Welcome to Part 5 of Jess’ Driving Diary. The Driving Diary will be a weekly blog of the driving lessons for a 17 year old pupil but will be from the perspective of both the pupil and the instructor. Our aim is to help learners understand that the challenges they encounter are dealt with by most pupils and that they need not be as nervous about driving as they think. It will allow them to follow the lessons from the beginning to test of Jess Smith and her driving instructor Nick Freeman. We will hopefully bring you the emotions, practical and technical elements of learning to drive.
The Pupil – Jess Smith
Jess Smith is a 17 year old young lady who hails from the glamorous town of Southend on Sea in Essex. She is a generally confident person. Jess enjoys her sport and has good eye hand coordination, which will definitely help whilst learning to drive. Jess is presently studying A Level English Language, English Literature, History and RE. Her long term goals are to become a primary school teacher.
Nick Freeman is a Southend on Sea based driving instructor with 9 years’ experience in teaching people to drive cars. Nick spent 24 years in the Navy where he defended this great Isle of ours and got the bug for training people albeit in a completely different style and without the guns of course. For his sins Nick is a West Ham fan but we don’t generally hold that against him. With a great sense of humour Jess is definitely going to enjoy her driving lessons!
JESS: Today was the first day that I was driving from home so I was a bit cautious because obviously I would be driving along busier roads rather than the quiet streets around Thorpe bay.
NICK: Jess drove from home today which was a bit different from driving around the quiet streets of Thorpe Bay. Once the pupil has confidence it is important to introduce them to more difficult situations so at the end of the lesson they feel they have progressed which in turn will give them more confidence.
NICK: The first thing Jess had to deal with on this lesson was driving down the A127 which is a Dual Carriageway with a speed limit of 40MPH. It was a pretty busy road but Jess coped well and got to 40 MPH.
JESS: I drove along the A127 which made me quite nervous. We pulled into the first turn off to go back to the seafront and what I needed to work on is not slowing down until I’m in that lane because it slows other drivers down.
NICK: I pointed out to her its important not to slow down until she got onto the slip road as she was slowing down the flowing traffic. I also pointed out that the slip road did not drop to 30 MPH until a bit further down so she had time to slow down.
JESS: When we got down the seafront, I drove along from Chalkwell to Thorpe Bay to recap on my last lesson when I learnt about the lights and crossings. I think I picked it up and seemed to remember it however I need to keep an eye on my speed. Especially along the seafront as it is a 30mph then goes into a 20mph zone and I tend to go over quite often and Nick is constantly telling me to watch my speed and slow down.
NICK: We headed down to the seafront so we could recap on the crossings lesson we covered last week. Jess done well and seemed to remember what she had learned. Again Jess was wearing her lead boots and had a problem with maintaining the correct speed. Not only is it dangerous and illegal to speed but also you get 3 points on your licence, if you get 6 points in the first 2 years of driving you will lose your licence.
JESS: When we got up the Thorpe Bay end, we pulled over and Nick taught me about meeting traffic. He let me point out the different areas I would be able to pull over or stop to let the other person come through. This is important because it shows that you have to plan ahead and plan your journey rather than rushing to get to the other side otherwise it could cause both cars to be stuck head on. Nick also told me that if I was to make another driver slow down or give way then I would fail my test.
NICK: Once we got down the seafront I asked Jess to pull over and we talked about meeting traffic. In this lesson we talked about the speed you should be travelling at when meeting traffic in different situations. If the road is wide and you are not crossing the centre of the road there is not always a need to slow down however, if you are moving into oncoming traffic you must reduce your speed. It is also important to give adequate clearance (1M) to parked vehicles.
JESS: When driving I tend to keep drifting over to the right or go too close to the cars which are parked on the left so I need to improve on making sure im driving in the middle of the road and keep checking my right mirror to ensure im not too close to the cars on the right and when I need to go past them I don’t go over to the left too soon.
NICK:Overall Jess had a good lesson, she gained confidence in going onto busier roads and travelling at 40 MPH.