Spoke too soon. All going swimmingly, quietly competent, HAH!
I’ve changed my mind. I’m taking to it like a duck to ballet. I thought I was doing alright, not killed anyone, not too nervous, seemed like all was spiffy, just one lesson and all.
Turns out I was in the ‘unconsciously incompetent’ phase; where I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. I was wondering how I was supposed to judge the tighter corners when as you turn into them, the trailer blocks your view in one mirror, and the other is pointing at nothing in particular. Wasn’t overly concerned as I seemed to be doing it anyway. Then we came to an island today. Obviously you are all aquiver with the amount of things you are trying to do at once in that situation. You have to line the truck up, bring your speed down, select the appropriate gear, try to keep moving, then leap into any gap in the traffic with all sixty foot of wagon.
I was doing all of the above, spotted a gap and went for it. The instructor said "you’re too tight on the left." I looked in my mirror and sure enough I had started steering too soon and my trailer was heading for the pavement and there were railings on the edge. I acted instinctively, which is to steer the front end in, around the corner. This would have put the arse end out and clear in a car or rigid truck. Not so in an artic. I smacked the trailer straight into the railings and dragged along them! Bollocks!
We had to stop and check that I’d not made the trailer un-roadworthy (it was just a tad scuffed). If that had have been a car or a pedestrian, well, there probably wouldn’t have been a lot down for them.
So then I started to understand what he meant about steering out until your rear axle is clear, then start steering in, keeping an eye on the wide angle mirrors, and chase the cab along the line of the pavement.
So I’ve made the leap to ‘consciously incompetent’, I now know how much I don’t know.
At this rate I’m on schedule. The next level is ‘consciously competent’ where I have to think about every action but then get it right, crack that tomorrow, then I just have ‘unconsciously competent’ where I instinctively do the right thing. Polish that on Thursday, then walk my test on Friday!
Easy when you think about it.
Those who don’t want to know the result of Friday’s test, bury your head in your hands now.
After yesterday going so well (apart from the reverse, which is a nightmare) I really thought I was going to sail through this, maybe even pass first time. Now I’m back to my default position; that I just keep trying until I do pass. Big come down.
We’ll see how tomorrow goes. If I’ve taken on board the things I was doing wrong today, and sussed how to correct them, there is hope. Apart from mounting a few pavements (each incidence a test fail), trying to demolish that barrier (big fail) and not being very good at the reverse procedure, all I have to worry about is preparation and planning.
Those bloody yellow chequered boxes! Fine in a car, just don’t move into one unless you can move through it. Not such an easy decision when you are in a sixty foot vehicle. Especially when it is before some lights, and possibly hidden by stopped traffic. The lights change you move off, traffic shunts up and stops again just as you are driving into a box you hadn’t noticed. Or you pull up in front of some lights and there is a side street thirty foot back from them, you have just blocked it. Preparation and planning prevent piss poor performance, as we used to say in the army. But there is only experience can arm you sufficiently to prepare. As Sah Bum Nim says at Taekwondo "They say practise makes perfect, it doesn’t. Perfect practise makes perfect!"
Soldier on. It’s still not as much of change as from Micra to rigid. That really was horrible. This is bad, but it does feel like it’s just a matter of applying what I am learning, and polishing skills I already have.
I’m a tad miffed tonight, see what tomorrow brings.