|26-11-2007, 02:16 PM||#1|
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Learner driver is abandoned by instructor halfway through test!!
Learner driver is abandoned by instructor halfway through test - after handbrake fails during hill start
Last updated at 10:07am on 26th November 2007 Comments (46)
There are some moments in life when you just know that things are not going to end well.
For teenager Faye Rivers, the realisation came when her driving examiner got out of the car halfway through her test and abandoned her.
She had been asked to do a hill start – but when she pulled on the handbrake, nothing happened.
Fighting down a wave of panic, she looked to the examiner for guidance.
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A test of nerve: Thousands of teenagers take their driving exams every year
But to her horror he simply got out of the car and walked away, saying there was nothing he could do. His parting words were an instruction to keep her foot on the brake and to call her driving instructor to rescue her.
Miss Rivers said her foot went numb as she sat still for 20 minutes, pressing down on the pedal while waiting for help to arrive. The drama began soon after the 17-year-old left the test centre in Reading last Wednesday.
The young telesales executive was already nervous as she had spent seven months taking driving lessons. Miss Rivers, from Tilehurst in Berkshire, said yesterday:
"I pulled the handbrake up and there was nothing there, there was no give at all.
"The instructor said he wasn't allowed to touch it, so I tried again and again.
"But when it became obvious something was really wrong, he told me to keep my foot on the foot brake and tried it himself.
"It still wouldn't work, so he got out and said he was going to phone the test centre for help.
"But he came back and said he couldn't get through. Then he said there was nothing else he could do and told me to phone my driving instructor to come and get me, before walking off.
I became hysterical at that point because I've never been in that situation before.
"I didn't know what to do and for all I knew, the car was about to blow up. But he just wandered off.
"I was so angry. It took 20 minutes for my instructor to find me. I was pressing the brake pedal so hard with my foot, it went numb."
Keith Riley, Miss Rivers's instructor at Reading Driving Academy, suggested there appeared to be a mechanical problem with her Vauxhall Corsa.
He said: "Of course learners use the handbrake quite a lot, so it's playing on a weak spot."
But he was philosophical about the experience, which he said would make his pupil a more cautious driver in future.
"This could have happened when Faye was driving around on her own after she passed, without me to come and get her," he said.
"At least she's had some experience."
A spokesman for the Driving Standards Agency, the authority responsible for employing driving examiners, said yesterday:
"When a test is terminated, the examiner gives the candidate a choice of either staying with the vehicle or walking back to the centre.
"However, we are unable to comment on individual cases because of the Data Protection Act."