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Thread: Rules for new Drivers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    New Zealand

    Rules for new Drivers


    Tom Macualay offers some advice to a new driver.

    Mrs Trellis writes to me from north Wales to tell me that her daughter, Rose, has recently passed her driving test, at the seventh attempt. If you are reading this, Rose, well done, and it was clever of you to discover that the examiner liked rubber as well. Anyway, your mother says you want to become a bus driver. Now that you have a licence, don't you think you might be a bit over-qualified?

    As for that other matter, don't worry - that's what insurance is for. But a bunch of flowers wouldn't go amiss. Why not ask the nurse to keep them in water until the old lady comes round?

    As a new driver, perhaps you would allow me to offer you a few words of advice, starting with parking. Just because you hit the kerb with your front wheel, it doesn't necessarily follow that the back of the car will park itself. Although there is nothing in the Highway Code that says you have to park parallel with the kerb, don't you think a line of parked cars looks somehow neater if they all line up? Sometimes it's easier to reverse into a space - find one that is three or four times longer than the length of your car and have a go. It will fit eventually. And once you're parked, don't forget to unload the baby and the other children from the offside rear door. It contributes to traffic calming.

    And now a word about mirrors. I suggest you follow the example set by most other drivers and check them every 30 minutes or so. With so much going on in front of the car there is no point in distracting yourself with unnecessary information. That's why you have indicators - whenever you signal, other drivers will know to take avoiding action - it's their responsibility, after all. And don't forget to signal long before you make a turning - ideally, there should be several other turnings between you and the one you actually want.

    I expect you have been taught all about emergency stops. Practice them whenever you can. The easiest way to do this is to focus on the road about 20 yards in front of your car. That way, things catch you by surprise. It helps if you always drive around with the sun visor down; it narrows your field of vision, which is no bad thing as it helps you concentrate on the back of the car in front.

    This is particularly useful on motorways because the car ahead will be at least 10 yards in front of you, and when you see its brake lights come on you will know it's time to think about applying your own brakes. Always allow an extra yard or so if you're on the 'phone. And when you're driving on a motorway, it helps to observe a few simple rules. For example, the inside lane is for lorries. Even if the inside lane is completely empty, stay in the middle lane. Always grip the wheel as hard as you can and stare ahead intently. Never look in your mirrors, as the flashing headlights of the car behind might distract you from sticking to 55 mph, which is the correct speed for the middle lane. Should you inadvertently find yourself in the outside lane, never exceed 69 mph. This will please Sprinter van and BMW drivers, who love to practice close-formation driving.

    Well, Rose, I hope you've found this useful. But before I go, let me give you a couple more tips. Firstly, when you're driving around town, use fifth gear as much as possible. That way you have absolutely no control over the speed of the car except by using the brakes, and that simplifies matters. Secondly, when you're driving in the country, always brake at every bend. It makes the car slightly unstable but it gives you time to shuffle the wheel. And remember, the national speed limit for single-carriageway roads is 50 mph (there is a misprint in the Highway Code), so never drive at more than 45 mph, just in case. Other drivers will respect you for this, and cars will follow you for miles. Since overtaking is now illegal, keep a pen and paper handy, and if a car passes you, jot down his number. When you get home, report the number to the police: they are duty bound to combat the forces of law and order.

    Oh, and one other point. When you buy your first car, choose one in which you can't reach the pedals. It means you will have to sit really close to the steering wheel, which has two advantages: you will be closer to the ashtray, and anyone who tries to steal your car won't be able to get behind the wheel. Please let me know how you get on.

    2004 Tom Macaulay
    We work to live, and to live is to drive a BMW 330i at speed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    wat the hell do i put as a siggy?!?!?!

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