I know that previously I have mentioned how difficult I find it to change gear while going round a roundabout. It’s hard enough to look what other cars are doing, stay in the right lane, indicate at the right time and exit the roundabout safely without having to throw a gear change into the equation.
During this lesson I really just went for it, and yes I may not have been going exactly straight in the lane I was in, but I managed to change gear on a roundabout without crashing. I’d say that’s a result in itself. I still hate roundabouts with a passion but managing to master the gear change has really helped as the car can actually get some power behind it, unlike when I went the whole way round in 1st gear (sorry Mini). During this lesson I also encountered my first slip road. It’s crazy how many dual carriageways I’ve driven on that don’t have slip roads on them and are instead split up with a roundabout or its just a road that goes from A to B without any exits in between. The slip road was a lot more difficult than I had assumed but still wasn’t awful.
The thing I found most difficult was the actual moving lane from the slip road to the main road. I was worried that the cars behind me would leave the slip road before me and then be at the side of me when I needed to move out, this left me looking in my rear view mirror possibly a bit too much because I wanted to keep an eye on what was happening. Like roundabouts I think this is something that needs a bit of practice before you can do it without really thinking about it. The most important things to do on a slip road is keep an eye on what is already on the road and check that they have moved over for you to get on. If they haven’t you need to adjust your speed so that you can get in behind or in front of them. You also need to get your speed up on the slip road as it is unsafe to be on the dual carriageway at a low speed. Keeping an eye on what the traffic behind you on the slip road is doing is also important, especially if it is a dual laned slip road.
Something that I realised on this lesson is that I hate speed limits. This has become one of my biggest problems and the inconsistency of speed limits everywhere doesn’t help. In some places I think the limit is way too high, why is it national speed limit on a fairly bendy country road but the straighter roads in the same area (again with no houses around them) have speed limits of 30 or 40mph. It makes no sense to me. Plus the speed limit changes so much even if the road and surrounding area hasn’t changed much. On this particular day I went from 30 to 40 back to 20 then to national speed limit, down to 50 back to national speed limit and then to 30. With all the other things you have to keep your eye on while driving, it is so easy to miss speed limit signs. I also feel like now I am so aware of the massively changing speed limits everywhere that I am looking at the speedometer on in front of my wheel way too much. I am conscious of going over the speed limit even by the tiniest amount because my instructor always tells me to ‘watch my speed’ even if I am trying to slow down to go back into a lower speed limit zone. As a learner driver it is clear that most people do drive over the speed limit as I am often being overtaken when going spot on the limit. While I am going the right speed I still feel too slow for the rest of the traffic and feel this is dangerous as other vehicles are choosing to overtake me.
My instructor has told me in the past that in the test you can go about 2/3mph above or below the limit and that’s acceptable but that the test and real life are very different and that most people go quite a bit over as long as they don’t get caught. Anyway speed aside I didn’t make any major mistakes on this lesson. I feel like I can drive from A to B now quite well.
I’m doing my first manoeuvre next time which I am so excited about.