In my 4th hour of learning I learned quite a bit as well as putting the skills I had already acquired into practice. Matt also threw a surprise in at the end of my lesson to top things off as well as an accidental roundabout.
As I mentioned last time, there are 7 signals that can be used when driving. This is what we discussed first. I only managed to guess 3 of the 7 (is that bad?), some are obvious and others are just a bit strange but it’s important to know them all for the theory test. The 7 signals are indicators, brake lights, reverse lights (these 3 are quite self explanatory), the horn, hand/arm signals, flashing headlights and the car position. Flashing your headlights is supposed to be used to let other road users know that you are there, and not to let vehicles out at junctions or roads as I previously thought. The horn also has the same purpose and isn’t there to express your anger towards other drivers! Hand signals are something that could come up on the theory test.
Lastly the position of the car can also be a signal to other road users. If you put the car towards the centre of the road and slow down this shows others that you are turning right and if you slow down to stop at a pedestrian crossing this shows others that there are people crossing and that they also need to stop. Also whilst we were stopped to talk about these 7 signals, Matt took the time to talk to me about 3rd gear. He told me that 3rd gear is typically used when going between 20 and 30 mph and that as I had seemed to be going 30 mph a lot he thought it was a easy as moving into 2nd however it was moving back into 2nd and 1st that I struggled with. The concept for moving from 2nd to 3rd is the same; release the accelerator, press the clutch, change gear, release clutch and return foot to accelerator. I only got to practice 3rd gear 3 times as the roads are fairly short so Matt didn’t want me to do it then immediately have to drop down a gear to turn into new roads. You can’t turn into roads in 3rd gear so you have to ensure that you give yourself enough time before you turn to change into 2nd gear. I accidently put the car into 4th gear at one point which I quickly realised changed straight to 2nd which is what I should have done initially. I also managed to put the car into reverse when I was supposed to be putting it into 1st when I had stopped at a junction, oops!
While I was driving around we encountered a small roundabout which I don’t think was planned at all. We hadn’t discussed roundabouts however after this teeny one I am even more scared to have to get round a proper one. I was told which roundabouts I will be practicing on when the time comes and they aren’t the 3 nicest roundabouts I’ve ever seen. I’m sure this won’t be the last you hear about me and roundabouts! As I had been driving so many different routes while practicing when Matt told me to turn left near the end of my lesson I didn’t think anything of it. I don’t know the roads in that area very well so had no idea that this road would lead me straight to a junction on the main road. He told me that at the end of the road there are traffic lights and that I would probably need to stop. Once stopped I said “were we supposed to come this way? it’s a main road, I’m scared” Matt reassured me that all I had to do was what I had been practicing and to not let the other drivers put me off. I was at the front at the traffic lights and I managed to move off quite quickly so I don’t think I annoyed the queue behind me!
Matt then told me to drive home which I really hadn’t expected as my home is about 4 miles away from where I was at the time. The road is quite twisty and there are quite a lot of uphill sections as well as a couple of sets of traffic lights. During my drive home I went into 3rd gear quite quickly however as I was going 40 mph (not even sure how this happened), Matt told me how to get into 4th gear as I hadn’t practiced moving the gear stick into 4th and I drove the rest of the way in that gear. I think I drove back quicker than I was expected to, but I don’t think this is a bad thing as I didn’t feel like I was rushing and instead felt like I was taking my time and being careful. When I had parked up outside my house, Matt told me that he was going to ask me if I wanted to drive home but thought it would scare me or that I would say no so he decided to just do it with no mention of it beforehand. He was probably right but now I’m always going to be wondering what he’s going to spring on me next!