Learn to drive in Oswestry…

A road junction in Oswestry Shropshire with faded and worn out line markings

…and not everything is as it seems

If you’re out on the roads in Oswestry, Shrewsbury, even perhaps Welshpool, Llanymynech or Four Crosses, you might well have noticed (or rather, not noticed…) the somewhat faded road markings on a fair few of the roads in these areas.

If you have noticed that most of the white paint on, say, Mile End roundabout in Oswestry, is looking a bit thin, have you ever wondered what it must be like to be a learner driver trying to navigate their way around it..?

You’re learning to drive in Oswestry…

and it’s your first time on roundabouts and what’s this coming up, Mile end (or KFC roundabout as your mates call it) Ok, where am I going? There’s the green sign…Shrewsbury…there’s the lane sign…right hand…now let’s check the lane markings…wait a minute, what markings?? how the heck am I supposed to find my way around this thing?! No wonder my driving instructor tells me I’m all over the road!

Sound unlikely? It happens more often than you might realise. On an average day driver training in Shropshire (slightly less so in Welshpool and Powys in general) I’d probably see at least one missed junction stop due to worn out giveway lines, and several lane drifts due to non-existent centre lines.

Think about this: the driver training system is set up to enable a new driver to be able to negotiate the roads confidently, safely and independently. So the driving instructor in Oswestry, for instance, wants the learner driver to be able to find their own way around.

Now that comes with experience, of course. The longer we do something, generally the better we get at it. For example, in the first few hours of training, most learners will be focusing so much on their gears that it would be difficult to also concentrate on what’s going on 100 metres up the road; however, as gear shifting becomes an unconscious competence, they’d then be able to devote more brain power to forward awareness.

Having reached this stage, we’d then look at a more independent approach to driving in general – ie, read the road, make your own way along it. Pretty logical progress.

Except that, as said at the top of the article, learning to drive in Oswestry in particular is now fast becoming something of a ‘hit and hope’ when it comes to navigating the often non-existent markings. And even when they are clearly visible, a bit of rain on them can make them miraculously (and worryingly) disappear beneath a sheen of water and diesel! And don’t get me started on confusing markings seemingly designed in an office by someone who doesn’t even drive!

So next time you see a learner on, say, Maesbury Road Junction, and they’re in the right lane preventing your overtake,

or this little beauty near Shell…

Junction of Shrewsbury Road / Victoria Road in Oswe

Perhaps you’ll have a slightly better understanding of the challenges they face – not just as a new, inexperienced driver on ever-aggressive roads, but as learner driver in Oswestry – The Town With No Paint!

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