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Old 16 September 2012, 15:00   #1
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Trailer driving lesson

Having read loads of forum posts, asked loads of different people, got loads of different/answers responses I decided to air on the side of caution and sign up to do my trailer driving test (cat B).
I did my test in Ireland in 1993 but didn't switch to a uk license until 1999 hence have no trailer towing entitlement on my license. Wasn't worried with the last boat but with the new one being that bit bigger I thought better safe than sorry.
Anyways.... First lesson was this morning, and boy was it a sobering experience..... I actually thought I was a decent driver, and not too bad at towing. I have towed quite a few boats, often tow trailers/boats at work and was brought up on a farm working with tractors/trailers since a young age!
How wrong I was.....
> I don't use my mirrors enough
> I don't look at mirrors before signalling
> I don't slow down early enough at roundabouts/junctions etc
> I don't pay enough attention to the speed limit signs
> I keep too far out towards the middle of the road
> I don't read the road ahead well enough

And that was before we started the trailer exercises!
> took me four attempts to reverse the trailer into the 'box' at the circuit!!!! (your not allowed to open the door to look aft which is how I usually do it when launching the boat!)
>. Use too much wheel
> I try to reverse too quickly

All in all, in truth, I found it quite a demoralising hour..... As my instructor pointed out 'it's harder to drive correctly than it is to drive!'

No doubt there will be benefits, I was undoubtably quite a complacent driver, 19 years of learning bad habits so perhaps a few lessons not such a bad thing!

Bit of practice this week and hopefully next lesson goes better..... Mirror signal mirror..............
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Old 16 September 2012, 15:25   #2
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Its amazing how bad we are at driving, even those who drive well, I did the speed awareness thing and it was quite wake up call.
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Old 16 September 2012, 19:56   #3
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Old 17 September 2012, 00:43   #4
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Lorry drivers are OK they have 38 tons to protect them, where as Bikers are a sight more squishy


The scariest thing for me is drivers not looking/signalling before manoeuvring.

I am 20 stone, wear a black/flouro jacket on my 60"chest frame, have a fluro helmet on,one of ride on the physically biggest bikes on the road, which is yellow, headlight always on(hard wired). However I still get "sorry mate i didn't see you", when idiots pull out on me from junctions or either, don't indicate before changing lanes , or put the indicator on as they turn the wheel.

Some people need need to be reminded that driving is not a passive activity, and sitting behind the wheel need some degree of attention displayed.

Whilst I know , understand and drive to the risks on the road, what chance do the drivers who don't see me have at seeing a child crossing the road?
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Old 17 September 2012, 02:58   #5
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Bikers are another kettle of fish altogether, I live on the A272 and it's not uncommon to see bikes going over 100 mph on a clear Sunday morning - the noise is incredible and quite often followed by a fresh bunch of flowers on a Monday morning. Not all bikers are hooligans and it's a small minority that give everyone a bad name, bit like lorries only the other way round
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Old 17 September 2012, 06:04   #6
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TBH those bikers are a self fulfilling prophecy, ride like that, die; problem solved.

As long as they don't take any one else with them
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Old 17 September 2012, 06:20   #7
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As for cyclists, well they are just a menace!

They seem to believe they can break all the laws of the roads, and accuse car drivers of not following them!
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Old 17 September 2012, 06:55   #8
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... bikes going over 100 mph on a clear Sunday morning - the noise is incredible and quite often followed by a fresh bunch of flowers on a Monday morning.
I think that is what they mean by the Great (Motor)Cycle of Life
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Old 17 September 2012, 08:12   #9
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Bikers are another kettle of fish altogether, I live on the A272 and it's not uncommon to see bikes going over 100 mph on a clear Sunday morning
Some were clocked on the A272 near my parents (Petworth) @ 176 mph a couple of years ago.
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Old 17 September 2012, 08:24   #10
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Some were clocked on the A272 near my parents (Petworth) @ 176 mph a couple of years ago.
And I bet those are the same ones that call car drivers 'inconsiderate'.

Daft/stupid members of all road users are out there . If only people could just be more relaxed and consider others persectives .....I'll keep dreaming....
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Old 17 September 2012, 08:34   #11
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ofc they do, they would have been doing 180 if it wasnt for the inconsiderate car drivers
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Old 17 September 2012, 09:34   #12
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Its amazing how bad we are at driving, even those who drive well, I did the speed awareness thing and it was quite wake up call.
Funny thing is, its something like 80% of all drivers consider themselves to be "above average" :-)

But then again 80% of all statistics are completely made up.... :-)

Ive seen some truly shocking driving throughout my travels but if I'm honest, even though you still get isolated instances of complete stupidity, the UK (IMHO) has the best drivers out of all. (both car drivers and HGV drivers ) ... Just a shame we don't have the roads to match.

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Old 17 September 2012, 16:07   #13
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I did my test in Ireland in 1993 but didn't switch to a uk license until 1999 hence have no trailer towing entitlement on my license. Wasn't worried with the last boat but with the new one being that bit bigger I thought better safe than sorry.......
> I don't use my mirrors enough
> I don't look at mirrors before signalling
> I don't slow down early enough at roundabouts/junctions etc
> I don't pay enough attention to the speed limit signs
> I keep too far out towards the middle of the road
> I don't read the road ahead well enough
So do you think that is 'just complacence' that has crept in over the years, or were your expectations in Ireland never as high as the UK instructor seems to be? [The instructor probably has a higher 'standard' that he expects from you than the examiner, because that way he can be surer of a pass].

Interestingly I know someone who started training as a driving instructor who went out for some of his training and got 'picked up' for various issues, he then spent a while coaching out of the bad habbits, and went out with a different trainer who then criticised some of the things he had been trained to do.
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Old 17 September 2012, 16:52   #14
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Lorry drivers are OK they have 38 tons to protect them, where as Bikers are a sight more squishy

Not when you've got 35,000+ litres of flammable liquid behind you.You also don't have anywhere near as much in front of you as a car, so if you're going to hit something that's high up enough to make contact with you, you're far more likely to be badly injured. It's hard to build a crumple zone into the 12 inches between the driver's feet and the bonnet. Added to that,they tend to go over things and kill people.

All the observations that car drivers just don't bother with and still think they drive well are essential to driving a lorry or there's a corpse at the first corner-or, if you don't make them on a bike you're the corpse.

To clarify, about the only things I don't drive on the road regularly are a tractor or a tank.

I'm under no illusions about car drivers. Most are barely adequate with a delusion of competency and their lack of accidents is usually more to do with other people getting out of the way.
.I absolutely hate being a passenger in a car with anyone as I can see exactly what they're missing.
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Old 17 September 2012, 17:16   #15
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I absolutely hate being a passenger in a car with anyone as I can see exactly what they're missing.
Don't all drivers hate being a passenger? Surely it's a natural reaction when you are used to being the one that's in 'control', and it makes a huge difference to your perception (particularly to cornering/braking) when you don't have a steering wheel to hold on to.
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Old 18 September 2012, 04:09   #16
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Hmm interesting. Just look at the reverse test on you tube and they are very unrealistic.
empty car parks, reversing from one side of a empty car park to the other to get inside the cones.
all tests are hard but thats really easy.
try reversing down a slip way like camber :-) cars quewing up and you have to get between the 2 entry barrier posts in the width or a road and thats a easy slip.
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Old 18 December 2012, 11:45   #17
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Passed the b+e test today.

Took five lessons in all, then a bit of a wait for a test!!

All in all found the whole thing quite worthwhile, maybe lost a few bad driving habits!!
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Old 18 December 2012, 12:52   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starovich View Post
Lorry drivers are OK they have 38 tons to protect them, where as Bikers are a sight more squishy


The scariest thing for me is drivers not looking/signalling before manoeuvring.

I am 20 stone, wear a black/flouro jacket on my 60"chest frame, have a fluro helmet on,one of ride on the physically biggest bikes on the road, which is yellow, headlight always on(hard wired). However I still get "sorry mate i didn't see you", when idiots pull out on me from junctions or either, don't indicate before changing lanes , or put the indicator on as they turn the wheel.

Some people need need to be reminded that driving is not a passive activity, and sitting behind the wheel need some degree of attention displayed.

Whilst I know , understand and drive to the risks on the road, what chance do the drivers who don't see me have at seeing a child crossing the road?
I am not far behind your dimensions, I ride a BMW R1150GSA that is fitted with HID headlamps, that are always on. I wear a black Rukka jacket that has white reflective checker squares around it iin various places. I find that most people get out of the way, mainly due to the blue tinge of the very bright headlamps, I think that they mistake me for a cop coming along. Still get morons doing all the usual stupid stuff though.
I think one of the problem areas is when cars are stuck in slow moving traffic, they resent bikes slipping past and will deliberately block the way, even though they are not going anywhere. It all becomes very confrontational and silly.
With regards to good drivers, I have found the French generally to be pretty good, especially on Autoroutes where they will happily let you out to overtake. I think there philosophy might be; it doesn't matter who is running with the flag, as long as we are all progressing forwards.

The shortage of space over here also plays a big part, everyone is jealously guarding their square inch of space.
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