Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I am very much in two minds.

I've just completed the first night of five sessions towards sitting my advanced driving test. Weeks 1, 2 and 4 are solely in the classroom. Week 3 is a demonstration drive by IAM observers in their car, and week 5 is a 15-20 minute assessment drive in my car.

Tonight seemed very proscriptive (is that the right word?). You will be in third gear if you are driving at 30mph. You will only make one gear change per hazard (e.g. if slowing down from, say, 70mph in 5th gear towards a queue of traffic where you will need to be in 2nd gear you will brake gently and in plenty of time but will stay in 5th gear until the speed of the car is right to change straight to 2nd without the engine over-revving). You will complete a 1 1/2 page (A4) starting drill every time you get in the car and a 1 page stopping drill every time you park (although apparently neither is part of the test, they're just "good practice").

And several of us have picked up bad habits over the years. This is undoubtedly true. But one of the "bad habits" mentioned was that of changing down through all the gears in turn (sequential changing) which is now not the done thing. I was taught to use sequential changing by my driving instructor 28 years ago. How can anyone claim I have picked that up as a bad habit when it's what I was taught as being the correct way to do it in 1979. Semantics and pedantry (are they the right words?) maybe.

And there seemed to be a committee meeting going on just behind us, judging by all the chatter, which was very distracting and, I'm afraid to say, bloody irritating and rude, not to mention disrespectful to the speaker.

I left the place very wound up.

So will I go back?

At the start of the evening I paid them £70 for associate membership of the car section (on top of the £85 I paid them last Wednesday for associate membership of the motorcycle section) so you're damn right I'll go back. Go back. Grit my teeth. Pass my test. And walk away.

I should stress that they were generally nice people, the set up is not ideal though and maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind tonight.

So maybe, hopefully, next week won't be so frustrating.

And to answer a question on a comment left by Colleen on my previous post, no the advanced training isn't compulsory, as the name suggests it's training to a more advanced level so that you can drive/ride better and more safely which will lead to making better progress (i.e. overall faster, which is different from being faster in short bursts in a straight line). And the basic licence in the UK involves more than a day of training, probably on average 10 or more 1 hour lessons, followed by a test lasting maybe an hour or thereabouts. The bike lessons and test and the car lessons and test last about the same time, but before you can ride a bike as a learner you must attend and pass a CBT (Compulsory Basic Test) which hopefully helps give you the basic skill to help you avoid falling off while you learn enough to pass the full test.

1 comment:

  1. And.... I think.......can positely affect your insurance status as a driver (with some companies)..... ?
    Aw' ra' bes' Gaz. You've been wantin' tae dae this for a braw wee while noo...... an' will be great ter get yer' belt roun' it.