the MINI adventure (pass plus)

Posted: September 18, 2011 in About Me

It was decided, I was going to do the pass plus to help with motorway driving, driving at night and country lanes. To be honest at first I didn’t really see the point in doing it. Afterall most of my lessons had taken place in the dark and on a few occasions my instructor had directed me down a few dark roads. In my eyes this should have knocked at least 2 hours of the 6 hour pass plus driving sessions on the head but, alas, no, this couldn’t be done.

So here it was. The day I was going to slide back into Steff (the name of the car I have been learning in) and be behind the wheel on the roads once more. The large white A frame ‘L’ sign was no longer on the roof and and I was now just ‘one of them’ on the roads. The instructions were given to follow the signs for the M62 which I did. I was given the freedom. Something that during my lessons never seemed to happen but now I was free to turn which ever way I wanted and more importantly I wasn’t going to get lectured for braking too late, riding the clutch or doing corners in third gear. I was in-charge and I was definitely going to take control.

Destination….Manchester. The plan, to park up and pop into the village for a cheeky drink (obviously in my case a soft one) so off we went. It was dusk and the side lights were guiding the way. The sky was dark but there wasn’t any rain in sight. We headed to the East Lancs road and soon found ourselves on the M57. The speed demon in me slipped out and the foot was down. In no time we were doing 70mph. Then 76mph. This was soon brought to a halt with the drone from the passenger seat of ‘watch your speed. Remember you have only just got your licence, are you looking to lose it on your first pass plus motorway session?’ He, on this occasion, was right, the speed dropped and then we hit the M62. This is where the over taking began. Middle lane, then out into the outer lane. Back up to 70mph, then 75pmh. This time I got it back before I had to hear it again and moved back over to clear the outside lane for the Audi driver who for some reason wanted to insert the nose of his car into the rear of my mini!

Then it came. The rain fell from the sky as though someone had pulled the plug out of the bath. Hard to imagine that this was actually the first time of me driving in the rain! In all the lessons that I have done, 15, not one of them was in the rain and here I was doing 70mph on the M62 in rain that made it so I couldn’t see a thing in front of me…..except the mass of blue flashing lights. I began to slow along with the rest of the traffic. It felt as though we were crawling along at 60mph.

We were soon passed the flashing lights and the crash. We maneuvered the new road layout to head down the M602 towards the city of Manchester where we once again hit the down pour. ‘remember the 4 second gap’ came the comment from the passenger seat. For a split second I had forgotten there was anyone else in the car with me!

We made it into the city centre, where many of the roads were closed. We had decided to call off for a cheeky drink (obviously in my case it would be a non-alcoholic sherry…. I’m driving) but after 20 minutes of back streets looking for parking and left hand turns we opted to head back for the motorway and KFC on the services….. it’s been a while since I’ve had chicken!

We made it. We hit the car park and then the fun of finding a space began. The voice of the examiner ringing in my head ‘never park next to another car, if I were you I would park at the back of the car park and walk, it’s better to have the exercise than the bill for a dinted door.’ So I decided to head for the closest spot to the entrance. what if it rained? My hair might get ruined and as you all know I spend many an hour making it look brilliant!! (for those that are not aware my hair is currently a number 1 shaved all over)

The chicken was eaten and the reverse out of the space done. The exit found and the roundabout, well, driven round. We were back on the motorway and the questions were coming thick and fast…

‘what does the small stick mean?………. the three marker, two marker and one marker what do they mean and if you were exiting when would you indicate to other users?………what does that sign mean?…….what colour are the cats eyes for an exit?’

We were back in Liverpool city centre. We had made it home in one piece. We were back in my street and it was nearly time to get out and home. The drive had gone well, there hadn’t been any issues (other than lane positioning on the motorway at one point when we nearly became an addition to the side of a coach) so in true JD style I had to do something. I was planning the turn in the road but to start it off I thought I would mount the curb! Wasn’t an issue for me….

 

Same time next week?

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