Fear of 4 Wheels – Part 5

Lesson 4 (in learning to drive at the age of 42).

Race car
This is how I felt for 2 hours …

It rained most of today, and I had every expectation of being out in the car in terrible weather.  Along with general not-fun-ness at work, I again wasn’t really looking forward to today’s lesson.  I’m even more certain now that had I cancelled last weeks lesson, I wouldn’t have gone back, such was my mood this evening.  But I didn’t cancel, and that meant I was ready at 5:40pm, which is a good job, because my instructor turned up 20 minutes early.

The rain had backed off to an annoying British drizzle, and luckily about 15 minutes into the lesson, it stopped alltogether.  That meant I never had the fun of turning the wipers on and off instead of indicating, but I’m sure there’ll be a chance at that later.  What I did have fun with, was driving.  I actually drove, for nearly two hours.  Two stalls, one sharp stop, and a little bit of uncertainty, but otherwise, two hours of driving.  I enjoyed it.  I actually enjoyed it.  I really feel that stuff has fallen into place and that now it’s purely a matter of practice and making it muscle memory.

This is how I looked for 2 hours …

I think my instructor was pleased.  She certainly seemed pleased about the lack of near-death roundabout entrances and the dearth of nose-against-windscreen moments.

I still can’t describe where we went for the middle of the lesson, but I know we got there through Beeston (around that double bend people treat like part of the street), and we came back through Chilwell.  I had the weird experience of having no clue where I was one moment, and then suddenly recognising a bit of wall at a junction, and everything shifting into place on the way back.

Pulling away was mostly smooth, stopping was about a billion times better, and gear changes were much smoother.  I think I can drive (this is probably dangerous).

The highlight of today was ‘reversing around a corner’.  Can I just say, who in their right fucking mind would ever do this?  You have to stop, potentially on a road with traffic, and then reverse into that traffic for a bit, and then reverse around a corner you can’t clearly see unless you break your neck, while also being able to check 3 mirrors and another blind spot.


Just drive in and do a 3-point-turn for fucks sake.  I mean seriously.

I did it twice, not bad each time, I think I finally have some clutch control.  The scary thing is that as soon as I look in a mirror, I speed up because I lift the clutch so I’ll have to work on that.

Other moments I enjoyed, two roundabouts where I stopped and then pulled away without using the handbrake, just the foot brake and clutch control and doing 30mph on a road with a 30mph limit, looking in my rear view mirror and being able to see traffic as far back as the horizon.

If that was you tonight – then I make no apologies!

Also if you’re,

  1. the driver who pulled out from a left-hand side-street without stopping or looking, literally 10 feet in front of me, I hope you enjoy the change of trousers, the look on your face was awesome.
  2. the woman who tried to overtake me on a right-hand bend, you need to retake your test pet.

All-in-all, a really enjoyable two hours.  Hard work, don’t get me wrong, probably a 6 on the ‘how sweaty was my right armpit’ scale, but fun, rewarding hard work.