Original submission by T Feb 3rd 2007:
P Plate Pride:
The restrictions of the current P plates ought not to be viewed as an
imposition, but rather a cause for pride. The P Plate and the resriction
should imply that the driver is endeavouring to become the best and most responsible
driver he/she can.
Governments care enough
about their citizens to keep them alive and are prepared to enforce
laws to that end. It would not be acting responsibly otherwise.
It would be nice if governments acted sooner, like when cars sales
become driven by speed and performance rather than reliablity
and efficiency, but it may be that they worry about votes.
There is only one way to learn to become a good driver. Start small
and with low power. The reason is that the human mind needs time to
learn the sequences of the events associated with the activity.
It also needs time to gain the ability to judge speed, distance
and reaction times.
I still clearly see the merits of starting with an 850 cc car. I appreciated at the time, when every new driver I knew who drove a grey motor Holden hospitalised somebody. Even a stock EJ proved too
fast for them.
Where I started with a 650 cc motor-cycle I fell behind my friend
who started with a 125 cc motor-cycle and who graduated to a Ducati 860 cc and handled it well.
Pilots who started in non-trainer aircraft took longer to qualify
and did not gain the proficiency of pilots like myself who started
with the lowest powered aircraft on the field.
Staying Ahead of the Vehicle:
The trick to handling high performance aircraft is ...
"staying ahead of the aircraft".
That means visualising how the aircraft is about to respond in
the coming moments and keeping the handling requirements foremost
in mind. It doesn't mean ramming the throttle open and taking the wild ride.
Starting training is not an imposition, nor should it be interpreted as such. There is every reason to take complete pride in learning
how to control any vehicle properly and not just because the police
Being worthy of a vehicle from a skill point of view is in every
way a reason to take pride. Staying ahead of the vehicle psychologically is the key to handling high power vehicles safely.
A public road is not the venue for learning the nuances of a machine.
Practice Very Slowly:
A tip I learned from music and have applied for decades is ...
"practice very slowly, learn very fast".
It doesn't work the other way. Practising fast doesn't even give you learning very slowly. It gets you no learning at all, just a state of mental confusion.
In aviation the killer manouvres and their recoveries are first
taught, then practised in a controlled environment. The student not
only learns the killing potential of the vehicle but also some
respect for it. He/she can then take pride in the responsibilty
they can take for avoiding the situation.
An associate of mine was still trying to get his full pilot's license
after 150 hours of training when everyone else had done it in under
His problem, though he couldn't see it, was that he insisted on piloting the big horsepower aircraft from day one. Every single
reporting and decision point of every single flight came up too
rapidly for him to be able to grasp the sequence, so he just
continued to go out and blow a fortune and return with an instructor
who could only shake his head in dismay. No flying club refused him as a student, he still had the right to learn and they needed the
money so while everybody else broke free of the training area he
stayed stuck well within its confines.
The process of graduating to any higher powered aircraft came
naturally to those of us who started with low powered trainers,
whereas even with under the guidance of an instructor my colleague
could not pilot the higher powered aircraft because the basic requirements remained beyond him.
If the sequence of driving a procedure is taught, repeated, then ultimately performed without the interference of the instructor.
Then the driver largely has it down. After this performing the procedure
faster comes naturally to human beings. Attempting to perform it fast from the get-go is both counter productive and confusing.
He would argue that the aicraft he used was nowhere near as fast as a Learjet, but it was still
too fast for him.
He Learns Best:
A new driver can take real pride that learning slowly will
ultimatley make he/she the better driver.
In every way ...
He learns best who learns to crawl before he walks and walk before he runs.
Submission by Darren 202 Feb 3rd 2007:
.... "My first car was a 4cyl LX Sunchook. After driving that for 3 years I pulled out the 4cyl Opal and put in a 202. Two years later I bought a 351 4 speed LSD XC sedan. I feel that the time I spent in the 4cyl Sunchook was the most critical in my development as a driver."