Mirror, blind spot, indicator. Mirror, brake, hands remain on the steering wheel, stop. Handbrake, clutch, second gear, balance the clutch, full observation, handbrake down, drive. Blind spot, turn – push and pull! Don’t cross your hands, check the trailer in the mirror while turning, third gear. And off you go...
This inner monologue has been playing in my head for the past few weeks every time I approach a four-way stop. That’s not quite true; it’s less of a monologue and more as if I have a built-in checklist of Retha giving instructions in my ear. Retha being my driving-school instructor.
I’m on the other side of 40 and have had my licence for more than 20 years, after completing my license test by driving around the streets of Parys in the Free State for around 20 minutes with Baber Botha, the local traffic officer. Before that, I passed the yard test effortlessly in my silver Mazda 323. Honestly, it wasn’t hard to parallel park in the Silver Flame. And from that day on, I was legally on the road with my Code 8. It allowed me to tow, too.
With the switch to the credit-card format and new codes just before the turn of the new century, I automatically received a code EB driver’s licence, which means
I can still tow. That comes in very handy now that I’m working on this magazine.
Kyle, however, is different story. He’s a lot younger and looks at you with question marks in his eyes when you start talking about a Code 8, 10 or 14. He obtained his code B driver’s licence after 1998, but we wanted him to be able to tow caravans heavier than 750 kg and instructed him to get his towing licence.
It would also make an insightful story about a hot topic. But then some clever Dick got the idea that we should compare two types of driver’s licence tests. “So our readers can be better informed about their options.” And that’s how I was delegated to turn myself over to the Code EC1 world. And what an interesting world that is.
The result of Kyle and my adventure begins on page 102 where we tell you about our learner’s licence tests and our experiences at two different driving schools. Because it is such a comprehensive article, we’ll be publishing part two next month. And that’s when I invade Parow’s streets in a Nissan UD truck with a trailer in tow and a traffic officer sitting on my left.
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