||[Friday 27th June 2014 at 8:00 pm]
Another lesson of driving round the back streets of Stubbington, Lee-on-Solent, and Gosport, while trying (and mostly succeeding) not to make a fool of myself.
This week I did a new route to the coast, taking Posbroke Lane out of the south of Titchfield. It's a narrow country lane, alternating between straight sections and sharp right-angle bends with a one-car-wide bridge hiding round one of them. And of course there's no visibility round these corners - in the UK, narrow country lanes almost always have tall hedges either side attempting to take over the road (unless you're in Cornwall, where the hedges have been replaced with very solid stone walls). I then ended up doing a sort of mystery tour through a new part of Stubbington and Lee-on-Solent, before arriving at the seafront and heading on into Gosport.
Manoeuvres... I had another go at parallel parking which was mostly successful, apart from confusing it with bay parking and steering too tightly at first. Left reverse round a corner was a bit more successful, though I need to pay more attention to how the car is moving in relation to the corner - it it moving away or towards the corner? I also did some more emergency stop practice, and to round it all off practised turning in the road. That last one I think I've got the hang of :)
More seriously, most of the categories in the booklet the AA use are at 4 out of 5 (where 1 is first introduced, 3 is frequently prompted, and 5 is no prompting needed). It's just getting the 5's ticked off that's left, and for that I just need plenty of practice. I've still not got parking at the side of the road quite sussed, and still need to pay more attention to the positioning of other cars. This latter one mainly applies to handling parked cars - both moving out across the white line early enough to see past (and be seen), and checking for cars on both sides of the road when stopping to let someone through. It's a tricky one - you want to generally look down your lane as you'll tend to steer where you're looking, but you also need to be aware of what's happening to your left and right. More practice definitely needed.
As usual, there were plenty of fools on the road, though the kids who decided to cross right in front of me get a pass through being young and inexperienced. The cyclist trundling along while holding a mobile to his ear, on the other hand, is a total numpty with no such excuse (not to mention breaking the law - and yes, if you break the law while cycling you can end up with points on your driving license, even if you haven't got one yet). Something I've noticed in my lessons is it's always the cyclists that seem determined to kamikaze themselves against your car, while the moped drivers tend to be well-behaved That said, as my instructor put it "never argue with a motorbike" - they get right of way, even if you think you can clear the junction or roundabout before.