Mirror Mirror on the Door…

Check those door mirrors before you move.

It’s been a week where a lot of people have been getting ready to take the driving test. As we prepare for the big day with some busy town drives driving schools nottingham door mirrorsit has brought to light how neglected the faithful door mirrors can be by learners and the more seasoned driver.
It’s important to link the use of door mirrors with space. Not space as in the final frontier but the road space you are about to drive into. Space comes in different varieties.
Safe space is a part of the traffic flow that is OK to move into. In order to know that the space is safe down the side of the car you drive when changing lanes you need to look in the door mirror as well as the internal rear view mirror. Make sure the mirror you check is at the side you are about to move into. Not much point checking the left mirror when changing lanes to the right. Not much point checking the left blind spot before moving off from a normal position.
Contested or closing space is where another vehicle wants to move into the bit of road you intend to use. If you see a car closing in you may need to check the mirrors over a longer period of time to see the movement of the other vehicle and anticipate what’s going to happen. Don’t make it one long look. That would effect steering which is not good. Use a few short glances and keep returning your attention to the road ahead.

Check the blind spot like your driving instructor taught you.

When you want to move left or right around parked cars check the door mirrors first. They are not to be used only before signalling though this is important. Changing lanes may also require a tiny glance into the blind spot over the right shoulder, often neglected by the learner driver. Don’t look for too long. My car nearly ploughed into a wall once from a learner turning their head and staring behind.
If you are moving off in lanes of traffic check both door mirrors for any cyclists or motorbikes filtering through. Some people will often pull a hasty three point turn to escape the traffic jam. A biker buddy of mine went flying over the bonnet Superman style and ended up with a neck brace and three weeks off work because of this. A mirror check before moving would have prevented this.
Regard the door mirrors as your friends. They are there to help you make the right decision. Don’t ignore them but keep them clean and nicely adjusted. They will help look after you and those around you.

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Double Yellow Lines and Parking Fines

Park safely when you’re popping to the shop.

Plans are being made to allow short term parking on double yellow lines. You can drop off and pick up passengers on these lines but not actually stop and wait. Local shops on the high street suffer when drivers cannot stop to shop. People don’t seem to want to park somewhere else and then walk back to the shop. Time is money and with the daily demands of life people just haven’t got the time. It’s got to be out of the car and into the shop.

Sometimes it would be handy to be able to leave your car for a couple of minutes to go to the shop but the risk of a parking fine puts people off. It’s easier to shop online or go to the major supermarkets where you can park safely. Local economies would receive a big boost if drivers were allowed to park for a short time. just long enough to get what they need and go. People don’t really browse in small shops so these things rarely take long.

Many double yellow lines no longer need to be there and room could be made for short stay parking bays. Care needs to be taken on where these lines are driving instructors nottingham yellow linesremoved from. They are placed on the road for safety reasons where there is not enough room to stop and sight lines are very short due to bends and surrounding buildings.

Look before you open the car door.

Pulling up in a busy area with pedestrians and shops has it’s own dangers. Take care where you leave your vehicle and make sure others can pass before you switch the engine off. Make sure you are parked straight and close to the kerb.

Look out for pedestrians, especially children as you pull in. It’s common to see people walking out of shops and onto the road while texting or talking on a mobile phone and not really looking at what’s going on. Take it slow and sound the horn if necessary.

Mind how you open the door. Check the mirror before getting out and pay particular attention to approaching cyclists. Motorbikes can be hard to see and opening a car door in front of them can be fatal. It may be better to slide across the seats and get out of the passenger side.

If you park in a marked bay make sure you are fully inside it. Nothing gets people annoyed more than a car straddling two bays.

Allowing parking near local shops is a good thing. It might bring the high street back but there are definite safety issues to consider. Use your common sense and keep your eyes open and it’ll all go smoothly.

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Keep Cool While You Deal With Emergency Vehicles

Don’t panic when you see those blue lights

It can be one of the most stressful things to happen to learner drivers on a driving test. Sirens blaring and blue lights flashing in the rear view mirror. The most important thing to do is stay calm.

It’s often the case that you hear the siren before you see where it’s coming from. Don’t take your eyes off the road and start looking over your driving lessons nottingham emergency vehiclesshoulder. This can lead to accidents. All will be revealed if you carry on and allow the situation to develop. It’s important to keep driving as normal. The emergency vehicle might not even be going your way.

Keep going until the vehicle pops up in your mirrors or you can see it through the windscreen. When you see it anticipate where the vehicle is going and decide if you will need to stop. If you do then take a breath and choose a safe place to pull up. Whatever you do, don’t blindly stop just anywhere.

Keep calm and listen to your driving instructor.

Lots of learners pull up opposite a parked vehicle and don’t leave enough room for the ambulance to get through. A common mistake on driving tests. This makes the problem worse. Keep moving until you find a good spot .

Forcing your car up the kerb onto the pavement is not a good idea. I see plenty of people overdo this. It can damage your tyres and ruin the suspension of your car. If you do have to pull up on the kerb do it slowly and make sure you check for pedestrians first.

Finally, remember you’re not allowed to break the law to clear the way for emergency vehicles in heavy traffic. If you must go over the stop line at a red light. Check first for opposing traffic and only go out as much as necessary. If it looks dangerous wait for the green light.

Braking the speed limit and driving down bus lanes during their hours of operation remain illegal even under these circumstances. Keep calm, pick your spot to pull over and do it carefully. It’s bad form to overtake people who pulled over for emergency vehicles. Hold back and let them move off again. Good manners cost nothing and keep everyone happy.

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Drivers Versus Cyclists – A Question of Attitude

Cyclists and drivers should love each other more.

With more and more cycles competing for road space with cars and other vehicles it is no surprise that people on both sides can get annoyed. I had a pupil taking driving lessons in Nottingham with me who hated cars when she was cycling and hated cycles when she was driving. Not a healthy attitude at all.

The way new drivers approach cyclists on the road during lessons falls into two categories.

Some pupils actually moan when faced with the prospect of overtaking a bike. They become tense at the wheel and seem aggressive as if they actually driving schools nottingham cyclistsresent the cyclist being there.

The driving task does become more complicated when you have to overtake a cyclist but this is no reason to get annoyed. The new driver will tend to go way too close to the cyclist instead of hanging back. Bikes can stop much quicker than cars so leave enough stopping distance.

Driving straight round a cyclist no matter how little room there is can also be a problem. You need to pick your spot to go around. Make sure you can move to the right enough and get back to your own side in time to avoid oncoming traffic. You need to time it right so you don’t pass opposite a central reservation. There’s simply not enough room.

Some learners can be too cautious which leads to other complications.

Look out for cyclists when learning to drive.

Don’t hang behind a cyclist forever. Cars will queue behind and have to overtake both you and the bike. Go round first chance you get which can be difficult on country roads. When you pull out leave enough room so the cyclist can swerve if necessary. You don’t need to shift all the way to the other side of the road.

Cyclists can make it easier on themselves and drivers. Don’t weave from the pavement to the road and back again. Red lights mean stop even if you are on a bike, a lot of people seem to forget that one. Look for indicators before passing cars on the left. There’s lots you can do to help the overall traffic situation.

If we all take a more co-operative attitude we can reduce stress levels and make the roads a nicer place to be.

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Don’t Be a CLOD While Driving on the Motorway

The police have been given new powers to crack down on drivers who are lane hogging and tailgating while driving on the motorway.

CLODS can really get in the way!

CLODS or Centre Lane Owner Drivers as they are called, are people who never pull back to the left hand lane of the motorway after overtaking. Instead they stay in the centre lane forcing drivers who wish to overtake into the right hand lane and making it difficult for large vehicles to overtake.

You should always pull back to the left after passing vehicles as this makes best use of road space and allows for a freer flow of traffic. You may motorway driving lessons nottinghamalso tempt people to pass you in the left hand lane by staying in the centre lane which can be very dangerous. I always teach about this during motorway driving lessons in Nottingham.

If you can see a slower moving vehicle in the left lane and it will be a short time before you reach it then by all means do overtake and then pull back in afterwards. If it will take a while to reach it then move to the left and move back to the middle lane to pass it when you are closer.

Practise on the motorway with a driving school.

When passing a joining slip road it can be best to stay in the centre lane to allow traffic to merge in on the left. Pull back over after the junction when traffic has finished merging. You’ll need to look well ahead if you see a service station and watch for people leaving and re-joining the motorway. Check your left door mirror when you are passing a slip road. Joining cars can be easily hidden in your blind spot. Speed up or slow down to give them a gap. You can move over to let them in as long as there isn’t a CLOD in the way.

Tailgating is driving too close to the car in front for prolonged periods of time. This can be deadly. Always allow a two second time gap between you and the vehicle you are following. At high speeds it would be best to leave even more. If a vehicle pulls in front of you then check mirrors and make sure you drop back to reinstate the two second gap. If the surface of the road is wet then make it four seconds

Young or inexperienced drivers can commit these offences through ignorance rather than wilful bad driving. You can’t drive on the motorway as a learner as they are not included on driving test routes so you don’t gain any experience until after the test, often unaccompanied. It’s a good idea to take some lessons on a motorway before you drive on your own.

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Learning the Driving Test Routes

driving instructors nottingham test routes

It seems appealing to some learners to find a driving instructor who places great emphasis on teaching mainly test routes. You may feel that this will increase your chances of a first time pass on the driving test in the fewest number of lessons possible. There is great danger in this approach.

Don’t just learn on driving test routes

I can always tell when a pupil has been trained mainly on test routes.

They feel nervous when asked to drive on unfamiliar roads. This fear can go on after the test leading to people only driving on roads they know when the weather is nice. Driving is all about freedom to go wherever you want so you need the confidence that comes from experience. You need to learn on busy roads to deal with things such as emergency vehicles.

I may ask a pupil if they have covered roundabouts as we drive up to one. Their reply is often “I haven’t done this one”. The idea is that you are taught the basic rules of all roundabouts so that you can deal with any roundabout at any time. Not to simply go around one or two that happen to be on the local test route. You will have problems later on if this is how you learned.

Gain plenty of experience during your driving lessons.

Driving lessons can be extremely boring if all done in the same area. You need variety if you are to remain interested and grow as a driver. Longer lessons may be needed to go further afield but remember that you are investing in your future safety. Doing the work now will pay dividends later.

There is always a chance on the big day that you will go off a test route due to road works or high volumes of traffic. Finding yourself in unfamiliar territory can really knock your confidence and lead to mistakes.

In short, make sure you get good practice on all different types of roads. You’ll find the driving test much easier and your driving will be up to a good standard when you’re out there on your own. Go for it!

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Which car do you want to learn in?

It’s the Driving Instructor that counts, not the car.

It seems when picking an instructor that a lot of new pupils are looking to learn in a particular make and model of car. Usually it’s something likedriving lessons nottingham carkeys an Audi or a Mini. If you are looking to take driving lessons in Nottingham then there are more important things to think about than which car you will be using.

Ask yourself how much you actually know about cars. Most people get their info from family and friends who are not really experts in the field.

Learning in an expensive model of car is a poor choice if the instructor is not up to scratch. Remember you are buying tuition, not the status of driving a certain make of car.

If you do learn in a prestige car you may be more nervous about mishandling or even damaging it.

Chances are if you are a new driver you will not be in a position to buy an expensive car on passing your test. Your first car may seem like a bit of a shed by comparison.

Lesson prices may be more expensive to cover the cost of the tuition vehicle.

It’s the quality of the driving lessons, not the school car.

Your overall aim is to obtain your driving licence and be a competent driver at the end of your course so make sure you put this at the top of your priority list. Even if taking intensive driving lessons.

Obviously you will need to be comfortable when learning so the driving school car will need to be a decent size. It should be reasonably clean inside and out and be in good mechanical condition. Other than that there is nothing to worry about.

I use a Skoda Fabia as it is roomy and smooth to drive. Some of my pupils prefer it to more expensive cars they have used with other driving schools. Once you’ve passed your test you can have whatever car you like but up to then just don’t worry about it.

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Too Intense! – Learning to Drive in a Hurry

Don’t overdo those intensive driving lessons.

Many people find themselves in a situation where they need to learn to drive in a short space of time.iintensive driving lessons

Could be because they need their licence for a job.

Maybe they are leaving for university and want their licence before going.

Perhaps a family member is now unable to drive and they need to take over the responsibility.

Whatever the reason it pays to plan your lessons in advance and be realistic about your time frame.

It is easy to underestimate how much concentration is needed during driving lessons in Nottingham. It may seem tempting to book lessons that last all day and get the whole thing done in a week. That’s not the best approach.

The first few hours are difficult as you get to grips with the controls and practise using the clutch. Pretty soon your concentration will start to fade making things much harder. The rest of the day will be a struggle and you probably won’t remember most of what you’ve been taught.

Fatigue can be dangerous as your judgement will suffer. Don’t forget driving instructors get tired too so the quality of teaching is bound to suffer over long time periods. You will get poor value for money by overdoing it and trying to learn too intensively.

There are usually waiting lists for both theory and practical tests and these need to be taken into consideration. Two weeks for a theory and six weeks for a practical test is not uncommon. It would be an advantage to pass the theory test and book a practical test date before starting lessons to avoid disappointment. Cancellation test dates are available if you are willing to keep looking online but you are not guaranteed to get the date you want.

A better approach is to plan beforehand and leave yourself enough time to learn properly. Two hours of driving lessons a day is the maximum most people can handle with an overall course lasting between 20 to 40 hours depending on your ability.

Talk to one of the Nottingham driving instructors and tell them of your requirements. They will be happy to advise you and save you time and money.