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Amdi Driving School - Driving Lessons Hackney, East London

What To Do When You Fail A Test

Posted on 20/09/2018
examiner taking notes

Unfortunately, as much as everyone hates to come to terms with the thought of the possibility of failing in the lead up to their test, it is a concept that must be prepared for. In an ideal world, we’d all pass the first time and drive off into the sunset after a stress-free test eager to get on the roads independently, but this just isn’t realistic. It is vital to understand the steps and what to do when you fail a test.

6 Tips On What To Do When You Fail A Test

No one really likes to talk about the subject of failing their driving test, but we’re all human, which means silly mistakes can easily happen, especially if you’re under immense pressure. Over 800,000 practical tests are carried out each year, so not everyone can be lucky enough to pass with absolutely no problems.

If you’ve recently failed a test and unsure where to go from here or just want to prepare yourself for the possibility, then there are a few key steps to ensure that you smash your test on the second attempt!

1. Don’t Be Disheartened

First things first, don’t be disheartened and completely put off driving for life if you fail. Nerves impact how you perform considerably more than you would expect, so instead of panicking, learn from your mistakes and stay positive. Use the fact that you’ve already experienced exactly what happens during a test to your advantage as you’ll know what to expect during your second attempt. This alone will reduce nerves dramatically as you will no longer have a fear of the unexpected.

Think of your first attempt as a test run, adding to your skills and improving your driving. Studies show that those who took more than one attempt to pass their test are all round safer drivers as they have had considerably more practice working on their flaws.

2. Take Advice From Your Examiner

Although straight after your test, you might be frustrated and the last person you want to speak to is the examiner that failed you, they are incredibly useful for getting great advice. Put to one side the fact that your examiner is currently your most hated person, and discuss the reason why you gained a major and minors. Ask what common mistakes you made and how you can improve to avoid similar issues in the future. Your examiner is the only person who knows the definite reason as to why you failed and how to avoid repeating this, so take their advice as constructive criticism and work on improving your skills.

girl talking to examiner

3. Discuss With Your Instructor

It is more than likely that your instructor will be waiting at the test centre for you to finish, so on the way home make sure that you book in for your next driving lesson straight away. As much as you might not want to and you feel as if your confidence has been knocked, it’s important to get straight back behind the wheel. The longer you leave lessons, the harder you will find it to get back into.

Make a plan of action with your instructor on how you will go ahead with lessons. Remember, you’re not alone and it is more than likely that your instructor has had many pupils in the past who had failed for the same reason. They will have several different techniques and teaching methods to help you hit the nail on the head quickly. For more information on the major driving test mistakes and how to avoid them.

If you are limited in the time you have to pass and ideally want to gain your licence for a specific date, you may want to consider taking extra hours each week. Discuss your instructor’s availability and whether they would be able to accommodate your needs.

“I think instructors need to be as patient and accommodating as they can when a pupil has failed their test. It causes a massive knock in confidence which can be really tricky to regain. I try to tailor lessons as much as I can to make the pupil feel at ease and praise their strengths, it’s all about practice!”

4. Look At Driving Test Centre Pass Rates

If you live in a large city, you will be lucky enough to have your choice between several different test centres. Spend some time browsing through your local test centres pass rates and whether venturing a little further may increase your chance of passing.

For example, if you are taking driving lessons in Hackney or you are with a driving instructor in east london, you have many different test centres in East London  to choose from, so it is worth researching into the difference in pass rates.

woman typing on laptop

5. Book Another Test

It is entirely up to you when you opt to book another test, many learners are eager to jump straight in, and others prefer to leave themselves more time. Don’t feel as if you need to rush into booking a second test; it is only you who can decide when is best.

Unfortunately, if you are keen to re-book, it is unlikely that you will find a free slot for the next few weeks, most people have to wait months for a second test. Even if the next available test date and time is a while away, still book yourself in, so you are guaranteed a test slot. You are able to change your test date and time up to 6 times before you must completely restart the process. Although we do not recommend that you keep moving your test, it shows how much leeway you have in swapping bookings.

Pupils who want to get their next test over and done with as soon as possible are always advised to keep an eye out for cancellations. The issue with relying on cancellations is that you cannot put your name on a list to be given cancelled slots, so the only way of keeping track is to consistently check the GOV.UK website. Finding a cancellation that is better suited to you than your booked date is very much luck of the draw.

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6. Keep Practicing

The most critical aspect in preparing for your next test is never to stop practising. Utilise every hour of lessons to your advantage, push your strengths and work on your weaknesses. You will know exactly why you failed and what aspects you may not be as strong in, so can ensure that this is your main focus. If you feel as if you still may struggle in a particular aspect of your practical test, make your instructor aware, so they know that they need to spend time starting from the basics on this topic.

You could even take a look into getting insured on a family member or friends car as a provisional licence holder for additional practice outside of lessons. Popular insurance companies such as MoneySupermarketConfused.comand Admiral will all be able to arrange this for you.

Police officers cracking down on drivers STILL using mobile whilst driving!

Posted on 01/10/2018

Police officers cracking down on drivers STILL using mobile whilst driving!

London double decker buses

Police officers are now cleverly becoming passengers on double-decker buses to crack down on motorists STILL using mobile whilst driving! And if caught, you could lose your licence!

Police officers cracking down on drivers STILL using mobile whilst driving!

Police officers are now becoming just as sneaky as offenders and going undercover in this new, unique but brilliant way to catch drivers.

‘Operation Top Deck’, as the new technique has been called, involves police officers dressed in normal clothes taking a spot on the top deck of double-decker buses during several different bus journies to keep an eye out for those still using their phone.

All officers on board are equipped with video cameras, so they can discretely catch drivers using their phones along with their numberplate. They’ll work as a team with officers on bikes, who will be radio alerted of any drivers breaking the law, so they can track them down and show them the full footage of them committing the crime. Just when you thought the drivers day couldn’t get any worse, officers will continue to show them heart wrenching clips of the dangers they could have potentially caused.

police officer on double decker bus
Photo Credit to Sunday Express.

What happens if you are caught on your mobile phone whilst driving?

Unfortunately, there was a case highlighted in the news where a driving instructor in Hackney was using his tablet device to mark a mock driving test for a pupil.

The police caught him, fined £200 and he has been issued with 6 points. He is now at risk of losing his licence to teach.

If you’re in your first two years of driving, 6 points is also enough to lose your licence for good, and it isn’t just an exaggerated consequence officers use to scare you.

We had a pupil once who was taking driving lessons in clapton and lost their licence just 2 months after passing because he was silly enough to be caught texting while driving. He was spotted by officers, pulled over and given 6 points upfront before he even had a chance to enjoy the freedom.

As a general rule, you will be fined and receive 6 points if you are driving using a mobile phone or supervising a learner. For more information visit Talking on the Phone and Driving to find out the consequences.

45 drivers caught in just 2 hours!

The West Midlands force’s Road Harm Reduction Team were the first team of police officers to trail this method, and an astonishing 45 drivers were caught in the space of just a few hours. The guilty drivers caught are now awaiting their consequences.

woman caught using phone while driving

For some real-life footage of this technique in full operation, head over to this Express article!

Sharing The Road With Cyclists

Posted on the 07/08/2018

Cyclist Riding Alongside Vehicles

With exercise and keeping fit evergrowing in popularity, we are continuously being reminded of the importance of doing your part to contribute to a nation of healthy living. Many people look to cycling to keep in shape and ditch the car for shorter journies and opt for cycling instead.

On average, nearly half of drivers claim they feel anxious when faced with the task of sharing the road with cyclists and state that they worry when they are, in particular, forced to overtake. This is a task that you are very rarely taught when learning to drive as unless you are directly challenged with a cyclist; there is no real way of practising. Here we are going to talk you through all of the current laws revolving sharing the road with cyclists, along with vital safety tips for both drivers and cyclists.

What Are The Laws On Sharing The Road With Cyclists?

In more cases than not, we refer back to the highway code when explaining various driving skills and laws. Taking time to read and fully understand the main points stated in the Highway Code is the foundation to becoming and staying a safe driver.

There are three main rules in the Highway Code that refer back to handling driving alongside cyclists. The first of which is Rule 162, this relates to before you attempt to overtake a cyclist. The rule states that you must review the road ahead prior to overtaking to ensure that the road is clear with no oncoming traffic. There must also be a large gap in front of the cyclist so that you can pass without having to cut in quickly.

Next is Rule 163, this is related to when you actually overtake the cyclist. You must overtake leaving plenty of room between you and the cyclist; they recommend you should leave as much room as you would do so when overtaking a car. Do not prolong overtaking, once you have moved out to go around the cyclist, continue to overtake quickly in case a sudden vehicle appears ahead. Once you are passed the cyclist and at a safe distance ahead, move straight back over into your lane.

Lastly is Rule 140, this does not relate to overtaking but instead cycle lanes. When approaching a cycle lane, there will be visible signs and road markings. If the road marking is a solid white line, it means you cannot stop, park or drive in this lane, it is for cyclists only. A dashed line means that it is advisory to avoid driving or parking in the lane unless it is entirely necessary. For example, if there are road works and you are forced to drive over the cycle lane.

Cycle Lane

Safety Tips For Drivers

As a driver, you should always be aware of your surroundings; you must keep your eye on the road and blind spots at all times with no distractions. You can find out more information about driving with distractions in our previous blog on the consequences of dangerous or careless driving.

Sharing the road with a cyclist shouldn’t be a worry, the main reason as to why drivers panic is because they are unaware of the correct procedures and how to react to situations. Here are our top tips on how to remain safe when driving alongside cyclists.

Weather Conditions:

Always be extra wary around cyclists when the weather is more severe, and conditions could become dangerous. Allow cyclists extra room when driving in the wind as they are likely to swerve uncontrollably. They are considerably lighter than any vehicle, so can easily be caught by the wind. This is the same when driving in the rain, and cyclists can suddenly slip out of place or get caught out by a hidden pothole.

Traffic Lights:

Many newly built traffic lights consist of both a lane for vehicles and a lane for cyclists, particularly in busy city areas or coming up to a large roundabout. Whether this is the case or you have a more traditional roundabout where a cyclist will share your lane, always allow time for the cyclist to move off first when the traffic lights turn green. Never try to cut out ahead or overtake, understand that they do not have as much power and speed as a car.

Signal:

Unlike vehicles, cyclists have to physically signal when they wish to turn. Never presume that you know what a cyclist is going to do, even if they clearly signal. It is always recommended to wait until they have started to make the turn before you either follow behind or drive past.

Overtaking:

Although we have already discussed the laws revolving overtaking, it must also be highlighted that you should only ever overtake on a wide road. Never overtake on a narrow country road or a tight bend.

Businessman Cycling To Work

Summary

The local area in which you spend most of your time driving will have a huge impact on how you take on sharing the road with cyclists, especially when you are learning to drive. Some areas such as London, have better procedures put in place because hiring a bike to tour the capital for the day has become a massive tourist attraction.

Sharing the road with a cyclist is something that as drivers, we must start to get used to as it is becoming more and more popular across the globe. Safety on the roads is not only your responsibility, but also the cyclists. They must always be wearing reflective, brightly coloured clothing no matter the time of day to achieve maximum visibility. Cyclists need to respect drivers just as much as they expect drivers to do so for them; they should never try to cut in front or overtake while stationary or at a traffic light to get ahead. If this does happen, try to stay calm and not react to the cyclist, your vehicle has a lot more power than their bicycle, and it only runs the risk of an accident.

Can You Drive In A Bus Lane?

Posted on the 07/08/2018
Bus Waiting At A Bus Stop

As drivers, we come across both buses and bus lanes on almost every journey we make, but the law revolving when we can and can’t drive through bus lanes is a topic many of us are less familiar with.

Recent studies show that nearly 4,000 drivers every day receive a fine for driving in a bus lane, but this isn’t necessarily because people deliberately break the law, but because we are not sure about the rules.

We spoke to Amdi , who teaches in driving lessons in Hackney about a recent operation put in place by the council in his local area.
“I read an article late last year about a reinforcement Essex County Council put in place to keep track of how many drivers used bus lanes in restricted hours and the statistics really shocked me. In the space of just 25 days of installing CCTV cameras surrounding bus lanes, the council managed to catch 5,000 motorists breaking the law which made them at least £300,000 in less than a month. This really proves how important it is to make yourself aware of the rules!”

If this is a topic you, like many others, are unsure about, we are going to discuss and answer the question, can you drive in a bus lane?

When Can You Drive In A Bus Lane?

When and where you can drive in a bus lane depends on the signs and road markings surrounding the bus lanes. Rule 141 of the Highway Code explains all regulations regarding this subject.

You will be able to tell when you are approaching a bus stop as there will be white dashed lines which then turn into a solid white line, the solid white line is where the bus will stop. Always look out for signposts at the bus stop, this will tell you if you are permitted to drive through the bus stop and if so, at which times in the day.

White Sign

If there is a white sign, which simply says ‘Bus Stop’, it means it is just advising you that there is a bus stop at that point, there are no legal rules, you can drive here.

Blue Sign

Blue signs will involve symbols of the vehicles that are allowed in the zone, the timings that the bus stop is in operation and days of the week. Each sign will have a different time and days printed on, so always try to slow down enough when approaching to see the times clearly.

For example, if the signs Mon-Fri, 7-10am it means you are not able to drive in the bus lane on weekdays between 7 am and 10 am.

Some bus signs have two times on them, which means that you only drive outside of the times stated.

If there are no times or dates on the blue sign, it means it is always in operation, at no time can you drive on these bus lanes.

One Way Roads

If you are driving on a one-way road, in most areas, the bus lane is on the right-hand side. If this is the case, these lanes are in operation 24 hours a day.

Why Would You Need To Drive In A Bus Lane?

In some cases, you are able to drive in a bus lane during its operating hours, the only exceptions are:

  • To allow emergency services such as an ambulance through
  • If roadworks are blocking your side of the road
  • If the bus lane is next to a junction and you need to turn left to turn, however, you can be fined for changing into a bus lane too early

Blue Bus Stop Sign

Penalties

It has become more and more common for councils to fit CCTV around a bus stop and bus lane area, this is their main way to fine drivers. They use the cameras to take footage of all passersby and then pause and take a photo of any cars they notice disobeying the laws. If you are caught driving in a bus lane on camera, you will be given a PCN which is a Penalty Charge Notice; this will be a fine of £90. You have 28 days to pay; if you pay your fine within 14 days of receiving it, it is reduced by 50% meaning you will only have to pay £45. If you fail to pay within the 28 days, your fine will increase to £135.

Appealing

If you believe that you have been unfairly or wrongly fined, you do have the option to appeal. On your Penalty Charge Notice, it will state exactly where the event happened, so go back and check whether it has all of the correct signs. If any of the following are missing, you have the right to appeal:

  • ‘Bus Lane’ painted onto the tarmac
  • The lane is separated by a white dashed line followed by a solid white line
  • A signpost with the days and hours of operation

CCTV On A Road

Tips For When Driving On Or Around A Bus Lane

  • Always give way to a bus which is pulling off from a bus stop unless they are in their own single lane
  • Look out for pedestrians leaving the bus when passing; they might be in a blind spot
  • If the bus lane is out of its operating hours, moving into a bus lane will allow others to overtake you
  • Failing to use a bus lane when you could have done on your driving test may result in a minor, or worst case major
  • Only overtake a bus stopped at a bus lane if you can see a lot of passengers waiting to get on or off and you have enough time to drive the full length of the bus without causing disruptions

Summary

Hopefully, our article has made things a little clear about when you are permitted and not permitted to drive in a bus lane. Always keep a lookout for signs when approaching a bus lane and make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Many drivers panic when they are faced with having to deal with buses, but as long as you stay calm and remember the basics, there will be no issues.

How To Pull Over For Emergency Vehicles

Posted on the 26/07/2018

Ambulance Rushing Through A City

There are many different driving situations that unless you are directly faced with the task of reacting and managing the tricky scenario, there is no real way of practising the procedure to go through to ensure that both you and other road users remain safe.

One of the most prominent examples is what to do if you suddenly see an emergency vehicle such as the police or paramedics approach you with flashing blue lights and sounding their siren. Dealing with emergency vehicles continues to be a skill that many drivers fear and worry about, so here we discuss in detail how to pull over for emergency vehicles and tips to remain calm.

How To Pull Over For Emergency Vehicles While Staying Safe

The term emergency vehicle relates to any vehicle that uses flashing lights as a signal that they must keep continually moving to react to an emergency. Ordinary emergency vehicles in the UK include police cars, ambulances and fire engines. Bomb disposal teams, coastguards and the national blood service are also classed as emergency vehicles, although are less frequent and you will only be faced with these types on a very rare occasion.

Rule 219 of The Highway Code relates to the laws regarding dealing with emergency vehicles on the road; it states that you must always remain alert for emergency vehicles while driving. If one does appear, you must first consider your route and then continue to take action immediately in a calm and orderly manner. Tips for reacting to these types of situations and more details of Rule 219 will be discussed later in this article.

Police Officers

How Do You Know Whether It Is An Emergency?

In the majority of cases, an emergency can be recognised through blue flashing lights and a siren, whether this may be from a police car, ambulance, etc. Blue flashing lights legally can only be used by the driver if it is a real emergency and they have to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible, in no other situations must it be used. You only need to give way to emergency vehicles if these signs are present.

There are a few other coloured lights that you may come across. A green light is used for a doctor who is on an emergency call out, and an amber light is used to alert other drivers of a potential hazard. Examples of vehicles that use amber lights are highway maintenance, breakdown recovery and road cleaning vehicles such as gritters.

Blue Police Lights

Can Emergency Vehicles Break The Rules?

The answer to the question above is a mix of both yes and no depending on the rule discussed.

Emergency drivers are allowed to break some rules, for example, they can drive above the speed limit, drive on the hard shoulder of the motorway and drive on the right-hand side if they need to overtake other vehicles. However, similarly to any other road user, they cannot ignore a no entry or one-way road sign, nor can they ignore level crossing signals, they must still stop and wait. Most emergency drivers would be aware of roads that display these types of obstacles and will opt for routes that cut out these areas.

Tips For Pulling Over For Emergency Vehicles

  • Assess The Situation:
    Always assess the situation first before attempting to make any sudden movements. Do you really need to stop stationary or can you just slow down? In some cases, if you are on a quiet, open road, you may only need to signal your left indicator and start to slow down, and the emergency vehicle can pass you without having to come to a stop. If you do need to stop, don’t panic. Look out for a safe place to pull over, then indicate and start to move over. Never emergency stop in the middle of the road, block junctions or drive up onto a pathway. An instructor in our driving school franchise once had an incident with a pupil who was taking driving lessons in Hackney and London field. They had heard a police car siren approaching, panicked and swerved straight into the nearest space they saw, which was a pathway outside a school. Their instructor luckily took control and managed to stop an accident, but it just shows how quickly accidents can happen if you do not assess the situation first.
  • Always Check Your Mirrors:
    Although you may be faced with a situation in which you are forced to act quickly, never forget about your basic driving safety skills. Always check your surroundings in all mirrors, including your blind spot, before coming to a decision. Never merge straight back into the traffic after stopping for an emergency vehicle, always take one last observation in your mirrors behind you to check whether the coast is clear – there is often a second emergency vehicle to follow.
  • Turn Down Your Music:
    We all love to drive with our favourite tunes playing full blast, however, if you think you can hear a siren, always turn down your music. It will help you to judge how far away the emergency vehicle is behind you and will give you more time to react.
  • Stick To The Law:
    Emergency drivers are allowed to break specific laws when on a call out because they have taken an advanced driving course, you haven’t, so must do your very best to stick to the rules. Pull up in safe  convenient and legal  place Don’t put your self or anyone in danger  Don’t commit a driving offence and end up with a fine, such as driving through a red traffic light or Driving on the bus line if is on operation because you panicked. Emergency drivers will not expect you to do anything that is dangerous or against the law to let them pass through.
  • Leave Room To Overtake:
    Most emergency vehicles are significantly larger than your average car, think of how big fire engines and ambulances are meaning they’re going to need a lot of space to overtake safely. Also, give a lot of space if you are required to overtake a parked emergency vehicle, they may need to rush a patient or suspect into the vehicle quickly while you pass.

Ambulance On The Motorway

Can You React Safely To Emergency Vehicles?

If you have never had an instance where you have had to react to an upcoming emergency vehicle on the roads, do not let it worry you, taking a thorough approach to the situation and responding to each aspect at a time will make it a straightforward task.

We hope that our article has settled your nerves a little and you are now ready for any driving scenario you may be faced with!

How To Tackle Driving In City Traffic

Posted on the 20/06/2018

Busy City Traffic

The first thought that comes to mind when we hear driving in city traffic is standstill traffic surrounded by pedestrians with constant stop-start movements. For some drivers, this is their worst nightmare mainly due to the busyness of their surroundings and the heavy reliance on clutch control, but similar to any driving skill, it’s easy to hack through practice.

Tips For Driving In City Traffic

At some point in your driving life, you’re more than likely going to have to tackle driving through a city in rush hour. We all dread knowing we’re going to hit rush hour traffic, but in most cases, it’s simply unavoidable. Unfortunately, if drivers are held up from getting to their destination as quick as possible, frustration starts to build up and tempers are lost, which is why it is vital to know how to handle the task of busy city driving and not fall into the trap of losing your patience and putting yourself, along with other road users, at danger. Our top tips are easy to follow and quick to pick up, so keep reading to find out more!

Remain Focused

It is so easy to get distracted while sitting in traffic, thoughts such as “oh I’m not moving any time soon, so I may as well reply to this text” or “I think I have time to open and eat this quick snack to pass the time”. Don’t fall victim to distractions while you’re stuck in traffic, always stay focused on your surroundings.

As mentioned previously, clutch control is vital when in traffic and unless you have your handbrake on, you must remain on the brake pedal. You’d be surprised how many drivers lose concentration, and their foot slips off the brake, then they end up rolling forward into the back of the car in front. Or on the other hand, they raise their clutch slightly too high and stall, then panic because traffic has started to move finally or the traffic light in front has turned green.

Remaining focused is not only essential to save frustration from other drivers, but also because there are significantly more potential hazards surrounding you when you are in a busy city. Always look out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians cutting through the traffic to cross the road, cyclists trying to get ahead of traffic, dogs who may run out into the road and people who are leaving buses.

man eating while driving

Plan Your Parking

Although parking isn’t necessarily driving, it is a task that you will always have to tackle no matter where you are. If you’re visiting a new area or city you are less familiar with, always do a little research before you leave to track down the best parking options and whether you must pay. Give yourself more than one choice just in case there are no available spaces, especially if you plan to go for a day out and require long-stay parking. We strongly suggest downloading the app Parkopedia or using its website to find parking before your trip. It allows you to input the area in which you plan to travel or the postcode, and it will tell you a vast list of possibilities along with prices and maximum stay times.

Remember, cities are full of double yellow lines which means no parking, even if it is just while you pop into a shop. Traffic wardens are a lot more strict in busy areas, so don’t run the risk of being caught out.

Parking Meter

Choose Your Lane In Advance

When approaching a roundabout in busy traffic, it will be improbable that you will get the chance to cut in if you find yourself in the wrong lane and if you do, it’ll be with great difficulty. You may get the odd nice driver who will; wait to let you move over, but it is very rare when everyone is in a rush to get out of the standstill traffic.

If you do find yourself in the wrong lane, we suggest sticking to the safest option and continuing to follow the roundabout in the lane you are in. You can always just turn back on yourself on the next roundabout and then continue your route.

Be Wary Of Bus Lanes

The rules regarding driving in and around bus lanes is often a topic drivers are less aware of. Along with heavily populated cities comes a rise in the use of public transport, people find it a lot easier to jump on a bus than drive around wasting money on fuel and parking tariffs. The more buses, the more bus stops, so always make yourself aware of what you can and cannot do. For a full guide on this, take a look at our previous article titled ‘Can You Drive In A Bus Lane?’.

Bus Lane Road Markings

Try To Avoid Busy Times

Sometimes, primarily if you work the regular 9-5 job, it is simply unavoidable to miss rush hour, but if you’re just going out for anything non-work commitment, alter your times a little, so you avoid the busiest periods.

If you are taking driving lessons, always try to avoid booking lessons during rush hour, your time will be wasted stuck in traffic, mainly if you are located in the middle of the city centre. You’d be surprised how quickly a one hour lesson goes by, so utilise it to your best ability practising skills such as manoeuvres or test routes rather than in a traffic jam. Although this is helpful to experience constant stopping and starting, you don’t want to do every lesson like this. If you live in places like London, it is worth taking a couple of lessons during busier times to get yourself used to busier periods.

We spoke to one of our instructors who has been part of our driving school franchise for years teaching driving lessons in hackney about pupils taking lessons during rush hour.
“As instructors, we understand that if you have a busy schedule with work or educational commitments, you’re very limited to the times you can book in lessons, but I always recommend to avoid busy times especially when you’re a beginner. For the first few months of driving, definitely opt for quiet times, it’ll avoid you panicking. When you get a little more used to being behind the wheel and feel confident, then you can consider it.”

Check Speed Limits

Built-up areas vary between 20 mph and 30 mph zones, so always ensure that you are meeting the speed limit. It can be easy to miss the odd change in speed limit sign; they often get hidden behind buses or overgrown greenery.

Cities also have considerably more speed cameras as councils know its one of the main places drivers can get caught out, so make sure you’re within the limit and don’t get faced with a fine.

20 Zone

Finally, Keep Your Car Safe

Unfortunately, the bigger and busier the city, the higher the crime rate. When parking, opt for a secure car park that is well lit with a lot of people around to deter thieves. Always either take all valuables with you or lock them away out of sight in, for example, the glove compartment.

Be more proactive fitting extra security measures if you know your car will be left overnight in the city. Consider purchasing a wheel lock and ensure that your vehicle has a car alarm, although make sure it is not one of the extra sensitive ones that sound as soon as a pedestrian walks past.

We hope our article has been helpful in making driving in the city a little easier, good luck!

Warning to Drivers!

I came across this post on Facebook and it highlights perfectly how been impatient or absent minded while driving can be fatal. Please read this story and heed the advice given for your own safety!

“For all you drivers out there who decide to ignore the vehicles heading towards you with amber flashing lights on it, if it says “ WIDE LOAD” or “ESCORT VEHICLE”. It generally means that some thing rather large is headed your direction and it will easily open your car up like a can opener!!!

This is the result of a driver who decided to ignore an escort vehicle this week because she knew better.

We do not drive about with flashing lights on waving our arms out of the windows for the fun of it, first and for most we are their for YOUR safety aswell as the safety of the load that is been transported. We don’t enjoy holding you up or arguing with you just because we have asked you to move over or even stop if it is deemed necessary. So how about show abit of respect. Surely getting to your destination 2mins late is preferable to not getting there at all!!!!

The driver of this car put not only her own life at risk but also that of her passengers who had no choice in what she was doing!!!

Please, use common sense and respect any form of flashing lights that you see on the road.”

Wrecked Car

 

Please be patient, be wary. It’s better to turn up 5 minutes late than not at all. Stay safe when driving.

What Are The New MOT Test Changes?

MOT Testing Centre

Posted on 22/04/2018

As of the 20th May 2018, a few new changes are being introduced to the current annual MOT test. If you are a vehicle owner, it is crucial to make yourself aware of the new MOT test changes, as there are many prime culprits for a failure that can easily be avoided in advance through basic maintenance.

How Will The New MOT Test Changes Affect Me?

Even if your vehicle has recently passed its MOT, it doesn’t mean that the changes do not apply to you as they will continue to be in effect next year. Mechanics will be required to perform a considerably stricter and more in-depth analysis of your vehicle, but not to worry, this doesn’t mean that they will charge more. The maximum fee MOT testing centres can charge will remain the same, thankfully, no increase will come alongside the changes.

If you are a petrol powered vehicle owner, there will be less of a dramatic difference in testing for you; the main focus will switch to diesel cars. Environmental impact is a massive factor which is increasing in importance when taking into consideration the condition of a vehicle. The way in which mechanics will categorise faults will also be slightly altered, keep reading for full details on all aspects of the changes.

How Will Faults Be Categorised?

Any faults highlighted in your MOT test will now be classified as one of three different categories – minor, major or dangerous.

You will receive an automatic fail if a vehicle fault is to fall under the major or dangerous category. A dangerous fault indicates that under no circumstances should you attempt to drive your car until the fault is fully repaired and signed off by a mechanic because it will put you at definite risk. Driving with a major fault means you may be at risk and should arrange repairs immediately.

The most common type of fault will be a minor, which means that the issue with your vehicle is unlikely to put you at risk, but you should arrange repairs as soon as possible. You will not fail if a fault falls into the minor category.

If no faults are highlighted in your MOT, your vehicle will fall into either the advisory or pass category. An advisory means that there are no real issues, but your mechanic has been able to pinpoint a couple of things that you must keep an eye out. They are not causing any problems now, but may do in the future. If you receive a complete pass, then congratulations, maintain the great condition of your vehicle, there are no issues or suspected further problems.

How Will The Changes Affect Diesel Cars?

Diesel car owners will be impacted the most by the new MOT test changes as there has been a huge crackdown on the amount of emission a vehicle can let off. The primary focus will be on your diesel particulate filters (DPF), which are used to trap all of the built-up soot in your exhaust and helps to stop the soot from being dispersed into the air, therefore decreasing emission.

You will receive an automatic major and fail your MOT if there is excessive smoke coming from your exhaust or if it has any slight discolouration. It gives a good indication that your DPF has been removed or tampered with. If you have recently purchased your diesel vehicle second hand or your vehicle is old, it is always recommended to check your filter prior to your MOT. Make any repairs or replacements in advance to ensure that you avoid a fail.

Although any issues with your diesel particulate filter will result in a fail, there are some instances where your MOT testing centre may let you off. You must have a valid, explainable reason for a sign of tampering. For example, if you have recently attempted to clean your filter, in which they will go in and check before they withdraw the major.

Black Smoke Coming From An Exhaust Pipe

How Can I Avoid A Fail In My MOT?

Of course, in some instances, MOT results are unpredictable, and some issues are unavoidable, but others can be avoided through regular car maintenance.

Tyres

Regular tyre checks are key for a long lasting vehicle, and any small signs of damage may result in a major or dangerous. Common damage includes cracks or slits, which sometimes come with age or driving on a sharp object on the road without realising. Tyre tread must also meet the legal standard of over 1.6mm. Often you can tell if your tyres are balding, but if not, an easy way to check is through the 20p test. Take a look at this RAC advice page for all tyre tread information and how to do the 20p test. Lastly, always check your tyre pressure with a tyre pressure gaugeand take a look at your vehicle handbook for the correct number.

Windscreen Wipers

Damaged windscreen wipers are one if the easy maintenance tasks and can be replaced quickly at home. During the Winter months, the rubber on the wiper blades often crack or start to fall off, which means they must be replaced as faulty wipers can reduce visibility dramatically. New wiper blades can be picked up easily and can be fitted within minutes.

Seatbelts

One of the biggest aspects that MOT testing centres keep an eye out for is safety, in particular, seatbelts. Always ensure that your seatbelts are in good condition, with no damage like rips or fraying. Take a couple of moments to also test the seatbelt and ensure that it locks effectively when pulled with force. Any signs of ineffectiveness indicate you should replace your seatbelts.

Woman Putting Her Seatbelt On

Summary

The more you use your vehicle, the more you should keep an eye out for common issues that may come up with your car. Driving instructors are a perfect example of those who have to be committed to keeping up regular maintenance. Their vehicle must comply with all safety requirements.

 

“Over the 10 years of teaching, I have had my fair share of MOT fails, and along the years I have picked up many different things that I can do over the year to make myself more likely to pass. Failing is a no go for me as it can put me out of work for days, especially if a pupil has a driving test approaching. I remember once I failed because I forgot to replace my wiper blades in time, which was a silly mistake that could have been avoided!”

The Dangers Of Drink Driving

Glass Of Alcohol With Car Keys Alongside

Posted on the 19/02/2018

FACT: Out of the 500,000 breath tests
carried out on suspected drunk drivers
each year, 100,000 of them are over the legal drink limit. Do you know the
dangersof drink driving and the
consequences?

How Does Alcohol Affect Driving?

After drinking alcohol, your brain starts to work inefficiently. In simple terms, your brain begins to slow down which consequently affects your coordination and takes longer to receive and process information that your senses, such as your eyes send to it. This affects your lane discipline causing you to swerve in the road or slow down your reaction time to an oncoming car. Furthermore, your ability to see at night will fall by up to 25%, making more difficult to concentrate on what is ahead of you. Drink driving can decrease your speed awareness, making it easier to lose control of the vehicle.

Legal Drink Driving limits

So there are many things to take into consideration when examining someone who has been drinking, their body mass for example as everyone is different. Even your gender and rate of metabolism can affect the way alcohol influences you.

Therefore, the current UK law regarding the alcohol limits are:

Driving Alcohol Limit
Image credit to the GOV.UK website.

Although there are alcohol limits, it can be tricky to guess how many drinks a person can consume before they are over the limit. The type of alcohol, percentage and strength are all aspects that are taken into account, so to be safe, it is always recommended to cut out drinking as a whole if you also plan to drive.

Drink Driving Penalties

Penalties differ depending on the situation and severity in which you are caught under the influence of alcohol, these are:

Caught In Charge Of A Vehicle – 3 months in prison, maximum of a £2,500 fine and may face a driving ban.

Caught Driving/Attempting To Drive – 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine and a ban of a minimum of one year.

Refusal To Take A Breathalyzer Test – 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine and a one-year driving ban.

Causing Death Through Drink Driving – 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, minimum of a two-year driving ban and you must take an extended test before you can drive again.

In some cases, you may be given the opportunity to reduce your 12-month or more driving ban if you agree to take part in a drink-drive rehabilitation scheme course. Whether you have the chance to take this is in the hands of the court, and it will have to be paid for out of your own pocket.

Talking on the Phone and Driving

Talking on the Phone and Driving

Posted on 19/02/2018

Man Talking On The Phone While Driving
Our instructor MR AMDI  has over 15 years of experience in many areas such as East London He has experienced the ever-growing issue of talking on the phone and driving, so we asked him to give us his view on the issue:

“I understand that living in 2018 would be hard without your phone, no matter where you go; you can be sure to see the majority people with their iPhone in their hand. I see pupils eager to get back on their phone as soon as they finish their lessons. I continuously try to highlight the importance of leaving your phone out of sight while driving as not only are you putting your life at risk, but you are putting innocent drivers in great danger. As a driving instructor, I am on the roads for a huge chunk of my day, and I still can’t believe the endless amount of drivers I see on their phone!”

What Happens If You Get Caught On Your Phone While Driving?

Since late 2003, it has been illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and over the years the penalties have become increasingly severe. The penalty for being caught on your mobile while driving doubled in 2017, meaning that you will now be faced with a minimum of a £200 fine and six points on your driving licence.

For new drivers in their first two years of driving, six points are the maximum amount that you can have on your licence meaning that your licence will be taken away if you are caught using your mobile phone while driving.

When Can You Use Your Phone While Driving?

The use of mobile phone is not prohibited if the method is through a hands-free device. You must set up the equipment before you set off, so there will be no need for you to handle the device while driving. Although, it is legal to use a hands-free phone, if the police suspect that your driving is being distracted due to this, they are still legally able to pull you over and question you.

A mobile phone can also be used if it is needed for navigation as a sat-nav, however similarly to hands-free, it must be fully set up before you drive. The phone must be in a fixed position throughout the journey in a place which can clearly be seen while driving without the need to have to adjust or hold the device at any point.

A hand-held mobile phone can only be used if you are parked in a safe area away from traffic, this does not include when you are stopped at traffic lights. The only circumstance where you would be allowed to use a hand help device is if it is a genuine, serious emergency where you have to call 999, and there is no safe place to stop the car.

Driver Using His Phone Whilst Driving

Why Is Talking On The Phone And Driving So Dangerous?

We spoke to Hamdi  who is part of our Driving school instructor   also in the East London area about his opinion on the seriousness of using a handheld mobile while driving.

“Talking or texting on your phone will distract you. I try to emphasise the facts to my pupils, that they are four times more likely to crash by talking on the phone. This statistic is quite shocking; I don’t think people realise the seriousness of the offence. Not only that, but your reaction time is affected more than someone who has been drinking and driving at the legal limit. A campaign has now begun to show young drivers the reality of car crashes in Northampton; stressing the consequences of being negligent on the road by doing things such as talking on the phone while driving.”

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