Category Archive: Driving Instructors

Smart Motorways: What They Are & How To Use Them

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From next year, you’ll be allowed to head out on to motorways with your driving instructor and for many of us, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up driving on a ‘smart’ motorway.

But what is one exactly? It refers to a selection of UK motorways that boast congestion-busting features that if ignored, could prove to be life-threatening. But there is a big problem – even seasoned drivers are struggling to comprehend exactly how to use them according to independent watchdog Transport Focus.

To help you understand the all-important rules of smart motorways, this FAQ will prepare you for your maiden journey (and it might be worthwhile forwarding this blog on to your parents/guardians to make sure they know what they’re doing as well!):

“So what is a smart motorway?”

According to Highways England, the government body charged with running them, they use “technology to actively manage the flow of traffic”. In real terms, this means smart motorways are monitored by control centres who can change speed limits (known as ‘variable speed limits’) and lane signs on the overhead gantries in an instant if and when congestion is building up.

Importantly, there are three types of smart motorway – controlled motorways; these have three or more lanes and variable speed limits but the hard shoulder is only used in an emergency.

The next is called all lane running motorways, where drivers can use the hard shoulder as an actual lane unless otherwise directed by the overhead gantry signs. You can find examples on the M25 between junctions 23 and 27, the M1 between junctions 28 and 31, and the M6 between junctions 10a and 13.

The final type are known as dynamic hard shoulder running motorways where the hard shoulder can be used to help ease congestion but only if directed to by the overhead gantry signs. You can find dynamic hard shoulder running schemes on sections of the M1, M6, M4, M5 and M42.

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From the M1, M42 and M6 to the M4 and M5, smart motorways are being rolled out across Britain – so make sure you know their rules to stay safe and legal when driving on them.

“But I thought hard shoulders should only ever be used in an emergency?”

Yes, you’re right but in this era of heavy traffic, queues and other assorted motorway misery, the bright sparks at Highways England realised that the hard shoulder could double up as another lane to help ease the tedium. And according to road experts, it has helped ease congestion, lower journey times and make motorway driving more ‘pleasant’.

“So I can use the hard shoulder all the time, any time?”

Well, not quite – if there is a red ‘X’ displayed in the overhead gantry above the hard shoulder, then you can’t use it. On all-lane running schemes, these will appear if there has been an incident up ahead or if the emergency services need to use the lane exclusively.

If you see the red ‘X’, move back into the main running lanes as soon as you safely can (or risk being fined). 
As for dynamic hard shoulder running schemes, don’t use the hard shoulder if the sign above it is blank or displaying the red ‘X’.

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“Okay – but what do I do if I breakdown or have an accident? There’s no hard shoulder anymore!”

Highways England has this covered too. It’s created Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA) regularly along smart motorways. You can spot them by looking out for blue signs with an orange SOS symbol on them.

Now read the following closely because 52% of UK motorists don’t understand how to actually use an ERA and one in four don’t even know they exist. First, you should pull in and park in the marked designated area before putting your hazard warning lights on.

Wherever possible, step out of the car on the passenger side and step over the crash barrier. You can then use the SOS telephone to contact Highways England. It will assess your problem and advise you on what to do next.

Once your issue has been resolved (and if you are able to), you can head back out on to the motorway – but only after you have called Highways England again. Instead of you struggling to get back out on to the motorway and risk being hit by a fast-moving vehicle, the agency will slow down traffic coming from behind by displaying a red ‘X’ on the nearside running lane to ensure you can pull out safely.

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Having car trouble? Then head to an Emergency Refuge Area to ensure you are safe before contacting Highways England for help.

“That all sounds fine in theory – but what if I can’t make it to an ERA?”

Official advice is to move over to the verge if it’s safe to do so before putting on your hazard lights. If you can, get out of the car on the passenger side (to ensure you’re not hit by, say, a lorry) and step over the safety barrier.

If your car crisis gives you no time to move to the verge, then put your hazards on and call 999 immediately. Highways England will then switch on the red ‘X’ above the lane you’re stuck in to ensure that traffic behind you doesn’t use it.

And that’s it – stick to the rules and you’ll have no problem navigating smart motorways. And after reading this, you can be rest assured that you now know more about them than most UK drivers.

Know All The Rules of the Road

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All images © Highways England

Theory Test Pro’s Guide to Using Your Car’s Hazard Lights

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Discover the right and wrong times to use your vehicle’s hazard warning lights to ensure you always stay on the right side of the Highway Code.

That button featuring a red triangle on your dashboard has the potential to save your life; once pressed, it offers other drivers ample warning that something is amiss up ahead and gives them time to react accordingly.

But there’s a problem. Even experienced motorists aren’t always sure when to actually use their hazard warning lights, often reaching for the red triangle to highlight an issue on the road when they shouldn’t be.

In some circumstances, turning on all your blinkers can even be dangerous and could see you being penalised.

What the Highway Code Says

The Code states that you can use your hazard warning lights “when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic”; the reasons for your stoppage can vary from being involved in an accident, having to stop because of an obstruction or even running out of fuel.

The Code also states that the lights can be deployed if “you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead”.

Remember though that hazard lights should only be used briefly in such a situation – think 3-5 seconds – which should be “long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed”.

And of course, if you are pulled up on a motorway hard shoulder, hazard lights should also be switched on; according to the AA, “more than 800 people killed or injured each year on hard shoulders and lay-bys” so exercise extreme caution.

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Common Misconceptions

The above may  sound perfectly logical but the devil is inevitably in the detail. The Highway Code states that you mustn’t use your hazards while driving or being towed unless it’s on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and there is a hazard or obstruction ahead.

That may seem strange as you may be tempted to use your hazards in other circumstances such as driving slowly because, say, you’re looking for a turning. The issue though?

It renders your indicators useless if you are planning on changing lanes or turning down another road; there is now no way of letting other vehicles know that you’re about to make a manoeuvre because all your indicators are currently on.

Parking Problems

The Highway Code also states that hazard lights should never be used as “an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking”. Not that the rule is adhered to by many UK drivers. It’s a common sight to see motorists pulled up in an illegal place or double parked alongside another vehicle with hazard lights on to warn other drivers or as a half-hearted attempt to appease roaming traffic wardens.

In either case, such parking remains illegal and potentially dangerous so don’t expect any leniency from the authorities.

Even parked up safely at the side of a street with your hazards flashing on and off is potentially dangerous. For instance, if parked on the left, your use of the hazards could suggest that you’re about to pull out if your lefthand side indicators are blocked from view to passing traffic.

It means motorists coming up from behind will slow down, only to realise that you have your hazard lights on as they drive past, leading to potential congestion, confusion and frustration; none of which are ideal for a safe driving environment.

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Be Safe, Not ‘Polite’

When out on the road, you will also often see drivers using their hazard lights to briefly thank other motorists, say, for letting them into a lane. This again is an incorrect use of hazard lights because, well, the clue’s in the name – hazard warning lights.

Finally, while there is no specific law regarding the inappropriate use of hazard lights, the circumstances within which they are used – such as double parking – could lead to a penalty being issued.

By learning how to use the lights appropriately now, not only will you become a safer, better driver, you’ll also protect your hard-won licence from the threat of penalty points – and your bank balance from hefty fines.

Know All The Rules of the Road

Learn your Highway Code inside and out by signing up to Theory Test Pro here for free.

 

Mini Indicator © Henner Zeller

Van Parked © Sam Saunders

7 Things To Do (& Not To Do) If You Fail Your Driving Test

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You’ve failed your practical driving test and it feels like the end of the world – but it needn’t be if you follow this seven-step guide to making a winning comeback.

The first thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Research shows that over half of learners fail on their first attempt. The real issue is what are you going to do about the fail to ensure you make the grade on the second attempt? To find out what steps must be taken, use this seven-point guide to get yourself back on the road to success:

1. Don’t give up

You failed and feel terrible about it – but don’t get angry or give yourself a hard time. The fail could be for any number of reasons on the day; from a simple cock-up that scuppered your chances to nerves getting the better of you. But there is an upside; you’ve now been through the process so you know what to expect the next time whether it be how the test centre operates to the realisation that examiners aren’t out to ‘get’ you.

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2. Do listen to your examiner

Don’t walk away feeling like it’s all over; the examiner will always tell you clearly and openly why you failed plus you should be provided with a copy of your driving test report as well. It’s essential you discuss the reason (or reasons) for your fail with your driving instructor as soon as possible. It means any potentially serious problems with your driving ability can be dealt with straight away in lessons.

3. Don’t stop driving

The worst thing you can do after a fail is to stop driving because your confidence has taken an inevitable knock. Instead, head out on to the roads with your instructor, family member or friend as soon as you can to start rebuilding your confidence.

Also remember that research has shown that those who pass their test the second time round are statistically more likely to be safer, better drivers once they qualify.

Second time passers appear to fare better, especially when it comes to driving safely and considerately. Perhaps this is down to concentrating more and taking into account different road conditions and other drivers. First time passers know how to handle a car but some might be over-confident and that can quickly lead to recklessness.”

– Guy Frobisher, Director of Safety, Continental Tyres

4. Do rebook your driving test

Consider rebooking your driving test as soon as possible if you and your ADI feel that the fail was down to a mistake that can be sorted easily with a little more practise. If you delay booking a fresh test, worry and nerves can fester making the challenge of taking another test seem insurmountable.

(5. Don’t forget the small print!)

Remember that your new test can only be booked a minimum of 10 working days after the last one. If you do book a test that you feel is far off, use the official ‘Change your driving test appointment’ to see if you can snare yourself a slot that has been cancelled at the last moment.

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6. Don’t fear the second test

It is actually healthy to be a little nervous about a test. It can mean you’re fully focused on the big day – but too many nerves can be distracting and detrimental. Use our guide to dealing with driving test nerves to achieve the right balance. Some of us also fret that the examiner will be waiting to pounce on us if we make the same mistake again during the second test.

That couldn’t be further from the truth; examiners don’t actually have a record of what happened in your previous test and even if it is the same examiner, they carry out seven tests on average a day up to six days a week so there’s a very good chance they aren’t going to remember you in the first place.

7. Do use Theory Test Pro

While learners typically obsess over the practical driving test, don’t forget the theory test! If you should fail, there is inevitably one simple reason – you haven’t been practising enough.

It’s why we created Theory Test Pro to offer learners the best way to study the Highway Code and practise the Hazard Perception Test. Best of all, the software allows your instructor to keep an eye on how you are progressing and can take you through any areas where you might be struggling.

Oh, and one final thought to cheer you up – according to research, if you fail your practical driving test the first time, it means you are more intelligent than those who do manage a pass on their first attempt. No, really.

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Watch: 2 Videos Explaining Critical Part of New Driving Test

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With only three months to go before the revised driving test is introduced on December 4th, the Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency has released two new videos that explain a key element of the incoming test.

As well as a host of new features including revised manoeuvres and a sat nav-led driving section, the new test will also introduce a new format for the ‘show me’ questions.

As part of the current test, examiners ask you two questions based on ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ before letting you set off. For the ‘tell me’ question, the examiner asks one of potentially 14 questions; for example, “tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working.”

You are then expected to explain how you’d operate the indicator switch (turning on ignition if necessary), and then explain how you would walk round the car to carry out the check. For the ‘show me’ question, you are asked, say, to physically show how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.

What the Changes Are
While the ‘tell me’ question will remain at the beginning of test as before, for the new test, the examiner will ask the ‘show me’ questions while the learner is actually driving instead. Questions you will be expected to answer safely while on the move include:

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?”

Why The Change?
According to the DVSA, the change reflects the skills that are needed every day when out on the road and learners must show they are able to carry them out safely. Bear in mind that if you should lose control of the car during the ‘show me’ question, it will result in a serious or dangerous fault, leading to a fail. If you get answers to both the ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ questions wrong, then a driving fault will be recorded.

To help fully understand the new format, the DVSA has produced two short videos to explain the change – we strongly recommend that you watch them to ensure you’re ready on the big day:

Practical Driving Test ‘Show Me’ Video

Practical Driving Test ‘Tell Me’ Video

 

With less than 3 months to go until the driving test changes, it’s important that learner drivers work with their driving instructor to make sure they can operate the in car-controls safely whilst they’re driving. Combined with practice with an instructor, these new official videos will help you learn the skills you need to do these tasks.”

– DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young.

For those of you who’ll be doing your practical driving test before the new test arrives in December, we’ve put together an extensive guide so you’ll know exactly what to expect when you arrive at the test centre – check it out here.

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How To Avoid Choosing A Dodgy Driving Instructor

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Avoid falling foul of dire driving instructors by using powerful online search services including the DVSA and Theory Test Pro’s directories to locate the best in your area.

Finding an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) can be intimidating for any new learner. There are many questions that must be asked from whether the instructor has the right teaching style for you to if they are even fully qualified in the first place. It’s why Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) has updated its ‘find driving schools, lessons and instructors’ service that allows learners to search through the 26,000 ADIs across the UK.

Qualified and Approved
Using the service, learners can locate ADIs who are committed to developing their skills every year and follow the code of practise laid down by the DVSA. They must also have been checked to ensure they don’t have a criminal record and that their teaching ability has been fully assessed  by the DVSA. The updated service offers genuine reassurance for students – and parents – that they are in the safest pair of hands possible.

Critically, ADIs can now link their websites to their DVSA directory entry, enabling them to display prices, the make and model of the car they teach pupils in and pictures of themselves so pupils know that the person turning up in that driving school car is who they say they are.

It’s vital to choose the best approved driving instructor for you. They’ll help you learn the essential skills, knowledge and understanding you need to drive safely once you’ve passed your driving test. Making sure learner drivers have access to information that helps them choose the best instructor for their needs is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.”

– Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive

Finally, also check out Theory Test Pro’s directory service, which offers an extensive list of approved driving instructors with links to their websites. Simply enter your postcode and you will be presented with ADIs in your area who not only offer an excellent service but also use Theory Test Pro as part of their teaching method.

• For more information on how to choose the right instructor, check out our beginner’s guide to learning to drive here.

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Image © Tom Graham

Revealed: Why Using A Mobile Sat Nav Could Get You Banned

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Despite the introduction of a new law earlier this year designed to curtail mobile phone use while driving, the National Police Chiefs Council has just issued a fresh warning to motorists about using their mobiles as a sat nav.

While many of us are (hopefully) aware of the new law introduced in April that set out new stiffer penalties for those caught using their mobile at the wheel, it appears the rules surrounding mobile sat nav use haven’t been getting through.

Simply touching the mobile screen while on the move or sitting at traffic lights/caught in a queue could see you end up with a £200 fine (or up to a £1,000 if you end up in court) and six points on your licence.

Indeed, the latter could prove to be catastrophic for someone who has just passed their test and lead to a potential instant disqualification and a driving test resit. It’s a serious issue because research shows that almost four out of five drivers rely on sat navs or smartphones to navigate Britain’s roads.

If an officer determines that a driver using their sat nav hindered their ability to control the car, the driver could face prosecution.”

– Spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council

Top 8 Rules of Mobile Use for Drivers

To ensure you stay safe on the road (and don’t lose your licence), remember these eight crucial rules:

1. Only use a mobile when you are parked up safely – and that includes when entering a postcode into your map app – and no, the hard shoulder doesn’t count as ‘being parked safely’

2. The only exception is if you are in an emergency situation and need to dial 999 but are unable to pull up safely

3. Mobile use is banned for anyone who is supervising a learner driver; their attention should be on the learner’s driving at all times

4. Ensure your mobile is mounted correctly on your windscreen; if your mobile cradle is found to be obscuring the area swept by windscreen wipers, you could be prosecuted

5. Having the mobile in your lap or shoved in a cupholder doesn’t count as a proper cradle and you could find yourself being pulled over by the police

One in six (16%) of drivers admit to keeping their navigation devices behind the steering wheel, on the passenger seat or even next to the gear stick, risking serious penalties if they’re used while driving.”

– uSwitch

6. If using Apple Pay or another form of mobile payment at, say, a fast-food drivethru, you must have your handbrake on and your engine turned off – or else you could still be prosecuted for mobile phone use while driving.

7. Don’t overly rely on sat navs period; according to research by uSwitch, one in 20 drivers have ended up with a speeding fine because their sat nav allegedly showed them the wrong speed limit

8. We wonder if the reason for the problem above is because drivers are using out-of-date software; install the latest updates for your sat nav so any speed limits or road information is current and correct.

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Learners to be Let Loose on Motorways from 2018

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After a lengthy consultation period, the Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency has finally given the thumbs up to learners being allowed onto motorways.

In a push to make new drivers safer than ever, the DVSA has said that the new law will come into effect at some point in 2018. Learners will only be allowed on to motorways if they are with an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a car fitted with dual controls. It means if an issue should arise during the motorway lesson, the ADI will be able to step in and take over quickly.

What the Change Means for Students
The DVSA says that motorway driving is strictly voluntary and will not be included in the all-new driving test coming this December. Critically, it will be up to instructors to decide if they feel their students are ready to head out on to Britain’s busy network of motorways.

The Highway Code rules on motorways will also be updated to reflect the new change. Remember though that until the new law comes into play, it is still illegal for a learner to drive on a motorway and, if you’re a trainee motorcyclist, you still won’t be allowed on to them after the new law is introduced.

What the Change Means for Instructors
The DVSA has said that it will offer no specific training for ADIs who intend to take advantage of the motorway lesson option but the agency does say it will update learning materials and the car driving syllabus. It should be noted that trainee driving instructors will still not be allowed to take students on to a motorway.

Finally, ADIs can decide for themselves whether they want to keep their driving school roof-top box on during a motorway lesson. If the box is removed though, the instructor’s car must display L-plates both front and rear.

• For the official results of the DVSA’s consultation, click here.

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Image © Highways England

Learners Attacking Driving Examiners On The Increase

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Examiners and driving test staff are increasingly on the receiving end of verbal abuse and even physical assault from learners who fail their test, and the Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has had enough, launching a zero tolerance campaign to take down offenders.

According to statistics released by the DVSA, over 300 driving examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement staff have either been physically or verbally abused while doing their jobs. Most worryingly, the number of incidents represents more than a 50% increase from last year, which saw 198 incidents. Other data reveals that in 2016, examiners were on the receiving end of 236 verbal assaults and 13 physical assaults.

Assaults rising
Abusive behaviour can come in many different forms including “failed driving test candidates even driving off with their examiner still in the car against their will”, says the DVSA. Other media-reported incidents include a learner smashing up a waiting room before attacking workers.

An examiner also found himself having to flee a learner by hopping on a bus and another was punched twice in the face, his assailant subsequently locked up for six months. Even instructors aren’t safe – one learner chased both his ADI and examiner, yelling at them: “All I have to do is make one phone call and you are both dead. I will kill you.”

It makes for shocking reading and it’s why the DVSA has now launched a new campaign that highlights how the agency will protect its 4,600 staff from such abusive behaviour.

Clamp down
If you’re a learner and are caught swearing at staff after a failed test, you can expect to be dealt with quickly and abruptly; you will be forced to take your next test at another centre and will need to have an extra supervisor present in the test car. Any learner who is found to be threatening or assaulting an examiner – or drives off with them against their will – will be reported to the police and “face the strongest possible penalties”, says the DVSA.

And it’s not just students who are being abusive. Though rare, the agency says that driving instructors have been known to try and influence the outcome of a driving test, sometimes harassing or even threatening examiners after their student has failed. Again, the outcome for the instructor will be swift and severe; first they will be banned from specific test centres and secondly, they will be struck off the approved driving instructor register.

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Taking safety seriously
According to news reports, the agency is also considering fitting examiners with body cams in future to protect them from assaults with the DVSA trialling the technology on some of its frontline staff. Whatever the outcome of the trials, the message is clear – for the minority of learners who lose their rag because they couldn’t muster a pass, such behaviour will not be tolerated.

I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them. Our message is clear – whatever has happened, don’t take it out on our staff. If you do, we’ll press for the strongest possible penalties.”

– Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive

 

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Revealed: The best time of day to take your test

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According to new research, there is a time of day which will give you the best possible chance of passing your practical driving test – but it’s not the time experts have previously said is ideal.

In the past, pundits have proclaimed that booking your test in an early slot is the best option as it’s when you’re at your most alert; over the course of a day, your ‘cognitive function’ slowly decreases as you become gradually more tired. But research by Dayinsure has uncovered that the optimum time is in fact the exact opposite – the true sweet spot is apparently between 7pm and 9pm.

It’s Official
That’s based on official data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that revealed the 7pm-9pm slot sees 65% of students passing. Now compare that to the worst performing time slot – between 11am and 1pm – with a pass rate of 48% while the traditional 7am to 9am slot comes in at 50%.

The results are even more intriguing if you consider that the 11am-1pm slot is often seen as an ideal time to take test as well because there is no rush hour or school traffic to contend with plus you’ll still be feeling relatively fresh. In fact, the second best slot to take your test is 9am to 11am with a 52% pass rate, a slot where you can still expect some rush hour and school traffic. But whatever the time, the evening slot still wins out by a big margin.

Analysing the results, Tim Shallcross at IAM Roadsmart told the Sun newspaper that “the much greater success rate for tests taken in the evening is interesting – the most obvious difference is no daytime or rush hour traffic. Quieter roads and most drivers in less of a hurry may well make the test less stressed and nerves are the most common reason for failing.”

The Cost of Success
There is a catch though; the cost of an evening test is more expensive than one taken during the day with learners expected to fork out £75 instead of the standard £62 – but some may argue that the extra cash could well be worth it if it boosts the chances of passing.

While we all want to be in the best possible position to pass our test, Theory Test Pro believes that learners shouldn’t obsess over time slots. Instead, students should rely on their driving instructor to tell them when they are ready to take the test, no matter what the time slot is. If pupils feel they need to rely on an optimum time to gain a pass, it suggests they’re not 100% ready to take the test in the first place.

Here is full rundown of the time slot pass rates:

7am-9am: 50% • 9am-11am: 52% • 11am–1pm: 48% • 1pm-3pm: 50% • 3pm–5pm: 49% • 5pm-7pm: 49% • 7pm-9pm: 65%.

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Meet the ADIs: Stewart Latcham & Family

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After the driving school he worked for closed down, ADI Stewart Latcham started his own family-run business, KSL Driving School, with wife Karen Latcham, which has been operating in the Stafford and Telford areas since 2009.

So successful has the school been that the couple have gone on to create franchises with their son, Tom Latcham aged 22, when he qualified in September 2016 plus close family friend Dan McCabe and Graham Turney, their son-in-law. Here we talk to Stewart about why keeping it in the family has been vital to the driving school and its franchises’ reputations.

Why did you decide to work together?
Having a family-run business means the pupils get an excellent experience as we can do mock practical tests with each other’s pupils. We have built up a sound reputation in Telford, Stafford and surrounding areas and no longer need to advertise with pupils typically contacting us because of recommendations from previous pupils.

Dan has said that the support from the family is reason he is with the company plus he, Tom and Graham wanted to have genuine career and professional status. Also, they will eventually take over and run the business together.

The benefits of a family working together means close communication with each other, close relationships, standing in for each other and having the benefit of sitting in on each other’s lessons to offer peer support.”
– Stewart Latcham, owner of the KSL Driving School

What is the appeal of the job to you?
The ability to expand someone’s knowledge and awareness – not only of what they can achieve but how their actions influence others. The satisfaction of taking on a pupil who has no idea about driving and then training them to understand all aspects so they can pass their driving test and become a safe driver is very rewarding. It gives a real sense of job satisfaction.

It’s also great to be self employed and in control of your own diary and time management without the bureaucracy of being an employee.

How would you describe your teaching style?
We all have a relaxed, informal style of teaching, making sure that the pupil enjoys their lessons and feel as though they are getting the most out of them. Once a pupil’s potential has been identified, we feel a great sense of responsibility to bring it out of them. We encourage a relaxed atmosphere in the car as well and never become annoyed when pupils take longer than expected to achieve their potential.

A good rapport is built up between the instructor and pupil to ensure their confidence increases, enabling them to pass their driving test and become a safe driver. If a pupil is struggling with a teaching method then the approach is changed to meet their needs. We also give them the option to change instructors if their reduced learning is due to the instructor’s personality.

My favourite part is seeing a nervous pupil that lacks confidence pass their driving test. Least favourite part is becoming frustrated with pupils who are not committed to their lessons.”
– Stewart Latcham

“My favourite part is building up a pupil relationship over the duration of their lessons and becoming very proud of their achievement when they pass. Least favourite part is the frustration when students don’t listen to advice.”
– Karen Latcham

“My favourite part of the job is the satisfaction when a pupil passes their test. Like my dad, my least favourite part is becoming frustrated when pupils are not committed to their lessons.”
– Tom Latcham

“My favourite part has to be the satisfaction of my pupils coming out of the test centre with that pass certificate. My least favourite part would be when you can see the potential of a pupil and put the work in but get nothing in return or they just don’t have the commitment needed.”
– Dan McCabe

“My favourite part of the job is having the freedom to work set hours that fit around family life.”
– Graham Turney

Attachment-1

From left to right: Stewart Latcham, Karen Latcham, Tom Latcham, Dan McCabe & Graham Turney.

 

How do you run the business together? How do you allocate responsibilities?
We are all proactive members of the KSL team, making joint decisions to ensure the business runs smoothly. Having spent many years in sales, I make the sales decisions and am always coming up with new sales and promotional materials to enhance company prospects.

Karen has spent many years in management and teaching roles so she takes the lead on ensuring all our instructors have the support they need. She also organises our monthly team meetings to discuss moving the company forward while developing our teaching materials.

Being young ADIs, Tom and Dan are both aware of what young pupils need and they communicate on the same level as the pupil. They have received excellent pupil feedback and have excellent first-time pass rates. Tom is also bringing KSL into the digital age by having a social media presence and improving the website design.

Also, because Tom is qualified in photography, he uses this skill to photograph our instructors and cars, etc. so the pupils are aware of what their instructors look like when they meet us for the first time. Finally, Graham has run his own business for many years so has knowledge of sales and marketing too.

What is the current state of your business and your plans for the future?
We’d like to have more instructors working for us as we have to turn away pupils daily due to lack of instructor capacity! Turning business away does not sit well with the KSL strategy of offering a valuable service.

We will also be delivering instructor Part 3 training and this is something that all our instructors are keen to do. Running some Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events for our instructors is also something that we will be doing next year.

Finally, as a long term user of Theory Test Pro, how do you find the system helps your students?
Our pupils benefit from both the desktop version and the app, the latter allowing them to access TTP wherever they are. We can track their progress and test their knowledge periodically. The hazard perception section is also larger than most other programs and is invaluable.

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