Monday, 24 July 2017

Driving Instructor

Sea Cliff Bridge, part of last week's drive


Today I realised that I have been teaching the offspring to drive for the last six years! Six years and I'm not done yet! Young drivers have to accrue 120 hours of supervised experience in varied conditions before they can even take a test. First I taught my oldest son, who was always a little over confident. I didn't allow him to take the test when he was technically competent because I wanted to supervise for as long as I could. Eventually I couldn't fudge any longer and he took a test. Then another and another. One of the examiners told him he was fabulous with the gears, clutch etc but terrible at taking care. And so he was. He passed on the next  try.
With my twin girls they had to accrue their hours concurrently because who ever heard of one twin getting their licence significantly earlier than the other? 240 hours of instruction is a lot! The younger twin got her licence and the older waited a few months because she was going to have to share the car anyway and thought she might as well just be a passenger a little longer. They both passed easily although there were a couple of panicked moments.
The first to take the test went to the centre with her brother and as the examiner looked over the log, he pointed out that I hadn't signed every page of the log book. My daughter tearfully called me and explained, then she took the test while I drove, very sedately, to the testing centre to sign everything before the test was finished. The second daughter to take the test checked all the details the night before, not to be caught out with some overlooked detail. It was all good. In the morning though, a brake light had mysteriously failed and we had to beg the local mechanic to replace it with only minutes to spare: a safety issue with the car would mean instant disqualification.
My second son is still not licensed, he was nervous about driving and while there was all that competition for my supervision time he chose to ignore the whole thing but now we are working on his skills. He is careful and has a natural feel for the car. I took him on a long drive last week, on steep and winding roads, through suburbia, freeway and country roads. He did well. That's three hours down!

20 comments:

  1. It's a good idea to have kids do 240 hours of supervised driving and good for their mom doing the supervising..

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    1. I would rather drive for myself! but I also want my newly licensed drivers to have some experience before I turn them loose

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  2. Well done you. NOT an easy job. And sometimes not a pleasant experience (for anyone).

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    1. Thank you! It's been mostly ok but the students might beg to differ :)

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  3. I think it is great to have a specific instruction log. We don't have that here.

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    1. The log books are often falsified so in some ways they are no use.

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  4. Being able to drive comes in very useful. You never know when you'll need it but you will one day, it's almost certain.

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    1. Yes! before they are licence ready I assess my kids by "could they get me to hospital in an emergency?"
      Even if a person never drives, it's good to have the licence.

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  5. Goodness, your driving tests are a lot stricter than ours. There's no requirement for a minimum number of instruction hours, you just go for your test when the instructor thinks you're ready. And I've never heard of anyone being penalised for a faulty light.But there should probably be stricter rules for young drivers, who are far more prone to serious accidents than any other age group (including oldies) and who often drink and drive.

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    1. Seventeen years ago someone decided that the road toll for young drivers was too high and we implemented log books, minimum hours and curfews where new drivers can't carry passengers late at night.
      Older learners have a lower requirement for hours of experience

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  6. Both my son and I had to appear for two tests before we were given licences way back when the roads had fewer vehicles on them. Today, it is different.

    https://www.quora.com/Why-is-a-driving-licence-granted-without-any-test-in-India

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    1. It is interesting that India will grant a driving licence on the word of the driving school! It's a system ripe for corruption but if the system is already corrupt it matters very little.
      I have many times heard a failed driver here complain that their skirt should have been shorter or make similar slurs against examiners but what I have seen is consumate professionalism

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  7. Heavens! You deserve a sainthood for all that driving supervision time. Saint Kylie has a nice ring to it - the patron saint of learner drivers.

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    1. I'd settle for being able to drive myself instead of handing over the keys every time!

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  8. Having to log that number of hours before the test is quite surprising compared to the UK - sounds closer to getting a pilots license than driving license!
    Not a bad idea though.
    What I'd like to see is a tiered car license like the motorcycle license where young riders are limited to certain power/weight ratio - it would stop rich kids passing their test and jumping straight into a high performance car. An 18 year-old in an Evo? Recipe for disaster.

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    1. Dave,
      Older learners (25 plus, I think) have a lower requirement for hours and drivers can't use a turbo vehicle in the first three years of driving.
      If I remember rightly, these regulations came in after a car full of kids (even some in the boot) were killed leaving a party one night.
      I'm glad my kids have these limitations on them, it makes them a teeny bit safer

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  9. Those test requirements are stringent and I'd love to see them here but I suspect that it would lead to even more unlicensed and uninsured young drivers.

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    1. As far as i know, we don't have any more unlicensed drivers than we did back in the time when licensing was easier. It's an interesting point.
      Older drivers think the requirements are draconian but the young people seem to accept it, i guess it's normal for them.

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  10. Wow what a brave person you are. My eldest daughter had a driving instructor and I went no where near her until she'd passed her test, which she did first time, with no problems at all. My younger daughter is now learning, and I'm keeping well clear again.

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    1. Well 120 hours of practice at $80/ hour for instruction would probably see us starve so I had to do it and it stops being scary after a little while.

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