Diary Of A Frightened Man 2

Stop Sign
Don't you just hate all this needless ambiguity?

More frightened than ever now, because I just took a mock driving test. Not great. If it had been a real test, I would have failed. Three or four times.

On the bright side, it was the same thing each time – so really that’s only one error! A minor visual acuity problem, called “Stop-sign blindness”. I just need to remember that when STOP is written in big nasty official-looking letters on a bright red metal octagon fixed up a pole, it is not a suggestion. You be stopped. You put on the handbrake. You write “Me stopped now” in the fog inside your windscreen. OK, maybe that is unnecessary. But the main thing is, you’re definitely stopped.

And then you go again, often immediately.

My other problem is the brakes. I’m scared of brakes – scared I’ll stall if I brake while travelling. Which is unrealistic, but nevertheless I am. So first I tend to rely too heavily on engine braking, moving down a gear when it’s really not necessary, and when I do use the brakes I instinctively depress the clutch as well to prevent stalling, thereby blowing the engine braking. Or I simultaneously change down and then keep the clutch depressed but forget to brake, so instead of smoothly decelerating to a halt I just keep rolling forwards. So then I hit the brakes, let the clutch up, and then stall. Or I just get confused.

Sounds like I’m in a bad way? Not at all. Yesterday I did those things too, but I didn’t know I did them. So I’m making progress. Real progress.



5 thoughts on “Diary Of A Frightened Man 2

  1. I’d help, but all your cars are built with everything on the wrong side, so there’s really no help for you. It’s just lucky you all caught that mistake in time and started driving on the wrong side of the road to compensate.


  2. Whenever that happens during the real test, and they insist in failing you, tell them that you will sue them for false advertising: it’s called a driving test, not a stopping test, right?

    I’m sure they’ll let you pass after that!


  3. Apparently I’m very lucky to have started driving at age 14 (rural Kansas in the 70s), back before I might have been concerned that it would go badly.

    Deep breaths and practice, sir; it will soon feel completely natural. In fact, it may even help to pretend that it already does.


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