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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Irish Driving Test Tips ...continued

We have previously dealt with setting the Scene and preparing your car for the Test.Let's now have a look at a few do's and don'ts that will make a difference to the outcome and have you on your full license in a few short months instead of years.Yes, until recently there were many Adult Drivers quite content to spend their lives on a Provisional License , sometimes as long as Twenty Years! The new Laws are preventing this and rightly so ....... read on please..


(1) It's a myth,hopefully long since forgotten, that the slower you drive during your Driving Test the more chance you have of passing. You must be at, or close to the Speed limit (whatever that is )providing of course that traffic conditions allow you to do this.
In a 50KPH zone ,which is now the new built -up area speed limit you should be close to this speed and definitely not just over it! Providing you have learnt how to travel in fourth (4th) Gear at 50KPH, keeping a reasonable distance from the vehicles in front, you will not lose marks for lack of progress.

(2) Travelling at a low speed in a high gear takes a bit of getting used to.It's a question of training that right foot to be both gentle and totally awake.By this I mean that to maintain a constant speed (say 50kph) you need to be aware of undulations and gradients in the road.If you approach the brow of a hill at 50kph and then do not ease off, or feather the gas pedal as you proceed down the hill,then very soon you will be at 60kph which on a driving Test will obviously lose you a mark .While we don't have that many hills on Driving Test routes this is an important skill to develop. You might say that it would be easier to change down to third gear(3rd) for the downhill stretch and you would be right ...it is easier but it's not the correct technique.
As a motorist we have to be both safe and economic, the two go together and most, if not all, correct techniques in Driving will give you both these benefits.Being in a higher gear is giving your Engine and Bank Balance, longevity.Engines live longer when less stressed and use a lot less fuel in a higher gear.


(3) There are usually several stretches of higher speed limits on a Driving Test Route that will be one click up from 50KPH.. in other words 60KPH. Again providing the Traffic is moving steadily and not backed -up then the correct speed should be 60KPH and the Gear Fifth(5th).All modern cars take fifth gear quite happily at 60KPH which is just under the old 40mph.Using this correct technique will show an Examiner that you have good observation i.e the speed of the traffic ahead; good knowledge of correct gears for a given speed i.e fifth gear for 60KPH; and an ability to put all this into ACTION without any fuss.In Limerick we have one 60KPH stretch on one test Route that is a mile long and several other stretches on other Test Routes that are shorter but that can still take fifth gear providing Traffic is not too heavy.


(4) While it's usual to be taught the rudimetaries of sequential Gear Changing when you are a raw novice , there is a useful and advanced technique for the more experienced ..that of the "Block Change". This is shifting from Fourth (4th)to Second Gear (2nd) and skipping the third gear selection.This needs to be practised to gain good fluency, preferably on quiet stretches of road with no other Traffic to begin with.
It's often left too late to go down through the gears when say approaching a Roundabout or junction and the time saved by the "Block Change" will make the process much smoother and create a very good impression with the examiner.This does need plenty of practise to perfect and we should be totally confident with our sequential gear changing before trying to master this new technique.
What's the primary purpose for skipping third ?..Well, since it's second gear you are looking for, to commence most manoeuvres, why bother with a gear that is not appropriate (3rd!) if there is another alternative!

(5) A quick tip for all manoeuvring situations...Don't attempt to change gear during the operation, select the correct gear, usually second (2nd),BEFORE you commence the turn, or roundabout or whatever, and keep your hands on the steering wheel throughout. When you have straightened up After the Manoeuvre then you may select a different gear as appropriate.

Hope these few tips will continue to help you to improve your and the chances of better success on the Irish Driving Test.

See you soon...in the meantime check out our main web site for other assistance and don't hestate to e-mail us for additional help or enquiries.

Copyright (c) Astral Driving School. Limerick 2000-2005

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