Tuesday, 29 July 2014

My Learning-To-Drive Journey - Chapter Three

My First Lesson!Hours 1 & 2.

2  Hours Per Lesson
Monday 28th July 2014 


8:00AM Up, Ready and rearing to go.
Pacing by the front door, anxious but excited.

8:29AM Phone Blips. "Outside now :)"
Here we go!

Jumping in the passenger side of a Kia Rio 1.1 Diesel I meet my driving instructor. A casual "hello, how are you nice to meet you" provides instant calming effects to my nerves.

The instructor drives us to a nice quiet location to discuss formalities, takes a look at my drivers license, including the paper counterpart (you must remember this!) Also he checks I can see by requesting I read a number plate from a set distance.

Now I'm In the driving seat... 'What if I crash the car? Am I going to die?
Sounds stupid but these things really do cross you mind when you are in control of something so possibly destructive haha


So first is running through the initial checks in your car. these things are taught in varying ways depending on your instructor. But always start with cockpit checks.

Seat adjustment,
Seat Belt,
Make sure everything is comfortable and you feel ready to drive.

When it comes to this specific car I am learning in I have to push the clutch down then turn the key to start the engine.
'Oh it's so quiet!'
I really did think if was going to be louder than this, but its virtually silent.

After the initial start-up you want to get ready to drive, so I do.
Clutch is already down, into first gear, hand on handbrake, clutch up to biting point. 
Full circle checks from left to right: Over left shoulder checking blind spot, into left wing mirror, rear view mirror, right side mirror, and right shoulder blind spot.

All Clear?

Handbrake off, hold clutch foot at biting point and concentrate on steering and pulling out. up gently off clutch and right foot gently on the accelerator (Gas).
changing into second gear is a doddle, Left foot down to floor with clutch, pull back on gear stick into second and slowly off clutch.

"This is easy!"

So stopping is pretty much the same thing but backwards, 
choose a space to pull up, check mirrors (Rear view then left), off the accelerator/Gas, foot break then clutch, slowly steering in... not too far...waaaaaaaaa!

Mounting the kerb and scratching the brand spanking new rims and tires.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry"

'No problem, easily done, don't panic, 
but I'd rather you didn't beat my car up hahaha ;)'


For the remaining time in my lesson I gained more knowledge of the car stalled a few more times and moved onto pulling in and out of junctions doing both left and right turns.
Most manoeuvres I did a initial run through and he would talk me through it. Then we would go through it briefly afterwards once pulled up in a suitable place.
However if I was feeling nervous on a topic my instructor explained it verbally first with the help of diagrams in his book.
So a few highlights of my lesson, good and bad:

  • I managed to pull out in front of a bus, I'm sure it had stopped!
  • I Scratched up his Rims and wheels... Two weeks old!
  • I had trouble turning corners so we practised 90 degree turns in a car park.
  • I'm good with clutch control after the first few stalling blips.
  • Since I have passed my theory, I have good knowledge on how to use the road.

All in all a fantastic experience so far but one of the first things to pop into my mind.
"Why haven't I done this sooner than now?!?"

That was sooooo fun!

Next one is on Thursday 31st July 2014.
...Stay tuned...

Much Love

Monday, 21 July 2014

My Learning-To-Drive Journey - Chapter Two

A Little Bit About My Experience So Far.

How far along the learning curve am I so far?
...Never even turned a car on!...

What to Expect?

Well back on the 20th August 2013 I took my Car theory test.

Upon booking easily on line through the GOV website and paying a reasonable £31 fee.
 I get myself a booking conformation email and a date to sit the test.

Arriving at the test centre I was a little nervous but mostly because I had to speak to people and was panicking I was going to be late because I couldn't find the right damn door (they don't take kindly to late comers) though I did find my way in by chatting to and following a lovely young girl with her dad. We did have a bit of a giggle about the bad sign-age which made her feel a little less nervous I think :)

So we managed to get in, waiting our turns to show the happy little man our provisional licenses and paper counterparts. 

Now to put all personal items in the lockers including phone

 - that is on silent - and paper counterpart license. 

Keeping Provisional License out as per instructions.

So here I am being shown to my seat by the GRUMPIEST old woman ever,
(she may have been having a rather bad day but gosh it did make it a more stressful environment, not necessarily for me but whomever was incredibly nervous)
Admittedly she was very helpful and did set up the computer with ease and speed.


So here we go the clock is ticking, you get 1 minute per question if you split it up equally, making the first part of the Car Theory Test 50 minutes long if you use all your time. 
You can flag questions throughout the exam so you can come back and answer them later or check if they are right.

Done that?

Onto the Hazard Perception. Up comes the screen that tells you what's happening, how you roll with it, with a practise clip.

The Hazard Perception part of the test is you get shown 14 different clips.   
Before each clip you get a freeze frame and a count down from 10
(10 seconds is ages when your sitting there watching it tick-tock-tick-tock)

 Each clip has one or even several hazards one of which is the 'developing hazard'.

A Developing hazard is essentially, the hazard that causes the driver to change, speed, direction, or take evasive action in some way.

You are to click when you first see the hazard. To let you know you've click you get a little reg flag at the bottom of the screen.

 The quicker you see the developing hazard the more points you score. 
Up to 5 points per clip.

The supervisor comes back to you after you have finished ( they just magically know)
 and ushers you out the door to pick up you piece of paper almost immediately.

This has you grades on the front, with any 'Topic Areas' of the theory questions you got wrong. i go one question wrong and it was a 'Road and traffic signs' topic.

This piece of paper with your certificate on the back and the certificate number for when you are booking your practical car test, isn't very fancy, 
but hold onto it, its still your certificate!



My thoughts & Results.

They want me to see that far-off-in-the-distance developing hazard on a CRT computer screen when its not filmed with a HD Camera?

Didn't happen too well for me. 

My final results were

49 out of 50 on the theory questions.
And 46 out of 75 on The hazard perception.

The pass grades were:
Theory Questions: 43 out of 50
Hazard Perception: 44 out of 75

I passed by 2 points on the hazard perception. Talk about cutting it fine J4!
I found the questions super easy peasy and the whole exam took me less than and hour because i zoomed through the questions.
(Though I am not encouraging short sessions, use all the time you can!)


So there is the low down on my Theory test Experience.

And now onto the lessons (finally) a year later as the 
theory certificate only lasts for 2 years from pass date!

Keeping up with me still ya? ;)

Much Love

The Start Of My Learning-To-Drive Journey - Chapter One

Feelings before the first one.

So the last time I came to chat to the world, it was December 2013. Gosh... 
I left you for a while.

Why did I decide to come and chatter away again despite giving it a measly try in the beginning? 

Well. in one weeks time. I am going to be starting my car driving lessons.
(About bloody time is all most people are saying 
apparently 21 years of age is old for driving now days!) 

I have never driven before and if I am totally honest rather nervous 
and when I'm nervous...

...I study. 

So on these troubled travels through the internet. I'm searching; 
What a first driving lesson is like? 
How it feels? 
What is a biting point?
When do you use the clutch?

What happens if you crash the instructors car?! ... 

...And unhelpful to my increasing nerves I find a very, VERY small amount of information on what its like to drive for the first time and if there really is 
any possible chance of pulling a 'Hermione Granger' and learning it all before hand.

So, to help those of us who are in a similar situation, or indeed will be, in a similar situation.
 I'm going to answer all the question that pop into my mind, with my own experiences, costs, feelings and progress. Logging, or indeed blogging, my Learning-to-drive-journey until the day I hold that Full Driving License in my hand!

So follow my journey and experience it with me or...
...join me on my journey and take that step towards your first driving lessons too!

Much love,