I’m learning, or at least trying to, and there are some things that strike me.
1. Drivers are insane. This appears to be a pretty common epiphany among new drivers, but it’s still true. They don’t follow the rules, they’re rude, angry and reckless. This is a paradox I see in the actual testing part of the exercise, in that the they are testing your ability to follow rules that you will not follow once you have gained a license. Speed limits is the classic, with members of my family encouraging me to break them in certain areas because “everyone else does”. It’s like a courtroom of the masses: as long as everyone does it, it’s ok. I find this especially amusing given the high failure rates in some areas, as people are flunked for things that are almost commonplace on the roads.
2. There is a lot of money to be gained in the field of driving instruction. 30 Euro an hour seems to be a standard fee. That’s over three times the minimum wage.
3. Driving isn’t really that hard. When it comes right down to it, it’s just a small number of things: Smooth takeoffs, smooth gear changes, mastering roundabouts and good observation. They all come quickly enough.
4. But there is another element, one that is vital, especially in the early stages. It’s just confidence. A lot of learners, including myself, are terrified when they first get behind the wheel of a car, and a primary goal of any instructor has to be to boost confidence because everything else flows from that. If you’re confident, you can react to problems with grace rather than panic, and can easily handle the monotony that 90% of driving really is.
5. The fact that reversing around a corner is part of the Irish test and parking isn’t is utterly bizarre to me. Maybe too may people were failing at it.
6. Driving is an neccesary, but overrated, activity. I get no special joy from it, as others seem to. It’s just a functional skill that is important to learn.
I haven’t passed yet, but I remain confident.
@1: I find people break the rules of the road in towns and cities far more often than they do in the country. With the exception being speeding that’s broken all the time at home.
@3: Driving isn’t hard, driving exactly how another person wants you too can be hard.
@6: It depends where your driving. I enjoy driving at home in the country but not being stuck in traffic jams in the town.
Speeding does seem to be a national constant.
I also forgot to mention that the “Drive safe” ads you see plastered all over the telly, the ones with the horror stories and accident reenactments, are ads I hate with a passion. The message they attempt is well intended, but all I hear when they come on is “Hey Dave, get in that car, and you’ll kill someone. Asshole”.
They’re intended for people who get in to cars and do those things. And those people ARE assholes. If you don’t drink, do drugs, speed, text msg or overtake on bends then you’re not their intended audience, they make it glaringly obvious who they’re talking to.
It’s definitely not what I hear when they come on.
2. I’m surprised they don’t charge more now, AT LEAST €10-€15 of that will be used up in petrol at the price it is now, also as you know the insurance for people who have never driven is diabolical so they don’t walk away with €30 in their pocket.
5. Parking is too difficult to standardise to make it fair in a test. Everybody would have to have exactly the same amount of space to park in down to an inch and that itself is not comparable to real parking anyway.