Go! Camp & Drive - - CAMP BOFFIN -

For the sake of thor­ough­ness, we wanted to com­pare two types of tow­ing li­cences, EB and EC1, with me at­tempt­ing the EB, be­cause I only had the B, and ed­i­tor Schalk Jonker ap­ply­ing for the EC1, as he got the old Code 8 back in the day that was au­to­mat­i­cally con­verted to EB.

Want­ing to do it the right way from the get-go, we de­cided to sign up for some driv­ing lessons. Two acad­e­mies came highly rec­om­mended: Al­pha Driv­ing School and He & She Driv­ing School. For the pur­poses of this fea­ture, Schalk chose He & She as they of­fer EC1, which left me with Al­pha, who are pri­mar­ily based in the north­ern sub­urbs of Cape Town. The school is run by Henri Swift, a for­mer traf­fic of­fi­cial with the City of Cape Town who has been help­ing Capeto­ni­ans ace their driv­ing tests since 2012.

At Henri’s school, there’s also no phys­i­cal ex­change of cash. Your lessons are paid via EFT up­front. At the time of go­ing to print, it costs R240 per les­son. Each les­son lasts an hour. And, on the day of your test, book­ing the car and trailer (R960) comes with a re­fresher be­fore your test time so

The in­struc­tor will first as­sess your driv­ing com­pe­tence by ask­ing you to per­form one of the typ­i­cal test ex­er­cises.

you’re warmed up for the driv­ing exam.

Check that your in­struc­tor has a valid in­struc­tor’s cer­tifi­cate from the South African In­sti­tute of Driv­ing In­struc­tors. The in­struc­tor should legally be fit to take you for lessons, so he/she should have a li­cence equal to or higher than yours. Your in­struc­tor also has to be sit­ting next to you.

The in­struc­tor will first as­sess your driv­ing com­pe­tence by ask­ing you to per­form one of the typ­i­cal ex­er­cises you would have to per­form when you go for your test. In my case, it was the 40 m re­verse test. And this is ar­guably the hard­est ex­er­cise of the lot, be­cause to keep a trailer or car­a­van straight be­hind the tow­ing ve­hi­cle re­quires some deft han­dling of the steer­ing wheel and a near-per­fect bal­ance of the tow bar and the third axle.

For an EB li­cence, it’s a good idea to prac­tise the ma­noeu­vres that will be re­quired of you to pass the exam, in­clud­ing the 40 me­tre re­verse, left turn, al­ley dock­ing, un­hitch­ing and par­al­lel park­ing, and pulling off on an in­cline. Make sure you go over these thor­oughly with your school.

Over at He & She, Schalk signed up for 10 lessons at R240 per les­son. The use of the truck and trailer for his fi­nal test costs an ad­di­tional R710. These prices ex­clude VAT.

Schalk was as­signed Retha Crous as in­struc­tor, who first took him to He & She’s prac­tice ground next to the Parow Traf­fic Depart­ment to get a sense of his abil­i­ties >

Things you are al­lowed to do in the test­ing cen­tre yard or prac­tice yard that aren’t al­lowed when you’re out on pub­lic roads.

You don’t have to wear your seat­belt for park­ing ma­noeu­vres. Or any­where else in the yard.

You are al­lowed to cross your hands while steer­ing. You are al­lowed to look out of the win­dow to help you po­si­tion the trailer while re­vers­ing/al­ley dock­ing You are al­lowed to rest your foot on the clutch pedal for all ma­noeu­vres in the yard ex­cept one: the 40 m re­verse. with the Nis­san UD 35 truck and trailer. First up was the al­ley-dock ma­noeu­vre and, to be to­tally hon­est, Schalk didn’t ex­actly nail it first time.

But, with a lot of pa­tience and guid­ance, he could al­ley dock like a supremo by the third les­son. Next up was the straight-line re­verse, which is tricky but man­age­able when you have your con­fi­dence lev­els up. Through­out, Retha kept re­mind­ing him about the cor­rect ob­ser­va­tion se­quence, drilling it into him. It’s funny, but some­thing that feels so com­pletely un­nat­u­ral dur­ing your first les­son starts to feel to­tally stan­dard by your fifth. Noth­ing il­lus­trated this bet­ter than hav­ing to en­gage the hand­brake ev­ery time you stop.

Once Schalk was more at ease with the yard ma­noeu­vres (these in­cluded the left and right turn and in­cline start) it was time to hit the streets of Parow to pre­pare him for the road part of the test.

Retha, a wealth of in­for­ma­tion, kept re­mind­ing him about the stop se­quence, ob­ser­va­tion re­quire­ments and the rules of the road.

After 10 hours of in­tense train­ing on ev­ery­thing EC1, Schalk was ready to take the plunge.

In next month’s Camp Boffin, we tell you ev­ery­thing about how Kyle and Schalk’s driver’s li­cence tests went.

The 40 me­tre straight re­verse is ar­guably the hard­est yard test, as you’re not al­lowed to use the clutch once mov­ing.

THE BA­SIC MANOUEVRES. Be­fore you can take the show on the road, you’ll have to demon­strate some sort of prow­ess in the yard. Here you per­form rudi­men­tary park­ing ex­er­cises, ex­te­rior and in­te­rior in­spec­tions and your in­struc­tor will drill the cor­rect pro­ce­dure into you be­fore you start your road driv­ing.

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