Category Archive: Learner Drivers

New Driving Test With Sat Navs Arrives TODAY!

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In spite of industrial action by driving examiners today and tomorrow, the new driving test has finally gone live and features a host of changes.

The controversial new-style test is finally here and affects all tests in England, Scotland and Wales. From a heavily revised independent driving section to new manoeuvres, we profile the big changes so you’ll know exactly what to expect on your big day.

What’s Changing in the Driving Test from Today

There are four big changes to expect:

1. Independent Driving
Currently, the independent driving section of the test lasts 10 minutes; this will be extended to 20 minutes from today and make up around half of the test. You will be expected to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner as well. The intention? To put the examiner in the best possible position to judge your driving ability more accurately in real-world conditions.

2. Sat Nav
During the independent driving section, instead of the examiner telling you where to go, you will  be required to follow the directions on a sat nav instead – this is to make the test more ‘modern’. In practise, the examiner will provide and set up the sat nav’s route for you so all you’ll need to focus on is following the route, not worrying about the technology itself.

Bear in mind that you can’t use your own sat nav and that if you do happen to take a wrong turn, you won’t be penalised unless you make a fault. Finally, you may be the 1-in-5 of learners who won’t be selected to use a sat nav during the test – instead, you will need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing Manoeuvres
Say goodbye to the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres. While the DVSA will no longer be testing the two manoeuvres, it still expects your ADI to teach them to you during your lessons. Replacing them are one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:

• Parallel parking at the side of the road

• Parking in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out

• Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for two-car lengths and rejoining the traffic.

4. Answering Two Vehicle Safety Questions
Expect to be asked two safety questions:

Before Test Starts
One ‘Tell Me’ question focusing on how you would carry out a particular safety task

During The Test
One ‘Show Me’ question focusing on how you would carry out a particular safety task.

What’s NOT Changing in the Driving Test

The pass mark remains at no more than 15 driving faults and with no serious or dangerous faults whatsoever. The examiner will still be marking you on the same things as before plus the driving test’s running length will remain the same – around 40 minutes. Finally, the cost of the test won’t be changing either.

While examiners aren’t happy with some of the changes, what do you think? Do you feel the test needed to be changed or would you have preferred it to stay the same?

The Theory Test Remains The Same

So use Theory Test Pro to double your chances of test success. Sign up here for free.

 

Lesson image © Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

New Video Explains the New Driving Test’s Big, Big Changes

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With the new test touching down next week, now’s the ideal time to learn about what the changes are and critically, why they have been made.

The Driving Instructors Association has released a new video that offers an overview of what the biggest and most significant changes are to the test. “We put this walkthrough together because, whilst there are a number of DVSA publications about the changes (i.e. ‘the whats’), there wasn’t a lot pointing out the ‘whys’,” explains Carly Brookfield, the CEO of DIA.

Reacting to the news that some examiners are not happy with some of the changes – including the ‘pulling over to the right and parking up’ manoeuvre – and are planning to strike next week, Brookfield says that “whilst [the video] does talk positively in the main about the key developments to the test, we are mindful of some of the concerns members still have about the implementation of the changes and… we still continue to have a dialogue with DVSA about those points.”

Brookfield says that the DIA will be monitoring, evaluating and feeding back to the DVSA based on the real world experiences of their members and whether changes need to be made to ensure that every aspect of the new test is a change for the better.

In the meantime, watch the video below to make sure you’re ready to roll come December 4th:

 

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The 7 Best Xmas Gifts for Learner Drivers

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While there are mass of great gifts suitable for new and old drivers alike, sourcing suitable presents for learners can be a bit more challenging.

It’s why we’ve put together this list of gift ideas that loved ones can buy student drivers – or if you are a learner yourself, can ask others to get you this Christmas:

1. Sat Nav
Get used to navigating with one now before taking the new driving test, which features a sat nav section. If you want to be a stickler for detail, then ask to be gifted a TomTom Start 52 (£129.99), the driving test’s ‘official’ sat nav.

Alternatively, bypass a dedicated sat nav altogether and instead ask for a brand new phone, many of which are good enough for in-car satellite navigation these days; use free apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze depending on the phone.

2. Driving Lesson Vouchers
Many driving schools offer special gift vouchers on single or sets of driving lessons. If the giver is feeling really generous, they could buy all the lessons you’ll need – that’s around 40-50 lessons though!

Alternatively, ask for a set of, say, five lessons to help get started. Also make sure the instructor or school offers Theory Test Pro as part of their service; you can find TTP-friendly ADIs in your area by using our directory service.

3. Test Fees
If the pressie buyer can’t quite stretch to a set of driving lessons, then they could cover the cost of the practical driving test (£62) and/or theory test (£23). If you want an even more pragmatic suggestion, then consider learner driver insurance.

Loads of insurers offer deals to suit most budgets from 30 days upwards, all at a reasonable cost. It means if the worst does happen, there’s no risk to the car owner’s hard-won no-claims bonus if you should have a bump during a supervised driving session.

4. Meditation
Nerves can be an issue for learner drivers in the build-up to the driving test. For a great (and calming) gift, ask for a subscription to mobile apps such as Headspace that teaches you deep focus and relaxation techniques.

The Headspace app comes withs a free trial before being asked to choose from a selection of payment options (a monthly sub is £9.99). Remember, the techniques learned can also be applied to any potentially stressful situation whether it be taking an exam or simply dealing with everyday life.

Learn how to focus and chill with powerful meditation apps like Headspace.

 

5. Dashcam
If you’ve already got a driving instructor, there’s a fair chance that they have a dashcam fitted. The reason? If there should be an accident, then the whole thing is caught on camera to help with any insurance issues that should arise.

Asking for a dashcam (available for as little as £49.99) means you can use it on supervised drives and then fit the device to your car once you’ve passed your tests with flying colours. An excellent longterm investment then – plus some insurers will also offer discounts if a dashcam is fitted.

6. Stocking goodies
For those who want to go the full hog this Xmas, don’t forget L-plate festooned wrapping paper, Xmas cards and even t-shirts; the latter surely has to be better than a Yuletide sweater.

7. Pass Plus
Just passed your test? Then good for you! Remember to rest on your laurels over Xmas but then make a New Year’s resolution to become an even better, safer driver by asking for enrolment in a Pass Plus course.

Costing between £100-150, these see new drivers being taught advanced driving and safety techniques via a six module course covering everything from motorways to mastering all-weather conditions. You can take the course in one six-hour sitting or split it up into more manageable chunks. Remember, passing the course could also see your insurance premiums discounted too!

The Ultimate Xmas Gift!

Ask for Theory Test Pro in your stocking to double your chances of theory test success – you can sign up for free here.

Could Your Test Be Cancelled Because It’s Too ‘Dangerous’?

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All ready to take your test on the 4th or 5th December? Alas, you might not be able to because of planned industrial action by examiners who believe the new test is too dangerous.

While most of us are waiting with some expectation (and a little trepidation) for the new practical driving test touching down on December 4th, the rollout could grind to a halt. This is because some driving test examiners are going on strike on the 4th and 5th because they believe certain elements of the new test are dangerous.

Critically, the action could affect the tests of up to 10,000 learners who are set to do their test on either the Monday or Tuesday, according to the RAC Foundation.

How this affects you & what to do

What does the strike action mean for you if your test is booked on either day? Because not all driving examiners are signed up to the union coordinating the action, there is still a chance your test could go ahead.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) states that you can either:

• Change your test appointment to a later date

• Turn up for your test as planned, but your examiner might be unavailable.

If you definitely can’t take your test because of the strike action, the DVSA says you don’t need to contact them to book another appointment. Instead, it will contact you with a new test appointment within 5 to 10 working days.

If you do decide to turn up for your test but discover it has been cancelled, remember, you will be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses – head here for more details about how to make a claim.

So what’s the strike all about?

We’ve covered the grievances about the new driving test before, detailing how some instructors and examiners believe that parts of it – including the ‘pulling over to the right hand side of the road’ manoeuvre – are dangerous. However, this is the first time that examiners have actually said they are walking out because of the changes.

As well as concerns about manoeuvres, there are also safety worries about using a sat nav as part of the test and the requirement for seven examinations to be conducted by an examiner each day, not the six the union wants.

To add insult to the DVSA’s injury, the strike is due to start on the very day that the new test is set to go live with 2,000 examiners potentially not turning up for work.

Driving test changes are ‘unacceptable’

The union directing the strike action, Public and Commercial Service (PCS), claims that the new test is too dangerous and “our members, whose jobs are about ensuring our roads are safe for drivers and pedestrians, have voted overwhelmingly to demonstrate that these changes are unacceptable. Ministers can avoid this strike action by instructing their officials in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to scrap the plans and re-enter serious negotiations with PCS.”

The DVSA states though that full risk assessments have been carried out and it even commissioned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to conduct an independent assessment, which found that the new test manoeuvres were low risk. According to the DVSA, the latest fallout is actually a new development in an ongoing dispute about employment contracts.

The fact PCS is trying to undermine the launch of the new test by calling for strike action shows a shameful disregard for both road safety and learner drivers who have worked so hard to be ready to take their test.”

– Gareth Llewellyn,  Chief Executive, DVSA.

Learners should bear in mind that bookings for the theory test remain unaffected by the industrial action. In the meantime, we will keep you informed of any developments as we head up to the (planned) launch of the new test on December 4th.

Is Your Test Cancelled?

Then use the extra time to brush up on your Highway Code – sign up to Theory Test Pro here for free.

 

Hazard Perception Test: How to Click Your Way to a Pass

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It’s a test that demands commitment and practise to pass – but how are ADIs teaching their pupils to deal with its challenges?

Evaluating and understanding the Hazard Perception Test and how it works is something of a dark art for ADIs and pupils alike. In theory, the process is straightforward according to the DVSA’s own guidelines:

To get a high score you need to respond to the developing hazard as soon as you see it starting.”

In execution however, judging precisely where the hazards are and when they should be clicked on can prove to be something of a mystery.

Cheat Detection System Too Sensitive?

The plot thickens further thanks to the test’s cheat detection system, which is summed up by the DVSA as follows:

If you click continuously or in a pattern during a clip a message will appear at the end. It will tell you that you have scored zero for that particular clip.”

This advice can leave pupils scratching their heads as they’re failed because the system has deemed that they have clicked too many times and are simply trying to ‘game’ the test. The problem according to ADIs is that the detection system is too sensitive.

“According to my pupils, people are often getting disqualified from videos because the system thinks they are cheating, particularly in the busy town scenarios,” explains Debbie Brewer of Debs Driving School. “The town scenes have so many potential hazards that it is too easy to get disqualified. It is not that pupils are clicking too much, more that because there are so many hazards, the number of clicks they end up performing causes the system to believe that students have been clicking in a pattern, so the system is flawed.”

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The Theory Test Pro hazard perception option is excellent practice for my pupils, and the feedback from them has been very positive.”

Timing & Practise Produce Hazard Perception Passes

To combat this potential issue, practise is of course essential. It’s why Theory Test Pro offers mock HPT clips plus the ability for students to playback said clip, revealing the marked hazard in relation to where the pupil clicked.

Also imperative is identifying the potential hazard in the first instance. Debbie and other ADIs including Stuart Rigby of The Driving Academy use a unique approach to keeping click rates manageable and accurate: “I find some pupils can notice the hazard a little too early,” explains Stuart. “It’s why I introduced the two-second rule – the student clicks when they first see a hazard, waits two seconds and then clicks again. This approach stops people from scoring zero if they click a little too early.”

Another issue with the Hazard Perception Test can be the students themselves. Extensive practise is critical to passing and building confidence but getting students to realise how difficult the HPT is in the first place can be an uphill struggle, as Stuart explains: “I often find that pupils skip the HPT during learning, dismissing it because they believe it’s simply all about common sense. Even when reviewing some pupils’ progress within Theory Test Pro, I see little attention being paid to the HPT.”

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Half the problem is the struggle that pupils have working with the HPT system itself.”

Learners, Spot Road Hazards while Driving

To encourage them to participate, Stuart ensures that the issue of hazard perception is brought up during actual lessons by asking pupils to highlight potential hazards while driving. Using a dash cam is also an invaluable educational tool – it means that he and the student can review hazards at the end of each lesson so they become part of the learning process.

Debbie believes another key method for inspiring pupils to engage with the HPT is to book the theory test, “ so they have a deadline to work to, which encourages them to use Theory Test Pro. It enables me to see their progress too and give positive comments to encourage their learning – and for them to ask questions.”

Ironically though, it’s generally the young people who shine the most when they do actually apply themselves; more so than other age groups: “I think the DVSA Hazard Perception Test is delivered well, but is more like a computer game than real life,” explains Debbie, “and because of this, I find the young inexperienced learners perform better with it.”

We suspect that this trend will only increase once the DVSA makes the move to full computer-generated clips for the Hazard Perception Test. The introduction of CGI could also help deal with the current issues surrounding the HPT as well, offering clip designers an exacting, easily-controlled process for creating clips where the fog of confusion is finally removed. Time will tell.

Take a Hazard Perception Test Now


Test your hazard perception skills by signing up to Theory Test Pro for free here.

The New Driving Test: What Examiners Really Think Of It

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The latest updates from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency reveal that even driving examiners have had their doubts about the new test – but are they still worried?

Regular followers of our blogs will know that some driving instructors are unhappy with the new manoeuvres being introduced to the revised practical driving test – in particular, pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths.

The issue? Learners having to cross over to the other side of the road into the path of potentially oncoming traffic, reverse and then pull out safely, again into the flow of oncoming traffic.

The new move came under fire from all quarters – even from examiners themselves. Retired examiner William Young explained: “It is bad enough at times getting a candidate to move off after a normal stop, never mind moving off on the wrong side of the road… Why don’t [the DVSA] consult examiners before they make these ludicrous decisions.”

What examiners think of the new driving test

According to a DLVA blog written by driving examiners reviewing the new test, they were also hesitant: “I did have some initial worries, as there have been some concerns about some elements of the test, such as timings, and the new manoeuvres,” writes Dave Wedgewood, a local driving test manager. “However, my concerns were misplaced.”

Examiners also felt that the new test made the whole experience easier as driving examiner Laura Unwin explains: “Before the training, I was concerned about how the sat nav and different manoeuvres would work. However, I found the sat nav easy to fit and easy to use. The new test felt much smoother and it’s great that we can do manoeuvres and angled starts during the independent drive.”

What examiners will do during the new driving test

To get an insight into how exactly the examiner will judge you and your driving ability, we recommend casting an eye over the new Examiner Guidance that goes through every element that examiners will judge you on when overseeing your test – and even how to mark you using the revised Driving Test Report sheet.

From definitions of faults and preparing for the test to the tiniest details including name badges, the guidance also details precisely what you should expect during the controversial ‘pull up on the right’ exercise – and what the circumstances are when an examiner will intervene if a problem arises once pulled up at the side of the road.

“If a vehicle pulls in front of the candidate prior to the completion of the exercise, the examiner should take control of the situation and advise the candidate to reverse back further to allow a clear view ahead,” states the guidance.

“If a vehicle blocks the candidate from reversing, the manoeuvre should be aborted and a manoeuvre attempted later in the test. If this situation causes the candidate’s view to be severely restricted then the examiner should offer some assistance.”

For more information about what to expect during the exercise, view this DVLA video that takes you through the process:

 
If you have any queries about the new practical driving test, then read our comprehensive guide to all the changes here to ensure you are fully prepared.

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From kissing to red light running: What we get up to in our cars

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Twenty red lights run, 54 engines stalled, 81 kisses shared; a new survey from the British Lung Foundation uncovers what we really do in our cars over a lifetime of driving.

In a survey commissioned to highlight the damaging effects of toxic fumes on our health when we’re stuck in traffic, the BLF’s research reveals we spend 1,080 days at the wheel over the course of our lives – that’s nearly three years – and during that time, we travel a whopping 257,356 miles. Along the way though, it appears we’re also forgetting the basics of the Highway Code…

Most lawbreaking moments

20 times we have run a red light; if we were caught each time, we’d have received a minimum of 60 points on our licence.

27 times we have risked getting a ticket by parking on double yellow lines; combined, that’s a minimum of a £1,350 in collective fines.

81 we have experienced road rage; if caught, we’d have received a minimum of 243 points.

84 times we have performed turns without indicating; if you’re BMW driver, we suspect you’d need to triple that figure.

95 puddles we have driven through deliberately; just remember splashing pedestrians on purpose is illegal!

146 times we have broken the speed limit; if caught, that’s a minimum of 438 points on your licence.

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But that’s not all – the survey also reveals some of the more embarrassing things we get up to behind the wheel:

Most embarrassing moments

12 times we have bumped other vehicles’ bumpers

14 drinks we’ve spilled on ourselves

30 times when we have pulled up on the wrong side of a fuel pump

64 stalls when we’ve tried to pull away

66 times when we have kerbed a wheel

150 times we’ve driven over potholes; not strictly embarrassing as they’re so prolific on our roads – after all, if you piled Britain’s one million potholes on top of one another, they would stretch up to 25 miles!

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No matter how posh the car you end up driving, you’re still going to kerb those shiny alloys according to the BLF.

 

And finally, if we spend three years of our lives driving, then the inside of a car is inevitably a place where we do the most human of things – and risk becoming distracted by them in the process:

Most distracted moments

33 times crying while at the wheel

51 arguments with passengers

60 meals eaten

81 kisses shared

112 times we’ve sung-along with the radio

122 times we’ve daydreamed.

The real question for learners is, judged on your short driving career so far, how many of these ‘moments’ have you experienced to date?

Stick to the rules of the road in future…

… by learning your Highway Code inside out now. Sign up to Theory Test Pro here for free.

 

Couple kissing © Ollyy/Shutterstock

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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