Category Archive: Learner Drivers

In-Car Cams: “Let Parents Monitor Your Driving to Reduce Risk”

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A new report says that young drivers’ cars should be fitted with dashcams that send back footage to parents to assess, in turn helping to drive down accident rates.

The question is though – would you let your folks remotely watch you drive? Your first reaction will most likely be “d’uh, no” at the idea of a parent or guardian monitoring your every move behind the wheel.

After all, the whole idea of driving for many new drivers is independence; an opportunity to start living your own life without adult supervision.

But as we highlighted last week, there are serious problems with new drivers. For instance, 33 are being banned every single day and more worryingly, 25% of people killed or seriously injured on our roads involve motorists between the ages of 17 and 24 – despite the 17-24 age group only representing seven percent of all licence holders.

Driven to distraction

To combat such figures, the RAC Foundation’s ‘Keeping Young Drivers Safe During Early Licensure’ report says installing a in-car camera would ensure young drivers are always aware they are under permanent supervision of their parents.

This would also deal with the difficult ‘catch-22’ situation many young drivers find themselves in; wanting to head out on to the road to get more experience but conversely, putting themselves at an increased risk because they don’t yet have enough experience.

This risk is increased further as young drivers are more prone to be distracted by their mobile phones – answering calls or responding to texts while on the move – and from young passengers. This is combined with other substantial risks including:

Curbing the risk

The RAC Foundation believes installing cameras inside cars would reduce risk: “Whilst teenagers may baulk at the idea of mum and dad effectively supervising their every trip,” says the RAC’s Steve Gooding, “a constant parental presence, delivered through technology, has been shown to moderate risky behaviour behind the wheel.”

To make the tech work, the UK could adopt the techniques of US schemes where the camera (in combination with telematics – see below) constantly records the driver but only stores and sends footage of an actual incident (and the lead up to it) to the parents for assessment.

“[Our] report doesn’t suggest that dash cam footage replaces Strictly or The Voice as regular Saturday night family viewing, but it does argue that greater parental appreciation of what their children get up behind the wheel can be beneficial.”
– Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

All change

The RAC’s Gooding also highlights the benefits of using such a camera in conjunction with telematics – a ‘black box’ typically provided by the driver’s insurer that monitors the motorist’s driving. This records whenever risky behaviour is detected such as sharp braking.

Another benefit of telematics is that it can help drive down the huge cost of young driver insurance premiums as well: the average cost of annual cover for a 17-year-old is £2,047 and £2,154 for 18-year-olds. Using telematics though can reduce this figure by up to £500.

The RAC’s Gooding points out: “Every parent of a young driver wants their child to drive safely without having to be in the car themselves, but through ‘black box’ telematics and dash cam technology, virtual supervision can have a big impact.”

Call for Graduated Licensing

The RAC Foundation though doesn’t want to stop there, instead believing that technology is only part of the answer. It also argues that the introduction of Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) should now be supported and rolled out. It’s an issue we highlighted this summer when the government revealed it was reassessing the GDL’s potential after previously rejecting it.

Such a scheme could introduce various restrictions including a ban on driving at night and giving young passengers a lift because of the distractions they can cause – and even the introduction of a second test after a two-year probation period.

Boxed in by big brother?

When you combine all these proposals – cameras, black boxes, GDLs – it may seem as if you could end up ‘under siege’ from adults virtually monitoring and assessing your every driving move. But there is a bigger issue at play here – your life and the lives of other road users.

Bottom line is that existing accident figures won’t come down until further action is taken to ensure you, the next generation of drivers, are safer on Britain’s roads.

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33 New Drivers Are Losing Their Licence Every Day

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New research shows that 33 drivers are having their licence revoked every day with those aged between 17-24 making up two thirds of that shocking figure.

A Freedom of Information request made by the road safety charity, Brake, has uncovered that 11,953 new drivers had their licences taken off them in 2018 under the New Drivers Act 2018.

The Act states that any driver who attains six or more points within two years of passing their test will have their licence binned. The (now former) driver will then have to go through the entire training process again – from getting a new provisional licence through to passing the theory and practical tests.

According to Brake, there is an even bigger problem with the startling figures though – 62% of the new drivers who have been banned are aged between 17-24, something that is of huge concern to the charity who says the age group is more at risk when on our roads compared to many other age groups; while the 17-24 year olds only make up 7% of all licence holders, they represent a fifth of all drivers who are either seriously injured or killed on the UK’s roads.

Call for Graduated Driver Licensing

This has led to Brake reiterating its call for a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system to be introduced as soon as possible. While the government is currently considering GDL, Brake wants to see a raft of tough measures introduced as soon as possible that include:

• A minimum of 12 months spent learning to drive before tests can be taken

• A two-year ‘novice period’ once the learner has qualified to drive

• Restrictions on what they are allowed to do when behind the wheel during this period including a late-night driving curfew

• An instant ban if the driver commits any driving offences during the two-year period.

That may sound tough – and some have argued impractical – but Brake’s director of campaigns, Joshua Harris, believes it is “shocking that so many new drivers are racking up enough penalty points to have their licences revoked so soon after passing their test.

“It clearly demonstrates that we need to make our licensing system more robust so that when a driver passes their test, they have all the necessary tools and knowledge to drive safely on all roads and in all conditions.”

The Bottom Line

The data retrieved by Brake through its FOI request reveals a definitive and worrying trend for those aged between 17-24. For instance, in 2018, the number of new drivers banned were:

Age / Total No.
17  – 146
18 – 993
19 – 1,649
20 – 1,395
21 – 1,026
22 – 839
23 – 726
24 – 630.

Perhaps more concerning is that the number of new drivers being banned overall has grown over the past three years:

Year / Total No.
2016 – 9,367
2017 – 10,719
2018 – 11,953.

Whether you agree with Brake’s call for GDL or not, it is clear that something needs to change to reverse the trend – and ensure new drivers are better, safer drivers once they have torn up their L plates.

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Main image © West Midlands Police

Too Close for Comfort: How Two Seconds Could Save Your Life

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A new study by MOVE_UK and telematics company The Floow reveals that we are in the middle of a new epidemic in the UK.

After analysing over 8,500 hours and 100,000 miles of driving – that’s about the same as 60-year’s of driving – the new report reveals that British drivers are far worse at keeping their distance when out on the road than previously believed. They are creating dangerous conditions by failing to maintain a proper distance between their car and the ones in front and behind them as well as when changing lanes/cutting in. Combined, this dramatically increases the chances of having an accident.

Remember the code

Rule 126 of the Highway Code states you should:

• leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops. The safe rule is never to get closer than the overall stopping distance (see Typical Stopping Distances diagram below).

• allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic and in tunnels where visibility is reduced. The gap should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads.

Getting it deadly wrong
The report reveals that drivers are paying lip service to the code though and, in particular, that all-important two-second rule. For instance:

20%
of drivers cut in between cars, leaving less than a second between them and the car in front; this means other drivers – especially the person behind – have less reaction time.

1.35 second-gap
is the typical time being left by drivers traveling at 25mph or more; that’s not enough.

10x
more braking distance is required in icy or snowy conditions compared to dry conditions. According to the study, most drivers are ignoring this; the research shows motorists typically only increase their distance by two metres. Again, that’s nowhere near enough to match the recommended two extra seconds of distance.

And the sting in the tail? For those drivers who do leave a safe distance between themselves and the car in front, they are having their code-adhering driving ‘penalised’ by dangerous drivers who believe they can cut in because there is such a large space between the two cars.

What it means for you
According to Dr Sam Chapman, Chief Innovation Officer of The Floow, “because cutting in dangerously close to the car in front is rarely enforced as an offence, many drivers have developed some very bad habits.

“Though UK accident statistics are not available for this behaviour as a specific cause of collisions, the MOVE_UK findings would suggest that dangerous manoeuvres and tailgating has reached epidemic proportions in the UK. And without time to brake safely, accidents will happen.”

How to make sure you stay safe

Remember, the faster you’re travelling, the longer it takes for your car – and you – to stop. It’s not just about stopping the car either but your reaction time as well.

To help stick to stopping distances, always adhere to the two-second rule to help judge the distance between you and the car in front (and adjust it depending on weather conditions). If you’re struggling to count, use a roadside object; when the car in front passes the object, check if there is two seconds between them passing it and you passing it.

If you are considering changing lanes and moving in between two cars when on a dual carriageway or a motorway, always consider the gap you’re moving into – is it big enough that the car behind won’t have to apply their brakes to avoid a collision with you?

“Drivers need to start taking control and adhering to the rules that have been in place since the 1970s,” says Dr Chapman. “You’d fail your driving test if you cut in without leaving a safe gap. Our research demonstrates that drivers need to respect safe distances throughout their driving years – not just when they’re taking their test.”

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Meet the ADI: David Chalmers

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Based in Fife, 49-year-old David Chalmers has been a driving instructor for nearly 15 years, covering the Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy test centre areas.

Here he talks about the highs and lows of being a driving instructor, why students need to talk up during lessons, and why becoming a driving instructor proved such a challenge for him.

Why did you make the move into instructing?
I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after leaving school; I’d been a butcher, a mature student and worked in a telecommunications factory. It was only in 2004 when I started helping the factory’s training department that I discovered I loved working one-to-one with people.

Being a driving instructor should have been the obvious choice as my dad was one for over 30 years. Honestly though, I hadn’t really given it much thought and was put off a bit by the fact it wasn’t unusual for my dad to do 55 lessons a week. Also, I wasn’t really into driving or cars but I did love the idea of working closely with pupils.

So after a chat with my dad and some research, I decided to give it a go and did my training in between my factory shifts. Heading over to Edinburgh to do two hours of training after a nightshift was very hard – I gave up a few times in my head – but stuck at it and passed my part 3 on the first attempt in 2005.

What kind of ADI are you?
A few years ago, I would have said I had a fairly modern approach, keeping a tight reign until the pupil gained control before allowing them to rely on their own judgment. Over the last few years, I’ve tried slanting my approach so it’s about getting the pupils more involved, getting them talking about their worries about driving, what they find easy, what they find challenging, and so on, right from the first lesson. Overall I’d say I am patient and don’t get grumpy or awkward with my pupils. I like a calm car and building up a great rapport with the pupil is a key skill of mine.

What is your teaching style?
I’d say I keep things very simple. In the early years, my throat would go with all the talking I was doing, showing the pupil how intelligent I was using my big driving instructor terms and phrases! Now I just let them tell me what they need to know.

For example, my intro controls lesson would usually take 45 minutes. It now takes half that time and the pupil does most of the talking. So I’d say I mix the modern and the traditional styles of teaching, creating my own!

I love the freedom the job brings – if I need a weekend off, I can have it. I can cut my hours in the summer and do extra in the winter. It’s just so flexible. Meeting new people every hour is also great. As for my least fave part of the job, I hate cleaning the car – but I’ve bought a new pressure washer so hopefully that’ll take the edge off!”
– David on the favourite and least favourite parts of his job.

What advice would you give to students to ensure they get the most out of their lessons?
They need to engage in the process fully – some students can sit and just wait to be talked at! They also need to think about driving through out the week, watching family and friends drive, asking about other folks’ lessons, and so on. The ones who are interested and keen are usually the most receptive and do well.

You are a member of an ADI group that meets up a lot – why?
I’ve recently started attending our local group, but I also have a few local instructors who I’m friends with. It can be a lonely job so meeting up with other instructors to bounce ideas off or even just listen helps a lot.

If you want to create your own group, I’d say get a committee, have an agenda at each meeting and try and stick to it. It is really easy to go off track and cover the same ground multiple times. Also invite the local council roads department and driving examiners along – it becomes a better job if we can all work together.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
It has always baffled me that someone can learn to drive and pass a driving test without having ever driven at night or on motorways. Pupils should be attending their test with a logbook signed off by an instructor, saying they have done x hours at night, x hours on faster moving roads, x hours on country lanes, etc.

I like what the DVSA is trying to introduce at the moment by encouraging learners to get more practice. If the Pacenotes app takes off, that might help and I am currently trialling it. There are questions though – such as how do you facilitate a logbook? I don’t know the answer to that yet.

Finally, as a user of Theory Test Pro, how do you find the system helps your students?
Theory Test Pro gives me an edge in my lessons. I can help pupils by tracking their progress plus as soon as they know they are being watched, they improve 50%! It’s also a great marketing tool for attracting new business plus great value.

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New Official App Helps Learners Be Better Drivers (& Save Money)

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The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recently unveiled its brand new app, PaceNotes, to help you learn to be a better, safer driver before you qualify.

The learner driver ‘assistant’ encourages students to spend more time learning, rather than rushing to get the test done and dusted. Available on Android and iOS, the app uses telematics technology to track how long a learner has spent driving. This also includes experience on different road types and in differing driving conditions (for instance, whether it was dark or pouring down – but as this is Britain, both at the same time inevitably).

Critically, these times are recorded and can then be viewed by the learner and their ADI, helping to spot any areas where the pupil might still need more experience (as well as highlighting any driving achievements).

Bottom line benefits

Best of all, if the learner clocks up over 40 hours of lessons/private practice on the app, they will qualify for a discount on their first full telematics-based motor insurance policy; the DVSA reckons that could lop off £120 per year from the cost of a premium.

The new app’s ultimate goal is to help learners be safer drivers once they’ve actually qualified – which can only be good news. For instance, research shows that young drivers are five times more likely to be in a collision in England than senior citizens. The DVSA believes that learners committing more time to lessons/private practice before they go for a test is the best way to drive down such worrying figures.

Instructors needed

While learners use the app to track their driving, instructors also play a key role. They can sign up to the service for free and view their students’ results using the web-based PaceNotes dashboard (available here). According to driving instructor Chris Bensted (who has been featured in our Meet the ADI blog), the system is beneficial for a host of reasons.

“PaceNotes allows me to encourage and support my pupils with their private practice while helping me to keep track of what they’ve done,” Chris writes in a blog for the DVSA. “We can then talk about this during lessons, looking at the factors that may have influenced their drive and rating. I’ve been surprised at their honesty and openness to rating their own drive, and it’s benefited their driving massively.”

Parent friendly

Critically, Chris reckons it’s an ideal way in which to engage with the learner’s parents who are often left at the side of the road when it comes to their kid’s driver education: “Parents often pay for lessons and it’s hard for us to demonstrate to them the skills and knowledge we’ve taught their son or daughter during the lesson. The PaceNotes app helps me to do this.”

• To learn more how the app and instructor functionality works, head to the PaceNotes FAQ here.

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Revealed: Top 8 Most Failed Theory Test Questions

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Theory Test Pro has dived into its results database to uncover the most failed theory test questions.

Test your own Highway Code knowledge by checking if you know the answers to the top questions our users fail to get right when practising. The correct answers are listed at the bottom of this blog post. Good luck!

1. Safety Margins

“Overall stopping distance is made up of thinking distance and braking distance. You’re on a good, dry road surface, with good brakes and tyres. What’s the typical braking distance from 50 mph?”

a) 14 metres (46 feet)
b) 24 metres (80 feet)
c) 38 metres (125 feet)
d) 55 metres (180 feet).

2. Rules of the Road

“Where may you overtake on a one-way street?”

a) Only on the left-hand side
b) Overtaking isn’t allowed
c) Only on the right-hand side
d) On either the right or the left.

3. Rules of the Road

“When can you park on the right-hand side of a road at night?”

a) When you’re in a one-way street
b) When you have your sidelights on
c) When you’re more than 10 metres (32 feet) from a junction
d) When you’re under a lamppost.

4. Accidents

“A casualty isn’t breathing normally and needs CPR. At what rate should you press down and release on the centre of their chest?”

a) 10 times per minute
b) 120 times per minute
c) 60 times per minute
d) 240 times per minute.

5. Alertness

“What should you do before making a U-turn?”

a) Give an arm signal as well as using your indicators
b) Check road markings to see that U-turns are permitted
c) Look over your shoulder for a final check
d) Select a higher gear than normal.

6. Motorway Rules

You’ve broken down on a motorway. In which direction should you walk to find the nearest emergency telephone?

a) With the traffic flow
b) Facing oncoming traffic
c) In the direction shown on the marker posts
d) In the direction of the nearest exit.

7. Safety Margins

In good conditions, what’s the typical stopping distance at 70 mph?

a) 53 metres (175 feet)
b) 60 metres (197 feet)
c) 73 metres (240 feet)
d) 96 metres (315 feet).

8. Vulnerable Road Users

Where should you never overtake a cyclist?

a) Just before you turn left
b) On a left-hand bend
c) On a one-way street
d) On a dual carriageway.

The Answers

1. C – 38 metres (125 feet)
2. D – on either the right or the left
3. A – when you’re in a one-way street
4. B – 120 times per minute
5. C – look over your shoulder for a final check
6. C – in the direction shown on the marker posts
7. D – 96 metres (315 feet)
8. A – just before you turn left.

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Are Graduated Driving Licences Set to Become a Reality?

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The idea of graduated driving licenses for learners – a probationary licence with restrictions – has been floated before but shelved after concerns were raised about the impact it would have on new drivers’ working lives. But the government has now promised to reassess the idea.

Not being able to drive after dark; not being able to drive with passengers under a certain age in the car; having to take another test at the end of a two-year probation period. These are all restrictions that have been put forward by advocates of graduated driver licensing (GDL) in the past.

And now it’s back as the government believes GDL could help reduce the number of new drivers crashing in their first year of motoring, which currently stands at a worrying one in five.

Freedom curtailed?
The main reason for past outcries over GDL has been concerns about the impact on young people and their ability to get to and from work or college.

For instance, if your work shift finishes after, say, 10pm and your licence forbids you from driving at night, how do you get back home? How are you expected to keep your job for that matter?

Despite such concerns, the Department of Transport has signalled that GDL is now back on the agenda, and it aims to build an evidence base for how they might work in practise.

We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing, or aspects of it, can help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”
– Michael Ellis, Road Safety Minister.

Industry backing
The idea of GDL has been broadly welcomed by the instructor community – but not as the complete solution. For instance, the Driving Instructors Association (DIA) states that while GDL is a good idea in theory, it shouldn’t be introduced in isolation. Instead, the DIA believes that GDL must be part of a more ‘holistic approach’.

This would still see GDL introduced but combined with the introduction of new compulsory elements in the learning process, “such as motorway driving, rural roads, night time driving and driving with distraction before the test, rather than seeking to merely restrict exposure post test.”

However GDL is finally incorporated, it’s clear that the possibility of its introduction is continuing to grow, although it will take time and consultations before any scheme is implemented. Perhaps the real question here is no longer if graduated driving licenses will be introduced – but how, when and in what form.

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Revealed: Top 10 Faults Made in the New Driving Test

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The revised driving test is proving tough for learners – here are the top driving faults made in the new test’s first year that could result in an instant fail.

Introduced in 2017, the new driving test saw a host of changes and introductions. From the use of sat nav and an extended independent driving section to the new and controversial pulling-up-on-the-right manoeuvre, the changes have transformed the driving test forever.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has now revealed where the new test is tripping up learners by unveiling the top 10 driving faults made during the first year of the test being used. These are:

1. Junctions (observations)
2. Mirrors (change direction)
3. Control (steering)
4. Junctions (turning right)
5. Move off (safely)
6. Response to signs (traffic lights)
7. Move off (control)
8. Positioning (normal driving)
9. Response to signs (road markings)
10. Reverse park (control).

Fault Lines
The DVSA has revealed that not using mirrors effectively and not observing correctly at junctions accounted for a whopping 368,047 test failures in the first year of the test. Remember, such faults can be classed as serious/dangerous (major) and triggers an instant fail – for more details, check out our A to Z of passing the test here.

More worryingly, the top 10 faults echo the real world reasons for accidents with the DVSA stating that ‘39% of all accidents in Great Britain in 2017 were a result of a driver failing to look properly’.

Failing to look properly at junctions is the most common serious or dangerous test fault and the largest cause of accidents in Britain. Good observation, including proper use of mirrors, is a crucial skill that drivers must learn.”
– Mark Winn, Chief Driving Examiner, DVSA.

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Image © Aaron Van Dike

The A-Z of Learning to Drive & Passing Your Test

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What’s an ADI? What does a green badge mean? Do you fail if you make a minor fault? What’s the pass mark for the theory test? We’ve got the answers to all these questions – and everything else.

A

ADI
It’s an Approved Driving Instructor who the DVSA (see below) says is qualified to teach you – and of course charge you for the privilege.

B

Bay Parking
During the practical driving test, you may be asked to park in a bay – either by reversing in and driving out/driving in and reversing out of it.

Block Bookings
If you book and pay for a bunch of driving lessons upfront, you could land yourself a discount. Best to do an individual lesson with the instructor though before block booking – you need to make sure you work well together. See ‘Vetting’.

C

Code of Practice
The list of standards drawn up by the DVSA that your ADI must stick to when managing their business and most importantly, you – check out the full code here.

Complaint
If your ADI is not sticking to the above list, make a complaint directly to the DVSA – a complaint can be made here.

‘CRB’ Checked
Concerned your instructor might have a dodgy background? Don’t worry as all qualified instructors must have passed a Criminal Records Bureau check before being allowed to teach.

D

Driving Examiner
They’re the ones who monitor and assess your driving during the practical test; don’t be scared of them – they don’t bite. Promise.

via GIPHY

Dual Controls
Some instructors offer cars with pedals on the passenger side too, meaning the ADI can intervene quickly if you’re about to drive into the back of a lorry.

DVSA
That’s the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to you, responsible for the driving test as well as a host of other safety-related roles and much more besides.

Driving Test Report
Pass or fail, at the end of the test, you will receive a feedback form from your examiner, detailing what you did right – and what you did wrong. Here’s what they look like.

E

Emergency Stop
During the test, you may be asked to stop your car quickly and safely when the examiner signals for you to do so. Top tips here.

F

Fail
You’ll fail your theory test if you don’t get 43 or more out of 50 in the multiple choice section or 44 or more out of 75 in the hazard perception test. In the practical test, 15 minor faults or a major fault will land you with a fail.

Flag
Can’t think of the answer to one of the questions during the multiple choice section of the theory test? Then mark it with a flag and come back to it later.

G

Green Badge
Check your instructor’s windscreen for their green badge – it means they’re fully qualified.

Grade
Remember to ask your instructor what their grade is – an ADI will either be Grade A (high standard of instruction) or Grade B (satisfactory standard of instruction).

H

Hazard Perception Test
The second part of the two-parter theory test, you’ll need to watch 14 video clips and click when you spot an emerging hazard – head here to learn how to click your way to theory test success.

Highway Code
The official rules of the UK’s roads covering lane use and road signs (and everything in between). In other words, it’s essential and thankfully, all Theory Test Pro users have full access to the online version.

I

Independent Driving
During the practical test, you will be asked to drive under your own steam for about 20 minutes, following directions from a sat nav or traffic signs to a specific location.

Intensive Driving Course
Cram your learning into a series of days, not weeks – check out our list of pros and cons here.

J

Jargon
What’s DSSSM? POM? Or SCALP?! They’re essential driving routines that you need to learn to help pass your test. Check out our guide for more details.

K

Kerb
Hit one hard enough (or even mount it) during your test and you could be looking at a major fault – an instant fail.

L

Licence
Before you can begin learning to drive, you’ll need a green provisional licence (apply for one here). Pass both your theory and practical driving tests and you can apply for a full licence here.

L-Plates
Put these on the front and back of you car whenever you are behind the wheel.

M

Major Fault
During the practical test, expect an instant fail if you perform a major fault (serious/dangerous); this is where the examiner deems that you have done something dangerous or posed a danger to yourself and other road users/property.

Minor Fault
This is a driving fault that is not deemed dangerous (unless you keep making the same mistake and it might be upgraded to a serious fault). You can notch up to 15 minor faults before you will be failed.

Manoeuvre
During your practical test, you will be asked to perform one of three manoeuvres to test your car control and observation skills simultaneously; these are pulling up on the right, parking in a bay or parallel parking.

Multiple Choice Questions
There are 50 of them in the first half of your theory test and you need to get at least 43 right to pass.

Motorways
Since 2018, learners have been allowed to head out on to motorways to practise – as long as you’re with an ADI who has a dual-controlled car.

N

‘Numpties’
Occasionally during a driving lesson, you may come across drivers who get angry at learner drivers because they’re impatient *******s. If this does happen, try to stay focused on driving. If you prefer, ask your instructor if you can pull over to let said numpty past.

via GIPHY

O

Onwards (& Upwards)
Failed your test? Don’t give up – get up, brush yourself down and go talk to your instructor about what went wrong.

P

P-Plates
They’re like L-plates but green, white (and voluntary); slap them on your car once you’ve passed and they let other road users know that you’re still a newb – and to cut you some slack. Downside? See ‘Numpties’.

Parallel Parking
Reverse and park up behind a parked vehicle. Simple in theory, tricky in practise.

Pass Plus
Take this six hour-plus voluntary course to hone your skills in key areas such as night driving, all-weather motoring and motorway mastering. Pass it and you could enjoy a discount on your insurance. More details here.

Pull Up
A controversial new manoeuvre introduced into the test in 2017, which sees you pulling up on the right and reversing backwards.

Q

Quiz
Use apps like Theory Test Pro to practise your theory test including both the multiple choice questions and the Hazard Perception Test. Click here for more details.

R

Refresher Course
Had a long break between lessons? Then take one of these to get yourself back up to speed.

Reverse Around a Corner
Like the three-point turn (see below), this manoeuvre is no longer part of the driving test but it’s still essential for everyday driving so make sure your instructor trains you how to do it.

S

Sat Nav
Now part of the practical driving test so best to get familiar with one before the test.

This is the very sat nav used in the test!

Show Me, Tell Me Questions
Expect to be asked a ‘tell me’ question at the beginning of the practical test – you will be expected to explain how you would carry out a safety task. During the test, you will then be asked a ‘show me’ question, where you must show how you would carry out a safety task. Click here for a list of the questions and answers.

Stall
If you happen to stall the car during the test, you won’t automatically fail the test so take a deep breath, check your mirrors and move off again. Keep stalling though and even manage to create a dangerous situation because of it and the examiner will fail you.

Supervising driver
If you’re being taught by a family member or friend, they need to have held a full licence for three years, be over the age of 21 and not be distracted while supervising. For instance, they must not use a mobile, sleep or be drunk or they could be done.

T

Test Centre
It’s where the theory test is held plus where your practical driving test will start and finish.

Theory Test
You’re going to need to pass this before you are allowed to book your practical test. The theory test is made up of two sections – first, 50 multiple choice questions  and second, the hazard perception test.

Theory Test Pro
Double your chances of theory test success with the UK’s leading theory test learning aid. Click here for more details.

Turn in the Road
Known by learners as the ‘dreaded three-point turn’, any right-minded instructor will insist that you learn how to turn your car in the road properly even if the manoeuvre isn’t part of the practical test anymore.

U

‘Useless’
Sometimes we think we’re not good enough to pass. Ignore those doubts – instead build up your confidence by taking a ‘one lesson at a time’ approach. Your instructor will let you know when you are ready for your test.

V

Vetting
Make sure you vet your driving instructor properly; are they an ADI? What is their reputation online? Could a friend refer one? Remember, you’re about to spend a ton of money on them so do your research. More info here.

W

Wing Mirrors
Check they’re positioned correctly before driving off in your test plus make sure you keep using them when driving or when asked to carry out a manoeuvre.

Wallet
A provisional licence costs £34 if you apply online (£43 if you do it by post), the theory test costs £23 and the practical test costs £62 (weekdays).

X

‘Xtra’ Time
If you feel that you need more time to hone your driving skills, then tell your instructor and they can advise you on your progress and next steps. Remember, there is no rush to book your test.

Y

You
Be nice to yourself and treat yourself with respect. Learning to drive and taking the test is a big – but surmountable – challenge, so don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time. Put the work in and it will pay off.

Z

Zzzzz
Make sure you get to bed early the night before the test so you’re wide awake for it! If you’re super stressed then read our top advice for dealing with test nerves here.

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Main image © Paul Inkles

Sleep Image © Planet ChopStick

The Quiz That’s Baffling Drivers: Just Who Has Right of Way?

Comments Off on The Quiz That’s Baffling Drivers: Just Who Has Right of Way?

This quiz set by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads in Australia has left drivers confused about which car has priority – how about you?

The quiz depicts an orange car waiting at a ‘Give Way’ sign in a slip road, indicating that it intends to turn left. In the meantime, the red car is is turning right and will head down the same road that the orange car wants to pull out on to.

The key to figuring out the right answer are the traffic lights; many drivers believe that the red light near the red car means that it should not being moving at all and that the orange car should have priority. Alas, they are not being observant enough.

Pay attention
That red light is actually for cars heading west/east, meaning that the north/south-facing red car is in fact not jumping a red light. Instead, cast an eye down to the green light – that’s the one that the red car is observing, allowing the car to turn out into the road if all is clear.

Not that the lights issue has helped as one driver wrote on the road authority’s Facebook page: “The lights are a little bit confusing. The orange does have to give way – but if the light is red on the red car and they’re over the solid line, it looks like they’re trying to run the red light and orange still has to give way regardless of the fact that there’s a green light at their intersection.”

Down under up here
Like in the UK, Aussie drivers who are stopped at Give Way sign must wait for other traffic to pass before safely pulling out.

As Department of Transport and Main Roads explains: “The orange car must give way to the red car. The red car is turning right at the intersection, and has to give way to all oncoming traffic, except a vehicle turning left using a slip lane.”

Driving well is not just about going when you have a green traffic light, it is also about making sure it is safe to go and allowing for any indiscretion made by other road users. To share the roads successfully, we need to work together and pay attention to each other, allowing for mistakes and realising that just because you think you are in the right does not mean that someone else has interpreted the situation in the same way as you.”
– Rebecca Ashton, IAM RoadSmart Head of Driver Behaviour, to the Sun newspaper.

Aussies got form
It’s worth pointing out that Australian authorities and driving associations have a track record for confounding drivers with their quizzes. They regularly post online conundrums that have gone viral as people argue over who is right and wrong – can you crack the following finest Aussie driving quizzes?

In what order do these cars have priority?

Full answer here. Picture via RACQ.

Who should give way?


Full answer here. Picture via Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland).

Who should give way when merging into this single lane?


Full answer here. Picture via WA Transport.

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