Saturday, 24 August 2013

Passed my test, fifth time lucky

On the 20th August in fact.

I got the terrifying examiner, garnered eight minor faults, made two stupid mistakes due to pure nerves (hill start in neutral, stopped at keep clear line rather than white line at traffic lights), but I passed even so.

I needed 15 extra hours with a competent instructor to get me up to standard and at least forty more hours of extra driving practice in my own car. Even the day before the test the new instructor and I were still finding massive gaps in my knowledge, she had assumed I knew how to adjust everything to find a good driving position (elementary along with the rest of cockpit drill, none of which I was EVER taught by Steve), but I was still sitting wrong and pressing the bloody pedals with the 'wrong' part of my feet.

I can also add another dangerous area to the areas that were left uncovered by Steve.

1. Layer test route. Narrow winding country road, steep downhill slope. At the bottom is a narrow bridge on a blind bend. You have to keep exactly to your side of the road, hard at speed etc as any slight deviation puts you in a position for a head on collision with any traffic whizzing around the corner in the opposite direction.

2. Railway crossing. Due to illegally parked cars outside a business on the other side of the crossing, buses wishing to turn right often get stuck there for some time and no other traffic can get past to go straight on. This is hard to tell from approach, and the yellow box on the railway tracks is hidden by the depression of the tracks. Should an inexperienced driver drive over the lines they run the risk of being trapped on the tracks or having the crossing gates descend on their cars.

3. Hythe station. As you go around the corner a sign warns that the way ahead is for buses and taxis only, all other traffic must go right. The sign is hard to see and there are no additional markings on the road. Also even if the sign is noticed the right turn looks like a tiny minor road, but there is an additional right turn just over the tracks which looks more likely, a mistake a lot of people can make. Any student on test going down there would have their test terminated immediately.

Steve took me on none of these, explained none of these. All of these are on test routes. But then so are the double roundabouts and we only ever approached those from one direction. As is Port Lane turning right onto Hythe Hill, another tricky turn, another one he didn't bother with in 56 hours, but somehow I managed to cover, along with Rowhedge, Wivenhoe and the other 50-60% of Colchester in the 15 hours with Pam, along with competencies in all four manoevres and the emergency stop.

Lazy bastard.

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