|Turning the car around
||[Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 8:52 pm]
Next, last week's driving lesson!
The main topic of the lesson was three-point turns, or as it's called these days "turning the car round" (as you're now allowed to do it in more stages). The aim of this manoeuvre is to turn the car around, ideally in as few mores as possible but most importantly without touching the kerb.
It's actually a rather easy manoeuvre, especially if you're driving something with a decent turning circle. I imagine it's a lot more tedious in an Alfa! The way I've been taught this is to lean forwards in the seat (using the steering wheel to pull yourself forwards), and line up your shoulders with points half and three-quarters of the way across the width of the road. That way you'll always be able to stop in time.
Anyway, to begin with (starting from parked at the side of the road, so don't forget the six-point check!), turn hard right and slowly move forwards, looking both in front and over your right shoulder. When your shoulders reach the three-quarter mark, straighten up and quickly stop. Then into reverse (with in this car a very quick up/down on the clutch pedal so the stop/start doesn't kick in), check left and right as well as out the back, and as soon as the car starts to move turn hard left. Once your shoulders pass the middle of the road then you don't need to check right anymore (just left and back), and again as you reach the three-quarter mark straighten out and stop. Back into first gear, check left and right, and as you move forwards turn hard right again. Depending on how wide the road is (and how good the turning circle of the car is), you should now be facing the other way and be able to stop/continue/whatever.
I'm writing this a week later so bits may have slipped my mind, but I think that's the main steps involved. One other point is how to handle other traffic. Unlike with reversing round corners, if you see an approaching car here you complete the current stage of the manoeuvre . Then you stop, make eye contact, and see what he's going to do. Generally there'll be enough space for him to continue past and get out of your way, but if he can't (or he stays put), then carry on with the next stage. The exception is if an ambulance or similar turns up, in which case the examiner will likely tell you to just drive up onto the kerb (touching the kerb is normally a fail, but not if the examiner tells you to) and so get out of his way.
While we were going over all this we saw another learner drive past and stop in front of us, at which point my examiner remarked that they were probably covering the same topic. And indeed they were, as moments later they then turned their car round before trundling off. That was handy as for a change I got to see someone else try a manoeuvre before having a go myself. Anyway I then did a succession of turns (all in three points, though more is allowed in the test if it's a narrower road), before we headed off for more general driving practice and a few more goes at bay parking.