Learning to drive requires the skill of car control

Mastering car control might not be as easy as your dad makes it look!

mastering car control is the starting point for a new driver, it’s a skill that they need to learn in areas we call nursery routes before they can progress out on busier roads.

You could Liken learning to use the car controls to something like a new golfer trying to hit a golf ball.

Watching other golfers swing and hit the golf ball on what they call the sweet spot looks simple doesn’t it?

That’s until the untrained person tries it and “woosh”, they’ve swung the club but the ball has hardly moved, and they end up on their backside, very embarrassing especially if you’ve a crowd watching.

Sure, with perseverance eventually the new golfer will be able to hit the ball, but it might not go in the direction they intended or travel very far.

So, what do you do?

Well the logical solution is to seek the help of an expert. They will not only be able to play the game but will also have a the additional skill of being able to teach others to play the game too.

With repetition and practice the new golfer will have a much better chance of hitting the ball.

And, once they mastered the basic swing, they then have to learn all the different stokes to help them negotiate an 18 hole golf course.

So, learning to drive a car requires the support from an expert, but again it’s not something that can be taught overnight, it takes time and practice.

When people embark on learning they’ve often had years of experience watching family and friends make driving look so easy, and they don’t expect their first lesson to be quite so tricky.

Just getting to grips with using the car controls can be an unexpected challenge because for so many years they’ve heard people say “driving is easy”.

But with practice and repetition, they’ll steadily become confident with the basic’s of moving and stopping the car, changing gears and turning corners.

When the instructor feels they are ready to move on from the nursery route onto intermediate roads, they will start to learn about road skills & procedures.

During these lessons they’ll learn how to apply the Mirror, signal, manoeuvre (MSM) system to driving and, how important timing the sequence becomes in order to help them deal with the various types of junctions that they will come in to contact with on a daily basis.

They’ll also become familiar with using signals correctly to inform other road users of their intentions, and understanding, and acting on signals from others.

Mastering car control
Mastering car control

Road signs and markings will also be covered during this phase of learning, before moving on to interaction skills, and driving on more advanced routes.

This is where they’ll learn about planning and anticipation, and how to deal with busy roads littered with other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

They will find themselves on routes where there is limited space in the road, and where there’re likely to be driving in busy traffic flows.

The more actively involved a learner is in each lesson, the more independent their driving will become.

During the learning process, the instructor will encourage the learner to analyse situations and offer solutions. This technique will help them negotiate new situations that they may not have encountered before, and equip them with the skills required to deal with them safely.

The Driving vehicle standards agency (DVSA) who are responsible for rider and driver testing in the UK, aim to improve the standard of new drivers and further reduce road accidents and deaths on UK roads.

Over the years they have made changes to the driving test, to meet the challenges of modern driving situations, with further demand’s on improving the skills and abilities of new drivers.

For this reason today’s learners will require more training hours than their parents did when they learnt to drive.

As more people take to the crowded roads a greater level of skill and knowledge is required at the start of their driving career to keep them safe while they gain their experience.



Why you must be more aware when approaching zebra crossings

Approaching zebra crossings

Crossings are very common on the approach to junctions, and immediately after joining a new road, which makes them a hazard, especially when approaching zebra crossings after exiting a roundabout.

One  of the reasons is that traffic should be moving slower and therefore drivers will be more aware of hazards.

But what do you do if you can’t see anyone at the crossing?

In busy streets parked vehicles can hide pedestrians from view, especially children. So, if you can’t see both side of the crossings you should assume that someone will be waiting to cross and slow as you approach being prepared to stop.

But what if you can see and the crossing looks clear. We watched a video from one of our vehicle cameras and found that a grown man could be hidden from view by just a black and white post.

Look ate the picture below, at first glance do you see the pedestrian?

No, okay on this picture we’ve highlighted the pedestrian.

Moving a few frames on and now you can clearly see him. But, at first glance drivers would assume it’s clear and start to accelerate.

The hazard can quickly become a danger, how might you react?

A) The pedestrians walks on to the crossing and the driver slams on the brakes, watch out behind if you’re driving too close.

B) The pedestrian walks on the crossing and the driver swerves to avoid him, watch out if you’re the oncoming vehicle.

C) The driver holds back until he has a clearer view of the crossing area to the left and brings the car to a smooth stop to let the pedestrian cross safely.


Out of the 3 choices I know which I would choose.

The next time you approach an uncontrolled zebra crossing double check it’s safe before driving past, if in doubt hold back.

Are you looking for a new career, do you think you would make a  good driving instructor?

Find out how you could become a driving instructor here

Driving tips new drivers 1

Driving tips for new drivers 1: Understanding and using the clutch correctly

driving tips for new drivers

Welcome to the series of driving tips for new drivers.

Each week we’ll focus on a common problem that learners experience which can stall their progress.

Someone new to driving can experience a problem early doors which could put them off continuing their driving lessons.

These problems tend to be minor problems with co-ordination, our using the cars controls correctly, but they can have a profound effect on a new driver.

More experienced learners at some point in their driving may feel like they’ve hit a plateau and can’t push beyond it, or they feel like they’re going backwards.

Either way, it’s a negative vibe and can stop these people progressing with learning, often giving up just hours away from being ready to take a test.

We know  how difficult it can be for learners to understand everything that they are being asked to do, and it can be difficult for instructor too, especially if they’ve tried every way they know to explain a situation.

Sometimes you have to see things from a different perspective, so the driving tips for new drivers is designed to help people learn outside the car between lessons.


Today’s driving tips for new drivers is: Understanding the clutch and how to use it correctly.

So’ lets start by explaining the role of the clutch.

Do you know what happens when you press the clutch pedal down?

And, do you know why you have to press the clutch down before changing gears?

Car engines need gears (transmission systems) to help vary the speed of the driving wheels.

Have you ever ridden a push bike with gears? They often have 5, 10 or more cogs on the rear wheel, and well as two or three attached to the pedals.

If you select the lowest gear which is 1st, it’s easy to pedal, your legs will be working quickly and you’ll reach your maximum limit, without gaining much speed.

Change in to 2nd gear and it’s going to be harder to pedal but you’ll be able to go faster.

So, each time you go into higher gears, it’s harder to pedal but your speed will increase.

Which means if you only want to travel slowly, then a lower gear is better than a higher gear because it will be easier to pedal.

Or if you are going uphill a lower gear will be easier to pedal with.

Okay, if you want to change a gear you stop pedaling, this allows the gear mechanism to work freely.

Got it!

Now think of yourself as the engine on the bike, you supply the power to the wheels when you pedal. When you stop pedaling you stop producing power.

Back to the car, when you depress the clutch you are stopping the power from the engine turning the road wheels. When you bring the clutch up you are joining the engine (power) and therefore turning the road wheels.

So, when you move a car from a standstill, you have to push the clutch down to select the gear, then bring the clutch up to engage the engine to drive the car forward, or backwards if reversing.

It’s the action of bringing the clutch up that causes so many new drivers to worry.

Now this is where it becomes challenging for instructors to explain what’s happening, with the clutch and why learners struggle to move a car without stalling.

So, stalling what does it mean? Now there’s many ways to explain the process, some you’ll understand others maybe not.

But the challenge is to explain it in a way that helps you understand the movement of the pedal and the reaction you should expect to get from it.

So, imagine a coiled spring that you have to apply pressure to. Think of a door that works on a spring system, which is designed to close the door after people pass through.

The door requires pressure to open, but closes slowly after.

Now this is the important bit. There’s a system called a servo that controls the speed the door closes by slowly releasing the pressure on the spring taking the tension out of it, otherwise it would slam shut.

With the help of the server slowing the door close you could be quite some distance away from the door by the time it’s fully closed again.

Back to the car, if you put pressure on the clutch pedal to push it down, you have to release that pressure slowly when bringing it back up.

Like the door example, you are releasing the tension on the spring slowly, which means the car might travel some distance before the clutch is fully in the up position.

As the clutch moves in the upwards direction, what catches many learners out is the fact that nothing actually happens. This is because it’s only as you start releasing the tension that the engine starts to partially engage with the driving wheels, this is called biting point.

It’s at this point that the wheels start to turn, but you must still control the tension of the pedal even as the car moves, because any sudden movement will cause a reaction like a stall or jump (leap forward).

If you depress the clutch and then release it quickly the car will stall (stop the engine from turning), which gives you that horrid experience of the car lunging forward.

It’s like being pushed hard in the back by someone sending you tumbling forward out of control.

Okay, now the second part of the clutch explanation.

As you allow the clutch up through the biting point the car will start moving, but it will only creep forward so you need to give the car power by squeezing the gas pedal.

You can do this while you are still bringing the clutch up, it’s  like a see saw, one pedal moves up the other moves down.

The amount of gas you apply should steadily increase as the car starts to move, remember your moving a heavy dead weight.

I hope that explains in an easy to understand language  how the clutch works.

If you’ve found this driving tips for learners topic useful please leave your comment below, thanks.

For a visual look of the role the clutch play between the engine and transmission see this video, it shows the moving parts which is really useful.


Driving tips for new drivers


The Top Things to Do with your Car in Summer

The Top 5 Things to Do with your Car in Summer

Here is a list of the 5 best things to do in Summer with your car. Having a car is making going out and doing fun stuff in Summer so much easier. We can’t wait for the nice weather to come out!
  1. Going for a picnic. This one might seem obvious, but us brits LOVE a good picnic. Whether that’s with Strawberry’s and Cream, or a refreshing glass of lemonade, it’s always easier to go to nice and different places with a car. Take some friends, a rounders set, and a feast of food, and you’re set for an entire day of memories!
  2. Festivals! Festivals is always something teens look forward to. There is just something special about sitting in mud, with a crate of beer, listening to your favourite bands, and sleeping in a tent, that they love. So instead of having to lug your tent, clothes, alcohol, and food on a full coach, you can simply pack everything into your car, and drive.
  3. Finding new places to explore. People are always more adventurous when it comes to summer. The warm weather just makes us want to go out more, and be more active.
  4. Going to the seaside. This is possibly one of the most quintessential British things to do in summer. You’d hit up the coast, walk about half a meter into the sea before complaining that it’s too cold, get some fish and chips for your lunch, and then spend all of your money in the amusement arcades.
  5. Just going for a general drive. These kind of drives are the best, you and a couple of mates, good music, the windows wound down, the sun making it nice and hot, but the breeze is refreshing. These are the best drives, even if you don’t have a destination!

How the New iPhone 8 is Trying to Save Your Life

Apple recently released the iPhone 8, along with IOS 11, which is trying to save your life whilst driving.

The update allows the phone to sense when you’re driving, meaning that it will automate itself to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, so the notifications don’t distract you whilst driving, meaning that there is a lack of temptation to use your phone.

The software picks up when you’re in a car, so if you’re a passenger, you can turn off the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode in settings, so you can still use your phone in the car.

You can find the original article about the new update here: https://www.carthrottle.com/post/soon-your-iphone-wont-work-while-youre-driving/

Why Learning to Drive at the Age of 17 is Better

It’s quite normal now for the younger generation to learn to drive as soon as they can. It is actually a really good idea. So, if you are 17, or are wanting to get someone driving lessons, here are some reasons why learning to drive when your younger, is easier. It has been found in…

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Driving Test Changes You Need to Know About

If you didn’t know already, the UK driving test is changing from the 4th December 2017 (not a very nice Christmas present, is it?). We are updating you with the most recent changes made by the DVSA. It was released on the 13th September 2017, that there would be revised changes to the ‘Show me’…

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Summer Driving Trips

Summer Driving Trips

The summer months are the perfect time to get away. Whether that be for the weekend or your two week summer holidays.

For many people that can involve long car journeys, and it’s a time to remind ourselves of a few simple rules to keep you safe on the roads.

From Visually.

Summer Driving Trips



The top five tips for Summer Driving Trips are :

  • Don’t drive tired
  • Perform a vehicle check before commencement of your journey
  • Keep your distance
  • Pay attention to the laws and warnings
  • Think Coast – C= Concentration, O = Observation, A = Anticipation, S = Space, T = Time







Summer time means busier than usual on the UK’s roads, which adds to congestion and frustration. But keep calm, keep your distance, don’t block the mouth of junctions, or stop on crossings.

Plan your journey and give yourself plenty of time to get there.

Happy holidays.

Driven to Distraction

Driven to Distraction

How would you deal with distracted driving?

There are hundreds of things trying to get your attention every day that can distract you from your driving, for example something catches your attention on the radio, your mobile rings or you get a text message alert, the kids shouting and screaming, the dog barking and that’s just inside the car.


Eyes on the Road: The Challenges of Safe Driving

From Visually.

Outside of the car is where your concentration should be and in particular you should be planning well ahead, watching the vehicles in front, often checking the mirrors, looking out for hazards such as pedestrians in the road and people pulling out of junctions etc.

For learner drivers this can all be a bit overwhelming but you have to stay focused and be guided by your instructor. It’s easy when you’re new to driving and unsure of the controls to be distracted especially when changing gear.

The temptation can be to look down at the gear lever which means that your eyes can be off the road for a good second or two and before you know it the Instructor has had to take control of the vehicle because you have missed something.

So top tip is, if you have the chance to jump in your parent’s or friends cars and practice changing the gears, whilst the car is stationary of course, you’ll be able to commit to memory the location of the gears so you won’t need to look at them again.

See the chart above for further help and read the five tips to safer driving.


#distracteddriving #saferdriving

Driving In Windy Weather

Driving In Windy Weather

Severe winds can bring a whole new set of problems for both for road users, and pedestrians.

Gusty winds can blow pedestrians towards the roads, and cyclist across the carriageways, even off their bikes.

Drivers of motor vehicles should anticipate these dangers and drive with extreme caution.

Although you may feel the car being battered from all directions, you won’t be fully aware of just how windy it might be outside, so be vigilant.

If you’re overtaking large vehicles, as you get along side them, you will be sheltered from the wind, but as soon as you become clear you will be exposed the the conditions and could be sucked in towards them, so be ready with both hands on the steering wheel, especially on higher speed roads like motorways.

You will be more exposed to high winds in open areas, be especially careful of falling trees, and street furniture.

Here’s a recap of the dangers:

  • Only travel if necessary and plan your trip, listen to the news for road and bridge closures. Exposed areas are more susceptible to gusts, also around tall buildings, try to plan your route to avoid open areas, wherever possible.
  • Drive with both hands on the steering wheel to help keep full control of the vehicle and drive slowly, this will reduce your chances of being blown off course.
  • Always give more room to motorcyclists, cyclists, trucks and busses as they can get blown around more easily by side winds.
  • Keep your distance between the vehicle in front of you to ensure you can see and plan ahead.
  • Be vigilant to your surroundings, debris can be flying around from trees, bins etc.
  • Avoid parking near trees, telegraph or telephone poles and buildings that could be blown down/over in heavy winds.
  • When leaving your car take extra care as the wind could either pull the door away from you or push it into you as you exit.