|Three long-overdue writeups for the price of three!
||[Monday 4th August 2014 at 10:14 pm]
Three weeks ago
This time I was given a choice of routes to start with - option "2" turned out to be taking the B3334 past Titchfield into Stubbington, before turning off and going for a meander round Hill Head. We did a mix of different reversing manoeuvres (I forget exactly which) and plenty of practice at roads with cars parked everywhere before eventually heading back via the seafront. I think this was the lesson where we found a new car park to practise parking in - one of the many one along Lee-on-Solent seafront. This one is trickier as the space I used was uphill from the car so you need a little more power to actually make it in.
Two weeks ago
You guessed it: more driving and more reversing! I had a few goes at left reverse round a corner which went quite well, and a couple of attempts at parallel parking. The return route was along that bit of 60mph A-road I've mentioned before, along which I think I almost reached 60 before having to slow for the car in front which seemed to only want to do about 40. Then it was up to the A27 and back into Fareham along which I was passed by at least 3 people who didn't believe in speed limits. Including one that undertook me on the bypass, changed back into the right-hand lane in front of me, and then changed into the left lane for the lights at the roundabout. Sigh.
Once back outside the flat we then covered more of the show me, tell me questions. Let's see... there was checking fluid levels (except for screenwash which has no level mark or warning light), checking tyre pressures (including spare, except the Ford has a can of tyre weld instead), how to use the lights (with the fog light switches cunningly hidden in the middle of a pair of adjuster knobs), and so on. It's mostly straightforward stuff - the only tricky part is remembering just where they've hidden the controls in this car. And remembering little things, like putting the valve caps back on after measuring the tyre pressure. One or two are a little more complex: to check if the power steering is working you turn the wheel a bit with the engine off, keep pressure on the wheel, and start the engine - when the power steering kicks in you'll feel the steering become a lot lighter.
As usual we started by driving to the seafront, this time via Newgate Lane (where the roadworks still seem to be in the preparation stage) and HMS Daedalus (where the temporary traffic lights have finally vanished, huzzah!), before zig-zagging through twisty turny streets and practising yet more junctions and reversing.
Today's main theme was parking: once in Gosport we practised parking behind almost every car along the extra-wide road I've mentioned before (except for the car that's outside the person who gets upset at learners :) before finding yet another new car park to have a go at parking in. This one is down at Gillkicker Point and is at the end of a long, narrow 15mph road - and, as usual, the car behind was terribly offended at the idea of someone actually sticking to the speed limit and zipped past at the first passing place.
There was also a side order of emergency braking (I must remember to put the handbrake on and the car in neutral afterwards) and left reverse around a corner (where I got caught out by a surprising amount of camber just as I straightened out to move away from the kerb a bit).
At the end of this lesson we finally checked off the last few anticipation and planning-related items on the checklist - there's still more to do on these, but it's the sort of thing where you'll always be improving your skills. As pleaseremove put it, most of the learning is not about how to drive the car but about how to second-guess what everyone else is going to do!
There's not many lessons left until the practical!