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the law

Are you thinking about learning to drive? There are a few things you need to consider before you get on the road.

An overview: 

  • In the UK you have to be 17 years old to learn how to drive
  • You must have a provisional driving license
  • You must have insurance when learning to drive with friends and family
  • You must display L Plates when you’re learning
  • You must be accompanied when driving on a provisional license

 

The Licence:

The first thing you are going to need is a provisional driving licence. You can apply for this before you are 17 so it is possible to have a driving lesson on your 17th birthday. You can either go to The Post Office or get it online from GOV.UK.

So you know: If you are driving on an overseas licence you have one year from your time of entry into the UK.

 

The Secret Driving Instructor:

Because of the various checks that go into a driving licence, it becomes a very valid identity document. In addition, there is an online checking service where people can check your license is legitimate. As a driving instructor, I am normally too lazy to use this. But give me the slightest hint something is not right and I will be checking.

 

Insurance:

Go with a professional instructor and your insurance worries are over.

If you are using a family or friends car you must check. The person sat next to you must be over 21 and have had a licence for 3 years. Some companies say that the supervising driver must be over 25. Not having the right supervisor can get you fined £1,000 and 6 penalty points.

The average motor insurance claim is around the £3,000 mark. Some claims are an awful lot higher. Having no insurance or invalid insurance could mean an unlimited fine and 8 points on your licence.

You must tell your insurance company everything. If you don’t and things go wrong, you’ll be in trouble.

 

The Secret Driving Instructor:

Being sat next to me is the safest you’re going to as a driver for a long time. This is reflected in my insurance which is fully comprehensive with hire and reward and I pay under £500 a year.


Car:

If you are a learner you must display ‘L’ plates on the front and back of my car. They should be placed on the driver's side of the car to make them more easily seen by the other drivers.

Buy them, don’t make them as they must be a certain size and shape so everyone can recognise them. They should be removed when not being used. Professional driving instructors are allowed to keep them on.  

You can buy ‘L’ plates from places such as big supermarkets and petrol stations.

The Secret Driving Instructor:

My car is covered in ‘L’ plates, forward, behind, both sides and on top. No one has the excuse of not knowing mine is a learner car. I am very careful about what I do.


Instructor:

Anyone can teach you to drive, but only a professional driving instructor can take money from you for doing that. The school of mum and dad can be great for practising outside of lessons, just make sure you have the correct insurance, your ‘L’ plates and your provisional license.

 

The Secret Driving Instructor:

Like a lot of my instructor friends, it’s frustrating when we hear of non-professionals charging students. We worked hard to get where we are and we make sure that everything is safe: proper insurance and duel controls. We train to instruct and if we are any good, keep training. The government also carries out regular checks to make sure you, as a learner are safe.

 

 

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4 considerations 1

What is a hazard? A hazard is anything that might make you change speed or direction and sometimes both.

 

When dealing with any hazard whilst learning you should use a routine such as Mirror, Signal, Maneuver or MSM.

  1. Check your mirrors (all of them)
  2. Signal (use your indicators)
  3. Maneuver

 

Remember: In reality, sometimes the only signal given by some people is speed and position.

 

Maneuver, this is doing what you need to do and where the below 4 considerations come in.

 

1.Safety:

This is the most important factor. Remember it’s not just your safety but the safety of the people around you. So think about the 3 Zones of Safety.

 

2.Legality:

If it’s illegal, it’s dangerous. Are you aware of the signs and lines around you? Do you know what they mean? Do you have reasonable knowledge of The Highway Code?

 

3.Practicality:

It must be practicable or why bother? How many times have you seen someone trying to get into a parking space that’s to small?

 

4.Convenience:

Other drivers and people need to be considered, you don’t own the road. Doing a three point turn on a busy road might be quicker for you, but what about everyone else?

 

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Safety is the most important thing when it comes to driving. Your safety, your car’s safety and everyone else on the roads safety, but how do you know if it’s safe to drive?

 

1.Safety of self 

Are you:  

  • Fit to drive
  • In a condition to drive
  • Prepared for your driving task that day
  • Prepared for driving generally
  • Able to practice the Drivers ABC Always Be Checking

 

2.Safety of you and your vehicle 

Can you: 

  • Be responsible for the vehicle, contents and occupants
  • Understand and use vehicle safety features
  • Practice the Drivers ABC Always Be Checking

 

3.Safety of other road users 

Do you: 

  • Practice the 7 Principles of Professional Driving
  • Practice the Drivers ABC Always Be Checking
  • Allow for the mistakes of others: one day it will could be you making the mistake

 

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Cars, Obstructions, People and Signs: What should you be doing before your journey.

 As you’re learning to drive you’ll pick up handy hints like this. Just don’t forget them when you pass your driving test!

 

1.Cars

 Your car:

  • Follow your ABCs; Always Be Checking, start from the bottom and work upwards

 

Other cars:

  • Check, is it busy or quiet?
  • Where are the cars coming from?
  • How much room do I have to pull out?

 

2.Obstructions

 Physical:

  • What's in my way as I drive off?

 

Visual:

  • What can I see?
  • What can’t I see?

 

3.People

 Who’s about and where are they?

  • Are they old, are they young?
  • What are they doing?
  • Are they aware of me?
  • How will they affect me?

 

4.Signs

  • Where are the road signs?
  • What are the road signs telling me?
  • How will they affect me?
  • How will they affect others around me?

 

Why is it important to think about these things when driving? Because as many times as you make a journey, it will never be the same as it was yesterday. Animals, cars, people, changes in road signs, other cars… it’s SO important to be aware that things around you are constantly changing and YOU as a driver need to adapt to them.

 

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Welcome to Part 4 of the Show Me, Tell Me questions.

Remember, your practical driving test isn’t just about the physical act of driving. Before you even get in the car you’ll be asked some questions which we call Tell Me questions which you can see below. You’ll be asked one Tell Me question before you start driving and one Show Me questions when you’re driving the car.

Knowing the answers to all these questions isn’t just important to pass your test but it’s important for your everyday driving.

We’ve broken down the questions for you, so read on to prepare yourself for the official Show Me questions and answers.

Quick tips -

  1. The show me questions cover your windows, lights and horn
  2. You need to be able to see out of your windows and know what to do if you can’t.
  3. Your dipped headlights are about being seen and putting your lights on when driving.
  4. The horn as you remember from your theory test, is to let people know you are there if they have not seen you.
  5. These questions are asked on the move.

 

Remember: The examiner will choose a quiet bit of road to ask you the Show Me question. If a problem arises, deal with it then proceed to do what the examiner wants. Remember above all, they want you to be safe.

Top tip: Practice! Learn the controls when you are parked somewhere. Then find somewhere quiet and practice when moving.

SHOW ME
 

  1. Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
  1. Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?

 

How to: The controls for this are normally on a stick by the steering wheel. Pull towards you for front and push away for rear.

Top tip: Make sure your windscreen wash container is actually filled up.
The Secret Driving Instructor:
Buy a large bottle of ready mixed screen wash and make sure you keep topped up.

 

3) Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

 4) Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?

Know how: Make sure you can use the blowers properly. They will make your journeys much more comfortable and remember, the driver’s comfort is the most important thing.

The Secret Driving Instructor:
If you have your mum in the car remember it’s her comfort that is most important.

Top tip: If you have an older car with a heated rear window make sure you turn it off when not needed as you are draining the battery.

5) Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

Remember: Opening and shutting your side window will help with your all important comfort in the car. You can’t beat a bit of fresh air!

6) Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?

Top tip: Use your dipped headlights when you can’t see as well as you should be able to. Remember more often than not, your dipped headlights are so other people can see you.

7) Examiner: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

Be a driving pro: If you think someone hasn’t seen you, but they need to know you are there, that’s what the horn is for. Normally a light toot will do. A big long blast is not helpful in normal use.
The Secret Driving Instructor:
Remember, no one’s driving has ever been improved by being beeped at. When I’m out with a learner and another driver beeps at us, it always makes the situation worse. So it really should just be a warning.

For driving lessons in Gosport, Portsmouth , Southsea and the surrounding area with patient professional Instructors, Contact us on 02393 75 25 25 or use our  online contact form.

 

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