Do You Believe You’re at Risk When Driving?

Lessons in driving and life.

I remember when I was a fresh new driver. No, I honestly do remember. I thought that accidents would never happen to Nottingham driving schools for young motoristsme. I truly believed my driving was absolutely tip top and there was nothing to worry about. This was in the Eighties. Back then the driving test was nowhere near as difficult as it is now because driving was not as difficult. The roads were simpler, cars were slower and there weren’t nearly as many drivers on the road as there are today.

So, what puts today’s young motorist at risk? Many things. Speeding and racing are two factors. Young drivers enjoying the thrill of acceleration and daydreaming they’re a racing pro make things unsafe. You should never drive in a spirit of competition unless you are actually on a race track. Using a mobile phone at the wheel is another one. When you look around and see just about everyone else doing it then it’s easy to think it’s alright for you. Easy to believe that it’s ok because it’s generally accepted. It isn’t and neither is texting at traffic lights. Yes, I’m looking at you.

Looking for that certain track on your CD is another good one. While your twiddling the knobs and looking at the display you’re not watching the road. The car travels a surprisingly long way in the few seconds it takes you to select the track you like. It’s easy to have a lazy, carefree attitude when you’re comfortable and the sounds are on.

Not really looking ahead for hazards is my personal bug bear. Staring at the next 30m of road you see over the bonnet simply won’t cut it. Look as far ahead as you can and move those eyes around to take everything in. Train yourself to do this especially at night. There are fewer cars on the road at night but things are easily missed until it’s too late. Get yourself some glasses if you think you need them.

Research shows that young drivers believe that they are less at risk of negative driving experiences than more experienced drivers. Probably because it hasn’t happened yet. I couldn’t believe my first prang. How could this happen to me? The benefits of taking a risk such as saving time or enjoying the excitement outweigh the risk factors more in new drivers. Life is long and getting somewhere a couple of minutes later won’t make much difference. If you’ve got to be on time then make sure you set off early enough.

 It’s all about the right attitude when you’re in the driver’s seat.

I believed I was one of the truly great drivers when I first started. Over estimating your own abilities can be deadly. Truth is you are not an expert. Thinking you can control the traffic situation is a common misunderstanding. You should never put yourself in a position where your safety relies on someone else. Try to anticipate what will happen next based on what you can see. Not on what you believe another driver will do. Never drive faster than you are comfortable with as your car control skills will take a certain length of time to develop.

‘You learn to drive when you’ve passed your test’ is a common myth. The stuff your driving instructor taught you is not something to just forget once you have your licence. Personal experience does count for a lot in driving. When you have just started out on your own you don’t have that experience. Remember what you learned during your driving lessons and put it into practice. Everything else will develop in time. Forget what you’ve been taught and the risk factor is sky high. This is a reason for the high accident rate amongst young drivers and leads to penalty points on your driving licence.

 Driving is such a personal experience.

People tend to drive according to their personality. The driver who is all me me me will be the one jumping from lane to lane trying to force their way to the front of the queue. A disregard for authority in general makes breaking the rules of the road seem much less of a risk than it is. The safe driver will exercise self control and a regard for the safety of others. This will be shown in their driving style. The hot head who doesn’t take any kind of responsibility for their actions in life is someone to avoid out there on the road.

So there. Try not to over estimate your abilities and think you have some magical aura which protects you from harm. Be a nice person to those around you. Peer pressure to do the wrong thing can be hard to resist, but resist you must. Set a good example and others will learn from you. Keep it safe and smooth.

12 Ways to Get Penalty Points on Your Driving Licence

You don’t want to get banned from driving.

You can lose your driving licence for totting up more than 12 points in a given time period. If you have passed your test recently after driving-penalty-points-Nottinghamtaking driving lessons in Nottingham then you are given a probationary period of 2 years from the day you passed your test. Introduced in 1995 and commonly known as the six point rule, a person can lose their licence for gaining 6 points within this period. If you had points on your provisional license then these will be carried over on to your full licence, giving you even less points to play with. Here are 12 ways to fall foul of the points system.

  1. Breaking the speed limit is one of the most common reasons people lose their licence. You’ll get three points and a fine of £100. Make sure you look ahead and see the speed limit signs. Check your speedometer regularly using tiny glances to keep a check on your speed. If you go to court to contest the offence and you are in the wrong the points could be doubled to six and you can be fined up to £1000
  2. Fail to stop at a pedestrian crossing and it could be 3 points and a fine of up to £1000. This would most likely occur at a Zebra crossing where there aren’t any traffic lights. Make sure you scan the crossing as you drive up to it and slow down early if there is someone near it. Make sure you stop if you think someone may intend to cross.
  3. Using a mobile phone while driving is so common these days. Way too many drivers can be seen on the phone, not even trying to hide what they are doing. If caught using a phone at the wheel you’ll get 3 points and a £100 fine. Not good. You will almost certainly go to jail if you crash while texting and kill someone. Make sure your phone is on silent and pull over in a safe place if you need to use it.
  4. Dangerous overtaking is another way to get points. You might think it’s OK to overtake and then run out of space very quickly if you misjudged it. Always plan the whole manoeuvre in advance. You’ll need enough time to get around the vehicle and return to your own side without breaking the speed limit. Overtaking dangerously is considered  as driving without due care and attention. It could get you 3 – 9 points and a fine of up to £2500.
  5. The cost of insurance has sky-rocketed in the last few years. It’s tempting to put off getting insurance if you have a relatively cheap car which doesn’t cost as much as the premium. The consequences are serious for driving without insurance. A fine of up to £5000 and 6 – 8 points. You could also be banned indefinitely and be forced to retake both the theory and practical test.
  6. Drink and drug driving is perhaps the most serious of all these offences. People are killed or seriously injured by drivers under the influence. You will get a guaranteed 12 month ban. You can also be jailed for up to 6 months and fined £5000. Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking or you’ve taken anything. Simple as that. This is not something you want to mess with.
  7. Failing to stop after an accident is another serious offence. If you have been involved in an accident you MUST stop. Even if you think it’s not that serious and nobody seems to have been hurt. If someone has been injured then you will need to give your details and report the accident at a police station. If you don’t do this then you could be banned from driving. You will also get 5 – 10 points and a fine of up to £5000.
  8. Defective tyres is an easy one to fall foul of if you’re not careful. Check regularly to make sure they have enough tread. Especially on the inside edges which can be hard to see. The legal minimum is 1.6mm. If they are not inflated properly, are damaged or just plain bald you can be fined £2500 and get 3 points for each tyre. Tyres are your only contact with the road so keep them in good condition.
  9. Driving through a red light. It’s tempting to get your foot down at the amber traffic light and get through the junction before it turns red. This is to be avoided. It can potentially lead to some serious crashes if you misjudge it and go through the red light. If you are caught, possibly by the red light camera, it is a guaranteed 3 points and a £100 fine.
  10. Not in proper control of the vehicle. This can happen in so many ways. Anything which distracts you from the driving task and causes you to lose control falls into this category. Common causes are eating, drinking and smoking which mean you don’t have a proper grip of the steering wheel. Also using a phone or looking at a laptop will take your attention from the road. Make sure you give full attention to your driving at all times otherwise you could get 3 points on your license and a £100 fine.
  11. If your car is over three years old then it needs a current MOT pass certificate. If you don’t have a valid MOT then you could be fined £1000. No MOT means that your car insurance is not valid which will mean that you are committing the offence of having no insurance as well. Keep up to date with this. It’s easy to forget.
  12. No driving license is the last thing on our list. You will have 3 – 6 points put on your license when you do get one and be fined £1000. If you are driving while disqualified then you could face a 6 month prison term, £5000 fine and be banned indefinitely. Make sure you are properly licensed to drive. If you have a provisional licence then make sure you are accompanied when driving.

There you are. Keep up to date with all your documents, remember what your local driving instructor in Nottingham taught you and you’ll be OK. Happy motoring!