Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Training For The Diamond Special Test in Nottingham
Today was made all the more interesting when I had a session training an ADI to take the Diamond Special Test. Good to see a man taking up the challenge and developing his skills. I had a couple of hours with Scott who is a driving instructor, ORDIT instructor trainer and fleet registered trainer with BSM.
Having already passed advanced tests with the Institute of Advanced Motorists and RoSPA, Scott had a good deal of knowledge and a high standard of driving. There's always room for a fresh pair of eyes that can help to fine tune anyone's driving style and make it even more safe, smooth and efficient.
After a pleasant introduction we set off. We headed out on the major roads and roundabouts bound for the motorway. I found that Scott tended to cancel his signal just a little bit too early when leaving roundabouts and changing lanes. Only a fraction too early and the average motorist might not even notice. I find it best to fully complete any manoeuvre that involves changing direction before cancelling the signal so to completely cut down any margin for doubt in other drivers as to your intentions. More often than not I find the auto cancel feature on the indicators works at exactly the right time and the only reason to cancel manually is if the wheel is not fully straightened after the manoeuvre.
I found that Scott was not exactly eco-driving when it came to gear changes. Staying in third gear and accelerating up to nearly 50mph then shifting straight to fifth causes excessive revving of the engine and greater use of fuel. Scott told me this is the RoSPA approach, to gain more progress by missing gears changing up. We tried it going through fourth gear when building up speed and found hardly any progress was lost but the engine sounded smoother as the rev count was lower. I'm all for eco-driving and would only miss a gear if I was accelerating on a steep downward slope, missing fourth in this case helps keep engine speed down as gravity helps you to speed up.
Scott's commentary drive was absolutely superb. I learned a lot from listening to him as we negotiated Stapleford town centre. Packed full of detail and highlighting some excellent forward planning, it was a pleasure to sit and listen. I must brush up on my commentary drive. It's something I've perhaps neglected lately and it's such a powerful tool to develop hazard awareness.
Manoeuvres were sound with just a couple of slight adjustments to the left hand reverse and the bay park. I'm sure Scott will do well on the Diamond Special Test. Passing it will mean he has completed the big three when it comes to advanced driving. That's good to see.