First Post!

Hello, and welcome to my new blog page, I hope to bring interesting topics about the driver training industry, and any changes to the diving test or theory test to help keep you up to date.

I have been getting questions lately from my clients about the proposed change to the driving test called the independent drive element, this has begun on the UK mainland, and will not be used in Northern Ireland until sometime next year.

Independent driving should not be something for learners to worry about as instructors should be introducing clients to this type of driving anyway, all that is required is for the novice driver to drive a route without the instructor or the examiner calling out the directions I.E take the next road on the left, at the roundabout follow the road ahead etc. This element when introduced will last for about ten minutes, after which the examiner will continue to guide you

Distracted Driving Costs Lives

Distracted driving costs lives, by distracted here we are talking about using mobile phones whilst on the move, texting whilst driving, fiddling with entertainment controls, listening to loud music, adjusting satelite navigation systems, eating, drinking, really anything that can take your attention away from the task of controlling your vehicle along the road safely. have a look at the devastaion caused by inconciderate drivers and think to yourself, how could I live with myself knowing that just a moments distraction caused so much hurt, pain, and anguish to lives of others.
Go Here and be prepared to be shocked, you may need to have a tissue near

NIGHT TIME DRIVING

Driving at night is a much different experience than driving in daylight, for a start judging speed and distance can be more difficult at night as you have fewer reference points to use, and as well as that you are faced with the headlights of other motorists, another consideration is that you are likely also to be tired.

If we keep in mind a few points, then our night drive should be enjoyable: as there may be much less traffic around so we can enjoy the open roads.

Remember to turn on your headlamps, this should be done just before sunset, and keep them on until just after sunrise, this makes us much more visible in that half light in the morning time and in the evening when it is very difficult to judge speed and distance.

A good driver is like a good detective: always looking for clues, look well ahead to spot the clues, like the lights of oncoming vehicles lighting up the bend ahead, giving you that advance warning, or the lights of an oncoming vehicle disappearing, warning you of some dead ground in the distance, be aware that if the oncoming vehicle has not dipped his lights as they emerge from the dip you my be dazzled, so be prepared if this happens to look away towards the verge on the left hand side. Never ever be tempted to retaliate by flashing your own high beam at them, as two blind drivers travelling towards each other don’t bear thinking about, the consequences could be fatal.

On country roads provided that no one is approaching use your full beams be prepared to dip as others approach, when approaching a right hand bend you could leave the full beam on a little longer as it will sweep from left to right, on left hand bends you will have to dip sooner as your beam will sweep from right to left across the path of the oncoming driver.

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness, well so that we do not arrive unannounced before our allotted time, in front of our maker a little cleaning could go a long way, make sure that all the lenses of your lights are bright and clean and the bulbs are in working order,(tip always carry spare bulbs with you)

Also clean all of the windows, inside and out, as dirty windows can create glare from other vehicles and are more prone to steaming up, if you can dim the lights on the dashboard this will reduce eye strain, If you are on a long journey, plan rest breaks along the way and leave yourself plenty of time.

Stay safe out there.

Ken

Learning To Drive

The first thing to remember is to learn at your own pace and ensure that you do not book your test until you are ready. It is not wise to take the test after two or three hours of driving lessons. The first question that causes the problem here is that you will not be ready for the test and you will most likely not pass and you have just lost your money. You may feel as if you’re ready to pass the test on the proper completion of necessary manoeuvres, but most people overestimate their ability to execute these in the first week

Why take that risk, learning to drive can, with the right instructor actually be fun, and the sense of achievement when the examiner says those words that you have worked so hard for “I am pleased to tell that you have passed” is like no other feeling, why is that, well in most other exams you would be in a room full of other candidates, but on a driving test the exam room is moving, and you and the examiner are alone, and when they tell you that you have passed, the feeling of elation will stay with you for quite a while after. I know because we instructors, who care, share that feeling as we drive you home, it really is a punching the air moment.
Finding a good instructor who cares is not an easy task, there are many good instructors out there, but you need to find one that you can feel relaxed with, this may mean checking out several until you find the right match for you, the best way to find a good instructor is to ask for referrals from your friends. Find out from them how they got on with their instructor, and what kind of extra help was available for the theory test etc. did they get enough experience on different types of roads or did they just drive around test routes. Call up instructors and ask if they provide trial lessons so you can meet them. Remember you could be spending quite a lot of time with this person depending on how many lessons you need to learn to drive. Ask the instructor to show you his Approved Driving Instructors certificate; this proves that he/she is qualified by the DSA (UK) or the DVA (NI) to provide instruction for money.

It is essential to ensure sufficient time is devoted to your driving lessons, enough time to deal with as many situations as possible and to practice the skills and knowledge required to drive efficiently, you need time to learn the manoeuvres and be able to carry them out calmly. It is important that you take with your instructor, at least one mock driving test, to become familiar with the difference between a driving lesson and a drive test. It will be a chance for you to get a feel for what it is like to be on test. Your instructor will play the role of examiner and will stay silent except for giving you directions. This will prepare you for the different atmosphere in the car when you are with the examiner on test day, having experienced it with your instructor you should feel more relaxed and be able to demonstrate your driving skills.

You need to remember that we all learn at a different pace, so you will learn at a pace that suits you, do not get impatient with yourself, and do not fall into the trap of comparing your pace of learning with that of your peers, remember we are all unique. So don’t go booking your driving test after half a dozen lessons the fact is, that you will not be ready for the test and will lose your money, even worse when you do fail miserably it can knock your confidence right back. Sometimes people feel that just because they can carry out the manoeuvres well, that this is an indication of readiness for the test, not so, this is an over estimation. Be guided by your instructor they know what level of skill is required by the examiner.

Finding a good instructor is not always easy, you need to find one that you can feel relaxed with, this may mean trying several, ask for referrals from your friends, ask them how they got on with their instructor and what kind of help was given for the theory test etc. Call up instructors and ask if they provide trial lessons so you can meet them and see if you like the way they teach remember you could be spending anything from 6 to 12 months with this person depending on how many lessons you need to learn to drive. Ask the instructor to show you his Approved Driving Instructors certificate; this proves that he/she is qualified by the DSA (UK) or the DVA (NI) to provide instruction for money.

Ken further went onto explain the benefits of taking extra lessons once you have passed your theory and practical driving tests. By taking extra lessons you can increase your experience in the car and you will learn to drive in a wider variety of situations that you may not have covered in your driving lessons. Firstly you will cover driving on the motorway, which is something you cannot legally do as a learner.

We have passed our driving test, so what next? We have passed, but we have not had any experience driving on motorways, or long winding country roads, or maybe all our lessons were during daylight hours, did we do our lessons in summertime, and not have the opportunity to drive in heavy rain. The statistics tell us that the most vulnerable time for new drivers is during the first 250 miles they drive after their driving test, this is mainly due to that lack of experience

There are many ways of getting extra experience, you could for example use the pass plus system, or you could gain a recognised qualifications such as the Btec in driving science, or the NVQ level 3 Unit (Demonstrate safe driving) ask your instructor if they are qualified to offer these courses.
There are lots of advanced driving courses available in the driver training industry. These courses offer the opportunity for you to gain life saving experience with highly trained instructors. The benefits of gaining this extra experience after you have passed your driving test are invaluable. You will learn about defensive driving, which will not only keep you and your passengers much safer, but will also save you s on your fuel bill, it will also reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle thereby reducing your service bills. Many insurance companies are known offer discounts to those who have completed one of these courses.
Please drive safely out there on our roads, set the example for others to follow.

Looking to find the best deal on driving lessons, then visit www.kensschoolofmotoring.org to find the best advice on driving lessons for you.

Driving in Snow and Ice

In the winter time the weather conditions can change dramatically over a short space of time, it is worthwhile before leaving on a journey to listen to the local weather forecast, so that you can plan to keep yourself safe, if adverse weather is predicted consider if you can postpone your journey, or whether it would be wiser to use public transport, if none of these options are open to you, and heavy snow or ice are expected, the roads can become very slippery and icy over a short period of time, in these circumstances, it is important that you check your car out before you leave, make sure that the anti freeze in the water tank has been topped up, that your battery is ok, oil levels are fine and you have enough fuel in the tank to complete your round trip, and make sure the spare wheel is inflated and ready to use if needed. When there is sow and ice around, do not rush. If there is a place you must be on time, go early to allow sufficient margin for any delay due to ice on the road

You should also carry some emergency equipment to help you avoid trouble, some useful things that you should carry for example, a good shovel, some warm blankets, flasks with tea or coffee, snack bars, a torch, a fully charged mobile phone and if you can get your hands on them a couple of square feet of old carpet to put under the wheels to give you some traction if you do get stuck. With these items on board if you do get stuck, you may be able to dig yourself out. If you have to wait for a rescue vehicle to come, you can keep warm with the blankets and keep your core body temperature up with the warm drinks.

In these icy conditions it is essential that you keep your speed well down, as you will not have the traction needed to bring the car to a safe stop if you are travelling to fast. Talking about traction, keeping the speed down is a must, but that can create difficulties when climbing hills in these conditions, you may lose momentum and if you try to gain back some speed to keep going you might cause the wheels to spin and lose control, if this causes you to stop it may be difficult on the hill to get going again. Best if you assess the situation as you approach the hill, get into the appropriate gear before the hill, one that will take you all the way to the top, trying to change gear on an icy slope is very difficult, it take the lightest of touches on the pedals. Coming downhill, again you should change down to a lower gear well before you start going down the hill, engine compression will hold you back reducing the need for touching on the brakes.

If you have to remove ice from the windshield to ensure your visibility is not affected, do not use boiling water as you may crack the window, use an ice scraper or a good De-icer chemical. Keep the headlights and taillights of the car on; be sure to clean any ice or dirt from them, so other drivers can see you. .

When driving in snow or icy conditions all of our actions should be carried out with a light touch, avoid using any type of jerky movements during your drive, You should keep your speed well down and allow a very large braking distance between you and the vehicle in front. Do not make sudden movements of the steering wheel as this could cause you to slide, when making right turns off the road you are in consider stopping first, as this is a move that could also cause the car to slide away from you. If your journey is absolutely necessary then take it easy and slow, give yourself plenty of extra time to arrive safely at your destination.

If there is a slide, you should not overreact, remove your foot from the gas pedal and steer into the skid, wait until the car is back on track before using the brakes if required and then only very gently, or if you can, allow the car to roll slowly to the side of the road where you can regain your composure, only continue your journey when you feel more relaxed.

On each occassion, remain focussed on what you are doing, retain a safe distance from other vehicles, and always be conscious of their actions

You can consider public transport if your journey is essential Author Resource:- Looking to find the best deal on driving lessons, then visit www.kensschoolofmotoring.org' to find the best advice on passing your driving test in Belfast

New to Northern Ireland.

A brand new opportunity for drivers both young and not so young to gain a recognised BTEC LEVEL2 unit, called (demonstrate safe driving) this qualification is recognised by Edexcel, and employers.

Ken's School is among the first in Northern Ireland to offer this unique opportunity.

For the novice driver you can spread the course over your driver training period, for the qualified driver they can spend a few hours with our assessors to cover the
subjects required to pass the BTEC.

The cost to register with Edexcel for this course is £39.95, the good news is that on completion of the course insurance discounts are available especially to young drivers.

Contact ken for more details of this unique opportunity.

Urban myths about the driving test

Driving examiners are the spawn of the Devil.
Not true, they are human just like you and me.

Examiners have a quota of passes and fails per week,so if they have used up their pass quota by the time you get there they must fail you.

Not true, if you drive to the required standard you will pass.

You better not get Mr/Mrs XXXXX they fail everybody and he/she is a grumpy person who puts you off.
Not true.
These rumours are usually spread by candidates who have been ill prepared for the test and subsequently fail themselves and cannot take responsibility for their own short comings, therfore they blame the examiner.

I am not allowed to chat to the examiner during the test.
Not true.
If you are coping well with the test, and feel it would relax you to chat, and if the examiner feels that this is approriate for you, they may engage in chat, obviously the examiner is under no obligation to chat with you, they may feel that to do so in your case may distract you, examiners have a lot of experience in these matters and will conduct your test in a manner that is in your best interest, so do not feel uncomfortable if the examiner is quiet.

Your first two hundred and fifty miles,

Did you know that the first 250 miles you drive after you pass your driving test will be the most vunerable time of your driving career?

Passing the driving test is just the beginning, all that means is that you have achieved the minimum standard to be allowed on the road unsupervised

So take your time to gain experience, it takes about three years to become a competent driver, think about it, this is why the government do not allow anyone with less than three years experience to supervise with a learner driver.
Stay safe out there.

Free theory test modules

One of the best resourse online for preparing new drivers for life on the road can be found at www.driveiq.com these modules are very useful for new drivers, also contains education about how to be a responsible passenger, would highly recommend you have a look. Why not ask mum and dad to have a go they might find it useful if they plan to help with your driver education.