For various reasons, I’m preparing for a category D (that’s buses) driving test. Actually it’ll be D1 without the ‘not for hire’ exemption, currently I have D1 with that exemption.
To get my category D1 classification, I have to undergo a theory test, a hazard perception test and a practical.
I’m starting with the theory test, and unfortunately some of the test questions seem to confuse understanding with knowledge.
Q. A crossing where a cyclist may go across the road with a pedestrian is called
A. A Pelican Crossing, B. A Puffin Crossing, C. A Toucan Crossing or D. A Pegasus Crossing.
The answer is C, a Toucan crossing (two can cross, get it?)
Now, from the driver’s point of view, do they have to be treated differently? No.
The lights are against you, you stop.
The lights are green, you proceed if it is safe to do so.
It doesn’t matter of the crossing is for cycles, pedestrians, horses or goldfish – how does knowing the name for the set of lights affect how I drive? As long as I know what the signs to the driver mean, all is good.
In the same way, I’ve always had a problem with the concept of knowing stopping distances:
Knowing, for example, that 50mph yields 53m as a stopping distance in good conditions is fine – but unless you can recognise that on the ground, it’s not worth squat. It’s just a number. (I know I’m mixing imperial and metric there, that’s as I think in SI units, but all the speedometers and roadsigns in the UK are in miles, thanks for the lack of backbone in this regard of Heath and Wilson).
The theory tests are generally a good thing, much better than what happened when I passed my driving test which was the examiner saying, ‘Now, could you tell me what *this* sign means’ – it had the advantage of being able to gauge hesitancy, but wasn’t a broad range of knowledge – however, there are some really daft questions.
Then there are the really obvious ones:
Q. An old person is crossing the road. Do you:
A. Rev your engine so they know you’re there, B. Honk your horn so they hurry up, C. Wait patiently, D. Get out of the car and hit them with a shovel.
I’m paraphrasing the questions somewhat, but not much! (The answer is C, by the way)
Having said that, most of the questions are good and sensible; but there remain some that have slipped through which are blindingly obvious and hence not testing at all, or which confuse a theoretical knowledge with an actual ‘on the ground’ knowledge.
Now, watch and cackle as I go ahead and fail the thing.