Blog: The Road To L (Part 2)
(Behind The Wheel With A Learner Driver)
After several driving lessons, I felt myself to be fairly competent and unafraid of ruining Dad’s car as soon as I looked at it. The first thing I noticed was the sheer number of differences that there were between his automobile and my instructor Emily’s, despite both being the same brand, there was a multitude of confusing controls. Having paid little attention to my parents’ driving, I was surprised to find the hand brake down by the door rather than in-between the front seats! The key turned the other way to start as well; as a matter of fact, I was surprised to find that the pedals were in the same order. Among other disorienting factors was that any points of reference from the driver’s seat had suddenly vanished.
Mum seemed fairly surprised by my relative confidence and skill. Although I displayed a slightly alarming tendency to drive in the gutter on single track roads, my first drive with a parent was thankfully incident-free. Her report obviously gave Dad enough confidence to let me drive when I went out with him to various locations in Norfolk and Suffolk. Although my braking occasionally caused fright, apparently either being too light or too heavy. (A view which incidentally I do not share as the car remains intact.) I was unfortunate enough on one occasion to meet a horse and cart on a narrow country road and was forced to reverse a considerable distance with limited visibility and lots of ditches around the car - quite a challenge!
Within my tuition, there have been a couple of startling moments. For example, when told to take the second exit on a roundabout, Emily had to grab the wheel to avoid passing the twin red signs which marked the EXIT of the dual carriageway! Had she not been so fast, my actions would have been horrendously unsafe and horribly illegal. Small errors in my judgement have also led to a few tense moments, particularly when emerging onto roundabouts when it is easy to become frustrated or flustered at the apparent lack of opportunities or miss something important that you should have kept an eye out for. These are the times when it is very handy to have the extra set of pedals. On the other hand, I can’t be too awful a pupil because she still consents to teach me.