For this lesson I was again taken to the fairly quiet housing estate which it turns out is massive, much bigger than I originally thought. When we arrived Matt asked how much I remembered from my last lesson and I honestly couldn’t remember much thinking about it. He said this is normal and that as soon as I was behind the wheel it would all come back to me, and he was right, it did. I was told to drive a couple of laps of the longer route I had gone around last time and I had very little guidance. I managed to put everything I had previously learned into practice in one go and did so making no major mistakes.
I was told to change gear into second once however apart from this one time I just did it without being told, when I felt it needed to be changed, something that I wasn’t confident doing in my previous lesson. Matt has a new car which I much prefer to the other one. I can actually open the car door on this one, release the hand brake and the brakes aren’t super sensitive which was great as I actually managed to control my braking this time. After I had done 3 laps I was told to stop at the side of the road and we discussed right turns and T-junctions. The obvious difference from left turns is that you have to turn across the traffic, which makes them slightly more difficult to master. I was told that when turning across traffic and there is oncoming traffic that you need to get as close to the centre line as possible and to imagine a line coming down the middle of the road that you want to turn into and stopping just before this imaginary line. This ensures that you don’t go too far past the road and make the turn difficult for yourself. The turn itself feels much different to a left, for a left turn the wheel turns about 3/4 of a full turn however a right turn is usually a full turn or a bit over.
When we set off we went on different routes that contained both left and right turns and T-junctions which I think was beneficial as I didn’t know which way I would be asked to turn so wasn’t thinking about the turns in advance. Right T-junctions are quite similar to left ones except you have to check for traffic in both directions and make the decision when to go. A couple of the right turns I did I didn’t need to stop before turning, however this decision was purely left to me and at one point I could have gone however I saw a van which was a good 100m away and decided to stop and wait for it to pass. I actually stalled at a T-junctions during this lesson because I took my foot off the clutch way too fast. Matt reversed back to where I was supposed to be to let me have another go at that junction which I think was good as I learnt from my mistakes and didn’t do this again.
After right turns and T-junctions had been introduced and I’d practiced them a bit, we pulled over again and discussed MSM which stands for mirror, signal, manoeuvre. This is mainly used for stopping on the side of the road and turning. If you are turning left you have to look in your left mirror and rear view mirror and if you are turning right you look in the right and rear view mirrors. Its also important that you check your mirrors when you pull up on the side of the road as there could be a cyclist coming down the inside of the road. At the time we were just discussing the signal being indication but there are actually 7 signals which I will talk about more in my next article. After you’ve checked it’s clear and that your manoeuvre won’t cause danger for anyone you signal and then make the move.
We also spoke about MSPSL which is an overextension of MSM. It stands for mirror, signal, position, speed and look. I’ve already mentioned mirror and signal so I’ll start with position. Basically if you need to move over into the middle of the road or into a turning lane then this is the time to do it. Speed is relevant to the location and setting you are in and what manoeuvre you are doing, for example if you are turning at the bottom of a hill you will need to go slower than if you are doing a left turn off the main road. You should be looking around you and in mirrors all the time anyway however the main reason ‘look’ is last is because your view of the road you are turning into may be obstructed until the very last second, therefore it’s important to be aware of your surroundings immediately before you carry out the manoeuvre. I did find checking mirrors a difficult thing to remember to do but hopefully it will just become habit and I won’t have to think about it as much.