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Does Car Throttle have a point?

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    • Thread Starter


    Interesting video. It does seem rather tongue-in-cheek from the outset, given the tone of voice and the acting style of the in-vision drivers.

    If he's trying to make a serious point, I'm afraid he's way wide of the mark. The video is full of misconceptions, assumptions and gross exaggerations, but with just a light scattering of cleverly inserted true facts to make the whole thing seem more credible.

    Does he have a point? Well, he would if his introductions to each point were accurate. Let's take a look at these:

    1. Feeding the wheel
    This is by far the most efficient way of adding and removing steering, which if done correctly, can cope with almost any situation that you will encounter on the roads.

    Aside from keeping your arms away from the airbag deployment zone (video poster doesn't seem to mention that, does he?), the pull-push method is designed so that infinitely more steering can be added as necessary, even when faced with a tightening corner as the poster describes in the video. He seems to assume that if a driver enters a corner which tightens, feeding the wheel will cause the car to understeer, then overcorrect. This would only ever happen if the driver wasn't using the method correctly, used jerky rather than smooth movements, or used insufficiently small "shuffling" movements rather than the whole of the wheel circumference. The actor in the video seems to use all of these incorrect techniques to exaggerate a steering error into the corner, to prove that the whole method is unsuitable, which it isn't. Watch a video of a driver doing it properly to see the difference.

    Pull-push steering is a tool to be used, just as rotational steering is. Rotational steering may be more suitable for low speed manoeuvres, for example in tight car parks. There is a time and a place to use each

    Another crucial point that the video poster conveniently omits to tell us, is that if the corner were to tighten so sharply and suddenly that significant change to the steering is needed, then the driver is entering the corner far too fast.

    2. Constantly applying the handbrake
    The video poster states that "The handbrake is your best friend on the UK driving test". It isn't, but it has its uses. It should be used when the car has come to complete and lengthy stop on a hill, so that the accelerator can be used without rollback when moving away. It should be used when the car is fully parked at the side of the road (which happens a few times during a test) and whenever the car is stopped in traffic for a notably long time. It is not true to say that it should be used for every single stop regardless, as other skills such as footbrake and clutch control can come into play perfectly acceptably.

    He goes on to say that "the footbrake will usually suffice". For brief pauses, this is true, but he makes no mention of the unnecessary brake light glare now being endured by the poor driver of the following car. Sit behind an automatic Mercedes in a traffic queue in the dark and you'll soon see what I mean. In long waits in stationary traffic, you should apply the handbrake and release the footbrake to prevent glare.

    3. Checking mirrors at pre-determined intervals

    Well, the actor in the video should win an oscar for this one. Then again, some test candidates do put in some oscar winning performances in this regard. There is no "pre-determined" time interval mentioned in any official text book where you should make meaningless checks just for the sake of it.

    Seeing as the poster refers to the test as a "box ticking exercise", let's consider the actual boxes that are ticked. You must make effective use of mirrors well before:
    • signalling
    • changing direction
    • changing speed
    That is all. There is no interval of "every x seconds", although regular updates do make you aware of a developing situation behind and alongside you when approaching a hazard. If a situation develops and your vital mirror check comes in a little late, the previous update you made may well save you.

    The "6 point check" referred to is a load of baloney too. No where in any official text book is a 6 point check actually mentioned. To the best of my knowledge, I think this concept originally came from BSM many years ago, and spread by hearsay like an old wives tale. Contrary to the scene in the video, this concept is used when moving away from a parked position at the side of the road, not emerging from a junction.

    Before moving away from the roadside, one must consult the interior and offside (right) mirror to judge a suitable gap in traffic. The nearside (left) mirror will cover any hazards about to appear from the pavement next to you, so you don't need a left shoulder check when you're just next to a pavement. When the time comes to move away, you should briefly glance over your right shoulder to cover the blind spot on the side of the car that carries this potential hazard.

    As for "you need to make these checks more obvious", remember that you're being assessed on your ability to drive safely, not your acting ability. If you make subtle checks, the experienced examiner will catch these. If you get lots of fault marks, it wasn't because you weren't being obvious enough, it's because you just weren't checking at all before signalling / changing direction / changing speed.

    4. Not flashing others
    This rule is there for a reason. Flashing for any other purpose than a warning can be mis-interpreted an lead to a conflict or actual danger. Flashing to "let people out" is just stupid. Imagine you flash your lights on a main road: the driver waiting at the side road says "oh thanks!" and pulls out. The pedestrian on the pavement sees the same flash and says "oh thanks!" and steps out into the road - into the path of the car pulling out. Oh dear. Nobody really knew which road user you were flashing to, so don't bother.

    If you want to let somebody out, just leave a gap, pause and make eye contact with the road user you are letting out. Let them make the decision to go without pressuring them. It's their decision and their fault if they make a mistake.

    As for the quote "You cannot react to someone else flashing their lights at you", well this is misleading. You can react, by making a careful judgement. What you don't do is assume it's a signal to proceed and pull out willy-nilly without regard for other hazards that you might not have seen. If you can see that the traffic is slowing or stopping sufficiently that you can pull out safely, then do so, but you must be judging the speed and proximity of others, not pulling out just on the flash.

    If anyone disagrees with this, just google "flash for cash" to see what could go wrong. Then read your highway code.

    5. Speed is your enemy
    This section states two true facts in close proximity in order to mislead the viewer into a false inference. Fact one: "The driving test in the UK fails to incorporate any form of motorway driving". Fact two: "The majority of lessons take place in busy towns or cities where the maximum speed limit will be limited to 30mph".

    Both of these facts, taken individually are true. The UK test cannot take place on a motorway as provisional licence holders cannot legally drive there. The majority of driving lessons (not tests, just lessons) do take place in towns and cities as this is where the majority of judgement is developed. Taken together, the viewer, whom the poster is trying to convince that the driving test is not fit for purpose, will come away thinking that the test will never take place on roads above 30mph.

    In reality, the driving test will take place on many different road types and speed limits wherever possible. Although motorways cannot be entered, a very similar experience of driving at up to 70mph on dual carriageways should be expected if such a suitable road is within reach from a driving test centre. Only at test centres buried deeply within urban cities, will it be harder to reach roads with a limit faster than 30mph.

    Once driving lessons around town in the 30 zones have been accomplished, a good instructor will take their pupil on other roads too, including 20, 40, 50, 60 and 70 zones where possible. Drivers should be taught to handle all road speeds safely, and to make suitable progress in situations. The video seems to suggest that newly qualified drivers dawdle and brake on motorway / dual carriageway slip roads, but this is more because their driving instructor didn't teach this skill or consolidate it properly, not because the driving test wouldn't allow anybody over 30.

    Taught correctly, learner drivers should understand that speed alone is not your enemy. Only inappropriate speed kills. That, and colliding with other solid objects.

    6. Constantly checking your speed
    Again, somewhat of an exaggeration here. Speed limits are indeed compulsory and exceeding these will mean test failure, just as a full licence holder risks prosecution, but this does not mean that compliance with a limit should mean detracting your attention from the road.

    Judgement of speed is not always easy for a novice, but the skill of multitasking should still be mastered. An experienced driver should be able to feel their speed without having to be glued to the speedometer. Gentle acceleration sense and cruise control can all be used to achieve this. A combination of attention to the road, dealing with hazards correctly and the occasional glance at the speedo to confirm that the driver is still legal, is all that is required to pass a driving test and avoid prosecution once qualified.

    I do feel that the video poster has an axe to grind about the UK driving test. Perhaps he failed a few before passing? Or perhaps somebody close to him has recently failed? Either way, I feel that the video is presented with some bias. Just like any other media, take everything you see and read with a pinch of salt and always do your own research if you want the truth.

    Firstly I haven't taken the UK driving test, but here's my opinion as someone who learnt to drive in Canada.

    1. "Feeding the wheel" We get failed for doing that since it's classed as releasing firm grip on the wheel. Also, it's awkward, and as CT says you can't turn sharp corners easily.

    2. Constantly using the parking brake - Why? this seems like a dumb idea, unless you're on a hill.

    3. Constant Mirror checks - Eh. I can see why, but it's too much.

    4. Flashing lights - Yeah, that one seems dumb. I do it, because otherwise you end up causing pileups if people don't know who has priority.

    5. Speed is your enemy - since when?

    6. Constant speed checks - This super annoys me if i'm behind a learner. Back home, you get failed on your test if you're going TOO SLOW, since it's unsafe. Who knows why it isn't a rule here.
    • Thread Starter

    I know the video on the whole is very tounge and cheek as the rest of the channel is, but I feel some pints were made such as feeding the wheel, as although I can do it confidently and well, in other countries (the US I believe) and Canada asCrystalyne says, who'd fail for it.

    On the checking mirrors yes, it's exaggerated as well as checking the speed.

    In the handbrake I think it's safer to use it more on the test as you know the car will be secure although not necessary. I

    On the speed I live in the countryside with lots of NSL Zones in big open roads so speed isn't a problem for me.

    Yes they do!
    Car Throttle are brilliant too!

    But yes they are correct in what theyve said there!
    Gotta love Mr Kersten!

    CT is ultimately a comedic channel. However:

    Feeding the wheel is *******s. There's a reason why any professional racing driver never uses it - it's jolty, slow and feels un-natural.

    Checking mirrors as well - who checks their mirors every time they slow down? I'm not going to change my mind upon how I brake if a car stops in front of me. Just be progressive and don't get too close to the car in front.

    Handbrake - learn to hold the car with the clutch and only use the handbrake for prolonged stops, e.g waiting at a traffic light.

    Speed - checking your speed constantly is dangerous as you never look at the road. Alex does make a fair point saying it is purely a box ticking exercise. Also driving slowly annoys everyone else on the road and leads to people making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.
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