Driving

My driving test

Well, I've just taken my driving test (was it number four or number five, I've lost count) and unfortunately I have failed yet again. I failed on three things:

1) Very early on in the test, a mistimed signal approaching a roundabout (there was a side road on the right before the roundabout and I signalled well before that - I didn't even see this road, which is rather bad of me);

2) Approaching an oncoming car, there was a parked car in front of me. I slowed down too late and I stopped far too close to it, which I realised was wrong but by then it was too late;

3) On a large roundabout near the end of the test, my lane discipline went to pot and I cut across into the lane to my right and in front of a car in this lane turning right. I wasn't aware of this until the examiner told me, which worries me. By this time I wanted the test to be over.

I assumed I had failed because I thought I had stalled three times, but the examiner only put me down for one clutch control fault. I'm pleased that, although I did get particularly nervous a couple of times, I managed not to be afflicted by "left leg shake" (which is really horrible, I can tell you) and generally managed to keep the gas going (which has been a problem in previous tests). There were a couple of times when I almost stalled but managed to recover. I had twelve minor faults (with a maximum of fifteen permitted and no more than two of any particular fault).

My examiner, by the way, was the least favourite one I've had. He had absolutely no personality and refused to talk at all, except to give instructions. He had a really annoying way of saying my name, the last syllable of which he uttered a crescendo: Mon-i-caaaa! He also kept repeating his instructions as if I hadn't heard or wasn't obeying him as quickly as he wanted. For example, after I had pulled up next to the kerb, he asked me to "pull away when you're ready, Mon-i-caaaa", then repeated these words two seconds later, making me feel rushed. Hope I don't get him again!

I don't feel completely spaced out after this test, which is also good. My swim after work last night must have helped to keep me calm and certained got me off to sleep earlier than usual. My instructor is suggesting that I book a lunchtime test slot next time and go for a swim in the morning - not sure about this, as I don't know if I can face eating lunch before my test but will get very hungry (and risk feeling hot and dizzy due to low blood sugar) if I don't.

Skimble the cat is now walking all over the desk and making it rather difficult to type! I'm going to chuck her off, rebook my test straight away so I don't prevaricate, have some lunch and go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

More Inconsiderateness

Yet more inconsiderate driving. On my way into work, a drive I must have done a few thousand times - I was trailed by a prize plonker. Let me explain the situation.

I travel in on a dual carriageway. This splits into two single lane roads. The left road soon jams up with traffic, the right road is fairly free moving (until about a quarter of a mile after the split). For non UKians, we drive on the left.

Now, I have this down to a fine art. I know that the right hand road will become a traffic jam a little while further on. Therefore I travel at a constant speed, keeping a good gap with the guy in front. The gap is not too long (a few truck lengths), but it's long enough so that if he decides to jump into the queue of traffic at short notice, or if he decides to turn left down a side street once the road splits then he'll just be gone by the time I get there.

The guy in front is braking and accelerating as he is at the end of a moving queue. He is, however, going at the same average speed as me so I'm not lane hogging. Indeed, if I went faster I'd have to be slaming on the brakes myself.

The guy behind me can see this. He can see the traffic in front. He can see that the gap is not increasing. He can see the stationary traffic on the left leaving me nowhere to go to let him past to tailgate the next guy.

So why is it that he was two feet from my bumper and swearing at me? If I closed the cap I'd have been travelling at the same rate, but with much less room to brake. I'd have been a car sandwich in the event of an accident.

More than this, by the time we get to the junctions which take cars away from what is now a single lane road, the car in front was in the stationary traffic, just about to get to the junction, and I had caught it up.

Even if I'd sat on his bumper we'd have still reached that point at the same time.... and I knew this, driving that route every day, knowing the gap to achieve this result. I'd much rather move continuously, than move fast with lots of stops - continuous flow also reduces the chances of traffic jams.

Though there are two minor turn offs before this point, these are side roads to residential areas, not thoroughfares.

Therefore the guy behind arrived at his first real opportunity to turn off having tailgated me, no later than he would have done had I tailgated the guy in front and with a sore throat and achey finger for hurling abuse.

Idiot.