EB VS EC1
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.