learning to drive - part 5: first lesson

Oh bejeezus. I've just had my first (1.5hr) driving lesson. Absolutely terrifying.

The car I'm learning in is a new, white diesel Ford Focus. Other than hitting my knee getting in and out of the car on the steering column, it's a nice car. My instructor was great, too.

Those two nice things didn't stop me entering the panic zone an hour in, though, did they?

We found a nice, big, and empty car park for dogging to start dogging out in. Ah, a nice big open space that I can't crash into.

I mentioned I did a whole crap-ton of research and such on driving and what have you, which he seemed to appreciate, that seemed to seriously help things as we went through the cockpit drill and all that standard stuff. Who cares about that - onto the driving!

About ten to fifteen minutes in, I was behind the wheel. The first thing I noticed was that I had no sense of the dimensions of the vehicle. This becomes a bit of a problem later on. I first do steering, which is easy enough, although I did notice the steering wheel itself doesn't align with the way the wheels are facing when not facing directly straight. Annoying as it causes me to not straighten up properly. Don't use the steering wheel to judge wheel position.

Apparently, it typically takes students an hour of training to have the push-pull method of steering sorted. Sounds weird, as I got it on my first turn. Maybe I'm just awesome? Well, if so, my awesome diminishes as the lesson progresses. So I can't be that awesome.

Biting point. I had a problem with this as I couldn't feel the pedals under my feet at all. Because of this, when hitting the biting point and looking around the car to move, my feet slightly moved causing said biting point to become somewhat lost. I got to know the position of the clutch in the biting point procedure, but the accelerator? Eh, not really. I moved the heel of my right foot slightly further away from the pedal which helped a tad, but it's just something I'm going to have to get used to as I don't have any shoes with thinner soles. Or I'm just retarded and this is my excuse - I don't know.

Speaking of foot positions and such; other than driving, I can't think of when your feet would have to be in such precise positions. If you don't drive, then it's a response that has to become gradually learnt until you can control your feet to be so exact. At least that's what I think. For me, right now, it's quite an annoyance. Why does the accelerator have to be so sensitive in a standard road car?

Car controls, cockpit drill, steering, clutch control, accelerating, slowing down and stopping. All done. It's now 50 minutes later.

Instructor gets in and drives us off to some back roads. Which seem to have a bit too many bends for my liking. How come we've parked here? Uh, you're getting out? Do I have to get out as well...? Wha... you want me to DRIVE? Now? HERE? There are other CARS on this road and I didn't even know what a car was fifty minutes ago! Oh shittingchristonabike.

So. Yes. It looks like I'm doing this. I pull away. Oh god, I pull away. Remember I mentioned that I couldn't figure out the car's dimensions in my head, above? I mentioned it because of this exact problem I'm about to have from this point onwards.

I drive far too close to the centre of the road. Myself, as the driver, is positioned right next to the white line right in the middle of the road. I'm supposed to be in the middle of my lane, but surely the other side of the car would then be in the gutter! So I keep drifting towards the middle; thankfully, not many cars about.

An obscene number of corners later (what the hell were the road people on when they did this area?), I appear to be at a junction. Oh jeez, a junction already? Okay, right, let's do this. It all goes smoothly and then - a car appears on my right as I'm going forward. PANIC. OH SHIT. STALL.

My first and only stall in the lesson. Because I spot someone and immediately shit myself.

So, that now over, I continue down the road and notice... a bloody roundabout. An actual, real-life, child-murdering (maybe) roundabout. Or traffic circle, if you're that way inclined. Then another. Oh, and hey, why not - another one after that.

I pull up in an appropriate area, and the lesson is done.

Now I need to do this all again in two hours.

Fuck me.

Posted: 2011-07-20 at 18:31:20,