The model town board is one of three main tools of the trade for driving schools and test centres in Kenya, the other two being the special “Learner” car or truck and the road sign charts. Instructors use the board to pull together all the separate pieces of knowledge that learners are expected to master. Examiners use it during the theory test to help determine whether a student may proceed to the practical test on the actual road. You should therefore master it in order to have a chance of passing the test and eventually driving down the road legally.
Measuring 4ft by 3ft (it is not clear why we continue these legacy measurement units half a century after we banished the colonial period where the prop originated), the model town board is a table-top prop whose surface is marked with representations of one and two way roads, some of which have multiple lanes. These roads are connected with a series junctions and a large multi-lane roundabout. Pointedly, the roads and lanes are marked with a combination of solid and broken lines, some of which are white and others yellow. A representative parking lot consisting of angled parking slots is complemented by a few flush parking spaces along one of the streets. The markings are rounded of with pedestrian crosswalks or so-called zebra crossings. Some model town boards, especially those used in driving schools, are also marked with some of the important road signs such as “STOP”, “Give Way”, “Pedestrian crossing place” and “Parking”.
Despite its simplicity, the model town board provides an effective miniature environment in which students can learn, practice and internalize many of the important rules of the road. Mastering it is one key to passing the driving test, getting a drivers license and ultimately, becoming a knowledgeable and considerate driver on Kenya’s public roads.
A model town board would not be complete without objects representing cars and other vehicles commonly found on Kenyan roads. Students must learn to maneuver these toys along the roadways from one point to another while demonstrating their knowledge, skill and consideration for other vehicles which the teacher places at various locations on the represented roads and streets. In particular, students should demonstrate the correct way to change lanes, calling out their actions before and after taking the action. For example, a student should indicate when to switch on the turn signal prior to initiating a lane change or turning into an intersection. Similarly, a student should vocalize coming to a full stop while approaching a junction, looking in either direction to ensure the intersection is clear before then turning into the junction. Certainly the student should handle solid and broken road markings correctly, and be sure to stop upon approach to a pedestrian crossing.
During the theory test, model town board scenarios provide excellent opportunities for you to show your understanding of the need for selecting the correct lane upon approaching a roundabout, particularly one that has many lanes. Be sure to enter, maneuver and exit the roundabout in the correct lane, and remember to vocalize your turn signals, lane changes and exits as you carry them out.
Examiners love setting up test scenarios in which they place your toy car in one location on the model town board. They then position other cars in a series of various other locations. You are then required move your car to a final position, while observing the rules of the road, changing lanes prudently, “and describe what you are doing”. They then watch and evaluate your actions. Since some of these scenarios can be quite convoluted, you need to identify and become familiar with several common scenarios and their correct solutions. In subsequent posts, we will examine some of these scenarios.
In summary, the model town board provides a quick way for examiners to test the consolidated lessons you have learned during your preparation for the driving test. So, if you are serious about passing the test, be sure to master the board.
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