As this was my 5th hour of lessons I was expecting to learn something significantly new, and while this didn’t seem to be the case, I did enjoy just mainly driving around.
When we arrived at the usual location of my driving lesson and I began driving, I drove for around 10 minutes just refreshing my memory. My lesson was at 2pm on a Saturday and the roads were much busier than I had previously experienced during my lessons. I did make a few mistakes during this first part of my lesson. At one point I was at a junction waiting to go across the traffic and when I made the decision to go I saw a car come round the corner towards me which completely put me off and I forgot to steer! This may not have been a major problem but there was a car parked opposite the junction. Matt took control of the car and reversed me back so that I could have another go. I also stalled once after I released the clutch too quickly, again this was when I was at a junction to go across the traffic.
After stopping and speaking with Matt about how I felt that section of my lesson had gone, I told him that I felt I was getting worse. He said that something was different to my last lesson that was making the drive less smooth but couldn’t put his finger on what. Luckily everything picked up from then on.
While stopped we discussed meeting which we had briefly covered before. The general rule is that if the obstruction is on your side of the road and something is coming towards you, you need to stop. Obviously there are some people who don’t follow this unwritten rule and you definitely aren’t going to argue with a lorry or bus if it’s trying to get passed first.
The images used in the teaching resources that Matt used are good but don’t really represent how cars park in real life. As I later realised, when trying to squeeze between 2 parked cars, it’s all about being able to plan in advance of what you are going to do if you end up in these situations.
After driving around in a new location with much narrower and busier roads, I got to put what I had learned about meeting into practice. If I noticed a car coming towards me and there was a parked car on either side of the road I just slowed down to ensure that the car coming towards me got through the gap before I got there.
We later stopped for a few minutes to talk about speed limits and speed in general. Matt began by asking me if I knew what different shaped signs mean. The rule is circular signs give orders, triangles give warnings and rectangles give information. The only exceptions to this rule are the give way sign and stop sign. The give way sign is the only upside down triangle and is different from the others so that it can be recognised in all weather, even if it’s covered in snow. The stop sign is a red edged octagon which is again different for the same reason as the give way sign, to make it recognisable quickly. Blue circles generally give mandatory instructions such as ‘turn right’ or indicate routes available for specific vehicles such as ‘buses and cycles only’. Speed limit signs are large circles if they are indicating a change in speed and are smaller circles if they are acting as reminders of the current speed limit.
Something that I found interesting is the reason for the national speed limit sign. Different vehicles have different maximum speed limits on certain roads. The maximum speed limit for a car on a motorway is different to the maximum speed limit of a lorry or a car that is towing.
Another thing that I didn’t know is what makes a carriageway a carriageway. I initially answered saying a dual carriageway had 2 lanes and that’s what makes it a carriageway? Apparently most people think this but the actual answer is that they have something in the middle of the road that makes it physically impossible to get to the other side of the road.
I then began driving around again with Matt pointing out the speed limit signs and when speed limits changed in certain areas. He also told me that if ever in doubt about the speed limit that if it’s a built up residential area then its 30mph and if it’s a road with no street lights then it’s 50mph. I seemed to go slower in this lesson as I was concentrating more on my speed and also because I was trying to avoid hitting parked cars!