Refresher driving 1

Instructor confusion

I haven’t driven in 5 years, so in preparation for getting a car I took a couple of hours refresher lessons to get me back in the driving head space. To be honest, I was more confused at the end of the lesson than I was before getting in the instructor’s car! The only thing I learnt was the circular route I drove.

I actually had to ask several friends and colleagues what they do when braking at high speed: brake then clutch, or clutch then brake ie coasting. I was taught the former, but this instructor told me to do the latter – which went against everything I had learnt.

But I sucked it up, thinking that if I didn’t listen to him then he wouldn’t take me on busier roads so I wouldn’t gain the confidence to drive on the dual carriageways/ motorways I needed. However, in that 2 hour lesson I paid for, I actually only drove for 40 minutes around that same circular route – I felt cheated of my money.

The answers I received from friends and colleagues (from my braking at high speed question) was first of bemusement, and then agreement with me that coasting is a no-go when driving. Some colleagues went further to suggest that if I didn’t feel comfortable with this instructor then I should consider another one.

My thought process was that my car was coming soon and I really needed to get confident with driving pronto and refresher driving lessons had sparse availability due to everyone halting and now restarting their lessons due to lockdown.

Car arrival

My car soon arrived and the person dropping it off parked the car forwards into the driveway. I had not reversed in my refresher lesson…

I bravely got in the car, checked the mirrors, adjusted the seat etc. I was ready to drive – I just needed to get out of my own driveway. I reversed, looked at all the mirrors, but I couldn’t get out. I live on a main road with lots of cars and a pedestrian crossing.

I needed the hubby to press the pedestrian crossing button to stop the cars so I could pull out of the driveway and reverse onto the main road. So the hubby pressed the button, and just as I was about to pull out, a jogger runs by!

I naturally did not want to run over said jogger so had to patiently wait for them to safely pass and then I very quickly reversed out of my driveway. I had done it – I had left my driveway!

I drove to the quiet road I had been before with the refresher driving instructor and spent a little while adjusting mirrors and seats. I then decided to go along the circular route I had learned – the only thing I learnt from that lesson.

I was driving along and it was ok. The roundabouts were fine, the car’s positioning was fine. Then as I was on a dual carriageway an alarm went off to my dismay. I thought, how can something be faulty already, but it turned out to be the blind spot assist letting me know there was a car near me in the next lane. Phew.

As I turned into the road the refresher driving instructor took me along, the emergency services were there. I was stuck.

At this point I hadn’t yet figured out the built in sat nav and had no data on my phone for Google maps. The police woman kindly directed me back the way I came. I wasn’t expecting to do a 3 point turn on my first drive, but I managed it – those old muscle memories came back!

Home bound, I managed to reverse into the driveway, ready to drive forwards out of the driveway next time. I was getting a little close to the neighbour’s car, but the sensors kept beeping letting me know when the car was close to any objects, which was super useful!

So I didn’t go to all the places I had planned on my first drive, but I did manage to park the car the right way round in the driveway!

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