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LondonRascal

Rascal's Learning to Drive

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Remember Robin. I am a driving examiner so if you have any questions or problems, just ask me anytime. It will be a pleasure to help Mr Norfolk Broads.
Seriously Robin. Friend request me if u want. Anything no matter how silly it might sound, I'll help you.

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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Remember Robin. I am a driving examiner so if you have any questions or problems, just ask me anytime.

Thanks for this - I could well be sending you a few soon.

At the end of the day everyone has their own 'style' of driving, just as one Instructor may say do this and another say not to when it has no effect on how you do in the test (take 'dry steering' for example).

I've got to be honest I felt my Dad was a very proficient and safe driver. Going through his papers he got a penalty for speeding when he had a motorbike but once got a car never had a single endorsement, and I believe he was driving from about 1970.

He was, if I can say this of the 'old school' so he would never approach a junction for example without being in the right gear ready for may happen - you might need to stop, you may be able to go on your way if all clear, but I am being taught to 'brake first, change later'.

In that I mean if you come to a junction, I know full well I need to come to a stop, I instinctively want to slip the car into first gear for the last few feet prior to being stationary, because that is what my Dad would do and I would take that in when he did.  I am told leave it in second gear, stop, then select first gear, make your checks and proceed.

Sometimes at a wide open Roundabout you might see some distance off the 'coast is clear' so can just ease off, join the Roundabout and continue - especially if you are going 'straight ahead' so may not need to come down to second gear.  I've been told always to slow and select second gear at a Roundabout 'just in case' and not to change up until I have finished steering and am off the Roundabout.

Look, who am I to argue? I am let's face it new to this game, but the main aim really is to be safe, in control and allow things to flow. If you are like a robot doing the same operation it might not always fit the circumstances but will likely get you through a 40 minute test. I want to feel comfortable with things not just get to the 'test standard'.

I am choosing to learn in a manual car - and yeah clutch control and so on really is about muscle memory - do it enough and it becomes second nature, but to be honest once I pass I never intend to go near a manual car in my life again I'd certainly not buy one - but that is just me.

My Dad could not stand autos, then after owning an Audi and subsequently all his cars after were automatic. Even when needing a courtesy car when his were in for service he would just state 'sorry I need an auto due to my leg and medical condition' which was a lie, but nobody ever asked to check and he always got a decent auto car from stock and not the thrashed standard courtesy car everyone else got (possible good tip there people to try).

 

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Robin, to be practical, if you are not intending to drive a manual car in future, then why bother, for the test?

Automatic boxes are very modern nowadays and are very much more fuel efficient than they were. You don't have to worry about hill starts, or any of that stuff. Even "black cabs" are automatic, nowadays. If you are a city centre type driver, then this is the modern way.

Pass your test, get some experience, and you can always up-date your licence to manual later, if you want to.

As for stopping and starting in a traffic queue, keep a longer distance from the vehicle in front and judge the "mean" speed of the traffic, so that you can slow up when necessary and then accelerate again, without changing gear. Watch the lorry drivers around you - this is what they are doing! They keep a good distance, and just coast along.

They have a six speed box with high and low ratio and a "range splitter", so they have over 20 gears to choose from. Most of these gears will only go "in" when you have got the revs right, so they keep it to a minimum! Personally, I learned to drive like this, and I still enjoy the fun of it, but you don't need to!

Stick your left foot up on the dash, concentrate on the road ahead, and pass your test with ease!

 

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A few spare fenders dangling over the front bumper & wings could prove to be a wise precaution.

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I well remember being half way round the Cambridge  roundabout in the rush  hour having just collected my car from a garage in Palmers Green where it had had a new clutch fitted and the slave cylinder blew a seal meaning the clutch lost all resistance and literally fell on the floor! I had to bring the car home using the engine revs to change gear.  Not to be recommended!

 

 

Carole

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I think you need a single lever control, first to engage gear, and then increase the revs.

I am pleased you are learning in a proper manual car, an Automatic is easier in theory, but means you are limited to Automatics only, that could limit hiring vans etc in the future.

When I accompanied my daughter just before her test, she had very poor clutch control at traffic lights, and often stalled, she went into automatic panic, she just didn't have enough revs on starting off.

So I took her on to Cannock Chase where there were sleeping policeman on the quiet lanes. I got her to park just touching the ramps, it was only a few false starts and stalls, and she got it, those extra revs were needed, she got used to that, and never stalled at ordinary traffic lights again. Simple but very effective. 

I then took her on to a local multi story car park, late evening and we practiced reversing into the parking bays, then we practiced parallel parking on some quiet side roads.

You don't need a driving instructor to practice, practice, practice.

Learn the technique, then next night and most evenings... practice practice etc...

Practice reversing around corners, and three point turns, and one of the most difficult, holding it on the clutch at the top of a hill, and not rolling back, then pull away safely. Do they still do this one? not one you could do in Norfolk lol, where are the hills, maybe problem in London too lol...

Over exaggerate head movements when looking left and right, don't just move your eyes, the examiner can't see this.

We are all wishing you all the best.

Take care,

Richard

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Just now, addicted said:

I well remember being half way round the Cambridge  roundabout in the rush  hour having just collected my car from a garage in Palmers Green where it had had a new clutch fitted and the slave cylinder blew a seal meaning the clutch lost all resistance and literally fell on the floor! I had to bring the car home using the engine revs to change gear.  Not to be recommended!

Carole

I knew one day I would have to do it, hire cars are a good training ground, or a company car a few weeks before it is due back. With car and balance on the revs both up and down the gear box, you can do some slick and quiet gear changes, just hope you don't have to stop, as starting in first gear on a hill start does give you a good kangaroo effect, and does the transmission no good at all.

AA and RAC engineers were trained in this technique, but now they probably stick it on a low loader in case of consequential damage.

Richard

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I remember a friend telling me a really funny incident she witnessed in Mitcham high street one Saturday afternoon in the 60's. A lady !earner driver kept stalling at a set of traffic lights prompting a lot of hooting and abuse from held up traffic behind her  A police car pulled up in the queue and switching on his loud hailer admonished the impatient drivers " now come on everybody you all had to learn once show a little patience " . unfortunately he forgot to switch his tannoy off because a few minutes later when she had stalled yet again, his voice was heard all over the high street saying what the f...ing  hell is the silly cow doing!

 

 

Carole

Edited by addicted
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19 minutes ago, addicted said:

I well remember being half way round the Cambridge  roundabout in the rush  hour having just collected my car from a garage in Palmers Green where it had had a new clutch fitted and the slave cylinder blew a seal meaning the clutch lost all resistance and literally fell on the floor! I had to bring the car home using the engine revs to change gear.  Not to be recommended!

 

 

Carole

I  once  had to drive 100 miles home on b roads with a jammed clutch pedal,stopping meant stopping the engine and restarting in first on the starter motor, by the end I got good at judging the revs - slight increase in revs as I dropped down a gear to get it to slip in.

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a tip I was given by my instructor for the test - when you adjust the mirrors, set them so you have to move your head to see them properly, then you will automatically move your head and the tester will see the movement.

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Robin, to be practical, if you are not intending to drive a manual car in future, then why bother, for the test?

Honest answer? Because everyone tells you this is the way to go. The funny thing is, if you've passed your test in a manual and then spent 10 years driving automatics, would you still be safe and proficient to get in a hired car/friends car/van that was manual?

I think frankly in this country the majority prefer manual cars - on older 4 speed auto transmissions you could tell why, but these days the electronic controls and sheer number of gears (many have 8) mean you don't even feel the changes it just goes in a linear way.

Quote

You don't need a driving instructor to practice, practice, practice.

Thing is not sure about in the past, but these days you need to add on Learner Insurance to the person's policy who is taking you out, or I get my own cover which would cover the car I am then learning in. It is not that cheap and people I know here who have cars and are willing to take me out all have automatics.  I might get used to some aspects relevant to all cars and driving but also get too used to not driving a manual, then have a 2 hours lesson the following week in a manual car and fluff it all up.

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the worse thing in an automatic is stamping on the clutch (which turns out to be the brake) boy did my volvo ever stop quick. it usually takes me about 20 minutes driving to convert between auto and manual and vice versa, until then I tend to forget to use the clutch, or stamp on the brake with my left foot.

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Just now, grendel said:

the worse thing in an automatic is stamping on the clutch (which turns out to be the brake) boy did my volvo ever stop quick. it usually takes me about 20 minutes driving to convert between auto and manual and vice versa, until then I tend to forget to use the clutch, or stamp on the brake with my left foot.

Hi Grendel,

I am sure all of us drivers of automatic cars have done likewise, I know I have during the transition period. 

I have been driving automatics of various kinds for the last 21 years, would I go back to a standard gearbox, not a chance. they are too much hassle. Like yourself I can go back to a manual car or truck if needs be if hiring or have a courtesy car in a short time, its just a case of getting used to the clutch.

I was always told when driving an automatic to tuck your left foot under your right leg to stop the left foot doing something it shouldn't like stamping on the brake peddle.

Regards

Alan    

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My view is, it's better if you can to pass in a Manuel. If ever you break down or need a hire car or whatever you have a choice of both auto or Manuel. Even though autos are in abundance, u have the option if ever any of the above situations occur. I like you only like autos and i drive an auto too. But there have been times when my partner needed me to move or collect her car which is Manuel or something else has happened, and I've been able to drive it. So Robin, do the test in a Manuel and the go to auto. You will then be able to drive both whenever needed..

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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Hi Robin don't give up on the clutch, your still thinking about it but you'll will be doing without known soon and won't even be thinking about the biting point.

Re your car don't worry about joining motorways etc as your clear to move across to the 3rd lane in a BMW it's the law.

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A few spare fenders dangling over the front bumper & wings could prove to be a wise precaution.

A blue one surely?

Stamping on the clutch pedal forgetting it's a brake when in an auto - Yep done than ONCE in my Jeep

For the past month or so I have been driving the GriffTile van with no 2nd, 4th or 6th gear (Due to the clowns at the garage round the corner from Robins not fitting the replacement cables correctly) This has proved to be interesting, two days ago it got fixed - Now a pure joy once more

Robin you MUST get passed on a manual, what happens when you hire or borrow or get lent a car that is not automatic - Your restricted license will stop you driving them.  Once you have passed your test, I'll take you for a spin on the Tiger (I have spare gear for pillion passengers) - there's an incentive

Griff

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My tuppence worth Robin, all meant in the best intention. 

Dont get worked up in busy traffic, it's actually easier because you have more time to carry out your tasks.

Always look well ahead, anticipating a hazard is the key , and almost eliminates them as you will have dealt with it before it even happens.

Dont over complicate things, of course as in every new skill we learn , it takes some familiarity to become confident, but it is relatively simple 

Firstly , learn how to pass your test, then learn how to drive. 

I only pass this on as I've not long ago taught my daughter to drive, which she passed first time with 1 minor fault. Top lass is my wee lass!!

Oh, and on that note , when you come across a female driver , give them plenty room !!!!!

Good luck mate , I'm sure you will nail it .

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The Cambridge roundabout! That certainly brought back some memories as I spent a lot of time around Southgate, Wood Green and Muswell Hill in my youth. Never drove round there though as I didn't learn until I was living in Essex. When we first moved to Chelmsford I used to try to find any alternative ways to get somewhere without having to go round the Army and Navy!! Doesn't sound as if you will have any such fears Robin. And Norfolk should be a piece of cake after London.

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I lived with my parents in Waterfall Road Southgate before I married and my favourite dance venue was The Athenaeum Muswell Hill (now a Sainsburys)

 

 

 

Carole

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London traffic is a funny beast.  When you leave one area of London and go to another the 'feel' changes, people, accents, architecture etc East London is very much different to West London as an example, and the driving styles seem to change too.

In my area of London there are a number of larger roads - from the A10 'Great Cambridge Road' to the good old A406 'north Circular' which intersect at various points to what effectively are usual high street style roads. A classic is where the North Circular crosses 'Green Lanes' (see image below). Six lanes meet an almighty box junction and set of traffic lights.

North Circular.png

The problem with this sort of thing is you have to adjust immediately from a pretty fast moving 50MPH multi-lane carriageway to a traffic light junction and a 20MPH High Street. This sort of change to driving does not seem to worry me, in fact I am more nervous not from other cars around me but trying to do well with the Instructor next to me and will often say 'sorry about that' the moment I do something wrong, I will know I have like indicating for a junction a little early, or a good example was a side street about 100 feet away from a mini-roundabout and I indicated before I had passed the side street so those behind would think is he going for the left hand street or left at the roundabout, I guess acknowledging it as I did it shows that I am aware just need to iron those little mistakes out.

You do see it all though, from teens on Scooters doing wheelies, buses indicating and immediately pulling out but what has surprised me the most are people - good old fashion pedestrians (or Lemmings) who step off the kurb looking the wrong way - or down at the floor.

 

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They are not looking at the floor Robin - they are looking at their phones.

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Robin, just remember you used to be one of the pedestrians

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1 minute ago, grendel said:

Robin, just remember you used to be one of the pedestrians

And I still am ;)

Also I have often cycled in London so can see things from that point of view too.

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There's nothing wrong with learning in an automatic Robin if you did choose to do that, my wife is learning at the moment and chose the same thing. I've driven manuals since I was 18 but we changed to an automatic only 3 months ago because my wife is learning and I absolutely love it. It's so much more relaxed in modern traffic. It's true the UK is obsessed with manuals (unlike the US of course) but I can't imagine why. On the hiring subject, auto cars are almost always available in my experience and how often would you want a van anyway? 

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Simon,

I hope your wife is doing well and enjoying the experience of learning :)

I have begun with a manual and frankly i only took about 2 hours of learning to get used to the clutch and so on without too much thought. Where it tends to go a bit wonky is when I have had a break not driving, get in the car and I have to drive it from my road straight into the busy traffic and a big junction, pressure can get to you then but after 15 or so minutes I am back into the swing of things.

Buses are auto, all new trucks are unless a custom build to have a manual box in them so they are spreading. Look at Diesel cars, when I was growing up they were slow, noisy awful things very few would opt for compared to petrol and those who did likely did so for longevity of the engine and fuel economy. Yet over in Europe petrol cars were far more rare.

 

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