Thursday, 18 August 2011

The roundabout of doom!

Date: August 2011
Test Centre: Upton
Reason for fail: Serious fault, Use of mirrors - change direction

Poor Steve.

He managed to pick up two serious faults on his driving test. One of them at the same roundabout where he failed last time, although for a different reason.

He did, however, manage to fail at a different roundabout for more or less the same reason that he failed on the other roundabout last time, if you see what I mean?

Steve has been nervous throughout his training, and although he's now relaxed as a driver, he's still nervous when under test conditions.

This time, he was asked to turn right at the Sainsbury's roundabout. A car came from the right and turned left rather late. Steve was spooked, and stopped with the nose of the car stuck out into the roundabout, causing other vehicles to have to move around him.

To compound this, he then stalled, which moved him even further on to the roundabout, before finally moving away.

As he was heading back to the test centre, during the "Independent driving" part of the test, Steve was asked to go straight ahead at the roundabout he stalled at on his previous attempt.

Steve joined the roundabout correctly, but somehow got mixed up about which way he was going. He moved right without checking his mirror, then moved back to the left, and then turned right (from an incorrect road position)

Uh oh! But how could Steve have done it better?

Both of these faults were down to nerves.

Nervous people rush. They approach things too quickly to be able to judge properly. If Steve had approached the first roundabout more slowly, he'd have had more time to assess what other road users were doing, and would not have panicked. If, after stopping, he'd moved away smoothly, instead of trying to do what I call "fleeing the scene of the crime", he might have got away with a minor fault.

As ever, if you're in the wrong position, just go the wrong way. You're not trying to get the examiner to his wedding or anything. He just marks your driving, not your ability to remember instructions. Even if Steve had been asked to turn right, once he had positioned himself to the left as he joined, the safest thing to do would be just to go a different way to what he'd been asked.

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