Tag: Driving

My struggle (mein kampf, as some would say.)

Well, guess what? I failed. Again. 🙁 I had to get up at ungodly o’clock on my days holiday to get to the training place for 7am, and could not get to sleep last night through thinking about my test and worrying. I made a few mistakes on the way to the test centre, nothing major, but not what you want to be doing on the way to a test. When we pulled up at the centre an instructor from a different school shouted to my instructor to tell him some hot news, the content of which I missed by going to the loo. Then when another instructor from my place pulled in my instructor was straight up to him to tell him the gossip. Apparently someone called M*** B****** was there at the test centre. I wasn’t really paying attention as they discussed it amongst themselves, saying he was a menace, that they had no regard for him, that he was here now because they had got rid of him somewhere else, etc. Then some chap walked in and shouted my name, shook my hand and said he’d be examining me, pleased to meet me, his name was M*** B*****! Oh the delicious irony. How I laughed. So I set off thinking I was going to fail no matter what. I did my first exercise, a very simple manoeuvre, just a reverse into a coned area with the arse end snug at the simulated dock. To do this they have fitted a bulldog clip to one of the mudguards, you just line that up with a pre-selected spot on the pre-dock area and you know you are spot-on. I can do this every time. I was out in one truck on Saturday, a different one today, and the bulldog clip is in a different place! Lined it up spot-on, inches short. Failed (though I didn’t know it) on the first exercise, before I’d even got on the road for my test!  If that had of been all I’d have failed on I would have been having very serious words with my trainers. A frank exchange of views, and possibly feet. However, I managed to fail on my own (de) merit. The valuable and unforgettable lesson I learnt today is traffic lights come in two kinds. Round red, orange, green, and round red and orange but arrowed green. This I was previously aware of, on some level. What I am fully horrifically conscious of now is the fact that if it is the latter, arrowed green, it means there is more than one set of lights in play. I was travelling along a road, he said take the next turn on the right, I indicated, changed lane, saw the light was green (arrow) and proceeded. He said "Stop! It’s a red light" I said "where?" Looking straight at a green light, and then he pointed out the other set of lights next to it, which were indeed on red! FAIL! […]

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This really is going to be a quick one, 6-2 tomorrow. However, have to say after me getting all nervous in the interlude, my four hour session today was the most productive to date. I had the older chap, who’s company it appears to be, taking me. If only I’d have had him from the start! He was, until he retired from the game three years ago, a driving test examiner. So he was telling me what to do as a driver, why I’m doing it (such as having to brake down before a corner to accelerate through it, this transfers the weight of your load backwards onto the rear wheels and you drag it through the corner under control. As opposed to going in too fast, trying to brake, the weight shifting forward and pushing you across the road.) When you understand why you’re doing something you can apply it to every situation that needs it. You don’t have to guess when to apply rules. Also there are set drills for every situation, pull in to a stop, it’s mirrors, indicate, allow a count of five for following traffic to register and react, brake, stop, handbrake, neutral, (range selector) button down, cancel indicator. If you do that every time you can’t go wrong. You have come to a safe stop and you are in a start position. You can’t roll back because your handbrake is on, you can’t set off in the wrong gear as you are in neutral in low range (so you have to select the appropriate gear. If you don’t, you can easily forget and select ‘3rd’, but because you didn’t click the button down to the low range gear box, you  are in fact trying to set off in 7th. Then you stall. And feel very foolish. And panic, and let the truck roll back as you are fighting with the gears. Only done it once, but it was on a test!) Also you have cancelled your indicator so can’t move off with the wrong signal. That was a long-winded way off demonstrating that if you have a procedure to follow you can drill it in so you can’t do it wrong. One less thing to fail on. Also being with him he showed me some basics, how do you check for air leaks? On the Q&A sheet it just says ‘check the gauges are reading the right pressure, audio warnings are off, walk around the vehicle and listen for obvious leaks.’ Fine as far as it goes, but he said ‘turn on your engine, watch the gauges are at 9 or 10 bars, then turn it off one click and check that the dials don’t drop when the engine isn’t charging them.’ That is what you need to know not just to pass a test, but to survive having a fault. If you have no air, you have no brakes. That could prove entertaining, briefly, on a hill descent with a full load. Anyway, […]

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