Monday, 1 September 2014

My Learning-To-Drive Journey - Chapter Seven

Pedestrian Crossings and Reversing

Hour 9

1 Hour Lesson
Friday 29th August 2014 


INSTRUCTOR "Short one today J4, lets sign off pedestrian crossings, and start learning to reverse! happy with that?"

"Ahhh scary idea reversing, but yes, lets do it"


 Today I drove straight from home, finally came across a mini roundabout. Did lots of meeting traffic. Learnt pedestrian crossings and got that all signed off (common sense really!) and got my foot stuck under the clutch at a 'T' junction onto a main road WHAT?!? 

On my sheet today I got indication signed off completely along with pedestrian crossings.

One hour lessons are way too short in my opinion, didn't get to drive enough! 


I actually drove from home today!

I still live at home with my parents. My mum was watching me out of the upstairs window hoping she would see me pull off. 

She did see me pull away however, didn't realise I was going to talk through a few things with the instructor before I went haha!

The day started at 9:00am I got in the drivers seat and we talked through pedestrian crossings getting nearly all his questions correct.  

(Apart from a fancy crossing called and equestrian crossing, which after I heard the name I knew it was for horses!)


Pedestrian crossings.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy.

It is important to know what is behind you and how close it is, use your rear view frequently to judge weather it is safe to slow down.

Simplest thing ever. If the lights are on green what will you be expecting them to do? Go Red of course! so plan your approach and expect to stop.

Same for a Red light on approach. Expect it to change green (not so much that if it doesn't change you're zooming into a pedestrian or another car on t-junctions!

Sometimes you find yellow (orb) lights on traffic islands in the middle of the road, these are just to alert you to a possible crossing place for pedestrians.
Remember people can cross anywhere, so be on the lookout!


White lines painted in rectangles across the road, these are marked with the typical 'persons-may-cross-here' yellow flashing orbs of light on poles.

You must give way when someone is waiting to cross, also when someone is already crossing. 

Do not wave people across it may not be clear. 

If someone is waiting you can make eye contact to let them know you have seen them.



Traffic lights and zigzag lines mark a pelican crossing.

These lights are activated by pedestrians via their button.

A flashing amber light after the red will appear, you may go proceed when the amber light shows if the crossing is clear and no one is waiting.



Pretty much the same as the Pelican crossing. But smarter.

It can sense when a pedestrian is waiting, and also how long they are taking to cross. Therefore taking into account how long it should display a red light to traffic. It can also override the red light displayed to traffic if the pedestrian has already crossed.

Because this pedestrian crossing has the red and green man one the pedestrians side telling them when to go and stop there is no flashing amber light to the traffic, like a typical traffic light.



A Crossing treated much the same as a toucan crossing but this crossing allows horse riders to cross too, with a higher button for them to press. 

Thinking about it, you should probably be cautious here, since a rider sits quite central on a horse, the horses head might be in the road by the time the rider reaches the button haha!

I Said to my instructor I had never seen this type of crossing before, he said he hadn't either, but you have to know it anyway, in case you are asked it in your practical driving exam. =)




So simple! pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to cross on these crossings. 
There is no flashing amber phase, just like the puffin crossings.

That's everything I can remember right now!

The Lesson

So after pulling away (perfectly woo!) we started on our short drive to get to the first pedestrian crossing practise. 

This is where I got my foot stuck under the clutch pedal. 

Now I know why this happened. In the morning I couldn't find my driving shoes, so I was wearing different trainers, (kind of like converse's with the rubber toe) they don't give me much movement so I don't think I could feel the pedals too much and must have slipped off.

Either that or my clumsiness jumped in at the wrong time POO!

The pedestrian crossing I was going to travel across arrives right after a left hand turn from a 'T' Junction onto the main road. 
When pulling from this junction on the main road I got about half way pulled out,so I was committed and I got my foot stuck under the clutch pedal. Therefore failing at clutch control and stalling the car (DOH!)

I was quite safe, all the cars had been lined up at the lights so I was not in danger of being crashed into at speed. There was also the line of ready-to-pull-away cars in front of me so i couldn't have got anywhere fast and neither could the impatient ...(insert bad word of choice) ... behind me that honked his horn and swerved round me! 
(he nearly collided with the opposite traffic!)

So after I had stalled all the hoo-ha started

I was trying to rectify my failure, nice and calm trying to start my engine again. 
To start the engine on a Kia Rio 1.1 Diesel you have to put the clutch down.

"Where's my clutch gone?!? My clutch pedal is lost!"

INSTRUCTOR "I've got it for you, start your engine!... come on start your engine"



(okay I was polite and didn't shout like that but my mind was shouting that at him haha)

"I'm ALIIIIVEEEEE" - and off we go 

Turns out the car wont start from a stall when he uses his dual control clutch.
Well at least he knows this now and someone else wont be in the same situation as I was!

After this little blip the lesson went okay, apart from my lack of steering skills in reverse!



Oh my goodness gracious me.
How can someone be so awful at steering?

Steering backwards is crazy, its supposed to be pretty normal compared to going forwards, but I just couldn't get the hang of it.

I remember having a little debate with my other half (who started learning to drive a few months before me and is ready for his test)

He was saying "You should be taught to reverse around the corner immediately otherwise the instructor is wasting your money and spinning the lessons out"

 I said "If I was my instructor I would definitely make me reverse backwards in a straight line first!"

He did do the latter and thank goodness he did. He gave me the exercise of controlling the cars speed in reverse with the clutch (this is easy my clutch control is like iv'e been driving for years apparently woo-hoo!) and then hug the kerb whilst in reverse, steering away approximately 2ft (1 Metre ish) and come back in again as though I was pulling up to park.

No, this car has a mind of it own and does not go the way you want it too.

Honest... it has a soul.

"If I go any closer to that kerb I will hit it."
INSTRUCTOR: "Your miles away J4 don't stress just relax and play with the car"

I spent about 20 minutes of my 1 hour lesson reversing.
I Think I need about 10 x that! haha 

So a few highlights of my lesson, good and bad:
  • Reversing speed, I'm good at but my steering is letting me down again!
  • Got foot stuck under the clutch pedal (that's what you get for loosing you driving shoes. DOH!)
  • My clutch control, gear changes and knowledge of the road is exemplary. (Minus the above point)
  • Meeting traffic skill and steering (forwards!) is better than ever.

You would not believe how fun driving is and I cannot wait to get back in the car!

Next Lesson 2nd August 2014
Back to 2 hours!

If you drive, did you or do you still find reversing difficult?
And is driving still fun when you know how to do it all? 

Can't wait to get back in that car!

Much Love
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