Navigating The New Test

Navigating The New Test

The Sat Nav has become a popular addition for today’s drivers with most modern car manufacturers offering built in sat navs or those not having the luxury of a modern built in system opting to buy the latest versions i.e. TomTom or Garmin.

I remember the days when the car back seat was covered with A to Z’s, that’s maps of the UK for those a few years younger than myself.

In December this year the driving test is changing to include the use of the sat nav. This is to make the driving test more modern and representative of what new drivers are facing on the roads.

It will allow the examiner to concentrate on the candidate instead of having to give directions or commands.

The DVSA believe it will assist in road and driver safety, believing it to help the drivers to manage distractions and encourage a wider range of skills.

How hard can it be?

With today’s tests the examiner is your sat nav, so if you miss a direction you can ask for clarification.

With Sat nav’s you don’t have that facility, so you may need to compromise, and adapt. If you’re not clear on a direction at a junction, take the easiest direction option and the sat nav will re-calculate. If you are travelling on the main carriageway and miss a direction simply continue following the road ahead.

Above all don’t get flustered, sat nav’s can be hard to hear in noisy traffic, and most experienced drivers miss hear directions.

The DVSA commented

“The safe use of sat nav’s during the training stage will enable greater understanding when driving unaccompanied. This will expose the learner to the associated risks, giving them the experience of how to deal with them once unaccompanied.”

The examiner will provide the sat nav for the test and set it up using a stored test route. The candidate will not need to touch it.

Test candidates will still need to plan and execute route planning without a sat nav as one in five of the tests will be conducted without a sat nav.

Source: Intelligent Instructor

Want to know more? then go here




The Driving Test is Falling Behind

The Driving Test is Falling Behind

The driving test has been accused of falling behind the times and not keeping up with technological developments.

The RAC has warned that Learners who are taking their tests in modern cars rather than those in older models have a bigger advantage by having additional assistance from semi-autonomous safety aids, which alert learners to speed limit changes, blind spot warnings, and help with braking, and keeping in lane.

It’s argued that although these technologies will help to make the roads a safer place, learners have to demonstrate that they can drive without the assistance of these safety aids.

Only but a few learners will ever be able to afford cars with this type of technology when they first become a full licence holder.

Over the years the DVSA has made changes to the test to accommodate parking sensors and electric handbrakes. These however take little responsibility from the driver. Parking aids are essential aid when candidates are asked to perform manoeuvres such as bay parking.

The new test due to start in December 2017 will see the use of Sat Nav’s so that candidates can demonstrate that they are able to use technology safely to assist them.

These are four additions available on new vehicles that could be seen to give an unfair advantage these are:

  • Speed limit detection – automatically reminding the driver of the speed limits
  • Lane keep assist – keeping the vehicle within the lane, in effect steering itself.
  • Collision warning – providing advanced warnings before an emergency brake.
  • Blind spot warning – sensors provide blind spot checks and providing warnings.

The concerns are that students will avoid some of the minor faults over the course of the test for lack of awareness, ignoring blind spots, reacting late to other road users and keeping adequate levels of control.

Driving examiners should be kept up to date on how to mark candidates when using cars fitted with this new technology. And able to identify whether they are using these technologies to assist them on test, or if they are using their own knowledge and skills.

A DVSA spokesperson said : “DVSA’s priority is to help prepare you for a lifetime of safe driving. We will therefore ensure that driving tests are updated to keep up with new vehicle technology safely, and without distraction while driving.”

Source: Intelligent Instructor

Summer Holiday Chaos

Summer Holiday Chaos

This weekend is set to be the busiest time of summer with the start of the school holidays getting underway.
Nine million drivers are expected to be travelling and delays are predicted to be so severe that motorists are being advised to travel at night or in the small hours of the morning.
Saturday the 21st of July is likely to be the worse time.
The RAC have devised a list of hot spots to avoid, these are:
  • M5 Almondsbury Interchange and from Bristol to Taunton
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • A303 Andover to Ilminster
  • M4 between Cardiff and Swansea
  • M25 between Gatwick and M1
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A34 and M3 south and south west to the south coast
  • A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
  • A11 Thetford to Norwich
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between the Midlands and the east coast
  • A590/A591 between the M6 and the Lake District
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester
Here are a few things you should expect:
Minor incidents
Impatient drivers
Long delays
Route diversions
Just to name a few.
Take extra care, allow longer for your journey, take plenty of fluid/water, be patient and you’ll have a safe journey.
Source: The Sunday Times Driving

Who is Demanding Your Attention?

Who is demanding your attention?


What can be so important that they are asking you to commit suicide?

Despite the new tougher penalties that were brought into effect on 1st March, figures show that more than 200 drivers a day were caught using mobile phones at the wheel within those first four weeks.

Let me repeat that: 200 drivers a DAY were caught using their mobiles…

Just a few seconds distracted could have severe consequences for you or an innocent bystander.


Turn off your mobile phone when getting into your car or shield it, you can buy a signal blocker that only costs a few pounds, it’s a phone pouch made from soft, hard wearing material that you place your mobile phone into and it blocks all signals taking away all driving distractions, whilst your mobile phone is protected from scratches or damage.

As soon as you remove your phone from the pouch all the missed calls and message notifications will appear on your screen and you can then deal with them when you are parked up and safe to do so.

The next call or text you take whilst at the wheel could be killing you or someone that you know.

Can you live with that thought?


Turn off your mobile, and stay safe


#whoisdemandingyourattention #distracteddriving


How To Prepare For Your First Driving Lesson

How to prepare for your first driving lesson

It amazing how many first driving lessons get off to a bad start, so we’ve prepared this helpful guide to help you get off on the right foot.

Before you start your driving lessons, be sure that you’ve completed the following tasks:

Have a valid provisional driving licence

Did you know: You can actually apply for your provisional three months ahead of your 17th birthday, which allows you time to get your licence sorted before you can start driving at 17. It’s also notable that if you’re disabled and you receive mobility allowance, you can apply for your provisional at 16.

There are two ways you get your licence. You can apply online via the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), to do this you can click here

The cost to apply online is currently £34 this usually takes up to a week for your licence to arrive.

The second way you can apply is to get an application form (Form D1) from the Post Office, to apply by post is currently £43 and postal applications usually take up to 3 weeks for your licence to arrive.

To avoid delays and disappointment with the return of your provisional, be sure to fill the form in correctly. Some post offices offer a checking service for a few pounds.

Please note; Driving instructors cannot take you for your first driving lesson without seeing your valid licence.

Make sure you have the correct date, time and pick up location of your first driving lesson. 

Many driving schools & instructors will either email or text confirmation of your lesson booking. If you haven’t received confirmation or you can’t find it, contact the driving school to ensure that you have the correct day and time.

Get some practice

If you have zero experience of driving, you should consider getting a small amount of practice in, before starting driving lessons. This might just be sitting in the family car and getting used to moving the pedals and gear lever, and making sure you know what the controls on the dash board are there for.

If you have a fully qualified driver in the car with you, there’s nothing wrong in having a quick drive around an empty car park, as this will do wonders for your overall driving confidence.

Be sure that you have the correct insurance in place and you have a set of L-plates displayed on your vehicle.

Get some rest before your lessons

A good night’s sleep is a MUST when you’re attempting to prepare for your driving lesson. Try and wake up at least an hour before the lesson begins, as this will give your body time to catch up with itself. You’ll find the lesson more engaging when you have higher levels of concentration through being well rested.

Avoid alcohol

Although this is in here for obvious reasons, you should avoid any form of alcohol the night before taking lessons. You’ll need a clear mind to take in all of the information from the lesson. Also, driving with considerable levels of alcohol in your system is illegal. Read your highway code for advice.

Make sure you eat well

Nerves can affect all of us differently, but make sure that yours don’t put you off eating. The last thing you’ll need on your lesson is a grumbling stomach to take your attention off the road.

Dress sensibly

We recommend that dressing in comfortable/sensible clothing for your driving lessons is important. You don’t need to dress up and wearing some comfortable clothes will help relax you. Sensible shoes are a must: no high heels, wedges or flip flops.


Read you highway code and get to know the meaning of road signs and road markings. The better your knowledge the more successful and enjoyable your first lesson will be.

Good Luck…


Insurance Dilemma For New Drivers

Insurance Dilemma For New Drivers

New drivers insurance for cars is notoriously expensive data shows that the average premium for drivers aged between 17-22 to be around £1,436.00 (AA british insurance premium index January 2017).

And with insurers calculating car insurance premiums based on risk the cost of young drivers insurance is only heading in one direction.

So Insurance is so expensive because the insurer has to take the risk – statistics show that young drivers are far more likely to be involved in accidents than drivers over the age of 25. So Insurance premiums are calculated to reflect the stats.

AA research shows that 1 in 8 British drivers is aged below 25, the research also shows that a quarter of all serious traffic collisions involve drivers under the age of 25.

New drivers pay a high premium and it takes a good few years to build up a no claims bonus which will reduce their insurance to a more manageable rate.

How can you find cheaper car insurance

Firstly buy a car that’s in the lowest insurance bracket here’s ten cars we’ve found that are cheap to insure.

  1. Toyota Yaris – The Yaris is a compact city car which is also ecofriendly as well as economical.
  2. Kia Rio – Ideal starter car with 5 doors in insurance group 1, the Rio has received praise for it’s ample boot space and low CO2 emissions.
  3. Renault Twingo – The Twingo is Renault’s popular city car it’s innovative design has fold flat seats creating extra space in the back.
  4. Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback – Popular with young drivers for well over a decade, the Corsa is a sensible and reliable super mini in insurance group 2.
  5. Volkswagen Up – VW’s flagship city car it’s cheap to run and offers good fuel economy. The Up won What Car Car of the year for 2012 and received an impressive 5 star rating in a euro NCAP assessment.
  6. Hyundai i10 – The i10 is in insurance group 1 and comes with a 1.0 litre engine and is packed with entertainment features making it the ideal first car for young drivers.
  7. Seat Mii – The Seat Mii is a green and cost effective city car and looks very similar to the VW Up. The Mii is a very economical choice for young drivers.
  8. Dacia Sandero – The Sandero is a more spacious 5 door car and the 16 v access model is in insurance group 2. The Sandero is one of the cheapest new cars available to buy.
  9. Skoda Citigo – The Sitigo is part of the Volkswagen group and another car identical to the VW Up. The Sitigo is in insurance group 1 as a result of it’s lot price and solid engineering.
  10. Ford Ka+ – The Ka+ range includes models in insurance groups 1 and 2 making it a solid choice for those looking for a cheap car to insure.

Once you have chosen the right car for you go online and compare insurance prices. You can always use the old fashioned method and pick up the phone and speak to someone.

Factors that are considered by insurance companies in quotes

  1. Repair costs
  2. Cost of the parts
  3. Value of the car
  4. Performance of the car
  5. Car security

Some insurers will offer reduced premium costs if the car is fitted with a black box. Also another way to reduce the costs is to strip out some of the services that you don’t require and in some circumstances if the cars value is very low it maybe worth getting third party fire and theft.

Recommended Insurance Company for new drivers is Marmalade.


What Is The Best Way To Learn To Drive?

The Best Way To Learn To Drive

The best way to learn to drive is to book two to three regular weekly lessons and the ideal driving lesson time should be 90 minutes.

To get you started ask for recommendations, read reviews and make sure you book lessons with a credible instructor.

From the very start book your Theory Test in advance and practice each day for 30-60 minutes. Knowledge is important to help you learn quickly.

Make sure that you use recommended study material from either the DVSA or Theory Test pro.

Ask questions from your instructor if you don’t understand something you’re being taught or if you feel you’re not getting the results you expect.

Once you’ve passed your Theory Test prebook your driving test in advance but before you do make sure you talk to your instructor about a suitable date and get them to make you responsible for achieving the goal.

Before each lesson read any notes that your instructor has given you, be on time for lessons and be reliable. Missing lessons will hinder your progress.

Ask your instructor for permission to email any questions you have in between lessons so they can be answered before your next lesson.

If you can get extra practice ask your instructor to talk to the person giving you the practice and advise them on what they should focus on to help your progress.

If you can’t get extra practice – every time you’re a passenger in a car start by watching out for hazards and dangers in the road ahead, above all immerse yourself in a safe driver culture and make sure you regularly study the Highway Code.


The Trouble with Driving Lessons

The Trouble with Driving Lessons

The Trouble with booking driving lessons is that people can’t get the times and days that they want. The fact is people are are having to wait quite a few weeks before starting driving lessons. This is partly due to the high demand for driving lessons and the dwindling number of driving instructors.

When booking driving lessons if the driving school or the instructor you are talking to are able to find a space, ask them if that is going to be a regular lesson every week. Quite often they will book you in for lessons that are only temporary spaces which means that you will end up back at the start.

I’ve heard people say any lessons are better than no lessons but that can lead to the learn and forget scenario, because leaving big gaps between lessons results in the student forgetting what was learnt, and this can be quite a costly exercise.

So get them to commit to giving you at least one regular lesson every week.

It’s a bad time for learner drivers who are wanting to book and start lessons immediately. But I feel especially sorry for those people who are available for driving lessons after 4pm or weekends, because of work commitment.

It’s also a bad time for driving schools. It’s soul destroying when they know that every phone call answered is going to result in another disappointed customer. As hard as we try it’s impossible to fit people into spaces that just don’t exist.

It can be very frustrating for people calling one driving school after another, for either lessons for themselves or a family member, and not getting anywhere. They just can’t understand why they can’t start learning this week.

We understand their frustration, but unfortunately when an instructor’s diary is full, they will generally be full for weeks in advance because they will have the same people booked in until they pass their driving test.

Our advice:

Don’t aimlessly ring around without leaving your details. Get your name on a every list you can, because it might just be a short time before someone can fit you in for driving lessons.

While you are waiting book a theory test date and start practising, we recommend using study material from the DVSA or Theory Test Pro.

One last word of advice:

Try to find a regular space each week that you can take driving lessons, so when you find someone that can take you for those lessons ask them to commit to booking you in for the same space for 5/6 weeks in advance.