Fear of 4 Wheels – Part 3

Last time I spoke to my driving instructor, I said I was going to spend some time in Tesco car park just starting and stopping our car, to get used to the clutch and the whole routine of pulling away in a controlled fashion.  Greté was kind enough to go with me tonight, and we just got back.

carstartI think in 50 minutes I managed to pull away in a controlled fashion once.  The other 99 attempts were roughly,

  • 70 stalls before even leaving the parking bay.
  • 20 juddering starts where I just about remember to keep enough petrol on to actually not stall.
  • 7 starts where I accelerate almost out of control and then slow down again into something approaching reasonable speed.
  • 2 reversing starts, which weren’t too bad actually, maybe I should drive everywhere backwards.

For added amusement, while doing slow laps we also had,

  • 1 x very close pass to a cycle rack on the back of a van
  • 1 x three miles per hour swerve out of the way of a parking vehicle
  • several sharp stops
  • far too many instances of stopping, and forgetting I was in gear before lifting my foot from the clutch.

All-in-all, much more like how I expected my first ever lesson to go.

Greté was great, and very patient and she only phantom-braked the once.

So I’m pretty much fine with steering, and my braking is getting better, but I’m really not getting the whole biting point and gentle application of petrol thing.  I guess it’ll come with time.

Next lesson is on Wednesday, not sure if I’ll ask Greté to give me another shot in Tesco’s again tomorrow.  I almost wish there was somewhere much more open, where I could practice pulling away without too much fear of driving into someting.  Tesco was pretty empty but there’s still plenty of stuff you could hit with an uncontrolled start.


One thought on “Fear of 4 Wheels – Part 3”

  1. The secret of the biting point is to listen to the engine:

    Turn off the stereo if you have it on, lift your foot slowly off the clutch. It will come to a point you will hear a slight change in the sound the engine is making. That’s the point to gently press down on the accelerator while lifting your other foot fully off the clutch. The good news is that the car will start moving even if your foot is still slightly on the clutch when you reach that sound point. The bad news is that if you keep your clutch half pressed while driving you might damage it.

    My weak point when I was learning to drive was slowing down on bends. I would accelerate instead of brake. My friend who was kindly giving me a few lessons before I started at the driving school got very “worried”. My driving instructor, on hearing this, took me for a drive to a road full of bends. That cured my accelerating round bends in one quick lesson.

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