Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday Driving

So yesterday I had my first driving lesson since about a year ago. And it went... ok?

Well first of all the woman was late, but only by 5 minutes. But when I got in her car it felt like it was going to be great to drive! It's a Fiat 500, pretty much brand-new...perfect for me in that the pedals and steering were BEAUtifully smooth and light, and the gear-stick is raised almost to where the radio controls are on most cars, rather than down by the handbrake, which I found really made things easier... I had been having trouble changing gear before I think just because of my small size and that I'm not "strong" or fit in the first place, and the position my arm had to be into change gears made the muscle feel very weak! So it was nice to have that change in the Fiat 500.
Unfortunately from there my pixie proportions of 4 foot 11 inches tall meant that with the highest dashboard I've ever encountered, I couldnt really see the road! If i strained to strech I could just about see where I was going, but I was secretly using the side mirrors to drive for most of the lesson (shh!) - like checking my position on the road and stuff. The dash was pretty high anyway but along with a high steering wheel and a "hump" right in front of my face in the dash which housed all the speedos etc it became a problem.
Got to remember to take a cushion to sit on next time - or a booster seat! Haha :)
I do think I will try one more lesson with this lady, but she was kind of annoying! At the start of the lesson she insisted on explaining the complete basics to me, even though I explained I have been driving for a year and a half, but I can kind of understand that, I could have been lying I suppose! But once we FINALLY got going she spent probably 95% of the lesson - no exaggeration here - with her hand on the wheel, not guiding it or anything just with it sitting there? And don't forget this is after she has drummed into me that my hands must never leave the "ten and two o clock positions"... Did she expect me to leave my hand under hers, or rest mine on top?! So it was basically a one-handed hour of driving. This driving was also never fast than 20miles an hour as whenever the speedometer crept over the 20 mark she would say all calmly-but-scarily: "and eeeaaase off a little, eeaase off, thats it, eaase off" got really infuriating! I know it was my first lesson with her and the island limit is 35mph, but jeeze! I'm sure I'm not that bad a driver and it would have been obvious that I was experienced. As I explained to her, the only reason I need the lessons is to go over reversing and parking as I have never covered that.
Oh! And I only just remembered this but there was a very dodgy incident with a narrow lane, two cyclists (clearly worse for wear after a boozy Sunday lunch) and a family of walkers, plus two cars coming from the opposite direction... She made me try to get through when CLEARLY it was dangerous and never going to happen! I ended up stuck with a kid on one side, car on the other, family of kid behind and cyclist in front, all looking at me very angrily!!
Deary me. But for some reson I have arranged to meet her next Sunday for another lesson?! WTF? She was really sweet though and I didnt want to offend her. And the car was so easy to drive, discounting the height issue!
Should I keep next Sunday's appointment? Or maybe I should ring and use the height problem as an excuse to cancel, try to find someone else? On looking at it when written down it seems like a no-brainer, lol.


  1. I know exactly how you feel! I'm 4ft 10 and struggled with getting used to the Astra I had my lessons in. I drove a fiat panda for 3 years which has a similar set up to the 500, in terms of the gear stick etc, but I drive a suzuki splash now. It's similar too, but it's a bit bigger so I struggled with it for a bit at first too.

    I say keep your lesson, but keep looking for someone else at the same time?

    There's a 35mph speed limit? does that mean you need to come over to the main land to learn how to drive on dual carriageways etc? jings xx

  2. Oh blimey! I learnt to drive in a Ford KA sat on a cushion. Mind you, my instructor was 6ft5 so god only knows how he folded himself into the car! All I would say is that you need to feel really comfortable with your instructor. it's hard. My friends swapped eventually to mine but they were worried about offending them. At the end of the day they are professionals. The have people come and go all the time, they aren't going to get offended. The car sounds lovely though! My driving instructor let me make my own mistakes (within safe reason obviously) and never held the wheel. He just explained afterwards what I did wrong. I think as you explained to her that you have been driving a while and she still did that, then how long is it going to take for her to let you do your test?? Good luck though. I loved my driving lessons!!!!! :D Xxx

  3. Ruth, we dont learn how to drive faster! We do have one dual carriageway on the island but im not even sure its in the test... Limit there is 40 i think! People take their cars across to the uk for uni and brick it on motorways haha!
    Gem - I have a Ford KA! But im having real trouble getting in and out of it because of the pain in my bones, so im hoping to get my test over and done with so i can test drive some other cars :)