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Many myths and rumors have built up around the practical driving test which simply aren’t true. It’s easy to believe them and this can affect your confidence when it comes to taking your test.

So here, we dispel the myths and puts the facts right about what REALLY happens when you come to take your test.

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“If you stall during your test, you will fail.”

Not entirely true! By the time you’re ready to take the practical driving test, shaky clutch control should be a distant memory but the test seems to do funny things to candidates! Stalling repeatedly in traffic or stalling when entering major junction, affecting other road users, will fail the test. If you stall, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and start over again. Some candidates have even passed tests after stalling twice! Nerves can ruin a test for even the best of drivers so it’s important to not dwell on mistakes as some aren’t as bad as you may think!

“If you get take a wrong turn, the examiner will fail you.”

The driving test is designed to allow the Examiner to assess your driving ability during the course of a 30-35 minute route, taking in various road and traffic conditions. If you are asked to turn right at a junction but turn left in error, you will not incur a driving fault as long as you correctly turn left.  Even on the recently added ‘independent driving’ element of the test, you are not penalised for getting lost during the drive, so If you are not sure where you should be going, ask for help and you will get it! What the Examiner doesn’t want you to do is drive erratically or dangerously because of poor planning and anticipation e.g. not seeing your intended junction until too late, turning across traffic when not safe to do so and causing the flow of traffic to slow unnecessarily. Whatever you do on the test, do it safely and you’ll have a good chance of being successful.

“Driving Examiners are trying to fail candidates.”

The Examiner has less to do if you pass!  When you pass your test, the Examiner issues your test certificate and heads back to his office for quick cuppa before the next test. However, if you have failed your test they return to their office to write a report, detailing the reasons for the fail. Another urban legend I sometimes hear from students is that Examiners have to fail a certain amount of tests each month. While it is true that Examiners are expected to have pass rates that fall within 10% of the local average, there is nothing to suggest that the test results are compromised because of this; in fact in my experience the only person who really affects final decision is the candidate taking the test!

“My mum/dad say they only took a few lessons and passed a few weeks after turning 17.”

This statement may be true, but at a rough estimate most candidate’s parents will have taken their test 20 to 30 years ago in very different times. The volume of traffic on the roads has greatly increased since then, as have the number of complex junctions and road systems in busy urban areas. The DVSA have changed the test on a regular basis over past 30 years to reflect the more challenging situations that drivers face on modern roads, including the recently introduced independent driving element of the test and a greater skill level in hazard awareness and anticipation, needed to deal with today’s busy roads. The DVSA suggest that an average of 45 hours of tuition along with around 20 hours of private practice is required in order to reach the test standard.

“You should check your mirrors every 7 seconds.”

While checking your mirrors every 7 seconds may suit some traffic conditions, it is more important to check your mirrors when appropriate.  If you’re worrying about checking every 7 seconds, you won’t be focused on what’s happening on the road. The test assesses the candidate’s use of mirrors when signalling, before changing speed and before changing direction, all of which demonstrate good awareness and planning. The examiners can easily see when you are looking in your mirrors so you don’t have to make it too obvious. It only needs to be a glance and should not distract you from the road ahead!

www.thedrivingskool.com

How many driving lessons on average do you need to take before you can pass? What’s the average number of lessons people take before they take their driving test?

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Chances are, these are questions you’ve been asking yourself and others.

We’re here to tell you the answer is ‘does not matter’.

That’s right. It does not matter what the average number of lessons is, because you are not an average person. You are unique with unique skills and unique needs.

You probably have noticed when asking around for the number of average lessons you’ll get all sorts of ridiculous numbers. We’ve even heard people claiming they only needed 10 lessons to pass their driving test!

Let’s pretend for a second that they’re telling the truth (they’re not). They passed after 10 lessons (they didn’t). So what?

What has somebody else’s ability (or imagination) got to do with you?

Even still, we have a problem with the question. In fact, any decent driving instructor should whince if you ask them how many lessons you need before you can pass your test.

The reason is simple. Do you want to simply pass your test, or do you want to be a safe and confident driver?

Every year hundreds of new drivers die on the road. Imagine how much smaller the figure would be if all of those drivers had the desire to become safe drivers, rather than to just scrape a pass for their driving test with the minimum amount of lessons?

Think about it for a second. Do you want to sacrifice your life (and other people’s) for the sake of shaving off a few hours and saving £100?

There is a myth out there that driving instructors want to stretch out the number of lessons as much as possible. That if they could they’d make you have to take 100 lessons before you could take your test.

This is just untrue.

Every driving instructor has a responsibility to you. They would rather be accused of stretching out lessons than be the one who rushed through 20 lessons for a young person to pass their test only to die in a car crash months later.

That is why we’re not going to tell you what the average number of lessons it takes to pass. We don’t want to add to the idea that the point of driving lessons is to learn the bare minimum in the minimal amount of time to squeeze through a pass.

It will take you as long as it will and as many lessons as it will to be a safe and confident driver.

Remember, your safety is worth far more than any amount of money you think you’ll be saving by rushing things.

www.thedrivingskool.com

Office 0333 123 0245

Mobile 07919 193299

Learner drivers may be asked to use satnav and three-point turn could be scrapped in favour of more common manoeuvres

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The three-point turn could be dropped from driving tests after the government signalled the biggest shakeup in 20 years.

Learners may be asked to use a satellite navigation system as part of a revised practical exam and the three-point-turn – more recently known as the “turn in the road” – could be scrapped altogether.

About 1,000 learner drivers across the UK will be invited to a trial of new practical exam measures designed to “better reflect real-life driving”.

The test has existed in its current form for about two decades, although “independent driving” – where motorists are asked to find their way to a destination – has formed part of the practical exam in recent years.

A Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) spokesman said: “We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving. Any future changes to the test would be subject to full public consultation.”

The trial will consider extending the independent driving section from 10 to 20 minutes of the total 40-minute length, and asking candidates to follow directions on a satnav, as an alternative to using road signs.

It will also consider replacing the “reverse around a corner” and “turn in the road” manoeuvres with more realistic everyday moves, such as reversing out of a parking bay, or pulling up on the left or right before rejoining the flow of traffic, the DVSA said.

Learners may also be asked one of the two safety questions while on the move rather than at the start of the test. This could involve operating the rear windscreen heater while driving.

The Driving Instructors Association (DIA), the largest industry body for driver and rider trainers, has welcomed plans to review the driving test.

Carly Brookfield, DIA chief executive, said: “DIA has been heavily involved in the scoping of this project and is enthusiastic about the opportunity it presents to evolve the L-test to a level where it more realistically assesses a candidate’s ability to competently and safely manage road based risk and driving in real life, on real roads.

“The DIA and its members will play a key role in the project as it is critical customers of the test, such as driving instructors and candidates, have their input in making the test more fit for purpose and more reflective of modern driving.”

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  • Always carry a survival pack in the car, including food, water and a blanket. This should include extra warm clothes.
  • Ensure your phone battery is fully charged and you have an in-car charger.
  • Put a shovel in your boot – in case you need to dig yourself out of trouble.
  • Consider fitting winter tyres, but even if you don’t, have your summer tyres checked. Winter driving means that tyres should have no less than 3mm remaining tread.
  • Have your battery checked. Batteries have to work extra hard in the cold and are more likely to fail.
  • Make sure your windscreen washer fluid is topped up with the correct concentration of screen wash. Windscreens get particularly dirty in the winter months and screen wash will help prevent the liquid from freezing.
  • Have your coolant checked – the antifreeze needs to protect your engine against the lowest of temperatures.
  • Have your air-con system serviced. It’s not just for summer – an effective air-con system will demist windscreens much more quickly, helping visibility.
  • Adjust your driving style to the conditions – be sensible in the rain, snow and ice.
  • Above all, in bad conditions consider whether your journey is really necessary.

www.drivingskool.com

For a while, some insurance companies have been encouraging teenagers to get a little black box in their cars. But how do they work, and will everyone soon have one?

For many young people, getting their first wheels is a rite of passage, a path to independence, the precursor to flying the nest.

But with one in five young drivers having an accident within their first 12 months of being on the road, insurance premiums are high. Many look to ways to reduce their costs.

It has led to the rise of what is known as the little black box, which motorists are installing in their cars to prove they are a good driver, in the hope they see insurance costs drop.

The British Insurers Brokers’ Association (Biba) says sales of motor insurance policies which use “black box” technology, called telematics, have increased fivefold over the past two years.

It says it can knock 25% to 30% off policies, saving some young drivers up to £1,000.

Critics say they cost too much and civil liberty campaigners have expressed concern about the potential for invasion of privacy, or data incriminating drivers.

So how does telematics technology work, and what do these black boxes record?

Typically the boxes are placed inside a dashboard and are able to monitor things such as speed, acceleration and braking, and the times of the day that the cars are on the roads.

The safer the driver, the better the score and the lower the insurance premium.

But prices can go up as well as down. If the analysed information shows examples of poor driving, such as fast cornering or doing wheelies, the black box will also pick that up.

Nick Moger, one of the founders of Young Marmalade, which offers a young driver insurance scheme with telematics technology, says his company uses a green-orange-red system to monitor driving, emailing drivers to alert them when they have picked up bad driving.

“The very first time, they get an email to say they are driving erratically, if they ignore that then they get another email to say you are on probation for 30 days and if they continue to drive badly we increase the premium by £250,” he says.

Manufacturers are convinced highlighting poor driving patterns can improve driving behaviour and reduce the number of accidents.

“It has been proved in Italy – where they are probably the leaders in Europe in accident rates – their rate has dropped by 16% by having black boxes,” says Moger.

More than 600,000 cars in Italy are believed to have the devices, many more than in the UK. But Biba expects 500,000 UK cars to have them by July 2014.

Nicole Darbyshire, a 20-year-old nursery nurse from Bolton, has already signed up to the system.

After passing her driving test in April, she says the cost of a car and its associated insurance was “a big worry” before she discovered that telematics could help reduce bills.

“For the first month, I was really aware of the box, and if I accidentally sped, I’d brake really quickly. Now I tend to forget it’s there.

“I can log onto my account online and see how I am driving. It shows when I’ve over-accelerated – it has pictures of the street which is a bit strange. So far I’ve been 97% green, so that’s good. I’ve got more relaxed about checking now as I know it will email me if I do anything wrong,” she says.

But not everyone is so relaxed about signing up to this sort of surveillance.

Taylor Brown, 21, says he thinks his insurance company already has enough information. “Why should I then tell them what I’m getting up to – Big Brother Britain and that, but you know, it is up to me where I go.”

Joe Johns, 18, doesn’t like the idea either. “It would be like being on a driving test 24/7. You’d always have someone monitoring you about how you’re driving, your foothold, your braking. I just wouldn’t fancy it.”

Firms such as Coverbox, iKube, Co-operative Insurance, Swinton and the AA now offer insurance schemes with telematics for young drivers.

The AA, which stores a small electronic box under the bonnet transmitting data via satellite to the company, says savings of up to £850 can be achieved when compared with standard inexperienced driver policies.

And the boxes aren’t the only devices that incorporate artificial intelligence as an aid to monitor and control a young driver’s behaviour.

Insurance firm Aviva has launched a new pay-how-you-drive smartphone app which could offer drivers savings on their car insurance premiums, based on how they drive.

Motoring journalist Paul Horrell says the devices are part of a wider trend that is seeing insurers and manufacturers try to incentivise or coerce young drivers into being more careful.

He cites a Ford product in the US called MyKey, which allows a master key to set various limits – such as maximum speed or audio – on the vehicle.

Volvo’s Alcoguard monitors alcohol levels. It will not start until a driver has blown into a unit, which transmits the results via radio signal to the car’s electronic control system. If a blood-alcohol limit of 0.2g/l is exceeded, the engine will not start.

And DriveCam, which was developed to help organisations with fleets of drivers, like haulage companies, monitor their drivers’ performances, uses a system which relies on two cameras – one pointing at the road, and one monitoring the driver – to record instances of bad driving such as texting or tailgating.

So might everyone soon have a little black box, or something similar, in their car?

Horrell says it is often parents that are particularly attracted to devices such as little black boxes. But he thinks it is unlikely that everyone will subscribe to such surveillance.

We are definitely going to have more behaviour-based motor insurance in the future”

“If people are willing to submit to this kind of observation, they are probably the kind of people who are willing to behave more responsibly.”

Graeme Trudgill, head of corporate affairs at Biba, says although he expects to see a significant increase in the number of little black boxes in the young driver market over the next couple of years, it would not be economical for all insurance companies, and all age groups, to go down this route.

In many ways the future depends on technology, he says, as it depends on what happens with smartphone apps such as Aviva’s, which are cheaper than having a box fitted. And in the next couple of years, vehicle manufacturers are also going to be required to install emergency call buttons, which will transmit GPS signals and have the potential to use telematics.

“What is clear is that we are definitely going to have more behaviour-based motor insurance in the future – and young drivers are going to still be the primary market,” he says.

Adeola Ajayi, from the Association of British Insurers, says riskier or more dangerous drivers are likely to be the ones who are the most resistant.

She thinks there will be a spike in the number of young female drivers opting for a black box after 21 December, when an EU ruling which bans insurers from taking gender into account when setting premiums comes into effect.

“Female drivers, who are statistically safer, have benefited from cheaper insurance in the past, so these might prove popular with them.

“Others are simply keen to do whatever they can to get a premium that reflects their exact risk, and this is a way of getting more insight and rewarding customers,” she says.

www.thedrivingskool.com

It’s often imagined that young drivers have too much confidence and rush to complete their driver training in their eagerness to get on the roads.

However, a recent survey, taken from a sample of 2,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 30, paints a different picture, with 62% of young drivers in favour of a minimum learning period.

Statistics show that many young drivers feel unequipped to drive safely and competently after passing their test, and many will go out of their way to avoid driving situations where they lack confidence.

Young Driver Survey Data

The report gives a unique insight into the opinions of Britain’s young drivers and shows that many of them feel totally unprepared for driving after passing their test. Yet young drivers themselves are rarely consulted about their driving experiences.

Although the driving test has been improved to better reflect real-life conditions on the roads, almost half of newly qualified drivers (48%) felt unprepared for motorway driving and around one in three (29%) were nervous about night-time driving and driving alone after passing their test.

Situations that young drivers admitting avoiding included motorway driving, driving in city centres and turning right at busy junctions.

In the survey, published in August 2013, one in four drivers who had had an accident believed that it might have been avoided if they had spent longer learning to drive. Despite this, amongst the young people consulted in the survey, one in five took less than three months to pass their driving test and 50% took less than six months to pass.

Written by: Janet Fisher

Dagenham

 

www.thedrivingskool.com

This is the top 10 easiest mistakes to make in your test and how to avoid them.

Make sure you give yourself the best chance of passing your test, read this list and then learn from other peoples mistakes. When your instructor and you agree you are ready to sit the test, don’t let nerves get the better of you and remember not to make any of these mistakes

1.Observation at junctions – not remembering all your mirror checks and blind spots, or making the wrong decision based on what you see. Plan ahead, as you approach the end of the road check if it is an open or closed junction (look for walls, fences and hedges). Check right, check left then check right again making sure you look out for any hazards

2. Reverse Parking – ineffective observation or a lack of accuracy. Always check your blind spots looking out for approaching traffic. While reverse parking ask yourself, “Am I fully aware of everything that is going on around me?” At each stage of the manoeuvre ask yourself this again and check your mirrors/blind spots. Cyclists and pedestrians can’t be expected to hear or see you while you park.

3. Use of mirrors – not checking or not acting on the information. Have you checked your mirrors in the last 7 seconds? What did you see? Plan ahead but always remember to check your mirrors even if you think you know there is nothing there. If as a result of your driving you cause others to swerve, slow or stop its a serious fault.

4 Reversing Round a Corner – candidates often swing the vehicle out at the front, fail to spot approaching traffic in the road they are reversing into or hit the kerb. Do this manoeuvre slowly.

5. Incorrect use of Signals – giving the wrong signal or forgetting to cancel a signal. Remember to stop signalling once you have pulled over!

6. Driving away Safely – inadequate observation. ALWAYS check your road side blind spot when you drive away safely.

7. Incorrect Positioning on the Road – lane positioning at roundabouts, switching through lanes on the roundabout – steer the car with the curve, stay within the white lines.

8. Lack of Steering Control – Always maintain control of the speed and steering and never underestimate the sharpness of a corner. Follow best practice with hand position to reduce the chance of this fault.

9. Incorrect Position for turning right – at junctions or one-way streets. One one way streets ask yourself ‘which lane do I want to be in?’

10. Inappropriate Speed – NEVER break the speed limit. Don’t hesitate. Try to maintain speed with the traffic on the road at all times. Don’t think if you drive slowly you will pass. Its dangerous and you will fail.

These tips will help you avoid the common mistakes most people make when they fail. Make sure you maintain concentration at all times and remember to stay calm.

Ellyse

Pass with the driving skool.com

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Julie White Driving Instructor

Covering: Abbeywood, Blackheath, Charlton, Eltham, Greenwich, Woolwich, Thamesmead, Sidcup, Welling, Bexley, Bexleyheath, Belvedere, Dartford and Plumstead.

Julie has a huge amount of passion for what she does. Over the years 100′s of our customers have benefited from her knowledge, expertise and friendship in teaching them how to drive.

Julies teaches manual driving lessons and specialises in teaching:

Nervous/anxious customers

Customers with learning difficulties

Customers with ADHD or Autism

Intensive/crash courses

Pass Plus

If you’d like to get in touch with Julie, you can call or text her directly on her mobile

07952 248830

Office 0333 123 0245

or through our contact page

Lee Moughton our happy ADI :)

Lee Moughton our happy ADI :)

Lee does driving lessons in the following postcodes: RM1, RM2, RM3, RM4, RM5, RM6, RM7, RM8, RM10, RM11, RM12, RM13 and RM14  

Lee is a part-time Driving Instructor and works as a Fireman full time. So when it comes to teaching people to drive Lee has a huge amount of expertise and knowledge!

He also has a fantastic sense of humour (Don’t tell him that!) and lots of stories to tell! Make sure you have plenty of time!

To contact Lee to book your driving lessons call the Office on 0333 123 0245 or Lees Mobile 07599 408188

Lee Moughton Driving Instructor & Fireman

Lee Moughton Driving Instructor & Fireman

Why are your pass rates so high compared to other driving schools?

We won’t let you take a driving test unless you are capable of driving in today’s demanding environments and therefore capable of passing a test. You’ll have to prove your ready by passing one of our mock tests. Being fully prepared for your test will give you that added confidence, meaning you’ll feel less nervous and far more likely to succeed first time. Your test is just as important to us and we want you to pass!

Are your instructors any good?

Very simply! Yes! All our Driving Instructors live and work in their communities, are CRB checked and fully qualified DSA (Driving Standards Agency) Driving Instructors. Our team of  Instructors strive to deliver the very highest standard of customer service and driving tuition to all of our customers

How much is it to hire a car for the practical driving test?

The actual practical driving test is the cost of your normal three hour booking rate. (Please do check with your Instructor) We’ll pick you up one hour before the test and help you to “warm up” and get rid of any last minute nerves. The driving test will last approximately 35-40 minutes and the final 20 minutes will be completing the paper work for your full drivers licence and driving you home!

Can I book one of your cars at short notice for a driving test?

We don’t lend our cars to anyone we haven’t seen drive before so if you have not learnt with us, you would need to book in for a lesson before your test so we can assess your driving. Booking this assessment drive does not guarantee one of our cars for the test, please contact us for more details.

I’m really nervous about learning to drive, what if I crash?

We know how you feel! Everyone is nervous the first time they get into the driving seat of a car so we will try and help you relax as much as possible.

A lot of time and effort goes into planning each lesson and the routes we use to make sure you are never in a situation which you cannot deal with. We will never shout at you and we are prepared to go over things as many times as needed in order to help you become a safe and confident driver.

All our cars are fully comprehensively insured and fitted with dual controls.

How many lessons will I need to pass my test?

The million pound question! We get asked this question a lot and without seeing you drive it is impossible to tell. Everyone learns at different speeds.. We encourage private practice and can set you tasks to practice in your own car. We would never make you pay for any lessons which where not necessary to your learning experience.

Do you give lessons in the evenings and weekends?

Yes, we’ll always try to schedule lessons around you and your availability! You are the customer!

Will I be charged if I cancel a lesson?

We appreciate that from time you time you may not be able to fulfill a lesson you have arranged with us. That’s why if you give us less than 48 hours notice, then yes you will be charged. Your Instructor does have a degree of flexibility but please let us know as soon as possible.