Get Some Driving Done

Just be careful who you do it with.

If you’re taking driving lessons it can help to speed you along towards your test if you get some practice with family or friends. A lot of my pupils accompanying learner drivers in nottinghamhave mates who promise that they will go out for a drive to help them along. When it comes round to actually going out on the road the excuses pile up and nothing actually happens. It makes me laugh a bit but you know what people are like.

A while ago I saw these two lads in a car and you could tell that one was trying to teach the other to drive. The guy playing instructor looked well proud giving out the advice as the car bounced along the road, swerving all over the place. Were they displaying L plates to the front and rear of the vehicle? Of course not. I would be very surprised if they made it back to base without some sort of incident.

Just to recap, the person who accompanies a learner driver must be at least 21 years of age and held a licence for 3 years. Having had a licence for 3 years is no guarantee that the person has had a lot of driving experience and is in a position to teach you how to drive. You’ve got to be careful who you go out on the road with. Another thing to check is that you are actually insured to drive the vehicle. Remember that failure to display L plates will invalidate any insurance.

Listen to your friendly driving instructor.

Parents are notorious for teaching bad habits. Unintentionally I dare say. It’s just that they may not have had any further driver training since they passed their test some time in the eighties. I passed mine in the eighties and things have changed a lot since then. It’s good to get time on the road but if your instructor says one thing and your parents say another then it’s probably the instructor that’s correct.

Use of the mirrors is one of the main things missed during private practice. The accompanying driver rarely seems to have their own rear view mirror which shows how much importance they put on them. Very dangerous if the person supervising can’t see what’s behind. Lack of dual controls can make the person accompanying the driver a bit nervy. All they’ve got is the handbrake to yank at if things go wrong.

That said, there can be great benefits to gaining private practice in between lessons. It’s better to do it in the later stages of learning when you have covered the entire syllabus. Make sure the person you are with has a good amount of road experience and enough knowledge of the basics to correct mistakes and help you build up your confidence.
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My Most Favourite Drive in The Whole World

Sometimes driving CAN be a pleasure…

You may have a favourite stretch of road to drive on or you may not. I’m in the car all day seeing the same places so driving can become a bit of driving-schools-nottingham-brida chore. There is one road I love though. It’s the road that leads from Withernsea to Bridlington up the east coast.

I’ve been going to Withernsea when I was a kid and really love the place. Bridlington is the quintessential British holiday destination if you’re into fish and chips, cold sea and sandy beach. The drive in between is absolutely brilliant.

Setting off from Withernsea we have some well winding country roads. Just right for practising smooth gear changing and getting that speed just right. Behold the wide open farmland with it’s cottages and crumbling windmills. Such a nice change from the busy city landscape I’m used to.

Heading through some tiny yet lovely villages, we head up towards Hornsea Potteries. I don’t mind the tractors on the road on this stretch. It’s fun waiting for just the right spot to overtake then we’re away. There’s a nice retail park place with plenty to do for small kids at Hornsea. I used to love watching mine in the soft play park when they were small. Too old for that now so It’s all about shopping.

Heading up through the town centre which to be honest is a bit run down and depressing  we negotiate a double roundabout which is confusing for the uninitiated. Don’t get distracted by the colourful flower beds and avoid the Volvos towing caravans. Try not to be angry as they block up the road. There is no need to rush on this journey.

Nottingham driving seems a world away.

Heading North again we drive through Atwick. Blink and you’ll miss this small jewel of rural England. Well maintained, the inhabitants obviously care about this place. Last time I drove through was around Halloween and there were spooky mannequins placed by the roadside. Bit of a distraction for the unaware motorist but it really added flavour to the journey.

Up through the countryside passing large signs for car boot sales. Tiny garages with only two pumps and prices that would make your eyes water. Fill up before you make this journey if you want to save some cash. Now we reach the Cruckley village farm park. Just right if you want to look at some animals and go crazy on the adventure playground. Make sure you wash your hands after touching the animals or you may die of some horrible disease. Just kidding.

The roads get larger as we drive north and it’s time to admire the wind farms. Some people don’t like to see them but I think they look great. A few miles more and we’re heading into Bridlington. I like to stop at a place about a mile before reaching the town and park there. You can catch a small road train into town but then you would miss the best walk there is.

Strolling along the windy sea front is pure joy. There’s poetry and nautical facts written in the flagstones and a view of the most fantastic beach. Look ahead you can see the fun fair and the boats. Hear the cry of the seagulls and know that there is a great day ahead of you and a nice drive back afterwards. Heaven.

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Christmas Shopping Nightmare For Drivers

But not for me this year. Ha.

Christmas shopping is an absolute nightmare for me as a motorist. If ever there’s a  bad time to be in a car, in a city then it’s got to be the season driving instructors nottingham christmasof goodwill. As soon as I join the traffic flow at the end of my street I know it’s that time again. Driving over speed bumps and waiting at red lights. I want to rebel. I don’t want to be a shopping zombie but some things have just got to be done.

During the crawl into town I can already envision the misery of the multi storey car park and the desperate hunt for spaces. Sure enough, it starts at the entrance. I love staring at the ticket barrier machine waiting for the golden moment when a car drives out and there it is, the ticket I need so bad. Now to drive slowly looking for that elusive space.

You can’t do this too quickly because if you miss the space and drive past it then the guy behind you will bag it. There is no return if you overshoot it. At the same time the pressure is on from the guy behind who drives really close cos he’s dying to get to the shops. This is misery.

Yes! I’ve found a space and carefully reverse in. Owing to other people’s bad parking I have four inches of clearance at either side. If I breathe in and force myself through the crack in the door I can escape from the vehicle. Don’t forget to fold your door mirrors in before leaving. It may just be the saving of them if there is a 4×4 around.

Round the shops we go. Queues a mile long and not knowing what to buy anyway. Got to try and get away early because if you leave it until everyone goes at closing time it will be worse than getting in. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t get what you came for. It can’t be worth waiting in the multi storey waiting for the barrier to raise again.

Feeling the strain of Christmas driving.

Careful when packing those expensive gifts into the car. You will not want to smash the mugs, trinkets and ornaments you have bought that no one really needs. Careful closing the boot if you have a mountain of stuff. Put small stuff in the rear foot wells instead of on the seats then when you slam your brakes on later it won’t fly off the seat and break.

This year I have played it clever and gone into town on weekdays when I’ve had an empty afternoon. There has been on-street parking available at a fraction of the cost of multi storey parking. No single trip lasted more than an hour and the rest I did online, which is the ultimate form of shopping. All from the comfort of my settee. Nice.

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How to Drive Over Speed Bumps

Slowly slowly wins the race…

I’m often asked by pupils “what is the best way to drive over a speed bump?” Here are a few things to consider.driving over speed bumps

The first thing is obviously speed. That’s why they’re called speed bumps. Nobody ever calls them traffic calming measures. This phrase is used to describe all sorts of things that annoy drivers such as chicanes that narrow the lane so only one car can go through at a time. One direction usually has priority and this will be shown by the signs. This can often seem pointless but if people didn’t speed around then these things wouldn’t be here at all.

Take them at a speed below 20mph.This is often the speed limit on roads that have speed bumps anyway. If you take them any quicker than this then you risk damaging your car’s suspension. Make sure you plan ahead and see the signs and bumps well in advance. Some speed bumps are not coloured red but are the same colour as the road surface. The white triangle markings wear off as cars go over them and if it’s wet they can be just about invisible until your car hits them. Especially if you are having driving lessons in the dark. If you’re on a motorbike can be deadly.

When confronted by the square with slanted sides variety of bump that can be straddled by buses then there are a couple of ways to go over them depending on how many people are in the car. If there are two or more then go over them centrally. The tyres will hit the lower slanted bit and you’ll get less of a bump. You’ll also stay in a safe position on the road.

Don’t hurt the driving school car.

If there is just you driving and the passenger seat is empty then check mirrors and move over to the right a bit if the road is clear. The passenger side wheel which has less weight on it will go over the bump and you’ll get less of a jolt. DO NOT swerve in front of oncoming traffic to do this. It’s one of the things which annoys me when I see it being done.

My favourite speed bump is the type that goes all the way across the road. Probably not a favourite of cyclists and motorbike people. You know you can’t avoid it and so everybody slows down properly to go over them. Which is kind of like the whole point. Keep a low even speed on roads with speed bumps. Don’t accelerate and then brake in between each one. You’ll use a lot more fuel and cause wear and tear on the car. It’s not a nice ride for passengers either.

Make sure you have finished braking before you get to the speed bump so the weight isn’t on the front wheel. This will make it a lot smoother. That’s all I have to say on speed bumps.

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Will Telematics Make Young Drivers Safer?

There is no substitute for good driver training

Telematics is all the rage at the moment. Used as part of a package of measures to help bring down the accident rate for young drivers. It is also know as the Black Box and believe it or not it really is black. Let’s have a look at what this technology does and if it really will help make the roads safer for new drivers.

The word telematics is a blending of telecommunications and infomatics. The new word is mostly used to describe the technology used to driving instructors nottingham black boxmonitor how a car is driven mainly for insurance purposes. This kind of technology has been used to track parcels being delivered around the globe and even to monitor the performance of racing cars.

The use of this technology by insurance companies to monitor the way a car is driven is now becoming more widespread. Information gathered by the black box is analysed and the level of risk presented by the driving style can then be used to calculate insurance premiums. The lower the calculated risk, the lower the insurance premium, or the greater the cashback offered. It gives young drivers a financial incentive to drive more carefully and avoid harsh acceleration and braking. This style of driving will also save money on fuel as well.

The black box is wired in behind the dashboard where many of the electrics are. It’s out of the way and in a pretty safe place. Power is drawn when the engine is running so it won’t flatten the battery when the engine is switched off. A roaming sim card finds the strongest mobile network to send the information back to base where it is collected and analysed.

For this to be of any long term use to the driver there would need to be some sort of assessment and re training in the problem areas shown by the data. This would be an ideal opportunity to improve driving skills and make for a safer motorist. If something is learned we could consider it an excellent use of technology.

A GPS sensor knows where the car is being driven and the speed limits for those roads.  From this it can be determined whether the car was being driven within the posted speed limits. Keeping within the speed limits would obviously give you a better score. If drivers took note of speed limit signs and made the decision to obey them there would be no need to monitor drivers at all.

It cannot, however, measure inappropriate speed which is a major cause of accidents. Driving within the speed limit on a busy road with pedestrians around might not be safe but would not be flagged up by the black box. After all, the black box cannot see what the driver can see.

I feel this technology is intrusive and detracts from the freedom of driving. With freedom comes responsibility and it is up to drivers to act responsibly when behind the wheel. Safety measures are usually a response to a need and there is obviously a case for monitoring young drivers. I believe that better traffic education from an earlier age would do away with the need to monitor individuals so closely.

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