Driving Schools Directory

Driving Tips

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
  • boots
  • 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!

Make time for winter – GOV.UK.

 

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Bad Driving UK

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:

  • We fail to realise when we’re being aggressive – or we don’t care
  • We believe we’re safer than we really are
  • We forget that other drivers are people too
  • We behave more aggressively to those of ‘lower status’
  • We believe we can see everything happening around us
  • We think other drivers can’t see us
  • We attribute near misses to a lack of ability in other drivers We overestimate our own skills
  • We drive more recklessly when we’re going solo We believe hands-free car phones are safe

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.

via Bad driving: what are we thinking? | Science | theguardian.com.

Be honest with yourself, have you ever been guilty of any of the above!?

 

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Don't Drink and Drive Facts and Advice

Don’t Drink and Drive Facts and Advice

Drink Driving Facts & Advice

2010

1000 UK reported road casualties happened with a drunk driver.
50 people were killed in drink driving accidents.

The UK Limits

80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine

Volume to Stay Under the Limit Dependent On

- weight
- gender (men normally process alcohol faster than women)
- metabolism
- current stress levels
- eaten recently
- age (younger people normally process alcohol more slowly)

Punishment if Convicted

Banned from driving for at least 12 months
Fine up to £5,000
Could be sent to prison for up to 6 months
More than 1 conviction in 10 years – At least a 3 year ban

Best Practice

Arrange a designated driver.
Use public transport
Always keep couple of taxi numbers.
Drink zero alcohol beers, mocktails or standard soft drinks.

Don’t Drink and Drive!

 

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When it comes to the time to book your driving theory test, most are likely to use a search engine to find the correct web page/site to make an online booking or to obtain contact details to make a telephone booking.

Beware! There are a number of websites that you can use to book a theory test with the DSA but these are third parties and they will charge you an additional fee in addition to the standard fee for the test.

Here is a story that has highlighted the problem – the website referred to has been fined £85,000 by the premium rate phoneline regulator PhonepayPlus:

Here’s a horribly sneaky way to rip off people booking their driving theory test online.

The website book-theory-test-online.co.uk offered a “Pass Protection Guarantee Scheme”. This was supposed to cover the cost of a re-take if you failed the theory test the first time round.

“With our pass protection guarantee you don’t need to worry – we’ll pay for a second test if you fail the first one!” it crowed.

via Book-theory-test-online.co.uk fined £85,000 for ripping off drivers – Andrew Penman – Mirror Online.

When you want to book your theory test, do so directly on the Governments official website. You will then only pay the standard fee and should you need to make a telephone call, you will not be charged exorbitant prices:https://www.gov.uk/book-a-driving-theory-test

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In a recent survey undertaken by Admiral car insurance, only 22% of learner drivers believed their parents were of a satisfactory standard to learn from. However, I think this is missing the point.

I have always encouraged my pupils to gain additional driving experience from private practice as the more hours you can spend in a car, the more your confidence and skills are improved.

These sessions should be regarded as an extension to formal driving lessons and not just a ‘sunday drive’ or an opportunity for the parents to ‘teach’. The latter may well contradict what the professionsal driving instructor has taught and may well serve to confuse the pupil.

It is imperative that the pupil applies what the ADI has taught them and not ‘as Dad says’ as bad habits can be quickly learnt but often takes a lot longer to break them.

Dodgy driver? Blame your dad: Parents are passing on bad habits to their …

“More parents are passing on bad habits when giving their children driving lessons, a survey shows. Fifty-two per cent take out sons and daughters with L-plates – double the number who were themselves taught by their parents. But 45 per cent fear their …”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2349286/Dodgy-driver-Blame-dad-Parents-passing-bad-habits-children-taking-practice.html%3Fito%3Dfeeds-newsxml

Remember that a parent accompanying a learner driver can be a very stressful situation for them. They are not used to being a passenger to a novice driver and they do not have the comfort of dual controls! It is the pupils role to make Mum or Dad ‘comfortable’ in the passengers seat as otherwise you may not get much private practice at all!

They may ask you to ‘brake’, ‘slow down’ etc. as they do not know what you are thinking or if you have spotted other traffic, pedestrians, changing lights etc. One of the best ways to gain their confidence in you is to talk through what you are seeing and what you are doing e.g. “There is a petrol station on the left, ahead. Traffic may emerge from there so I am aware of that, expecting that and covering the brake” or “pedestrian crossing ahead – looking for pedestrians that may be approaching – I am prepared to stop / slow down”.

You should talk to your parents ahead of any private practice and clarify that their role is a supervisory one for safety and legal reasons. Your driving instructor will always be happy to talk to parents about their role.

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It is all over the news that the police will soon be given the powers to provide on the spot fines for middle lane hogging on motorways. Whilst it remains to be seen whether there will be enough police ‘on the spot’ to deliver these fines remains to be seen. 

There is also ongoing discussion as to whether or not learner drivers should be allowed to train on our motorways so it now may be a good time to refresh yourself on what is required whilst driving on our fastest, but statistically the safest, roads. Here is a good article that may help you:

Motorway driving tips: 5 ways to avoid fines, accidents and delays

“Motorway driving tips: 5 ways to avoid fines, accidents and delays. Our guide to staying safe, legal and courteous on the UK motorway system. Wednesday 5 …www.arnoldclark.com/…/158-motorway-driving-tips-5-ways-t…”
http://www.arnoldclark.com/newsroom/158-motorway-driving-tips-5-ways-to-avoid-fines-accidents-and-delays

Simply, if you always drive in the left lane unless you intend to overtake slower moving traffic then all should be well. Don’t forget to move back in again once your manouevre is complete and there is no longer slower moving traffic in the left lane.

There is really nothing more frustrating than having to move out two lanes to pass a ‘middle lane hogger’ and then to move back another two lanes!

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Whilst your driving instructor will/would have talked to you about the safe way to react to emergency vehicles, unless you are lucky, it is unlikely that you will have experienced this in your actual driving lessons. If you have have, I would expect that you would have been talked through or manually helped during the situation.

There is nothing like experience to gain understanding but in these situations, you do not really want to excercise trial and error! The ‘Blue Light Aware’ video sets out how you should cope with these situations.

Drive Smarter video advises on staying safe around emergency vehicles

Fleet World

“The video (accessible free of charge via www.bluelightaware.org.uk) has received the endorsement of RoSPA, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Driving Standards Agency and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, as well as many other safety …Fleet World”

 

fire engine uk

Take heed of the advice here and the next time you experience an ‘emergency vehicle’ situation, you should be better prepared, more relaxed and react in a proper manner.

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  • Queue safely. Being hit from behind in slow moving or stationary traffic is one of the commonest crashes in urban areas. Keep an eye on your mirror for approaching traffic, consider keeping your brake lights lit and be ready to use your hazard warning lights.
  • Check your speed. Speeding is the number one cause of accidents in urban areas in the UK so respect the limits and take extra care around schools and pedestrian crossings.
  • Take care when turning right. If you are turning right using a right turn lane in the centre of the road, check your mirrors before giving way to drivers waiting to turn right out of the road you wish to turn into. Often your vehicle can block their visibility of approaching traffic and so it`s crucial to ensure it is safe before you signal for them to proceed.
  • Watch out for pedestrians. If you are turning into a road, pedestrians have right of way. Also be on the lookout for school areas and children running across the road without looking.
  • Stick to the two-second rule. Always leave a safe distance between you and the car in front.
  • Approach with caution. If you are unfamiliar with a city road system, slow down and take time to absorb your surroundings including the road signs – they are there to assist you. Plan ahead if possible, avoid repeated switching of lanes particularly around roundabouts and at traffic light junctions and keep your wits about you – city driving is notoriously tricky, especially during the commuter rush hour.
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  • Use the slip road appropriately. Bring yourself up to speed with vehicles on the motorway before joining the traffic.
  • Stick to the inside lane. The inside (leftmost) lane should be used at all times except when it becomes a filter lane for traffic leaving the motorway or you are overtaking. Driving in an outside lane unnecessarily leads to congestion and is inconsiderate to other road users.
  • Do not tailgate. Tailgating increases the risk of accidents. If you are tailgating someone look to overtake or slow down. You should always leave a gap of at least two seconds between you and the car in front – this should be doubled in wet weather. If you are being tailgated see if you can move into an inside lane allowing the vehicle behind you to get past.
  • Be aware of large vehicles. Lorries frequent the motorway and their drivers may behave differently to you in a regular vehicle. For example when they are travelling uphill they may need to maintain their cruising speed and this may result in them driving close behind you. Also be aware that if two lorries are travelling close together on an uphill stretch it may lead to one pulling out suddenly to maintain its speed. Never dawdle alongside large trucks or HGVs as you may find yourself in their blind spot, which is roughly alongside their cab – if they change lanes without seeing you, you may find yourself having to take evasive action, or worse.
  • Check your blind spot. When changing lanes check your mirrors and glance over your shoulder to ensure you have a clear passage. Indicate well in advance and watch out for motorcyclists, particularly in slow or stationary traffic.
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