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Gobbles Musings

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Questioning my ability?

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Wednesday, 16.05.2018 - Lesson 14

We drove almost the same route as Monday. He said we are now practising more situations I have problems with. In my case narrow roads and driving on the right side in situations like that. I'm too much in the middle because I'm afraid of hitting parked cars on the side. Lots of priority-to-the-right rule (according to Google this is the proper word) situations. Not a problem in automatic cars, but I struggle a bit with going down into 1st, driving slowly into the crossroads and then going back up to 2nd and continue and that in those streets every couple of meters. On a normal road switching into the different gears works okay. 1 to 3 at least, 4 to 6 is a bit difficult. (I haven't used 6 yet, I think we can do that only on the Autobahn when there is not too much traffic.)

Next lesson next week. He said we are going into the down town. Everyone I know hates driving into the city. So I'm a bit worried. (At least this is not in the exam area but he said I should be able to drive there anyway.

Thursday, 17.05.2018 - Theoretic lesson 11 (of 14)

I had to think about the situation in the US with police controls a lot before this lesson. I knew that the topics included the lights on a car, driving through a tunnel, cars with special lights (ambulance, police, heavy transport....) and how you should act in a police control. Thing is we used like 70 minutes of the 90 in total for the lights. And the teacher is so good that he can make lights and their use a really interesting topic. I have never seen someone speaking so passionately about really boring topics. And he does this since 30 years. Police control came last and took like three minutes. Slow down, drive to the side, open your window, talk to the officer, say you did not drink if they ask (and do not drink & drive!!!!!! :)), hand over your papers from the glove compartment and that's it.

I guess in the US you should learn about the danger of being shot in a situation like that if you happen to have the wrong skin colour and move without someone telling you too.  I think you have to have your hands on the steering wheel and what not. Different worlds I guess. 


Other than that I'm still worried about being able to do this. Driving slowly feels more normal, but I still lack the "I can do this"-feeling. My Grandpa asked how driving is going and I couldn't answer because I have no idea how I'm doing. Even though my instructor compliments me in certain situations during the lesson. Like every time we cross the tram railway. I cross it and next to me he goes "that is how you look, well done!". So I must be doing at least something right.  

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The difference in how to act during a "police control" (what we call a traffic stop in the U.S.) is certainly interesting. Since guns are legal for so many people to have here, how you act during a traffic stop is about not doing any actions that would concern the officer, such as reaching into an area they can't see, glovebox, under the seat, etc. When pulled over, the appropriate action is to lower the window and then keep your hands on the wheel until the officer asks for your registration and insurance. And if you have a gun, you are to immediately inform the officer and also tell them where it is located. It's a huge safety concern for the police, and with good reason. Many officers have been shot in the line of duty. I'm not into the whole gun debate: that's just how it is right now in the U.S.

Of course, people with darker skin are justifiably concerned when being pulled over, given the issues with racism here. Being white and a woman, I can be reasonably certain that I will not be shot during a traffic stop. If I was black, I would have no such assurance. That has to be extremely frightening! 

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@Gobbles I wouldn't worry about not feeling totally comfortable driving yet. From what you've said, you're only halfway through your lessons, so you still have quite a bit of time to get used to driving. And trust your instructor, he's telling you what you're doing right and he'll also tell you what you should be working on. It also sounds like he's including extra practice in areas that you need, so that's good too.

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