Driving instructors are highly trained and continue to be via CPD (Continued Professional Development). However, despite that, they are certainly not prepared for this:
Winter Driving Checklist For Car Maintenance And Safety – An infographic by the team at
If you have a driving test (not theory test) on 10th July you should still show up in good time despite the possibility of strike action. If your test is cancelled because of a strike a new one will automatically be booked for you.
Driving examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Service union are planning to take strike action on Thursday 10 July 2014.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is doing everything it can to make sure that tests go ahead as planned and urges all candidates to come for their test as usual.
You won’t have to contact DVSA to rebook if you can’t take your test because of the strike action. You should hear from the agency with a new date within 5 to 10 working days.
Don’t forget that you can claim out of pocket expenses if you are affected by any strike action at your driving test centre.
Learning to drive is an expensive outlay but the Government is lending a hand!
The cost of car and motorcycle theory tests will drop from £31 to £25 in October 2014, and then to £23 in October 2015.
The cost of the driving theory test will be cut by 25%, saving learner drivers in excess of £100 million over the next 9 years, Transport Minister Stephen Hammond announced today (23 June 2014).
The fee for a car driving theory test will fall by £6 in October 2014, taking the cost of a test from £31 to £25, with a further drop of £2 in October 2015.
Theory test fees for motorcycles and other categories of vehicle will also be reduced. The changes have been confirmed following a public consultation.
Okay, not a great saving compared to the overall cost of learning to drive but “every little helps”!
First it was booking a driver theory test online. Now it seems that 3rd party websites are happy to review that your driving licence application is correct before submitting it for you. You are of course then charged handsomely for the privilege!
DVLA warns that when applying online for your driving licence, you should always make sure you use the official GOV.UK site.
DVLA has been made aware of several websites offering a check and send service for driving licence applications. These services are in no way affiliated with DVLA. You may come across these websites in the sponsored links or paid-for results section when using online search engines. The Office of Fair Trading has ruled that websites which charge additional fees and services are not acting illegally.
These websites will claim to offer value-added services to ensure your application is correct before you send it to DVLA. However, using this service will mean you can end up paying as much as 3 times the normal price for your driving licence, and all you will receive is a paper application form that has been completed for you.
To order a driving licence, you should also do this directly on the Governments website.
The Highways Agency has published some good advice for getting your car and yourself prepared for the Winter. Their ‘POWERDY’ checklist includes:
- petrol (or diesel) – don’t run out of fuel
- oil – check levels once a month
- water – check radiator and screenwash once a month
- damage – check wipers, lights etc for signs of wear and tear or damage
- electrics – check lights, indicators and controls are working properly
- rubber – are your tyres well inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?
- yourself – are you fit to drive? Have you slept well? Are you taking any medication(s) that could make it unsafe for you to drive?
They also cover the essential items you should keep in your car whilst travelling during the Winter season:
- an ice scraper and de-icer
- a torch and spare batteries – or a wind-up torch
- warm clothes and blankets – for you and all passengers
- first aid kit
- jump leads
- a shovel
- road atlas
- sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be dazzling)
There is also more sound advice on the web page so be sure to read the full article and don’t get caught out this Winter!
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) consulted earlier this year on a series of proposals reviewing the level of foreign language support available to candidates.
This was in response to concerns about:
• potential road safety implications
• the risk of fraud
• the cost of providing translations
Almost 2,000 people had their say on the proposals.
A number of questions were asked but the main one was:
“Do you agree that we should allow theory and practical driving tests to be taken only in English and Welsh and remove voiceovers and interpreters from those tests?”
The result of that consultation question was:
Totally Agree – 1429 (71.59%)
Largely Agree – 105 (5.26%)
Slightly Agree – 25 (1.25%)
Slightly Disagree – 28 (1.40%)
Largely Disagree – 63 (3.16%)
Totally Disagree – 327 (16.38%)
Not Answered – 19 (0.95%)
As a result of the consultation the following has now been announced by the Department for Transport:
I have today (10 October 2013) announced that, from April 2014, foreign language support for candidates taking driving tests will no longer be available.
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) undertook a consultation on this issue between February and April 2013.
Candidates have previously been able to take the theory test in 19 languages, in addition to English and Welsh, and can attend for theory and practical tests with an interpreter. We are making this change to:
• improve road safety – in response to concern about the ability of non-English or Welsh speakers to understand road signs and other advice to drivers
• enhance social cohesion – to help individuals’ integration in society by learning the national language
• reduce fraud – to address the issue of an interpreter attending for test with a learner driver and giving information in addition to a translation of the theory test questions or the instructions given by the examiner
• reduce costs – there will be modest savings to DSA from not paying a fee to the theory test service provider for the annual update of voiceovers
The rationale for the changes appear sound to me and let’s hope that the outcome will have the desired effect on the safety of our roads and a reduction in fraudulent licences obtained.
As you are doubtless aware, the Government have recently introduced new measures to enable the Police to crack down on drivers who are lane hogging and tailgating on our motorways. From years of study though it appears that there are also psychological behaviours that can affect our driving standards despite how technically accomplished we are at the task:
These areas are amplified in the following article:
This initiative draws attention to a fascinating branch of science called traffic psychology, which studies the human and environmental factors that influence our driving behaviour. Decades of research in traffic psychology suggests that poor driving is shaped by far more than carelessness or a subset of “problem drivers”. Even the most skilled road users are subject to loss of social awareness, intuitive biases, contradictory beliefs, and limits in cognitive capacity.
Be honest with yourself, have you ever been guilty of any of the above!?
With the exorbitant cost of petrol these day’s (and the many years that I have found myself paying for such!), many use a car sharing scheme. That could be traveling to and from work or simply new drivers taking their friends on a trip but sharing the cost of the petrol.
Whilst it is easy to calculate the miles with the simple press of the odometer reset button, working out the actual cost of the petrol can be a little more cumbersome. Even when you have mastered that, the constant petrol price changes will have you reaching for the calculator time and time again.
I have come across a website that will do all that for you. Simply enter your trip distance or your start and ending point and the cost of your petrol consumption will be displayed. Tell it how many people are sharing and it will even show you the cost for each person.
It may be worth bookmarking this on your phone if you are likely to share the cost of the petrol price:
Discounting driving lessons
Does discounting the price of driving lessons really pay? Are we as instructors under cutting each other so much, we are now working below the minimum wage?
How can we afford to charge £15 per hour and offer such tempting deals as 5 hours for £49? These are very good at attracting new pupils, but customers are savvy and they will take your 5 hours and then move onto the next instructor offering a similar deal!
Who has used Groupon and Google Adwords to promote their business? They can work if you know what you are doing, but this can be time consuming and can cost a small fortune if not managed correctly.
I would love to hear your experiences, so please comment.
I am an instructor in Norwich and run How-2-Drive driving school and have just expanded taking on another driving instructor to satisfy the growing demand for driving lessons in my area. The only offer is for the first 2 hours for the price of one, so pupils can experience the training before they decide to book more lessons, and they all do.
Take a look at my site: http://www.how-2-drive.com