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Driving lesson suggestions

August 27th, 2009

Next week is the last of my three driving lessons and accordingly my final chance to get some professional instruction. Without spending even more money, anyway.

The only things I can think of I need to cover are crazy streets like 82nd, freeway driving and some parking stuff. Parallel parking in particular.

The suggestions I’d like are what do YOU all wish that you could do, or do better when driving. Or perhaps what do you wish other people knew?

I already know how to not tailgate, not that it’s a specific skill. That’s more “how not to be an asshole.”

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  1. Woogapdx
    August 27th, 2009 at 16:38 | #1

    It may sound counter-intuitive, but don’t spend too much of your professional time on parallel parking. You won’t get good at that in a day, and it’s actually pretty simple, just takes practice.

    Maybe focus on things like enter/exit freeways, merging & changing lanes in those awfully short places (like I-405 around the Everett exit), places where you have to make quick decisions & do several things simultaneously. Try getting on I-405 N around REI and then get all the way over to take the HWY 30 fork.

    Good luck!

  2. jodi
    August 29th, 2009 at 13:36 | #2

    Oh, 82nd is a BLAST to drive on… Hopefully you could intuitively sense my sarcasm. The trick about streets like 82nd: stay in the left lane unless you have to turn right. The buses are rampant, so they’re constantly jacking the flow of traffic; Utilize the center lane when possible; And watch out for crackheads standing in the middle of the street. No, seriously.

    The two hardest things about Portland freeways: onramps and offramps. Portlanders don’t know how to merge. Don’t rely on them to see you coming, or to see themselves coming at you. I think it’s safe to assume that they’re high or forgot their bifocals at home. Another reason to avoid right lanes in general when possible. The highway merges are ridiculous. Take the I-84W onto 5-N, for example. Dreadful.

    Thomas guides and Mapquest are your friend. They tell you useful things, like “that Freeway is about to detour you to Guadalajara in approximately 2.4 seconds” and “this is a one-way street and you’re going the wrong way, jack ass”. Embrace them. And good luck.

  3. August 31st, 2009 at 13:55 | #3

    Theres not much anyone can really advise as if you have been taught by a professional instructor and are ready to take the test, they must be pretty confident in your ability however one thing which never gets mentioned is the mindset before the test. Many people suffer from ‘jelly-leg’ syndrome or dry throat etc but this is simply nerves before the test. My advice is whilst you are in the waiting room of the test centre waiting to be called, calm your mind and body (and nerves!) by slowing your breath down and slowly counting from 1 – 20 and then back again (20 – 1). Once you have done this, calmly assure yourself there is nothing to be afraid of and reflect on all positive elements from previous lessons i.e. like when you nailed the 3-point-turn first time etc or simple things like when you first got the car rolling without stalling etc. Positivity will always cancel negativity in these situations and driving tests are no different. Concentrate on the goal, focus your mind, stay determined and you will soon pass!

    Good luck

  4. September 1st, 2009 at 13:23 | #4

    I’m sure this is bygones by now, but 82nd really is not bad. McLaughlin is MUCH worse, especially when it starts raining because you hydroplane everywhere (especially when you get closer to Milwaukie). Have you driven the Terwilliger Curves yet? It might be worth practicing; that’s where I lost control and totaled my car.

  5. Gloom
    October 7th, 2009 at 12:52 | #5

    >Jodi, I’m a Professional Driver and I can say without hesitation that nobody in 45 of the Lower 48 States can merge. I don’t know about Maine, Vermont, or New Hampshire because I never drove through them.

    Doom, be glad your best homeboy is a Pro. Once you’re licensed, we might work on training you up on a manual gearbox… When I’m drunk.

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