In an attempt to reassure myself I do know what I’m doing here is (probably not) everything I can currently remember about driving.

 

Gears

Setting off: 1st. Get into 2nd pretty sharpish.

Junctions (Give Way): 1st. Go straight into it. Don’t faff about going into 2nd before.

Junctions (Stop Sign): 1st. Put your handbrake on. Even if it’s clear and you’re only stopping very briefly.

Roundabouts: 2nd. It just is apparently.

Hills: 3rd is good for hills but you need to get your speed up first otherwise you’ll have to do it in 2nd and floor it. Not fun. Not good.

30mph: When you hit 30, it’s time for 4th gear. It took me a long time to get to grips with this.

Going fast: If you’re going up towards 50 or 60 this is when you can use 5th. But like with the hills, make sure you’re going fast enough first. (In the real world I’ve seen people using 5th at 30mph quite happily but this is about the learning and test passing stage of driving so we ignore these people).

Generally speaking: Speed Up. Change Up. Slow Down. Change Down.

 

Manoeuvres

There are four manoeuvres you might be asked to do. Everyone tells me I won’t do any of them when I actually start driving for real but you still need to know how to do them.

Turn In The Road:

LOOK AROUND. Full lock right as soon as you start move. Move slowly. Don’t crash into the curb. Brake and straighten up. Go into reverse.

LOOK AROUND. Full lock left as soon as you start to move. Move slowly. In order to not crash into the curb this time you need to look over you left shoulder through the back. Brake. Braking is highly important. Straighten up. Go back into first.

LOOK AROUND. Aim for your normal driving position on the left. That is unlikely to be a full turn let alone a full lock.

Carry on driving.

Summary: Full lock, straighten, full lock, straighten, drive.

 

Parallel Park

Pull up along side the car in question. The back of your car should be level with the back/front of the already parked car (depending on which way it’s facing obviously).

LOOK AROUND. Put your car into reverse. Full turn to the left. Not full lock. Creep back until you’re pointing at 2 o’clock on the imaginary clock that is on the road. Stop. Straighten up.

LOOK AROUND. Reverse back to the point where the curb is at your door handle in your left wing mirror. This point of reference might be different on your car but you’ll know where it is. Stop.

LOOK AROUND. Steer a full turn to the right as you continue to reverse. As soon as you’re parallel with the curb straighten up. Stop in a sensible place. The official ruling if this is within two car lengths. Handbrake. Neutral.

Summary: Left, Right Right, Left.

 

Reverse Bay Park

Go to a car park.

Decide where you want to park. Pick an area with as few cars as possible and ideally well lit.

Pick a bay. You now need to go two lines ahead of this.

Pull up alongside the third line so that it is in the middle of your window. If you’re not already in reverse, get in it now.

LOOK AROUND.

Full lock on in the direction you want to go as soon as you start moving.

If you’ve done it right you will see the bay lines appear in your wing mirrors.

As soon as you’re parallel, straighten up. Keep reversing until you’re in the space. You’ll want to look out of the back to make sure you don’t crash.

Summary: 3rd bay line, middle of window, full lock.

 

Reverse Around a Corner

Pull up about a steering wheel’s width from the curb.

Select reverse.

LOOK AROUND.

Start reversing slowly while making sure to check all around a lot. Stop when the corners bit of the curb starts to disappear in your left mirror.

STOP AND LOOK AROUND.

Do a 3/4 turn of the steering wheel to the left and start slowly reversing again. Again, lots of checking around.

In your left mirror you should be following the curb. If you’re getting too close, take off a 1/4 steering. If you’re too far, add on a 1/4. Carry on adjusting as needed until you are parallel.

Once parallel, reverse back to a safe distance. You need to make sure than no one will crash into you as they turn in and that everyone can get around where you’ve stopped. Don’t stop directly opposite someone else or blocking a driveway. That’s rude.

Handbrake. Neutral.

Summary: Look around a lot while doing a 3/4 turn.

 

Basically, there is a lot of looking around in these things.

 

Other Stuff

Always anticipate that traffic lights will change. This does not mean speeding up to get through them.

Don’t forget to indicate when changing lanes.

Indicate left to come off a roundabout. The outside lane is for any turns before and including 12 o’clock on the imaginary clock on the road. The inside lane in for anything after. You need to indictate right if you are going past twelve. Then left.

Check your mirrors a lot. Especially if you’re going to have to slow down. You need to know if someone is behind you.

If you’re slowing right down for goodness sake don’t forget to press the clutch. You’ll stall. And then you’ll be sad.

Try and do things in good time. Don’t change lanes last minute. If you’re in the wrong lane and it’s too late to change, change routes instead.

Check your right mirror before going around a parked car. You don’t want to crash into someone trying to overtake.

Check your left mirror at traffic lights for cyclists.

If there is an obstruction on your side of the road (such as a parked car) you have to wait. If the obstruction is on the other side, they have to wait. If there are obstructions on both sides no one has priority and you have to work it out between you through psychic powers.

 

If you have read this far, congratulations and thank you. I’m sure that was very boring for you but it’s helped me out no end. This was in no way a comprehensive list. Just everything I could think of right now.

Please let me know if I’ve got any of this wrong. I don’t really want to cause road traffic accidents if I can help it!

 

Pip pip,

Charlotte x

 

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