Jakes Driving School Blog

Jakes Driving School Blog

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Intensive Driving Courses What Are They And Are They A Good Idea

If you are thinking of learning  to drive then you may have wondered about taking an Intensive Driving Course. You May Have heard different opinions about them and wondered if its a good idea.You might even be wondering what an intensive driving course really is.

What Is An Intensive Driving Course?

This is a the big question many believe its some kind of magical course with a guaranteed pass at the end well if you believe that then I'm sorry to burst your bubble. There is no such thing as a guaranteed pass, whether you have your driving once a week for 10 months or in a couple of weeks you still have to go to your local DVSA test centre and do a driving test just like everybody else.
But typically they are offered as packages here are some typical examples:-

40 hours( Complete beginner)

30 Hours Someone that has had say about 10 hours or so not so long ago and they have some basic driving skills they can change gears  but not done many roundabouts yet or manoeuvres or something like that

20 hours Someone that has had quite a few lessons before and they can drive around in most traffic conditions and have covered everything but just need to get it finished off they might have even done a test before

Lets look for a moment at the traditional way of learning to drive.
So you start you lessons off with your local driving instructor say 1 or maybe 2 hours per week, after about 30 hours when you are nearly at test standard your driving instructor advises you to book your driving test. With the test a few weeks away you carry on with your lessons and hopefully you get to test standard and you pass. Or if you aren't up to scratch then you driving instructor will advise you to squeeze in some more driving lessons in the last couple of weeks or worst case scenario the Driving Instructor will advise you to postpone the driving test .Let's remember that a driving instructor cannot force you to book, change or cancel a driving test ,however driving instructors reserve the right to refuse use of their car for the driving test. If they do this then they should endeavor to give the candidate enough time to cancel or postpone their driving test without losing their fee.

Now lets look at the Intensive Driving Course way of learning to drive
Before you book any driving lessons what the first thing you do, yes you guessed it you book your driving test. Some Intensive Driving Courses will book this as part of the package others will tell you to book it yourself and then come back to them to book the course to run upto that test date.
basically the test is booked first which would be typically in 5 to 6 weeks time. You then book the hours to run upto that test date typically keeping 2 hours for the test day itself. So if you are on a 40 Hour Course you could say do 4 hours per day over 10 days. Driving Instructors will expect to be paid upfront for the course so that you are committed. If you decided that you wanted to cancel it at the last minute then this would leave a massive hole in the driving instructors diary. Now there is still a possibility of you doing reaching test standard on time.
How many hours should I Do
Driving Schools will give a guideline
  • 40 hours( Complete beginner)
  • 30 Hours Someone that has had say about 10 hours or so not so long ago and they have some basic driving skills they can change gears  but not done many roundabouts yet or manoeuvres or something like that
  • 20 hours Someone that has had quite a few lessons before and they can drive around in most traffic conditions and have covered everything but just need to get it finished off they might have even done a test before.
Which ever one you go for is basically an estimate based on what  driving experience that you have told the driving school that you have. Sometimes you can have a chargeable assessment driving lesson with the driving instructor who will take you in the Intensive Driving Course but whichever course you go on is still an estimate. If it turns out when the test date is getting closer you are not going to be ready then the instructor will advise you to purchase an additional amount of hours say 5 hours extra or postpone the test. If you can agree on this then the driving school still reserve the right to refuse use of their car for the driving test. If they do this then they should endeavor to give the candidate enough time to cancel or postpone their driving test without losing their fee. Bearing in mind that if this happens the test could be less then days away meaning you are more likely to lose your driving test fee. There is no such thing as a guaranteed pass at the end.

Some Intensive Courses driving course schools will offer a package where they will pay for a retest and provide some more training if you fail your driving test but this will come limitations.
Such as only 3 attempts at the test and 5 hours extra per fail so 3 x 5 hours.
Of course you are paying for this in advance and if you pass first time then the driving instructor will be very happy as he is going to make a nice bonus from this.
One of the best Intensive Driving Courses Companys I found was http://intensivedrivingcourses-bennetts.co.uk/ they are competive ad can provide Intensive Driving courses all around the UK.
There is also alot of information about Intensive Driving Courses on their website.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Driving Test Day Tips

Here are some useful tips for anyone that has their driving test soon.
Nerves and confidence are major determining factors when it comes to success or failure in the practical driving test.
It is natural - and potentially even helpful - to experience a certain amount of nerves as you approach the test. The examiner is expecting this and will make some allowance for it, although it will not excuse dangerous or serious mistakes.
The best way to beat nerves is to be confident in your own ability. As such, the first thing you need to ensure is that you are actually ready to take the test. Insufficient preparation is the other principal cause of failure and it will have a bearing on your confidence going into the test. Your driving instructor is best placed to judge whether or not you are ready to take the practical test. Don't go against their advice, even if you suspect they merely wish to retain your custom. In the vast majority of cases this will not be true, and you will probably save money in the long run by waiting until you are deemed to have a realistic prospect of passing.
When you have developed sufficient confidence in your driving ability, make a test appointment early in the day. This will ensure you have less time to get worked up. Don't pay any attention, however, to myths about daily pass quotas or people only passing on a Monday etc. as there is no proof of this and the DSA say this is not true.
Try to make sure the test date does not clash with other stressful events such as school exams or wedding preparations, and don't let your friends know when you've got your test as this will only create additional pressure. Turn to parents or other family members for support.
In the week before the test
  • Get as much practice as possible. Book extra lessons with your driving instructor. In your final sessions, ask the instructor to concentrate on the manoeuvres you find most tricky. If you have been taking lessons over a long period of time it can be worthwhile doing an intensive driving course with your driving instructor of say just a few hours In the last week.
  • Complete at least one 'mock test' in which your instructor ensures that conditions are as realistic as possible, providing a full debrief at the end of the session.
  • Don't listen to the advice of your friends / family. They doubtless mean well, but their instructions may be confusing, misguided or otherwise unhelpful. Remember that your driving instructor has years of experience as well as a professional training.
  • Ignore driving test horror stories. There are hundreds of them doing the rounds. A couple may even be true.
On the day before the test
  • Don't drink any large amounts of alcohol
  • Get a good night's sleep
  • Get all the required documents together so that you are not rushing around looking for them just before you leave for the driving test centre.
  • Make sure you know how to get to the driving test centre. Do a practice run if necessary.
  • Plan what time you are going to get up, eat, leave home etc the following day.
On the day of the test
  • Think positively from the moment you wake up. Tell yourself that you are going to get through the day calmly.
  • Eat light meals at your normal mealtimes and ensure you get your regular fluid intake. Even if your test is early in the morning, it is important to have a good breakfast in order to boost your concentration levels. Try not to over eat, however, as this may make you uncomfortable or lethargic.
  • Wear clothes that make you feel as comfortable as possible., especially comfortable shoes
  • Try not to think too much about the test until it is time to leave.
  • Don't take pills to calm your nerves. They are likely to slow your reactions and negatively affect your performance.
  • Definitely do not drink any alcohol
  • Leave for the test centre in plenty of time, allowing for the possibility of heavy traffic etc. You need to be there about 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time or you risk the test being cancelled. But try not get there to early or you will get in the way of others taking their driving test.
On the hour before the test
  • Listen to the last-minute advice of your instructor, and don't be afraid to ask him or her for clarification / reassurance on any matter.
  • If you are driving to the test centre, do so to the best of your ability. Maintain the accuracy and observation levels you have been taught so that you are properly 'warmed-up' by the time you come to take the test.
  • Just before the test, take a few slow breaths to relax. Clench and relax your muscles to get rid of any tension.
  • Close you eyes and imagine your favourite place such as your favourite holiday destination
  • Tell yourself that you can do it! 32 million people hold full driving licenses in the UK. We're sure you can too.
During the test
  • Remember that some nervousness is normal. It can increase your alertness and improve your performance.
  • Don't be intimidated by the examiner. He is merely a person doing a job. He is not a god and he will not be judging you as a person. He doesn't want you to fail your test and he will not try to trick you at any stage.
  • Don't try to interact too much with the examiner. Silence is normal in the test car, and too much chit-chat could be distracting.
  • Listen carefully to the examiner's instructions. Ask for repetition / clarification if necessary and act in good time.
  • Bear in mind that the examiner just wants to see how you would normally drive - nothing you don't already know!
  • Explain your decisions to the examiner if you feel you have done something that could be misjudged.
  • If you come across a new situation, don't rush in. Stay calm and assess things carefully before you proceed. Be prepared to change your decision if necessary.
  • Take a deep breath and exhale slowly if you feel you are getting a bit tense at any point in the test.
  • Don't give up if you feel you have failed the test. You may be mistaken, so don't drop your concentration levels and risk commit errors that do cause you to fail.

Buying Your First Car - A Guide For First Time Car Buyers

My name is Jake and I run one of the local Driving Schools In Gloucester.
When I conduct driving lessons in Gloucester my pupils often ask for advice about buying there first car.One could also look into the options of cheap car leasing which can also be a cost effective way of running a car as 1st4leasing have some great deals on car leasing and contract hire to suit every budget.
Buying your first car, especially if the first car is a used car, can be a daunting experience. Below is a guide to make the process easier.
First of all decide how much you can afford to pay for your first car. Not just the sum to buy the car itself but also the running costs - car insurance, MOT, road tax, petrol, repairs and servicing. Bearing in mind that going for the cheapest is not always the best option as if its to cheap then the car probably won’t be very safe or reliable.
With a figure in mind consider what category of car you want your first car to be in. As new drivers this is likely to be a small car or maybe small family car.
Then do your research. Magazines such as Parkers and The Which Car Guide rate, review and price all types and models of cars. Road tests will give you detailed information on performance, reliability, handling and other important points. When you come to negotiate the purchase of your first car such information will prove vital. You will know the price you should be paying, whether the model has any common faults, specific issues to look out for etc.
Now with a model and price in mind you're ready to shop. So what are the options when it comes to buying a first car?
Franchised dealer - usually better quality used cars but at higher prices.
 Good after sales services and assistance. Buying from a franchised dealer gives you maximum legal protection. Of course dodgy franchised dealers exist so look for an established company with a good reputation. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Generally speaking using a franchised dealer is a good option when buying a first car.But you will probably need to get the car on finance so as long as you can keep up the payments maybe this is a good option.
Independent dealer - often a wide variety of potential first cars at lower prices. However, variable used car quality and after sales service. You will get the car cheaper and they offer finance but you are more likely to encounter problems with the car and the warranty is probably not worth the paper it is written on. Typically cars from these dealers can have high mileage, higher mileage usually means more problems so more bills.
Auction - potential to pick up a first car bargain.
 Car quality can be inconsistent however, and some dodgy cars can be bought. There is also little chance of financial comeback if the used car develops any serious faults. To get the best out of a car auction it is best to go with someone who knows about cars. Your usual legal rights may not apply if the seller issues a disclaimer, i.e. 'sold as seen', which excludes all or some of those rights. Read the auctioneer's conditions of business carefully to check whether this is the case.
Privately - lots of used cars to choose from and low prices.
 However no after sales service and you could get ripped off. If you buy your first car privately you have fewer legal rights. The car must be as described but the other rules don't apply i.e. there is no legal requirement that the car is of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose. Car dealers will sometimes pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal obligations and get rid of faulty or over-priced cars. Be suspicious when ads give a mobile number, when you see the same phone number appearing in several ads, when the seller wants to bring the car to meet you.
Try to Negotiate  as sellers usually inflate the price and they will generally expect you to knock the price down a bit but be realistic when negotiating if you try to cut the price in half they won’t take you seriously.
Ask the seller to provide you with a copy of the service history manual and the user manual. Look at the service history to see how often the car has been serviced. The manual will tell you the service schedule. Each service entry should be stamped with the mechanics stamp and dated. Look to see if any other work has been carried out on the car. A good service history will also have receipts for work carried out. If the seller can't provide any service history information then assume the car has been poorly looked after.
Test Driving A Used Car is Essential
When you do, make sure you're insured to drive the car you're about to test drive! Always start the engine from cold. If the engine has already been warmed up you won't get to see if there are any cold-start or cold-running problems. If it sounds too noisy there could be a problem, likewise the exhaust.
Test the suspension by driving over some bumps. If the car fails to correct the resulting bounces quickly then the shock absorbers may need replacing. Also:
           Turn on the radio and all other electrical gadgets. Make sure they work electric windows etc can be very expensive to repair
           Changing gears should be smooth and easy. If not then the gearbox may need fixing which is very expensive and if it needs replacing it would be cheaper to replace the car. Check the clutch is smooth and no strange noises are coming from it if the biting point is really high this could indicate a worn clutch a new clutch costs about £500 fitted.

           Perform an emergency stop and test the brakes. If you hear any strange noises, especially a grinding noise the brakes may be wearing thin.
Once you have completed the road test park the car, let the engine tick over, open the bonnet up and check for the following:
           Water or oil leaks
           Engine rattle or other odd noise
           Black or blue smoke coming from the exhaust, which will indicate a badly worn engine
           Grey smoke coming from the exhaust, which will indicate water leaking into the engine which could be a fault head gasket.
  • Pull out the dipstick if the oil in sludgy this could indicate a blowing head gasket check the coolant for any floating oil this could also indicate blowing head gasket
To check the car's identity hasn't been changed or cloned check-
The VIN or Vehicle Identification Number which can be found under bonnet, under the driver's seat, on the chassis or etched onto a window or sunroof, for signs of tampering. All examples of the VIN must match exactly. If you see areas of glass scratched off windows, headlights, taillights or a sunroof, or if you see stickers concealing altered etching then be suspicious and walk away from the deal. The car manual will tell you all the locations the VIN can be found.
To make sure the car isn't stolen or a ringer(cut and shut) make sure
There's a valid V5 registration certificate with watermark, number plate, VIN and engine numbers matching those of the car, name and address of the seller, no spelling mistakes or alterations. The V5 will also list information about the vehicle including make, model and engine size, all of which should match those of the actual car.
If you buy a second-hand car you MUST make sure you are given the correct V5 certificate. You will need to use the V5 to inform the DVLA that you have bought the car and are now the registered keeper.
 means reducing a vehicle's mileage reading. This not only adds false value to a vehicle, but it could add to the longer term running costs of the vehicle as it might have more wear and tear than the buyer realises. With more than 600,000 clocked vehicles estimated to be on the UK's roads, it signifies a huge threat to used car buyers.
To help detect if a car has been clocked use the checklist below.
           Check the service history - Check the mileages displayed in the service history and look for service stamps from a genuine dealer. Ideally the service invoices will accompany the service history. If in doubt, contact the servicing dealers and check the mileages they recorded at the time of the service. Speak to the previous keeper - Get in contact with the previous keeper (details can be found on the V5/logbook). They can identify the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it. Make sure this adds up with the current mileage.
           Trust your judgment - Check who the car was last registered to on the V5. Was it registered as a company car but has done less than 12,000 miles per year? Or is it 15 years old with only 20,000 on the clock? Look for any evidence that indicates clocking.
           Check the mileage - It has been known for clocker’s to wind back the mileage when you first view the vehicle and then return it to its original value once the transaction is complete. Make sure you check the mileage is the same when you pick up the vehicle.
           Look for signs of wear and tear - Does the wear and tear on the vehicle match its mileage? Be careful to look out for signs such as worn seats, steering wheels and other vehicle parts. Also look out for brand new easily replaceable parts; the wear and tear should be consistent with the vehicle's displayed mileage.
           Conduct an HPI Check - HPI's National Mileage Register has over 130 million mileages recorded on it, and can identify mileage discrepancies recorded against the vehicle.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Practising Driving With Your Parents(Private Practise)

Over the years I have been providing driving lessons in Gloucester and fewer and fewer people tend to private practise.Learning to drive with family or friends can save you money and help you get to test standard quicker, but we recommend you always use a qualified Approved Driving Instructor and just practice with family or friends. You should also ask your A.D.I. when he or she thinks it is time that private practice with family or friends would be of benefit.
If you are teaching someone to drive you will need to have L-Plates clearly displayed, appropriate insurance for the learner driver and you must have held your licence for a minimum of 3 years and be at least 21 years old. It's also recommended that you have a rear view mirror fitted when you are supervising a learner. Taking them out to early can knock their confidence if they are out of there depth and don’t let them develop bad habits. If you are going out for the first time then you don’t really have a clue what their driving is like until you have seen it. Always drive them to a quiet place ideally a quiet industrial estate on a Sunday morning. Do this even if they have had loads of driving lessons as they will need to get used to the car and they may feel a bit nervous as they would have got very used to driving with their ADI. Learner drivers react slowly so give them plenty of time to do things. If things do go wrong and they do something a bit dangerous then this can be frightening and stressful but it is important not to show any stress or fear or they will get very stressed which you don’t want when they are behind the wheel. Where possible pull over and discuss what happened. Try not to just tell them off ,try to have a constructive discussion about it trying to create a win win situation. Make sure the vehicle is roadworthy and legal and definitely insured it’s a good idea for the accompanying driver to be insured as well as you may need to drive the vehicle sometimes as well.

Note: Remember Learner drivers are not allowed on Motorways!

Tips for accompanying learner drivers:

Don't relax too much!
Be ready for absolutely anything, as a driver you should know that potential hazards/dangers can arise very fast and from anywhere. The learner might not spot the the hazard/danger at all so be ready!!

Don't have too high expectations!
Always find a level from the learner and build up from that. Always be prepared for the learner to slip back from that level, if this happens this is the new level to build up from.

Keep descriptive and consistent with directions/terms!
It's no good saying gas one minute then accelerator the next, or just gears if you mean change up to 4th. Try to be as descriptive as possible when giving instruction. Also try and give the learner a lot more notice before the action is required.

Choose appropriate routes carefully!
Try not to take the learner into difficult situations until they're ready. It will really knock their confidence if this happens. If this situation is unavoidable help the learner out as much as required. But try to roughly plan routes before you set off, taking into account the time of day and traffic conditions.

Stop and discuss!
If the learner makes a pretty serious mistake, pull up and talk about what happened. Use the system, WHAT, WHY and HOW. WHAT the fault was, WHY it was a fault (give example of what could have happened) and HOW to do it the right way. Then go and practice the same situation again giving instruction.

The Approved Driving Instructor is "always" right!!
Well usually! If the learner is doing something what you think is incorrect and he or she says "That's the way my instructor tells me to do it" it's usually correct but bearing in mind that the learner may be telling a porky. So it's worthwhile having a chat with the instructor, any decent instructor will be willing to help you out with any questions that you might have!

Keep a calm environment!
Even if you're not. Learners will learn a lot more and be able to concentrate better! Driving while you're stressed is hazardous to your health!
Teaching someone to drive? Just added to our Learnershop. Rear view suction mirrors

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cheap Car Insurance for Safe Young Drivers

Anyone who has just passed their driving test or who is an inexperienced driver who is paying high premiums and is a safe driver should consider going with co-operative insurance when comparing car insurance with the smart box installed.
Co-operative Insurance seem to have the solution to keep young newly qualified drivers insurance premiums low and to motivate them to drive safely which keep them safe and alive. Quite literally. The safer you're driving, the lower your premium. It’s important to remember that unsafe driving can drive your premium up too. But with the online dashboard you’ll be able to easily stay up-to-date with how you or any other insured drivers are driving and how that’s affecting how much premium you’ll pay. This is because they install a device in the car called Smart box which is a small box that uses GPS this device is not visible it is tucked away and it doesn’t affect the performance of the vehicle nor does it affect the warranty of the vehicle. Smart box records, stores and sends data about different aspects of your driving the data is collected and sends it to your online dashboard so that you can also monitor your own driving. The better you drive the cheaper you insurance will be a newly qualified young driver can save as much as £600 if they drive safely and legally all of the time.

Speed, Cornering, Time, Acceleration & Braking

It’s these elements that can contribute to whether you are a safer driver. Driving above the speed limit, taking corners too fast, braking or accelerating too hard and driving at night have been found to contribute to the most serious of road accidents, especially in young drivers. These four Safe Driving Parameters are used calculate a safe driving score which is displayed on your dashboard.
So that’s the key information that matters. What happens then? Well, it’s sent to us and we use it to calculate a score that you can monitor via your online dashboard. In fact, it’s updated daily and you can check it any time you like. You may well get into the habit of checking your score and trying to beat your previous efforts.
Speed and taking corners at speed
Speed is one of the biggest factors in road crashes that kill because the faster you drive, the less time you have to react, and the harder you’ll hit if you crash. In 2009 in the UK, 3,979 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor; 663 of these were deaths.
Source: www.think.direct.gov.uk

Acceleration and braking
In some circumstances people may need to brake sharply or increase their speed to get out of a dangerous situation. However if this happens too often it suggests that the driving style is not as safe as it could be. In order to improve your scores, consider the following:

  • Do you get into the right lane in sufficient time before a turn-off or roundabout?
  • Do you drive too close to the car in front of you?
  • Do you drive at a speed suitable for the characteristics of the road so that you can deal with unexpected hazards, such as blind bends, vehicles coming out of junctions, animals on the road etc?
It is things like this that should result in smoother driving without having to brake or accelerate sharply.
Time of day
Driving between 11pm at night and 6am in the morning is one of the most dangerous times, despite there being much less traffic. That’s why premiums will be higher for drivers who do a lot of late night driving.

In order to understand why we are so passionate about Young Driver Insurance, we would like you to check out the 2Young2Die website which has been developed by Brake – a leading road safety charity. The information on this website puts across the reasons why we believe measuring speed and the other parameters as part of assessing risk is so important.
These aren’t the only reasons for poor driving and accidents - talking on your phone, eating, drink/drug driving all contribute and we support Brake in getting all these vital messages across with their 2Young2die campaign

Motorway Driving and Tuition

Motorway driving is not covered on the UK driving syllabus as learner drivers are not allowed to drive on Motorways! I feel it's important for all drivers to be able to drive confidently and skilfully on all types of road. Pass plus is available but not compulsory It is thereforea good idea that learner drivers carry out motorway training and I am one of the driving instructors in Gloucester that offers motorway training. Statistically the motorway network that we have contains our safest roads. On the motorway everyone is travelling the same way at all times with minimal obstruction (other than roadwork’s) which makes the motorway driving experience safer and faster. But it something goes wrong it can often result in a more serious collision as the collision is at higher speed. Being one of the few driving schools in Gloucester that heavily promotes Motorway tuition, I teach about advanced forward planning as everything is happening much faster and hazards can develop very fast. Especially when cars in front brake hard. Motorway driving can get boring but remain focused as sometimes the situation can change without much warning. Key points when travelling on the motorway are driving position and observation. A motorway driving lesson will improve any motorway driving skills that you already have. When I teach driving lessons in Gloucester  before they have passed their driving test I take them on the dual carriageways a lot which helps them develop motorway style driving before they get to the motorway. With the motorway driving I take the pupils on the complex junctions where they have to follow designated lanes and signs which really helps them with there advanced forward planning. And finally before setting out on the motorway it is important that you have adequate fuel and that the vehicle is fit for the motorway. Plan your route even if you have a sat nav as the sat nav could stop working. Make sure you have breakdown cover and have a safety triangle in the boot and a high visual vest. If you breakdown call for help and get out of the vehicle and walk well away from the hard shoulder. Many new drivers worry about their first time alone on a motorway. Motorways are safer, than normal roads, but they are also faster. Sometimes things do happen quicker, and you have to concentrate. When you are on the main carriageway of the motorway, remain in the first lane until you get used to the speed. If you need to overtake you must return to the first lane as soon as possible but only if its safe to do so! Many motorists try to stay in the overtaking lanes for normal driving. This is bad practice and causes inconvenience and tailbacks and annoys other users. There are two types of motorway, rural and urban. You need to think of them as quiet and busy. Quiet motorways are boring, so you need to concentrate on the road and traffic conditions way ahead. Busy motorways need your attention all around you rather than just focused ahead. Motorways are like dual carriageways only safer. They are safer because every motorway user is travelling in the same direction and at similar speeds. Another reason why motorways are safer is due to the fact that traffic is restricted to those who can make best use of it i.e. no pedestrians, cyclists, moped, no L drivers (except HGV), agricultural vehicles, and animals. Motorways are also safer because there are no sharp bends, no oncoming traffic, no right turn, and no roundabouts. The lanes are always wide, and well marked, and are usually straight for long distances. Remember you are not allowed to reverse, cross the central reservation, or to drive in the wrong direction on motorways. On urban (busy) motorways each lane of traffic has an electronic signal system which applies to traffic in each lane. Care needs to be taken to make sure you know the various signals and what they mean. Motorway signs are being used with increasing frequency to warn you of hold ups or accidents ahead. When joining a motorway you usually join from a roundabout or a main road by means of a slip road. This leads to an acceleration lane. The rule here is not to interfere with the traffic already on the motorway. Make sure your speed is the same as the traffic already on the motorway. Vehicles already on the motorway usually realise you need to join the main carriageway and they try and move over to the other lane. (This is not always possible if the traffic is busy). This makes room for you to join the first lane of the motorway. Mirrors and signals must be used correctly to avoid interfering with the following traffic. Full and proper observation as you enter usually involves looking over your right shoulder as well as using your door mirrors. Don't rely on mirrors alone. To get off the motorway the normal procedure is to look for the first advance warning sign (1 mile from the exit). This sign gives the exit number and the road number. At half a mile from the exit a second sign identifies the towns for the exit. Then at 300 yards from the deceleration lane there is a three line countdown marker, (at this point you should begin to signal left to say you are turning off - but don't slow down yet), followed by the 200 yd and 100 yd marker signs. Only when you have crossed into the deceleration lane should you begin to slow down. Once you get back on to ordinary roads again, you need to watch your speed until you are acclimatised to the new lower speeds on the road. Don't forget too, that these roads are likely to have roundabouts, oncoming traffic, and sharp bends on them.I recently drove along the M42 just as they were preparing to allow traffic to use a fourth lane, during peak periods, in a bid to beat congestion. The fourth lane is the hard shoulder. I saw for myself the preparations that were being made, including the addition of emergency lay-bys - so that road users who break down can hopefully make it to the refuges which are installed at 500-metre intervals. When the hard shoulder is in use for traffic there will be a 50 mph limit across all lanes of the motorway. There has been much froth about the danger it poses for drivers. But, given the need to make best use of limited road space and to keep traffic moving, it is something that should be applauded. And that includes applause from the greens. Standing traffic is burning fossil fuel and producing pollution for nothing - something that helps no-one, except those who own the oil wells and the refineries! In a recent report the government agency predicted that if all drivers stuck to 70mph, the UK’s carbon emissions would be cut by 1.4 million tonnes. The Sustainable Development Commission argued against traditional speed cameras saying that drivers slam on the brakes as they approach and then speed off after.  Average speed cameras encourage more smoother driving, which, it argues is more environmentally friendly. The average speed camera devices lead to fewer accidents and speeding tickets on the roads where they are installed than normal speed cameras, a new report by the Government’s environmental advisers claims. The government is looking to extend this beyond motorways with a new generation of cameras that can track journeys over a network of streets. This could mean speed cameras being fitted on all residential roads with a speed limit of 20 mph.Quite how this would work in practice is unclear. The average speed cameras work by calculating the distance travelled and the time taken, arriving at an average speed. It is rare indeed to be able to drive at anything approaching the speed limit on Britain’s crowded urban streets. We may not have the choice of speed soon as the report goes further, suggesting capping all cars to make it impossible to break the speed limit. Given that the courts sometimes accept special reasons for speeding such as an emergency this would be an interesting development

Driving In Extreme Weather Conditions

Jake is the owner of a driving school which is based in Gloucester and at this time of year a lot of the driving lessons are conducted in the dark and bad weather conditions.
When the weather is bad like it was just after Christmas 2009 with temperatures dropping as low as -20 c, Jake saw this as an ideal opportunity to let the learner drivers have the experience of driving in the snow and ice.
When the weather is this extreme then yes you should try to avoid unnecessary journeys but you could find yourself in a situation where you have no choice.
The ideal environment to learn to drive in the snow and ice is with your driving instructor when i do this I am careful where I plan the lessons route such as avoiding steep hills etc where its possible to experience complete loss of control of the vehicle.
When driving we should remember that a car is heavy the average car weighs around 1500KG and when this moving along it has momentum so even if its moving slowly it takes a lot to make the car stop quickly ideally it should be slowed down and stopped gradually. For example even if driving at a Meer 10 mph if you hit the brakes hard you will be thrown forwards as the momentum will be thrown forwards, if you accelerate hard you will be pushed back into your seat the momentum is pushing you back or you corner hard to the left at speed you will be pushed over to the right etc.
Now Lets remember that the car has fours wheels but there is not that much actually in contact with the road surface in fact its only about the equivalent to for CD Cases.
If we keep throwing that momentum around to suddenly then one or more of the tyres will lose grip which is when we start to lose control.
Now with good tyres in good dry conditions the tyres generally have good grip so if make some sudden movements with the car then it might be quite forgiving.
In the ice and snow there is virtually no grip.
stopping distances are 10 times greater that the normal stopping distance so when I teach this, I say to the learner driver that we need to try to avoid using the brakes and really purely on engine braking and then at the end very lightly touch the brake to bring the car to a gentle halt. when moving off again go very easy with the revs and very gentle with clutch to avoid wheel spinning. When cornering remember that the car really would like to continue in a straight line. Slow right down for turn and apply the steering very gradually.