The classroom sessions are finished and will hopefully fade from my memory. Tonight I had my assessed drive. It went well, considering that the rain was falling horizontally (eh?) and the wind was buffeting the car to a surprisingly alarming degree.
So I now have yet another form, a bit like the one recording my progress on the motorcycle, completed by tonight's observer, which divides the driving skills into 8 neat departments.
The grades are as follow:
1 = Advanced Test Standard
2= Guidance (presumably means some guidance required)
4= Needs development
The scores on the doors, and the comments, were:
3 - Starting Off Procedure (Polish off & sort out order - there's an A4 page detailing the starting procedure and although I covered everything I was a bit hesitant and had to think about each one, so I need to get a "script" into my head and say it every time I get in the car)
2 - Gear Selection & Use (Good work in town)
3 - Braking (Work on separation from gear change - you shouldn't brake and change gear at the same time. This is something of which I'm aware but I haven't yet started to try to put it into practice)
2 - Approach to Hazards (Spotted good & early, and position changed - this comes from being a biker!)
2 - Signalling (Thought about need for signal - I also explained in my commentary why I did or didn't signal each time. There isn't any point in signalling if it won't benefit other road users)
2 - Positioning (Allowed for hazards & cornering advantage - this also comes from being a biker)
x - Overtaking (In this weather, in the dark and on unfamiliar country roads? You must be joking, of course I didn't do any!)
2 - Making Progress (Good progress (town) - Considering the conditions tonight, this was good I thought)
The comments are pretty fair I think. I was hoping for at least one Grade 1, but that's probably unrealistic, particularly given the weather conditions. To put things in perspective, and you must remember that it's unlikely that anyone who didn't already consider themselves a reasonably good driver would put themselves forward for this course, one of the other associates on his assessed drive said afterwards that he didn't see a cow in the road (I didn't get the impression that he was joking) and his whole drive went really really badly.
I have now been allocated an observer, the same man who took two of us on the demonstration drive a couple of weeks ago, and we have pencilled in the first real observed drive for a week on Monday. I'm looking forward to it very much, and we are aiming to have me through my test before (well before, I hope) Christmas.
Watch this space.