Tag Archives: Nottingham

What the Fog is Going on?

Take care when driving in fog.

Nottingham is surrounded by lots of lovely countryside and is therefore prone to fog in some areas. Watch out for sudden low lying patches driving schools nottingham foggyof dense mist and fog. They can take you by surprise. This can present challenges during driving lessons. Let’s have a look at what we can do to make things easier.

The most dangerous type of fog is the dreaded thick patchy type. You can be driving down a nice clear road and then in an instant you can’t see the road in front of you. For new drivers this can be a very weird experience, especially if there’s water on the road. Whatever you do don’t use the car in front to navigate which is very tempting if it’s dark. If you can see the tail lights of the vehicle then you are driving too close. It gives a false sense of security and if they braked suddenly it’s unlikely you would stop in time to avoid hitting them.

It’s tempting to navigate by driving on the centre line of the road. If you do this you risk hitting oncoming traffic. Stay on your own side and look well ahead for approaching head lights. If you are on a country road where fog tends to be worse then look for the reflective marker posts to the left and use these to guide you.

Put your lights on when driving in fog.

Make sure you use the dipped beam headlights when driving in fog. If visibility is less than 100 metres then use the fog lights. If you use fog lights in a light mist you risk dazzling other drivers so make sure visibility is poor before you switch them on. Don’t use full beam headlights as they simply reflect back off the fog and then you can’t see anything. You will totally blind oncoming drivers as well so be careful. Dipped beam headlights offer the best visibility so use these and slow down if you can’t see. You must always be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear. Which won’t be very far if it’s foggy.

Rural areas have junctions without any road markings and these can be very dangerous if visibility is poor as there’s no way to see which side of the road you’re on. If you’re emerging on to a main road the situation can be tense. A good idea is to open your windows so you’ll be able to hear other vehicles before you see them giving you an advanced warning. Keeping your foot on the foot brake will keep the brake lights on and make you more visible from behind. Using your horn gives a good warning of your presence over a large distance so don’t be afraid to use it. This is particularly useful if you are approaching a bend.

There’s no need to cancel driving lessons just because it’s foggy. Look at it as a learning opportunity and a chance to do some real life driving. Take it steady out there.

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Eco Driving for Fun and Profit

Save Cash and keep your car happy with Eco driving

If you want to save money on fuel and help protect the world we live in then get yourself an economical driving style. You will learn about thiseco driving lessons nottingham during driving lessons and it’s also an item that’s marked on the driving test. What does eco driving involve and how can you get some I hear you ask?

Environmental issues are all over the television and internet so we’re all aware of how we are harming the planet. You can do your bit to help by driving in a way that cuts down on pollution and uses less natural resources. As well as being safer on the road you will help look after your vehicle as well. Pedestrians with breathing difficulties can suffer from the low level pollution caused by burning fossil fuels like petrol and diesel.

If you want to drive in an environmentally friendly way you’ll have to practice looking well ahead and planning your drive. If you do this you’ll make the most use of the car’s momentum and have less need to use the accelerator and brakes. Keep a good distance from the vehicle ahead so when things slow down you can just let the car roll instead of stopping and moving off again. Only a fool breaks the two second rule as they say.

Why not take an Eco- driving lesson?

When you move off try to do it smoothly without over revving the engine. This can be hard to do when you are moving off uphill. Too many revs can also lead to clutch wear which can be expensive. Keep a smooth engine tone whether you are moving off uphill or on a level. Taking your foot off the gas when driving down hill can save fuel without compromising safety but don’t coast with the clutch in. This may lead to loss of control of the vehicle. If you are waiting for any length of time then it may be worth turning off the engine. This can be the case at level crossings. If you do switch off the engine, watch the lights and anticipate when traffic will begin to move again. This will allow you to switch the engine back on in good time.

When I’ve finished giving driving lessons I always take the roof sign off my car as it produces a lot of drag. There are things you can do to reduce drag and therefore fuel consumption in your own vehicle. Don’t keep heavy items you’re not going to need in the boot. Remove them to make the car lighter. Take off the roof rack if you’ve got one fitted and won’t be using it for some time. If it’s mainly short journeys you make only half fill the fuel tank each time. Carrying the weight of a full tank makes the engine work harder than it needs to. At slower speeds open the windows instead of using the air conditioning.

Keep the car as light as possible, use the controls smoothly and combine this with good forward planning to save pounds on fuel over the years to come.

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Flood Season is Here Again

Take care when driving through flood water

It’s raining heavily out there so we will have to brave the weather on our driving lessons. Never fear, there is always something new to learn driving instructors nottingham floodsand wet roads just add to the challenge. Let’s have a look at what you can do to drive on flooded roads safely.

First thing to do is remain calm. When the rain is pounding down on to the roof of your car it can make a lot of noise. If you are learning to drive it can mask the noise of the engine making moving off more difficult. Add to this the movement of the windscreen wipers and the blowing of the demisters and things can seem quite scary.

If you come across large pools of water on the road pull up and try to determine how deep the water might be. If you know the area it can be easy to guess how deep it is, otherwise look for clues before you try to drive through. Believe it or not a car will float in about two feet of water and then you’ll have no control whatsoever. The car door is only about six inches above the ground so any deeper than this and you might get water seeping in and damaging the carpets. If the water is flowing at speed it will need to be even more shallow to avoid danger.

The water will be at it’s most shallow at the centre line of the road. This is higher than it is at the kerb for drainage purposes, often referred to as the camber. If you’ve got oncoming traffic then it would be difficult to drive up the middle of the road so check the water is not too deep at the kerb.

Pouring rain on driving lessons.

Drivers of large 4×4 vehicles need to spare a thought for those of us in cars. Driving through water at speed creates a bow wave which can cause real problems for smaller vehicles. Try to bear this in mind when you’re piling on through unhindered. Keep your speed down so you don’t cause a wave.

Keep your engine revs high when driving through water and the vehicle speed low by slipping the clutch. Doing this stops water from going down the exhaust pipe and choking the engine causing the car to stall. This is a bit of a challenge for a learner driver who may have difficulty controlling the clutch bite for any length of time. Could be time to use the dual controls if you’re a driving instructor.

A lot of driving instructors will work in areas prone to flooding and should be able to teach you these techniques. I was on a lesson in Lowdham during a heavy shower and the rural roads were flooding as the lesson went on. It made for an interesting learning experience. Brakes don’t work so well when they are wet so dry them off once you are through the water. This is best done with the left foot gently pressing the brake pedal as the car is being driven. Once the braking is restored you’re home and dry.

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Older Drivers Staying Safe on the Road

You’re never too old to improve your driving

These days we are all living longer which means the number of drivers above the age of 70 is set to increase. As we become older the effects ofcourses for older drivers in nottingham ageing can mean that our driving is not up to a reasonably safe standard. It’s important that older drivers have their driving checked and their skills updated to remain on the road.

Driving is a great source of freedom and independence for us all, especially older people who may have difficulty using public transport, cycling or walking long distances to shops and making other essential journeys.

First thing to consider is the car being driven. As older people tend to drive less miles the car may have been used for a number of years so needs to be checked to make sure it is properly maintained. As we become physically weaker a newer and lighter handling car may be more appropriate. A stiff handbrake lever or gear stick as well as lack of power assisted steering can effect safe handling of the vehicle.

Eyesight is an important factor. It must reach the legal standard of being able to read a standard number plate at 20m. As we age vision night vision can suffer making driving after dark a problem. The eyes lose the ability to refocus quickly when looking at dashboard instruments and the back at the road. This strain on the eyes can lead to fatigue and loss of concentration. If the driver is taking prescription medicines then the this problem can be made worse.

Assessments for older drivers.

It’s important that older drivers have the support of their families when making decisions about their driving. Assessments by a qualified driving instructor are a good idea. An objective view of driving ability can help older drivers to find a way forward. There are many possibilities to explore before deciding to give up a licence entirely.  An older person could restrict themselves to daylight driving on familiar roads avoiding peak traffic times. This would reduce risk considerably. Perhaps a smaller car that is easier to handle especially when it comes to parking and other close manoeuvres would prove more manageable. If an older person finds physical movement limited a couple of extra mirrors fixed to the windscreen may solve the problem.

An assessment can also be a tremendous learning experience for an older driver. They probably passed their test many years ago and have had no further training since. A few lessons followed by a second assessment may show that driving has improved enough to now be considered safe. Topping up this training every few years for the over 70s would increase their level of safety and provide peace of mind for their loved ones.

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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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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.

driving schools in Nottingham

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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