Dissensus driving school

martin

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I'm learning to drive at the age of 46. Pretty much because I spent my entire life in London (bar a few years in Luton), so I could jump on the tube/a bus any time, and I had nowhere to park a car anyway. But now I'm living in the Highlands, I need to drive to get around - the buses suck (and are really inefficient - a massive Stagecoach bus with 4-5 people on it) and taxis are expensive (though easy to order, as hardly anyone uses them).

I'm finding it a fucking 'mare. I'm doing manual, as it's the only local option - I heard automatics are easier, but it's harder to get second-hand ones (and most drivers consider automatics 'not really learning to drive' or something?) One of my problems is I keep drifting without realising, and I'm tired of my instructor making the same joke about how I'm in love with the kerb. I've also made some absolute dipshit moves, like indicating right then making a left turn, and nearly pulling out in front of a cyclist. My instructor's told me that the thought of passing my test before Xmas is "optimistic". Which is a bit humiliating, but guess it's better than me ploughing into a bus shelter. I'm considering shelling out for a week's intensive course, doing an automatic if needs be - I just want to get around ASAP.

Anyway, do you drive? And do you have any tips?
 

woops

is not like other people
i used to drive in lancashire for a year or 2. but im much too scared to do it in london. tried it once it was insane, people shouting you cant drive & stuff
car stereos are great though, blasting music on the motorway was fun
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I don't have great hand eye co-ordination and it took me 3 attempts to pass my test as a teenager.

My advice is just crack on with it and you'll be OK. All kinds of people seem to be able to drive. You've not said how long you've been doing it?

The mistakes you've made seem about normal at this stage from my perspective? I'm sure I did all that and spent ages not finding the biting point with the clutch and all that.

I'd avoid automatics unless you have to - it's just going to mean more expense in the long run and less flexibility if you travel away from your own motor.

 

martin

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You've not said how long you've been doing it?

Since early June. My first lesson was basically an hour of of me taking my foot off the clutch too quickly and stalling. Finding the biting point still feels a bit like hoodoo...am relieved to hear all that, though. On the plus side, he took me out onto a national road and into 4th gear/40mph+ last weekend...though there wasn't much to crash into...
 

jenks

thread death
i learnt when i was 32 - definitely harder as an adult especially that humiliating feeling of stupidity when you stall in traffic or balls up and the instructor has to apply the brakes. I took quite a few lessons but did pass first time, like @john eden i dont have great hand to eye coordination and i cannot really tell left from right unless i really think about it (on a separate note, those people who use compass points for directions - just head north etc are a mystery to me) but i can drive more than competently and have done for twenty years.
 

woops

is not like other people
i learnt when i was 32 - definitely harder as an adult especially that humiliating feeling of stupidity when you stall in traffic or balls up and the instructor has to apply the brakes. I took quite a few lessons but did pass first time, like @john eden i dont have great hand to eye coordination and i cannot really tell left from right unless i really think about it (on a separate note, those people who use compass points for directions - just head north etc are a mystery to me) but i can drive more than competently and have done for twenty years.
i actually turned left when told to turn right on my test but as i indicated left it wasnt counted as a fault
 

you

Well-known member
I'm told I'm good driver. I feel confident in my car. Switching between cars can take a little getting used to, especially when the gear leaver is in a different place.

I passed on my 6th attempt. The test is arbitrary. Becoming a decent driver is more about the experience and sensibility of not being a wally in the years after your test.

I don't enjoy driving. I'd much rather be on a train with a book. Beyond London this is increasingly impractical.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Where I live the driving tests are largely unstandardized, with some requiring a parallel parking demonstration and others not.

99% of the time I drive with one hand. It's gotten to the point where using both hands throws off my balance. If I wanted to, I could make the switch - would just need to be a concerted effort.
 

WashYourHands

Cat Malogen
Mirror, signal, manoeuvre!

You want to find the clutch biting point in a build up (or down) of changing gears. Handbrake start on a hill slope is a good gauge. If you burn the clutch out, well, that’s excessive

Reversing round a corner is the biggest test failure task but regards the road driving questions all luck of draw on day. When you pass an old Land Rover might serve you well. Very very cheap parts due to army stockpiling, easy to run, gets through snow etc

Get to know the car you’re doing the test in, its habits, gearbox, oh and always msm = mirror signal manoeuvre
 

Leo

Well-known member
Americans are spoiled, the vast majority of cars here are automatic. I've never even driven a standard (manual) shift car, would confuse me as well. We don't own a car, but I enjoy driving a rental while on vacations. Except when we go to England, since you insist on driving on the wrong side of the road and having the steering wheel on the opposite side. Fuckin' hell, as you might say.
 

shakahislop

Well-known member
i drove a car by myself for the first time a few weeks ago. it was really odd not having anyone in the passenger seat. but there was a feeling of liberation. i could go wherever i wanted really fast. the geography of the villages suddenly made more sense; even in the UK the way we live is based on cars. the out of town Lidl became logical. pushing all the people walking to the side of the road so that the cars can go down them made more sense. i felt like i became part of a flow. or part of a new thing at least that i'd previously mostly experienced as a barrier.
 

shakahislop

Well-known member
i agree though there is a new emotional level to it when you're learning to drive as a proper adult. because people misrecognise your status on the road. they think you are a normal driver who's been doing it for years, and that you're therefore going unnecessarily slowly. when really you're going slowly because you need to be more careful. so there is a kind of minor embarrassment to the whole thing i found. cars to me are also still macho masculine territory in the UK, even without all the bruce springsteen james dean iconography you have in the US, which comes with a whole set of issues and rules.
 

shakahislop

Well-known member
i passed on the third go i think. i think if aren't in a rush it's probably better. i ended up quite enjoying the last run of lessons i had, when i could already more or less drive and just needed polishing. those were with an afghan instructor who had come over illegally. we had a lot of chat about. especially as he was from Wardak, which is a part of the country where there are a million jokes about how stupid the people from there are. even the idea that a wardaki taught me to drive was funny to my friends. i did turn up a few beers down once, don't do that.

the worst bit was definitely the start. so many things to learn at once and a bit disempowering. but i guess its the kind of thing you just have to power through.
 

Leo

Well-known member
One thing that happens sometimes when you first start to drive is you get lost easily. You've spent all your previous time in a car as a passenger, so you never really needed to pay attention to the route to certain destinations. Suddenly, you're the only person in the car, and have to focus on the driving part and the navigation.
 
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