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The driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017 to include following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.

The 4 driving test changes

1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

Parallel park at the side of the road

Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

Tell me question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving

Show m’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes. The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Learner drivers will be allowed to take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor in a car with dual controls from 2018.

Allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

The change will apply to England, Scotland and Wales. Learner drivers will need to be

Accompanied by an approved Driving Instructor

Driving a vehicle fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to have a motorway lesson.Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving will not be included in the driving test changes coming into force on 4 December 2017.

The change will only apply to learner drivers of cars – learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed to have motorway lessons.

When the change will happen

The exact date in 2018 will be confirmed nearer the time.

The change will be well-publicised so driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared for the change, and other road users know what to expect. The Highway Code rules on motorways will also be updated.

Driving instructor vehicles and training

Driving instructors will be allowed to decide whether or not to keep their driving school roof-top box on during motorway lessons, based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, the car will still need to display L plates on the front and rear if the rooftop box is removed.

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As we move into summer, it’s worth talking about some of the road users that begin to appear when the weather improves. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups to injury or fatality when involved in collisions.

When a crash happens involving a motorcycle and other vehicle, who is typically found at fault?

It’s most often the fault of the OTHER DRIVER…. SURPRISED?

In fact when it’s not a single vehicle incident involving the motorcycle, it’s usually the other driver who has made a mistake that resulted in the accident.

What is the most common place and type of collision involving a motorcycle and other vehicle?

There are certainly many places where vehicles can collide; but the most common place for another vehicle and a motorcycle to collide is at an intersection when the other driver is turning left or right and turns in front of the motorcyclist.

Why does this happen? (a driver turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle)

There are 2 primary reasons that this can happen:

  • The driver of the other vehicle simply did not see the motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see and many drivers don’t think to actually watch for them.
  • Speed: The driver of the other vehicle DOES see the motorcycle but thinks he has time to turn because he misjudges the approach speed

Tailgating Tips:

Motorbikes are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection that a car or Lorry has. Almost, always result in injury.

If you expect to see motorbikes, you are more likely to detect them. Often we can filter out the things we don’t expect and just not see them Always look for motorbikes especially at intersections

Motorbikes are much more lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorbike, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in  a much shorter distance than your vehicle.

When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it’s easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the cycle and the fact that its coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.

  • Keep Your Eyes Up – It’s tempting to look down and over the bonnet of the car at the centre line or the tail lights in front of you, but this can cause several problems. When your eyes are looking downward over the bonnet, steering can become choppy and require many more adjustments, and frequently you will either cut corners or run wide. It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up and this practise prepares you for the next technique.
  • Eye Lead Time – Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is at any given time. As your speed increases, so will the distance you look ahead if you always look for this time interval.
  • Move Your Eyes – This takes practice and intent. Look right, left, ahead and into the mirrors and as you look, identify potential problems so that you can decide what you will do about them. Moving your eyes is particularly important to see things to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.
  • See the Big Picture – By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it. Pilots call this ‘situational awareness’ and it helps you to make good decisions about speed and movement such as lane changes, well in advance.
  • Eye Contact – The only way to know if another driver sees you is to make eye contact with them. If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you. If another driver is moving into your space and you want to establish eye contact, a light tap on the horn will attract their attention.

Practical Challenge:

For the next week, make a point of watching for motorcycles and develop a habit of identifying them as soon as you can. Be especially careful at junctions/intersections.

www.thedrivingskool.com

About the questions

The Driving test is changing on 4 December 2017. The questions you can be asked, and how you’ll be asked them will change.

The examiner will ask you one:

Tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving

Show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving

Show me, questions

  1. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
  2. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
  3. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
  4. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
  5. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
  6. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
  7. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

Tell me, questions

1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference.

5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

Explain you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.

9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made.

Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.

11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

12. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

Identify high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

14. Tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify reservoir, check level against high and low markings.

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A provider specialising in pay as you go car insurance has created a new policy for vehicle owners who drive only occasionally.

The new product – a first for the UK market – requires the car owner to take out a monthly subscription of between £10 and £30 that then has to be topped up for each hour the vehicle is used.

Cuvva, which already offers by-the-hour insurance cover for individuals to drive vehicles belonging to friends and family, said car owners will have to pay from £1.20 each time they want to get behind the wheel.

Drivers have to pay £10-£30 for a monthly subscription that covers the car when not in use.You pay from £1.20 per hour each time you want to drive the vehicle

Aimed at younger drivers who live in cities and cover less than 4,000 miles a year in their car

Cuvva says it could save some drivers up to 70% on a standard insurance policy

The cover is aimed at ‘young city dwellers who pay high insurance premiums for cars that are driven for fewer than 4,000 miles a year’, the Edinburgh-based insurer said.

According to Department for Transport and DVLA figures, there are approximately six million cars in the UK that are described as being driven ‘very infrequently’.

Cuvva said these low-mile drivers are forced to pay hefty premiums despite spending little time on the road, effectively subsiding higher-mileage motorists

As a way of cutting their costs, it offers drivers the choice to pay a monthly subscription that ranges from £10 to £30 depending on the car and where the person lives.This fully-comprehensive subscription insures the vehicle when it’s parked up at your home and not in use.However, when the owner decides they need to drive somewhere, they then have to pay from £1.20 for every hour they’re behind the wheel using a top-up service on the Cuvva app.Unlike it’s existing pay-as-you-go insurance service based on a driver being able to get behind the wheel of any car, the subscription cover is for one vehicle only.If two people share a car they would need two subscriptions in order to drive it.As with conventional insurance, users will earn a no claims discount at the end of a 12-month subscription, which is then fully transferable.

The monthly subscription can be cancelled at any time at no cost, though drivers run the risk of a fine from the DVLA if the vehicle isn’t insured by another provider or declared off the road – or SORN – at the end of the 28-day subscription period.

For more information please go to www.cuvva.com

 

Reducing waiting times:

New Driving Test Centre

Lb_bromley.svg

 Practical Driving Test Centre

Bromley Court Hotel
Bromley Hill
Bromley
Kent
BR1 4JD

From 30th January 2017 candidates in London will have a greater choice of location to take their driving test.

The DVSA will be opening a new temporary driving test centre in Bromley Hill. Tests will be available to book from Janauary 16th 2017.

On arrival please park in bays marked DVSA and report to the dedicated waiting room

To book your Practical Driving test to

  https://www.gov.uk/book-driving-test

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Winter-Driving-Snow

Driving In Snow

Before you set out

  • Check tyres for adequate tread. Poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice. If you live in an area where snow is common it might be worth changing to winter tyres with deeper tread
  • Use a good quality screenwash that protects down to at least -35 to prevent the water from freezing. If you don’t, your windscreen wipers could be rendered useless in extreme conditions
  • Allow more time in the morning to clear car windows and mirrors of snow before setting off
  • Use lukewarm water or de-icer to defrost the outside of your vehicle. You should never use hot or boiling water
  • Make sure any auto wiper control is switched off before turning the ignition on as this could blow the wiper control fuse if they are frozen to the screen
  • Be prepared for every eventuality by ensuring that your car is equipped with the following: demisting pad, torch (wind-up so you don’t run out of battery), spare screenwash, de-icer, ice scraper, blanket, shovel, phone charger, map and a square of carpet that you can use to put under your drive wheels should you get stuck in the snow.
  • Remove snow from the top of your car. Otherwise breaking sharply could cause snow to fall onto the windscreen and hamper your vision or another driver’s
  • Do you need to use snow socks?

The following tips should always be followed when driving in the snow

  • When driving in snow its important to accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible. You may need to move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel slip
  • You may need to leave as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap between you and the car in front
  • If you do encounter a skid, steer gently into it – for example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes
  • If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheeltracks or other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be more icy than fresh snow
  • Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated smoothly and slowly
  • Sunglasses can help to reduce the glare of low winter sun on the snow
  • Keep your speed down and allow more time to stop and steer

De-icing your vehicle

We recommend allowing about 10 minutes to clear your windscreen thoroughly using a scraper and de-icer if necessary. Don’t forget about the other windows and your mirrors as well … they’re just as vital for safe visibility and are often ignored, limiting your vision, especially at junctions.

Don’t be tempted to pull away until the windscreen is fully clear – it can be dangerous and the Highway Code states it is illegal to drive with poor visibility.

Plan ahead to save time in the mornings, either by putting an windsreen cover on the night before or getting up a little earlier so you have plenty of time to de-ice your vehicle.

Never pour hot or boiling water on your windscreen, otherwise you run the risk of cracking the glass and an expensive repair bill. If you don’t have any de-icer, you could use lukewarm water.

It’s also a good idea to carry a lock de-icer with you to clear your lock. If your locks do get frozen, try warming the key or spraying de-icer or an oil-based lubricant into the lock.

Finally, ensure all your vehicle lights, front and rear, are free from frost and/or snow – a thick film of frost on the lens can affect the intensity of the lights, making it difficult for other road users to see you or your signals.

If you use the vehicle’s heater /screen demister, don’t leave your car unattended while you wait for it to defrost as you run the risk of having your vehicle stolen.

RAC Driving in the snow.

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Plans for instructors to take ‘competent’ trainees on UK’s fastest roads in dual-controlled cars backed by road safety groups

HA0523 - Motorbike on the network. This set of images illustrates bikers driving on motorways and A roads in a safe manner.

Learner drivers will be allowed to practise on motorways for the first time under government plans to improve road safety.

Under current rules, drivers are permitted on motorways only after they have passed their test, though there is no mandatory training for the 70mph roads.

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, announced the plans on Friday, which would allow approved instructors to take “competent” trainees on motorways in dual-controlled cars.

The RAC director, Steve Gooding, and Neil Greig, policy director at the IAM RoadSmart charity, backed the proposal.

Gooding said: “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast-moving, often heavy, flow of traffic.

“Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move, which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”

Greig said it was a “sensible and measured solution”, adding: “It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, often fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads.”

Under the proposals, motorcyclists would take a theory test as part of the compulsory basic training (CBT) course, which allows bikes and mopeds to be ridden unaccompanied. CBT certificates would be revoked if the motorist gets six penalty points.

Jones said: “These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skillset which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

Reports had said the government was considering making learner drivers complete 120 hours of training before taking their tests, but the Department for Transport said there were no current plans for such a measure.

A spokeswoman said: “We have commissioned a £2m research programme that will look at ways we can reduce the number of accidents involving new and inexperienced drivers, and this will look at a range of measures.”

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Our tips for tackling driving test nerves will make sure you keep your cool on the day.

120px-Nervous

Your instructor will often recommend a mock test before the real thing. Make sure you’ve attempted at least one of these – preferably several – and that you can pass them before you even apply for the real thing.The night before your test, make sure you have all the documents you need for your test ready. These include your driving licence, theory test certificate and confirmation email/letter of the appointment.

Familiarise yourself with the test centre

It’s a good idea to visit the driving test centre before the test itself, especially if you haven’t already been there during your lessons. This will help you get used to the location and understand what goes on inside the centre. It’s best to get there early on the day, as rushing will just add to your nerves.

Eat and drink well

Have a banana for breakfast. Bananas are well known among instructors as the driving test superfood, as they’re full of B vitamins and contain tryptophan – a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ – which will help calm your nerves keep your mood upbeat.Nerves can reduce your appetite but it’s important to at least eat something so you have enough energy for the day and can concentrate. Don’t drink energy drinks or too much coffee before a test, as caffeine can heighten your nerves.

The waiting game

Sitting in the waiting room before your test is often the time when people feel the most anxious so it’s a good idea to bring a distraction such as a book or a game on your phone.Breathing exercises are an effective calming technique so focus as you inhale and exhale – this will have a soothing effect and stop your heart from racing. Laughing is also a great remedy for nerves and helps to boost your mood, so why not watch or read something that really makes you giggle? Remember that this is the worst bit – most people find their nerves ease once they’re on the road.

In the car

The examiner is human and they’re not there to fail you – they want you to pass – so don’t be afraid to talk to them as it may put you at ease. There’s nothing wrong with asking the examiner a question or to repeat an instruction if you didn’t hear it, either.Open the window to let in some fresh air if you’re feeling hot and flustered – this can also help to keep you alert. Watch your speed too – when people sometimes speed up when they’re nervous, so just imagine you’re on a normal lesson, breathe and focus.

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