learning to drive - part 13: petrol, crashes, and test

A few things have happened since last time. Of the two most notable, one would be classed as Good and one would be classed as Bad.

Let's start with the Bad one, shall we?

I was due my practical test on the 23rd February and was having a lesson as usual the week before in preparation for that test. About half-way through the lesson I was waiting at a roundabout for a gap - then I got bummed up the pipe. Some retard rear-ended me at quite a speed. I immediately looked at the interior mirror to see the track-suited driver gawping at me and his passenger covering her face with her hands, all wide-eyed.

Oh. Brilliant.

That was the end of that lesson, and the end of my test which hadn't even begun. The test was cancelled as the back of the car was completely wrecked and needed to be totally rebuilt.

A week later, I was in a hire car. A Vauxhall Corsa, if you'd like to know. Not so bad? It was petrol. Oh... poop. Stalled three times. Having to apply gas while reversing? What sort of bullshit is this I see before me? Lesson over - the instructor wondered WTF was going on. I teh sux.

That was last week. This week I had my actual practical driving test. Completely and utterly shitting myself. Nervous as all hell.

Thankfully, it was the good ol' Ford Focus diesel. Yay, my baby's back.

I got more aggressive in my general acceleration just to ensure I don't start doing the dawdling thing I'm prone to doing. I've only got an hour of getting back into the One True Diesel Way as my test will take up the next hour. Instructor asks what I'm not looking forward to on the test. Turn in the road, was my immediate reply.

So, that's what I did. Did it in five as I was erring on the side of caution. Next up? Emergency stop. Not done that, yet. Well - not intentionally, anyway. It was... interesting. Felt like my entire blood volume was trying to squeeze its way out through my nose, all at once. Had three goes - all good. ABS brakes are a lovely thing.

Show Me, Tell Me, Love Me, Kiss Me

Not sure if this is just a UK thing, but the examiner will ask a couple of questions at the start of the test in a fun little bit called Show Me, Tell Me. As its name suggests, you have to either show or tell the examiner how to perform a specific action. There are nineteen questions in total, and you'll be asked two.

The instructor went through them with me, which thankfully I already knew except for the car/model-specific ones such as working the demister, etc. Did those. Lesson over.

Driving Test Centre

Got to the test centre and prepared for a bay park. Oops - I wasn't expecting this even though I was slap-bang next to some parking bays. Because of this, my initial position was completely screwed. Whatever. Pro-skillz will fix this. Did the bay park and I didn't even need to do any corrections. Right in there. A good start.

Got out of the car at the same time as some other student next to me. He looked about 8. Looks like he had one of those syndromes that are so fashionable these days.

Went in. Waited.

Examiners come out. My name isn't called. Oh - he had Joshua on his sheet for some reason. Okay. Out we go.

Had to read the licence plate number of a car for the eye-sight test. Off to the car we go - and my first problem. Couldn't get into it. I can drive, but I don't know how to get into a car. That's nice. Remembered to disarm the alarm. Now I'm in.

My Show Me, Tell Me questions were to show him how to enable and disable the high beam (confused me for a sec as I've always heard it referred to as the main beam), and to tell him... something I've completely forgotten. Pfft, whatever.

He runs me through what's going to happen on the test and tells me to start when ready.

I completely shit my pants.

Today is a bad day to die.

The Test

I felt that it went quite badly. There was a lane change - granted, I did all the necessarily mirror checks - that I really didn't like and was certain would fail me. There was also a couple of wankers that did the most retarded shit ever that I thought I may have resulted in a fail. The examiner didn't even put down a minor for those, nor the lane change - yikes. Phew.

Independent driving. This is where you spend ten minutes of the test following directions and signs. Multiple times I thought I missed a sign, but I suppose that wouldn't have been a problem (if I had) as long as I continue to drive safely, and I wasn't entirely sure of the speed limit in places.

At this point, I'm still aware I haven't done my manoeuvre yet. My wishes of it being a left-hand reverse diminish as test time runs out. Oh, god. It's going to be a bay park. Sure, I did it well the first time, but that wasn't a test. So, yes, he tells me to go into the test centre - the entrance of which is a windy nightmare - and do a reverse bay park. Grrreat.

The initial position of the manoeuvre was much better as I was right in the centre of the road - then I started reversing. Oh. Shit. There's a traffic cone in the bay I'm going for. Aces. I stop in despair and essentially gave up in my own mind. Except it turns out that you can pull forward and try again! This actually counts as a minor is is entirely fine as long as you don't currently have two minors in the same category - what category this falls under, I have no idea. Oh thank gawd.

I tried again and feckin' nailed it perfectly, just like the initial drive into the centre.

I notice my instructor walking towards the car.

"... Yfeh ooh Paftted."

Huh. What? What did the examiner just say?

"... Yeah, you passed."

Me? Yeah. Totally speechless. I think part of what threw me was that he said it in such a mumbly, half-arsed way that I wasn't expecting such words to carry a profoundly weighty meaning as


Couldn't believe it. Honestly thought I failed for various reasons. In the end, I got 10 minors. Yeah, that's not great, but who cares - I fucking passed! He took my photo-card licence and its paper counterpart off me so I could get sent a new one, all the while I was sitting there with a look on my face as though I had just injected a large quantity of crack into my scrotum.

I didn't shut up for one second as the instructor drove me home.

Posted: 2012-03-08 at 18:14:51,