Hours 10.75 – 12.75, Nov 7

Alex is doing great:

It was raining so much today! At least that’s good practice because it rains all the time here. It is harder to see out of mirrors/windows during the rain though, so in low visibility you may have to do double mirror/shoulder checks. I really want to put RAIN-X all over my windows and mirrors. I think it would help.  

We practiced:

  • turns

  • 2-way and 4-way stops

  • traffic lights

Gravity

We went to a really hilly and curvy area, which was exciting. At one point, I slowed down to less than 20 downhill to turn, but when I turned the hill made the car speed up, so that’s one thing to watch out for.

I learned:

Brake Lights

1. When you press on the brakes, three red lights (Should) turn on on the rear of your car. This lets others know you’re slowing down. Check your lights from time to time. 

Blind Spots

2. When moving on multi-lane roads, try not to stay in the blind spot of other vehicles for too long. Ideally, have your car be in between the vehicles in the lane beside you, in front and behind you a good ways away.

  • This way, you are out of the blind spot of the vehicle in front of you.

  • Also, the vehicle behind you won’t be in your blind spot.

  • Yes, people are supposed to do shoulder checks before lane changes. But it’s simply safer and easier if we don’t hang out in each other’s blind spots. Yes we have to pass through that area all the time, and in heavy traffic we might not be able to do this (however if you’re in heavy traffic there will probably be a general understanding that there are cars everywhere) but we don’t want to stay in that area going the same speeds for a while. If someone forgets their shoulder check and simply looks in the mirror, you don’t exist. 

However, if traffic is really tight, it’s better to be beside the vehicle in the lane next to you rather than just behind it because being just behind it puts you in their blind spot. If you’re beside another car, the driver can usually see you in their peripheral vision. 

Roundabouts

3. When in a roundabout, you can signal to the right to let other cars know when you’re about to exit the roundabout [Q: is this good to do when in traffic circles, too? or just for larger roundabouts?]

  • For traffic circles, just use your signal as you would if there were no circle — if going straight, don’t signal, for right, signal right, and for left, signal left beforehand. These are much smaller, so if you wait to signal right till before you leave, you might confuse others, and there is so little time and space, that by the time someone sees that signal, you’ll be 1/2 block up the road and it will be obvious where you were going. 

Reversing

4. How to turn into a driveway/alley in reverse.

*We first practiced in a parking lot and then on the road into an alley.

When in reverse:

  • to turn right backwards, turn the wheel to the right

  • to turn left backwards, turn the wheel to the left

To back into a driveway/alley on the right:

  1. check that the driveway/alley is clear

  2. pull over to the right [Q: do you still pull over to the right even if you’re turning into a driveway/alley on the left?] Good question. Not necessarily. We will have to talk about that. 

  3. make sure your wheel is straightened at 0 degrees

  4. shift gears into reverse

Reversing Lights

*this turns on white lights on the rear of your car, letting others know you’re in reverse

  1. do a 360 degree check, starting with the back left window

  2. signal right (I think we forgot the turn signal here. We should actually signal before #1 that we check the ally is clear, upon approach, to warn others before we slow down). 

  3. begin to inch backwards

  4. turn the wheel right as much as it can go, about 400 degrees or more, depending on the car. so about one full circle and a bit more.

*hold the wheel just before the maximum amount the wheel can turn. pushing the wheel to its maximum can damage the car.

  1. meanwhile, alternate between looking out the back window and the front window. you’re looking periodically out of the front window to know when your car is straight

  2. once your car is straight, turn your wheel left until it is straight at 0 degrees, while still moving and looking out the back window.

  3. once the wheel is straight, hold the topmost of the steering wheel with your left hand and go backwards more if you need to, in a straight line, looking out the back window.

To back to the left :

  1. make sure your wheel is straightened at 0 degrees

  2. go into reverse

  3. do a 360 degree check, starting with the back right window

  4. signal left (if you’re actually parking you would signal before all of this) 

  5. begin to inch backwards

  6. turn the wheel left as much as it can go, about 400 degrees or more, depending on the car. so about one full circle and a bit more.

  7. meanwhile, alternate between looking out the back left window (like a left shoulder-check) and the front window. you’re looking periodically out of the front window to know when your car is straight

  8. once your car is straight, turn your wheel right until it is straight at 0 degrees, while still moving and looking out the back window.

  9. once the wheel is straight, hold the topmost of the steering wheel with your left hand and go backwards more if you need to, in a straight line, looking out the back window.

  10. ** Try to turn the steering wheel when the car is moving, not when it is stopped – avoiding dry steering 

To work on:

1. For some reason, I’m still having trouble not going over the lines separating traffic lanes.

2. At one point, we were waiting at a two-way stop to turn left, and it took a long time for the busy main road to clear. In the future, if you are at a two-way stop waiting to turn left and the main road you’re waiting for is really busy, you can:

  1. turn right onto the main road

  2. turn left three times on quieter streets

  3. turn right onto the main road

OR

If you know ahead of time that the main road you want to turn left onto is really busy and that there’s a two-way stop ahead, and if you know that there is a four-way stop on the street to the right of the one you’re on, you can:

  1. turn right onto the street before the main road

  2. turn left

  3. turn left at a four-way stop onto the main road. Four-way stops can be faster to turn on than two-way stops are. (In a 4-way stop, you always get to take your turn, no matter which direction you plan to go. At a 2-way stop, you generally can only take your turn after all of the other cross-traffic has cleared the intersection, so the amount of time you might wait at a 2-way can be potentially much longer in “rush hour”)