing it too) from a standing start alongside a mates Lotus Esprit S3 and left him for dead 

Griff

 

 

 

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Good luck Robin with the lessons and finally the driving test . Once you passed it then you will begin to actually learn to begin to actually drive and not just pass the test ! 

I passed my car test back in 1988  and have since done 3 more driving tests .. HGV 2,  HGV 1.and   Institute of advanced motorists Advanced driving test and I would definitely recommend that if you can you have a motorway lesson and a skid pan lesson as they are in my view invaluable.

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Ah a dutton, once manged to spin one of them at ?oo mph, but kept it a straight line, not nice when your backside is about 4 inches from the ground!  My mate had shoved a straight  6 into it.

AS you say Griff you only worry about breaking. I had a TVR Tamora like that.

paul

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3 hours ago, ranworthbreeze said:

Back in the early 70's someone I knew had bought a Lotus Europa it cost him £2500.00 his problem was the £3000.00 for the third party insurance on the one company that would insure him, I think it spent most of its time in the garage.

Best of luck Robin with the lessons and getting your car on the road.

Regards

Alan

Been there done that, Lotus Elite, same story,  difference was I sued the North London car dealer Sucessfully!  After losing the case and  failing to pay the several thousand pounds and costs awarded to me He did a disappearing act, it took me a year to track him down in Worcester. The bailiffs took a Porsch off his front  -  he paid up! Result!

 

 

Carole

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11 hours ago, ZimbiIV said:

2 things to remember LR,

1 never stop learning.

2 if you see a silver TT coming  behind  you move over 'cos I'm  coming  through!

Sorry 3, avoid the A17, they drive at 45.5555 mph everywhere!

The test is quickest half hour of your life.

paul

 

It'll be a lot less that 45Mph on the A17 and A47 for the next  9 months as they dig up sections of the A47 from Wisbeach to KL and the three roundabouts round the bottom of KL. I should miss that on my way up to Scotland next week but I might well catch it on the way back...

Ha, just as I finished typing this the radio says there is a tailback at the pullover roundabout....

A broken down tractor....

 

 

Land Rovers have a similar problem for insurance, a new driver in a basic Series or defender can expect a bill in excess of £2000. Luckily having passed my test in 1976 My modified 110 only costs £280.

One point to know is, if you have a girlfriend  / wife at the same address, and she has a licence. Putting her name on YOUR insurance even if she never drives the car, will reduce your bill. You are seen as a more stable person as part of a couple... 

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1 hour ago, TheQ said:

It'll be a lot less that 45Mph on the A17 and A47 for the next  9 months as they dig up sections of the A47 from Wisbeach to KL and the three roundabouts round the bottom of KL. I should miss that on my way up to Scotland next week but I might well catch it on the way back...

I gave up on that route North years ago and now it's A11, A14 and A1. 

20 miles further to Newark but a heck of a lot less stressful!    :grin:

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Robin, one thing to mention, when you pass if you intend to drive abroad, most places drive on either the left or the right.

Except Malta and Cyprus, where they drive in the shade!

paul

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if you have a girlfriend  / wife at the same address, and she has a licence. Putting her name on YOUR insurance even if she never drives the car, will reduce your bill.

What about if you have girlfriends at other addresses Does that count? :naughty:

Oh and it's not true about what is said about sailors having a girl in every port, I never had one in Hull :facepalm:

Griff

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I knew a girl from Hull once - once was enough! :hardhat:

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I thought I’d keep this thread updated as things progress with my driving lessons. One thing I have learnt that this is proving to be a rather expensive venture since I don’t want to allow too much time to elapse between lessons (subject to my Instructor being available).

So yesterday I clocked up another two hours of tuition – bringing my total to 8 hours (but I think I can discount the first hour with the cowboy driving school).

I was confident not at all worried and left my office got to the car and we set off into the midday frankly stupid heat in London and frustrated, hot drivers. I also proceeded to forget how to use my left foot. The more I concentrated at being smooth the worse it got – jerky gear changes, coming close to stalling at traffic lights – I needed to just calm down and get into my stride, after about 10 minutes normal service was resumed. 

This was just a few days of not being in a car and already I had to re-acclimatise – I’ve also now learnt I am not medically fit for driving, seriously – I’ve only gone and suffered from ‘Clutch Foot’ which means the tendons in my left foot are sore when I walk.  Only I can suffer a damn injury from sitting down and just moving my feet!

After a bit of warm up my Instructor asked if I wanted to tackle duel carriageways and major roundabouts – I knew this meant the A10 and Great Cambridge Roundabout – where I live this forms part of the test route, and happens to be one of the hardest in the country with a 66% fail rate. I accepted the offer and we headed off.

All was going pretty smoothly - I was not getting told what to do, or nudged on things and for the first time I felt, just a hint of what driving and the independence it brings was about – I can best describe as being a feeling of starting a long journey and then you see in the distance the destination you are walking to and knowing it won’t be as long or bad as you thought to get there.

At the Great Cambridge Roundabout – big thing this is, but is controlled by traffic lights, we want the 3rd exit. On approach are three lanes, various signs and markings in the road to held you – from direction arrows and road numbers. I’ve been doing a great deal of reading up about roundabouts, so knowing we would be taking the 3rd exit, we want either the middle or right-hand lane. 

Now there was nothing wrong about me doing this – but you could also have stayed in the left lane and as you joined the Roundabout the road markings would ‘guide’ you around the outside and merge you in to the two other lanes since roughly each third of the roundabout has a set of traffic lights.

This is the ‘issue’ with me. You see, I get it, here I am on only my third lesson with this Instructor and embarking on my 7th hour of tuition and I am making decisions. There not the wrong decisions, but I am making them and that upsets the apple cart because they may not always be the right ones to make.

But perhaps telling me I should have been in the left-hand lane as we go around the roundabout in the way she did was not the best because immediately I question myself mentally – is this right, uh, oh, urm and hesitated at the lights – all of a second or two but for the plumbers merchant van behind me this must have felt like eternity and duly hooted me then drove past with some kind words of encouragement ‘you F***ing W***er’. 

As we then got to the third exit (signed Walthamstow) down to a set of traffic lights which are green, which i predict the following set will change – they did.  I am then told what I did was actually ok but I could use the left lane and usually she gets people to do this and following the road markings around. I did not say it, but I felt like saying if it was not wrong why did you tell me ‘Rob you should have been in the left hand lane’. 

On the busy A406 40MPH rising to 50MPH as we merge to the ‘duel carriageway’ despite it being three lanes wide at this point.  Perfectly done and I was enjoying it, but alas it was all over too quickly and we were back off and up to the start stop traffic of Palmers Green. 

Back to some side roads and time for a brush up on manoeuvres, - parallel parking, reverse around a corner and for the first time a three point turn (it’s not called this anymore – its ‘turn in the road’ and your allowed up to 5 turns before you get a minor on your test).  Parking – easy no issue there, reverse around a corner – easy now I know how far from the door handle to align kerb but the three point turn? Well, yep would have been great but I was ‘dry steering’ and laughed at me. I learn this is when you turn the wheels before you begin to move the car and it can damage the tyres (so say some) she then said that since this was not her car but the AA’s and you can’t get a minor in the test for doing it is not a problem but a lot of Instructors will pull their pupils up for it. 

We did two three point turns, no kerb touching and all done with ease.  Bay parking next but she said if you need to do this on test it will happen in test centre car park, so we will go there in evening to practice so I can get it spot on.  Frankly these manoeuvres which most fear doing are not things I am worried about – for me it is trying to maintain 20 MPH because it really requires a lot of concentration to do road after road and then suddenly your on a Transport for London road and its 30MPH for half a mile until back to 20 MPH when back on a council maintained road.

So after the lesson the de-brief. “Robin” she said..”I do not want to give you a big head but I will tell you this. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve never had someone with such few hours behind the wheel deal with a busy junction, roundabout and merge on to the fast flowing North Circular as you did. Well done.”  Talk about a boost - I could have punched the air but I just said "thank you" in a calm tone.

The issue is next lesson is a week away now – plenty of time to forget half of this and how to use my left foot lol.

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Robin, I know how the left foot can affect you, my wife got a new job once and I was giving her a lift in to work, then because I was on a different route to my normal one, I would get stuck in slow moving traffic for about 45 minutes each way. this lead to my developing sciatica in my left leg, along with associated back pain. after 2 months of this my wife quit the job, and my back pain went. an automatic car would sort this out, but for learning you really want to use a manual, as if you take your test in an automatic - you can only drive automatics.

for driving in london an automatic saves a lot of the work / clutch work, otherwise you are pretty much riding the clutch all the time.

 

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