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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Insider techniques lead to Outsider Performance

Today we are going to continue our mini series on Driving Test Preparation by looking at our insider techniques. Really good skills inside the car will lead to outstanding performance outside on the road where it really counts.
Firstly let’s look at our resources. We have two feet, two eyes, two hands, two ears and one very large Brain which has the capability, when programmed, of more than 1000 Pentium Fours all firing at once. So from this we can deduce that it is the thinking processes that are the most important, other wise we would have been endowed with ten legs, twenty arms and probably just as many eyes.

If we can programme that Brain of ours to take in information from many different sources, all at once, then with a little practise and a lot of homework, it will do the work for you on automatic pilot, giving you plenty of drop-down menus to choose from and most importantly plenty of time to make that all important decision. How do we programme the Brain to do all this stuff all at once when it seems like an impossible task?

Firstly we have to be taught, then we have to repeat time and again, the same procedures, and lo and behold after a good few hiccups, the Brain will finally realise that this isn’t a passing phase and that you are deadly serious about driving. This is the point at which decisions become instinctive as Mr Brain (with his 1000 Pentiums cranking up a storm) serves up the choices and gives you some solid clues to making your decision. All of this is happening in milli-seconds. Repetition and yet still more repetition is needed, until each manoeuvre is as good as you can make it. But if you haven’t got the correct building blocks in place to begin with, no amount of Brain Power will do any good.

The building blocks are your Driving Lessons and the specific Techniques that you learn during these. The repetitions are your commands to your Brain to get working, and it will then start to push out really positive affirmations which will lead to a steady rise in Confidence which naturally leads to a dramatic improvement in Competence.

Let’s examine the role of our various appendages.

(1) The Feet….Left foot has one function only and that is to utilise the Clutch when changing gear and to disengage the engine from the gearbox when stopping thus keeping said Motor Running.
(2) Right foot ….has two pedals to deal with but we are in luck since the exact same technique is used for both….which is …..Yes. You‘ve Guessed it Softly, Softly. The only time that heavy pressure is used with the right foot is during an emergency stop situation with the brake pedal and with the gas pedal when you need to accelerate away smartly when turning into the major road at a junction. Faster moving traffic bearing down on you is not going to take kindly to you doing a Tortoise imitation and they will either have to brake heavily or worse will attempt to overtake you.
(3) The Hands…. Left hand only leaves the Steering Wheel to change a gear or other secondary controls and then returns promptly to where it’s happiest. Right hand remains on the wheel at all times, since it is the dominant grip of this hand that does most of the work of steering. Right hand comes in mighty useful on those occasions when you need to give a little extra warning to other road users in addition to your Indicators. One function that is not on the agenda for the Right hand is waving to neighbours or friends or dangling it out the window on a warm day or for Mobile phone activity.
(4) Ears are a very useful addition to your Driving equipment .In fact every new car should come with an extra pair .Why so? Keen hearing will not only alert you to the approach of an oncoming vehicle, that is still invisible, particularly at a junction; but will enable you to detect the slightest change in the performance of any of the cars equipment. There are many important pieces of kit that will give plenty of audible warning if everything is not quite right. In fact just about everything that can go wrong in a car, and it will at some stage or other believe me, has its own inimitable sound bite. From thumping shock absorbers (known to the cognoscenti as Struts) to worn out brake pads(which sound like a nest of mice being devoured by the Neighbourhood Tom); to the screech of a slipping Drive belt; and to the imminent destruction of track-rod ends which are akin to a T-Rex starting his evening meal. This latter sound is conjecture but it’s horrendous!
(5) The Nose comes hard on the tail of the Ears (what a sentence!) in importance, since a lot of the previously described events come with their own particular aroma. Clutch burn out and fuel leaks are readily noticeable to the trained nose so keep a keen ear (sorry Nose) to the ground.
(6) Obviously without our Eyes all of the above would be irrelevant. It’s important that we keep our eyes in tip top shape and give ourselves plenty of breaks on long journeys. A Driving Test, while not as long in duration as an expedition is probably just as tiring on the eyes, so plenty of sleep before hand is essential .If you wear glasses then its quite likely that you will be more susceptible to glare from the sun during the day and blinding by oncoming headlights at night .You can reduce the effects of these situations substantially by keeping your inside windscreen immaculately clean .Its a fiddly job but very well worth it .Once you have been blinded by headlights at night a few times then you will realise how important it is to develop an advanced skill in handling these controls yourself. It is too late once you have blinded someone to then dip your headlights. Eyes take about seven or eight seconds to return to normal after being dazzled and that’s a lot of road covered at any speed.

Next instalment will delve into specific manoeuvres and the various skills needed to carry them out successfully, to not only stay safe but to produce a satisfactory result on the Driving Test.


Astral Driving School Limerick.

Astral Driving School Blog …. “Arrive Alive”…

Astral Wordpress Blog……… ”Motorvating”

Startpage .ie Driving in Ireland Forum

2 Comments:

Blogger emily said...

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07 October, 2005 14:23  
Blogger Rolo said...

I love your information on test preparation I bookmarked your blog and will be back soon. If you want, check out my blog on test preparation exposed - please come by

07 October, 2005 15:23  

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