Tag Archives: driving

Forgetful driver: 10 things I’ve learned so far

Sorry for the lengthy pause in updating this. It seems I’d totally forgotten that – while learning to drive – I should actually blog about it on here.

I’ve now had 8 two-hour lessons; I wouldn’t say I’m brilliant yet but definitely much improved from the terror of the first couple of lessons.

I’ve driven at 2 mph (known as half-clutching or feathering the clutch), 50 mph on a four-lane road (terrifying but much more dangerous to drive slowly). I’ve driven by night through Mayfair, Trafalgar Square and Putney and by day through Tooting, Brixton and Richmond Park (where we learned about speed control).

Here are 10 things I’ve learned since my last post.

  1. The fear in the first five minutes of each lesson will subside. After that it’s actually quite fun.
  2. Dual carriageways don’t mean two lanes of traffic going in the same direction. It’s defined as a road divided in two by a central reservation (such as grass, a barrier or markings in the road).
  3. Braking doesn’t always mean stopping.
  4. Changing down into first gear doesn’t mean you have to stop (quite useful when a light’s been red for a long time).
  5. You will stall. Lots. Even if you don’t do it in your first two lessons and think you’re not going to be one of those people who stalls all the time. If you stall, ignore the feelings of other drivers while you struggle to restart the engine. It will only rattle you.
  6. Skipping a lesson puts you back about 2 weeks in terms of driving ability as you forget everything, including where the gear-stick is and which way the indicators work.
  7. Driving in central London at night is not that scary after the first five minutes (see 1). And it’s all about lane discipline.
  8. Roundabouts are not for slowing down.
  9. Give men in BMWs (or similar) with a woman in the passenger seat a wide berth. They are almost certainly trying to impress her, which means they aren’t looking at you and will try to cut you up.
  10. But they’re not as bad as white van men. White van men are sent by the devil.

My only wish was that we’d seen Fenton in Richmond Park (although I’m not sure I’d have loved a herd of deer running out in front of the car):


Leave a comment

Filed under brake, clutch, Driving, Dual Carriageways, gears, Lessons, London, pedals, Roundabouts

12 years of procrastination

In 2005, aged 23, I applied for my provisional licence. When it arrived, it sat in a box for about 7 years.

This Christmas, my brother made me a voucher for 2 x 1 hour driving lessons. He said he was ‘throwing down the gauntlet’. If I take my test by my 30th birthday there’s a vintage bottle of brandy in it for me. The voucher ‘expires’ on Jan 31st 2012, which is today.

The Direct Gov site has loads of advice for learning to drive. Basically, the main things you need to know before booking lessons are:

  1. You have to be 17
  2. You must have a provisional licence which consists of a photocard and a paper part.

That’s it! (anyone reading from the rest of the world, this is definitely a UK based blog so this may not apply at all where you are!)

If your provisional licence is ancient and the address is out of date (with no name changes and you still have both parts) you can tell them by phone and they send you a new one within 2 weeks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Driving, DVLA, Provisional License, Uncategorized

5 reasons I haven’t learned to drive… yet

I’m 29 and I’ve never had a driving lesson in my life.

Why not?

  1. I live in London – the traffic, narrow streets and general radio of nutters : normal people makes it a pretty scary place to drive.
  2. The transport system in London is amazing – between tubes, trains and nightbuses there’s no need to get behind the wheel.
  3. I grew up in London. See above.
  4. You can’t drink if you’re driving. May seem trivial but to me having fun at the party always seems more important than getting home from it.
  5. Actually, if I’m honest, I’m a teeny bit worried I’ll be crap at it.

This blog is going to follow the process of me learning to drive.

Leave a comment

Filed under Driving, Lessons, London, public transport