driving-diary-14Welcome to Part 14 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

jessJess 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.

The Instructor – Nick Freemannick

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!

NICK: As I said in a previous blog I wanted to change the lesson time for Jess so this lesson was on a Saturday morning. The roads were nice and quiet so we went to Thorpe Bay to learn the reverse around the corner manoeuvre.


JESS: Instead of doing an after school which is normally packed with school traffic we done an early session on a Saturday so that the roads were a little bit quieter. We went around Thorpe bay to try a reverse around a corner however it seemed that there were other learners that were practicing the same thing at the same time therefore we went round some quieter roads.


NICK: Thorpe Bay is a great place for driving instruction but because of this unfortunately there were other instructors teaching the same manoeuvre. We finally found a corner we could practice on and once I did the explanation Jess looked very confused.


JESS: A lot of my friends have had their tests lately and they have failed when asked to reverse around a corner so I was thinking it was going to be hard. When Nick was explaining it to me it sounded very confusing but when I actually done it, it wasn’t too bad.


NICK: I did a demonstration for Jess and then she tried it. After a couple of attempts Jess realised it is not a difficult as she thought. The common problem with this manoeuvre is the pupils observations, it is important that you keep looking all round and not just the corner you are reversing around.


JESS: You need to be very precise and there are a lot of things to think about when doing this manoeuvre such as looking out for parked car on the other side of the road and not going back to far.


NICK: If you are reversing round a corner on test and a car comes up the road you are reversing into and the car stops close behind you, you must look all round including your blind spot go into 1st gear and return to your start point and start again.


JESS: Funnily enough the thing that I found more difficult was straightening the car when reversing. I got confused which way to turn the wheel because I was looking backwards so every bring was back to front, I find the easiest thing difficult but I now know that you just steer the same way you want the car to go. On this lesson I also learn that there are two types of corner on a road a curved one and a 90 degree one, this particular one was a 90 degree one and they’re harder because you need to be careful you go wide enough round it so that you don’t get the curb but not too wide so that you go on the other side of the road.


NICK: Jess still turns up with her lead boots sometimes and has a problem with her speed. It is very important that you keep to the speed limit not only would you fail your test for speeding but you are also breaking the law.


JESS: I need to work on my speeding and I have gotten better since I have first started regarding staying at an even speed however still speeding at times. I am definitely thinking of booking my theory soon whilst I haven’t go that much work from school because if I leave it and later then I will have too much revision to do for school and won’t have the time to learn my theory.