Hey all – I’m Brogan, and I’m currently learning to drive! Three lessons down now, and wow, my most recent one was the best one yet! For this lesson we had planned tackling roundabouts so we drove to a business park thinking it would be quiet, to get in as much practice as possible without the pressure of other drivers. Turns out, it wasn’t quiet – at all. One thing to take into consideration – it was raining, (quite heavily because… well, Great British weather) so that was always going to make it a bit tougher. Jason, my instructor, told me to turn the wipers on. I did but it only went once then stopped, he explained that I hadn’t pushed the lever far enough so of course, I then pushed it further and the wipers went crazy, they were going so fast it made such a noise I could barely hear Jason! Eventually, we got the right setting… how embarrassing!
Facing roundabouts for the first time
After a brief introduction on roundabouts, we set off. I was quietly nervous and anxious, I didn’t want to say anything, but I felt unprepared and I felt as if I didn’t really know what I was doing, Jason insisted it would be fine though. We came to the first roundabout, there was a car passing so we had to stop, I did so while still in third gear, so the car jittered and stalled. Lesson learned. This only added to my nerves, once the car was on off we went and luckily for the first portion of the lesson we were only doing first exits which I could handle ok, it’s when we started crossing lanes and changing indictors and third and fourth exits that I struggled with a bit. Jason told me to look at the roundabout as a clock face. Anything before 12:00 (1st and 2nd exit normally) we need to be in the left lane and anything past there (3rd and maybe 4th exit) we needed to be in the right lane, obviously there are exceptions to this but I was using this as a general rule, I was checking the signs to make sure. Another analogy he gave me was to imagine the roundabout was a pizza and the outer lanes are the crust and then the insides are the toppings – it may sound strange, but it all helped me a lot!
A bump in the road
After a few attempts I was finally getting the swing of it, Jason was directing me what exits to take, and I was doing it fine. We approached another roundabout and Jason told me to take the second exit – this was fine, but I accidentally took the first exit! Normally this wouldn’t be a problem and we could just find another route, but it was at the end of the school day and I ended up getting completely stuck in school traffic – what a palaver! School mums and dads stopping wherever they liked, cars parked all over the place (half on-road half on pavement) with me swerving in and out of them was a nightmare! At one point I nearly collided with an oncoming car. I also clipped the curb (not my fault as I was trying to avoid an oncoming car) and my instructor Jason had to grab the wheel momentarily, which was super frustrating because I felt like I was taking a step back in my learning. After we escaped the school run traffic he pointed to where I needed to go next. And somehow, we ended up on a dual carriageway going 70mph!
Taking it up a gear
I actually quite like driving at faster speeds, but the heavy rainfall was making it much tougher than usual. The windscreen kept steaming up, so visibility was restricted and just made it harder overall (I hope when my test comes around, it’s on a dry day!)
At the end of the lesson, we did what Jason called a ‘victory lap’ and you could definitely see the progress I had made; for the first time Jason told me I was going to drive home, I had no idea where I was going so he was directing me! I was pretty nervous, but I managed to get us home all in one piece, so I was very happy with myself. As I was pulling into my road, I saw my dad outside – he didn’t see me, but it was really strange seeing him when I was behind the wheel! My next lesson isn’t for another three weeks, and I’m a bit worried I’ll have forgotten what I’ve learnt. In the meantime, I may even get in some private practice to help keep the skills I’ve learnt fresh in my memory.
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