The Complete Journey.
Following these posts below, you will find the order of events that will give you a positive experience when you learn to drive.
Following these posts below, you will find the order of events that will give you a positive experience when you learn to drive.
Licence Applications. Apply Online.
The most straightforward way of obtaining your provisional driving licence is to apply online. Type into your search engine “provisional licence application” and you will be taken through the process.
You will have to enrol in the “Government Gateway” which is quite easy, and is useful for a lot of other services.
To get your provisional licence online, you must:
The DVLA will send you a confirmation email if you apply online and your licence should arrive within a week .
“Look at that driver, he must need his eyes tested!” How many times have you heard that, or even said it yourself?
The law states that all drivers of motor cars must be able to read a standard number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of twenty metres – with spectacles or contact lenses if required.
So before you go for your first lesson, do a simple test to make sure your eyesight is OK.
Find a car parked in good daylight and walk 20 paces away from it. One pace is about a metre. You should be able to read the number plate with ease, and then move back another 5 paces. You should still be able to read it and if you can, there’s no problem. If you’re struggling at all, then see an optician, you may need some help!
Personal recommendation from a friend or relative is the best way to find a driving school to rely on in this important search.
John Lowe Driving receives many referrals on a weekly basis and we are always grateful for the flow of new students, sometimes from people who passed their tests with us years ago.
Jake Brant, Gloucester.
“Some of my friends passed with John Lowe Driving and told me about them. I was the youngest, so was behind my friends and that seemed like pressure! Tom Lowe was a great instructor and it was actually easier than I thought, as Tom just took me from stage to stage, making sure I was ready each time, before we moved on. I’m really pleased I chose the right school, and I passed first time.”
Sally Harris, Cheltenham.
“My mother learnt with John in the 1990’s, and as we see his cars everywhere, she recommended that I learn with them as well. She was really happy to make the arrangements with Lis in the office, who remembered my Mum from all that time ago. My instructor was Martyn, who was great and most of my friends have also come to John Lowe Driving.”
All of the driving instructors at John Lowe Driving are fully qualified and have successfully completed the rigorous qualification exams and tests set by the DVSA in order to be admitted to the register of approved driving instructors.
These tests include driving to a very high standard, a thorough theory test, a lengthy hazard perception test, and a series of tests to prove instructional ability. Only when all of these tests have been passed,the instructor is FULLY qualified and can display a green badge in the car windscreen.
The qualification process does not end there. At least every four years, approved driving instructors (ADI’S) have to take a DVSA standards check to see that standards have been maintained and that any required changes have been followed.
Some driving schools operate with partially qualified driving instructors, who have only passed the first two parts, but have NOT passed the all important tests of instructional ability. These instructors are called potential driving instructors (PDI’S) and must display a pink badge in their car windscreen. Many of them will make first class instructors, but until they are fully qualified, questions must remain, so you should have that at the top of your list when making your choice. It is a fact, unfortunately that 75% of these PDI’s will not qualify.
At John Lowe Driving we have always taken the expertise of our driving instructors very seriously and see that they attend courses to keep up to date and that they are fully aware of any relevent changes.
Our driving instructors are all now operating “client centred learning”, a new development,on which we are now being tested by the DVSA.
Throughout a typical month, some of our new students come to us from other driving schools. These are comments that we often hear.
“The car smells of smoke.”
“She has her dog on the back seat.”
“He makes me stop and goes shopping.”
“She’s always on the phone.”
“He just talks about himself all the time.”
” He shouts at me and other drivers.”
Does this sound familiar?
At John Lowe Driving, we pride ourselves on our professional, but informal attitude to our students. We have always selected the best instructors available, and looked after them. They have been with us for years and are motivated to give you, the student, the best driving experience possible, leading to customer success.
You will never have to put up with any of the scenes described above on any driving lesson you have with our instructors. They will always behave in a way that keeps our good reputation with the paying public and the DVSA intact.
Your driving lesson should be structured in such a way as to give you, the student, value for money, and to ensure that learning takes place.
Many students become frustrated with their apparently slow progress,which is often caused by the way the lessons are structured, rather than lack of ability.
The driving instructors at John Lowe Driving will offer you fully structured lessons, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
Say, for example, you were to learn a manouevre for the first time. The lesson would be structured as follows:
Questions and answers to create a recap and briefing. Previous knowledge will be explored.
Explanation of the manouevre, with the aid of diagrams etc.
Demonstration, if appropriate, then full talk through practice.
Remedial practice with prompts if necessary.
Debriefing, feedback, encouragement, praise, fault analysis and a link forward to the next lesson.
The first phase of next lesson should then be a repeat of the last phase of the current lesson, to confirm the skills and knowledge gained.
The student will be involved in the lesson at all times, being encouraged to give input to all aspects of the task.
This method is a very effective way to really understand the requirements of each task and can be used in all topics when learning to drive. It has been successful over the years and we are proud of our 76% pass rate, when the average pass rate in Gloucester and Cheltenham is around 43%
These notes, are for use as briefing notes only.
They are in no respect intended as the definitive procedures.
Situations vary all the time and your driving instructor will help you to build your experience in real situations.
These notes. however, contain the bare bones of what CANNOT be ignored, so they are a good starting point.
The notes in this series will be numbered 1-18, as listed below.
Enjoy learning to drive, it will change the way you live.
1. Controls and pre-start checks.
2. Moving off and stopping- safe places.
3. Approaching and turning, left and right.
4. Emerging: zones of vision: roundabouts.
5. Awareness and anticipation: making normal progress: adequate clearance to stationary vehicles.
6. Meeting, crossing and overtaking other vehicles safely.
7. One way streets.
8. Crossroads: Pedestrian Crossings: Road markings: Use of signals.
9. Turning in the road: Moving off on a hill.
10. Reversing to left and right.
11. Reverse Park: reverse into a parking bay.
12. Dual Carriageways.
13. Country Lanes.
14. Emergency stop.
15. Independent driving.
16. Theory and hazard perception test.
17. Mock driving test.
18. Driving Test.
These notes refer to the operation of a manual car. There are some differences in an automatic car. Your specialist automatic driving instructor, at John Lowe Driving, will explain the differences, or you can refer to the following link for automatic information: Automatic Driving Lessons.
“I remember my controls lesson with Martyn on my first driving lesson. I was quite nervous, but he showed me round the car really professionally and that settled me down.”
Felicity Howson, Gloucester.
Cockpit Drill: D S S S M.
Doors: Check that doors are properly closed.
Seat/ Head Restraint: Adjust driving seat to see all around and reach all the controls comfortably. Adjust head restraint if necessary.
Steering: Can you reach comfortably? Not stretching, not cramped. Is the steering height correct?
Seatbelt: Ensure that you and all passengers are belted up. See Highway Code for regulations.
Mirrors: Adjust all mirrors for best possible view, without moving your head, not forgetting the door mirrors. Try to learn MSM: Mirror, Signal, Manouevre.
Complete the cockpit drill BEFORE moving off.
Foot Controls: A B C
Accelerator (Gas Pedal): The pedal on the right. Use only with your right foot. This pedal controls the rate at which fuel and air are supplied to the engine. The harder the pedal is pressed, the faster the engine will run and more power is generated. Press the pedal lightly, using gentle changes in pressure in normal driving. Easing off the pedal will normally make the car slow down.
Brake: The middle pedal. Use normally with your right foot. The more pressure you apply, the more the car will sloe down. Using the ball of your foot, press the pedal lightly and progressively. The rear stop lights will light up when you press the brake pedal.
Clutch: The left pedal. Use your left foot to operate the clutch pedal. The clutch is needed when changing gear, just before stopping and manoeuvring the car at low speeds. Learn and understand the BITING POINT.
Handbrake: Usually operates only the rear wheels of the car via a cable and secures the car after it has been stopped. Remember always to use the button and to avoid using the handbrake when the car is moving.
Gears: Allows the car to be driven with minimum strain on the engine, the same principal as the gears on a push bike. (Where you are the engine!) It takes practise to make smooth and unhurried gear changes.
Changing gear depends on the engine size and the load it has to move, as well as the road and traffic conditions. Learn to listen to the tone of the engine.
Steering Wheel: Used to control the direction of the car by turning the front wheels. Hold lightly but firmly in the “ten to two” or “quarter to three” position. NEVER remove both hands, do not let the wheel spin back and avoid crossing your hands or steering when the car is stationary.
Indicators: Apply M S M routine and operate without removing hands from the wheel.
Check handbrake is on and gear is in neutral.
Turn key to release steering lock.
Turn key further to illuminate warning lights.
Turn key further to operate starter.
As soon as the car engine starts, let go of the key. The warning lights should go out, investigate if they don’t. To stop the engine, turn key anti- clockwise
“I remember my driving instructor, Tom Lowe, telling me how important the MSM procedure is when you are driving. It takes a little while to get used to, but it’s crucial to enable a driving test pass, and to keep you as safe as possible.”
Lee Holford, Gloucester.
Mirrors, Vision and Use.
Correct and frequent use of the mirrors is essential for safe driving.
The mirrors let you know what is happening behind and beside you, which is as important as what is happening in front of you.
Use the mirrors frequently and act safely and sensibly on what you see.
Use of mirrors is essential when moving off and stopping.
These are areas that the mirrors do not cover. You will sometimes need to look around, over your shoulders, especially before moving off.
Remember: you can’t judge distances accurately using mirrors.
Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre (M S M)
The M S M routine is a vital subject and your driving instructor at John Lowe Driving will coach you fully on this topic.
Use the routine before signalling, moving off, changing direction, changing lanes, before accelerating, slowing down, stopping and opening the car door.
Use the P O M routine.
Left foot, press clutch fully down. Select 1st gear. Set the gas-press the accelerator until you hear a lively, even hum.(Light pressure.)
Slowly and smoothly let the clutch pedal up to BITING POINT.
Hold both feet still.
Check mirrors, blind spots, road ahead and mirrors again. Decide if you need to signal.
When safe, release the handbrake and the car will slowly move. Let the clutch up a little more(thickness of a pound coin) and apply more gas, and as speed builds, smoothly release the clutch and steer to normal road position(about a meter from the kerb.)
Check mirrors again.
Choose suitable place and apply M S M routine.
Having signalled if necessary, steer a little towards the kerb. Move your right foot from the gas pedal and progressively apply the brake.
Just before stopping, prees the clutch fully down with your left foot. This prevents stalling, but must not be preesed too soon as this can affect steering and braking. Find out about COASTING.
Apply the handbrake, select neutral gear and cancel any signal.
DO NOT STOP………
Within 10 meters of a junction.
Opposite a junction.
At a bus stop.
On a bend.
Approaching the brow of a hill.
Where it would restrict the road to less than 2 cars width.
Zigzag lines at pedestrian crossings etc.
Changing Car Gears – How To Change Gear.
The selection of the correct gear allows a car to be driven smoothly with the minimum strain on the engine. Modern cars usually have five forward and one reverse gear, although some cars now have a sixth forward gear which will give greater fuel economy when driving at higher speeds over longer distances.
To change gear in a car:
Press the clutch pedal fully down, and release the accelerator pedal. (“Clutch down, off the gas!”)
Take your left hand from the steering wheel and with your palm, move the gear lever gently but positively from one position to another.
Return your left hand to the steering wheel.
Ease the clutch pedal slowly upwards, pausing at biting point, and gently accelerate. (Add more gas.)
Avoid looking down at the controls as you change gear, keep your eyes on the road. This requires some practice. You will quickly get used to the sound and feel of the car when a gear change is needed.
The low gears provide lots of acceleration but run out of steam before the vehicle is moving very quickly.
The high gears provide the speed but not the acceleration.
You don’t have to use the gears in exact sequence. Where appropriate, you can miss a gear. This is called block changing. Say you are driving at 60mph but have to brake and slow the car to 20mph. Here you wouldn’t have to change down through the gears but could go from fifth to third, or even to second. Likewise, you can block change up, while accelerating you could change from third into fifth, a method which helps save fuel. Block changes also reduces wear on the clutch as it is used less often.
This can be very daunting to any student starting out, and requires a lot of practice to master the procedures, but fear not! Your driving instructor from John Lowe Driving will gradually take you through everything, at a speed that suits you, and before you know it, you will wonder what the problem was. We never forget that it’s your driving lesson!
“Approaching and turning corners is a vital skill to have when you are learning to drive. My driving instructor, Tom Lowe, explained the safety requirements to me and then we practised turning left. Next time we did emerging left and soon I could turn and emerge left and right. It takes some time to get used to, but it’s important knowledge to have.”
Shannon Brown, Gloucester.
Always use: Mirrors- Signal- Position- Speed- Look (M S P S L)
Check mirrors( interior and left door mirror.)
Position correctly- about a meter from the kerb.
Speed (adjust.) Ease off gas pedal, but use brake in good time to shoe stop light signal. Do not crawl to turning.
Select correct gear, usually 2nd, but 1st on a sharp corner. Use block gear changes and avoid coasting.
Look for cyclists and into the new road for pedestrians,emerging traffic and obstructions.
The point of turn is when the front of your car reaches the corner.
Check mirrors again in the new road.
You will cross the path of approaching traffic. To time it safely, imagine that if you could walk across, you should be able to drive across. If in doubt, then give way.
Position as near to the centre of the road that is safe, about a tyres width.
Either stop or turn just before the centre of the side road you are turning into(allow time to steer.)
Do not cut the corner!
Look for cyclists, pedestrians, obstructions and emerging traffic.
Focus and take no risks.
Ensure that you reduce speed sufficiently on approach.
Downhill requires more brake pressure.
Uphill may require little or no brake pressure.
Remember- M S P S L
“These skills take a while to develop, so I was lucky to have Martyn Brewer as my driving instructor. He taught me well from beginning to end, gradually increasing my confidence as my driving developed on each driving lesson, leading to my driving test pass.”
Leon Cook, Cheltenham.
Use M S M routine.
Manouevre is Position- Speed- Look.
Mirror- Signal- Position- Speed- Look.
Emerging is what we do at the end of a minor road to turn left or right into a major road.
You may see signs or markings, which are warnings of possible danger ahead. See the Highway Code for Give Way signs and Stop signs etc.
Watch for unmarked junctions.
Position correctly about a meter from the kerb.
Speed( adjust and select correct gear.)
Look for more information. Your view may be restricted by parked cars, fences or pedestrians. The view that you have into the new road is your zone of vision.
Keep scanning right and left as you get nearer and your zone of vision will widen. When emerging, you must not cause any other vehicle to slow down, or change direction.
Remember the manouevre takes time.
You will be crossing traffic from your right and joining the flow from your left. This requires sound judgement of speed and distance. Remember, you must not affect other traffic.
Do not steer too early. Steering depends on the width of the new road and any obstructions.
Your front wheels should be straight at the Stop or Give Way line.
This is where you have visibility as you approach.
You can make a decision on the approach as to whether you are likely to be able to fit in with the traffic flow, by reducing your speed, selecting the appropriate gear in good time and joining the flow of traffic on the main road safely.
Remember- you should build your speed up to the speed of the traffic on the main road as soon as possible, as long as you can do it safely, without breaking the speed limit.
These are junctions where there are buildings or other obstructions on the approach, preventing you from getting a full view into the main road, thus preventing you from making a decision. In such circumstances, reduce your speed on the approach to a snails pace, and just before the Give Way line, slip the gear lever into 1st.
If visibility is complete at this stage, a decision can be made to emerge.
Remember- Peep and creep.
Roundabouts allow traffic from different roads to merge or cross without necessarily stopping.
Traffic flows one way in a clockwise direction.
Priority: You normally give way to the right.
Some roundabouts have traffic lights that determine priority.
Always use M S P S L and use nearside door mirror when leaving.
Approach and stay on the left. Signal left throughout.
Approach on the left, or middle, if marked. No signal yet. Signal left when you pass the first exit.
Going right, or full circle.
Approach on the right with right signal. Stay on the right of roundabout. Signal left when you pass the exit before the one you want.
Traffic mixes on roundabouts, so use anticipation.
Beware of: Long vehicles, cyclists and horses( see highway code.)
Plan your approach,get the correct lane early.
These basic rules apply on any roundabout, including mini-roundabouts( see highway code.)
Your driving instructor at John Lowe Driving will ensure that you are fully comfortable with all aspects of junctions and roundabouts, using the latest tuition techniques.
“Awareness and anticipation is a big subject that is being used all the time when you are driving, so you develop it with the help of your driving instructor throughout your driving lessons. The more driving you do, the easier it becomes, but it’s important to be fully aware of what’s required.”
Nicky Jarvis, Gloucester.
Anticipation means planning well ahead and acting promptly to changes going on around you. Always ask yourself what other road users are likely to do and how you can fit in with their actions.
This is defensive driving and it will usually prevent you being taken by surprise, prevent hazards arising, and leave you able to take action when necessary.
This requires effective use of mirrors.
Going past a parked car: about a meter, allow for a door to open. Slow down further if the road is narrow and does not allow for a meter.
Stopping behind a stationary car: make sure you can see their rear tyres where they touch the road.( The entire rear tyre.)- “Tyres on the tarmac.”
At least as much clearance as you would give a car. Remember they wobble!
Seperation Distances from the Vehicle in Front.
Learn your stopping distances.(Highway Code.)
In good conditions, about a meter per mile per hour of speed.
Use the two second rule. If the road is wet, allow twice this gap.
This means assisting the free flow of traffic by driving at an appropriate speed, within the limit, without causing frustration, inconvenience or annoyance to other road users.
This requires good forward planning. Progress must be neither too fast, or too slow for the conditions. Avoid rash decisions.
Avoid undue hesitation. If there is a safe opportunity to go, should take it. Do not necessarily wait for the road to be completely clear.
“My instructor, Tom Lowe, concentrated quite a lot on this subject on my lessons, and I’m glad to have had the experience, because I live in a congested area, but it was not a problem after I passed my driving test, as I had practised a lot.”
Connor Sharples, Gloucester.
Meeting Approaching Traffic.
This can cause a danger of conflict with other road users. The most usual situation is where there is an obstruction such as a parked car in the road ahead.
Use M S P S L. Anticipate actions of others. Give way where necessary. Do not squeeze through.
This usually means turning right into a side road or driveway, but the same safety principles apply when emerging to turn right. (See “Emerging at T-Junctions.)
You need less of a gap to cross and it must be timed to a larger gap when joining traffic on the far side of the road. In other words, do not affect vehicles on your left as you emerge.
Use M S P S L.
Position as close to the middle of the road that is safe.
Do not affect other drivers.
Give way to pedestrians.
Judgement-Have I got time? If you could walk across, you should be able to drive across safely.
First Rule of overtaking. Where can I pull back in safely?
Use P S L M S M.
Give adequate clearance.
Give way if necessary in a meeting situation.
Have regard for large and slow vehicles, give them a clear run.
Flashing headlights: use your own judgement.
Unsafe to overtake: bends, junctions, brow of a hill, cyclists or horses just before you turn left.
Make sure you have enough power. It may be necessary to change down a gear.
Find out when you can overtake on the left.
Remember: Is it safe? Is it legal? Is it within my capabilities?
“One way streets can be tricky if you don’t know the rules, especially emerging right at the end, and cars overtaking on the left. Jackie Kaur was my driving instructor and she made sure I understood the procedures before I passed my driving test.”
Nam Limbu, Gloucester.
Traffic must travel in the direction indicated by the signs.
Buses and / or cycles may have a contra-flow lane.
Do not change lanes suddenly.
Unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise, you should use:
Remember: you can overtake on the left, so expect others to overtake you on the left.
Remember: M S P S L at all times.
Sometimes road signs are turned or obscured. Look for the way the cars are facing, or the “grey” backs of 2 circular signs.(Circular signs give orders and the only time 2 appear at the end of a road is “No Entry”,thus indicating the end of a one way street.)
A crossroads is a junction where two roads cross, not necessarily at right angles.
There are basically two types: marked and unmarked.
Treat unmarked crossroads with utmost care, as neither road has priority. If unmarked, behave as if you are on a minor road.
Marked crossroads may have Stop or Give Way signs and road markings on the side of your road if you are on the major road, or ahead of you if you are on the minor road.
Traffic lights, or a yellow box junction may control a marked crossroads.
Whether approaching on the major or minor road, you must take effective observation. Look ahead and right, left, right.
Always use M S P S L and act upon road signs and markings.
Use of Signals.
The purpose of giving a signal is to help others, by warning them of your intentions. Signals must always be given in good time. Use only signals shown in the Highway Code. Give signals only when necessary.
Use M S M routine at all times.
Normal signals are: direction indicator and stop light. Check the five arm signals in the Highway Code.
Cancel signals once your action is completed.
There are three main types of pedestrian crossings:
Zebra Crossings, which are uncontrolled.
Supervised Crossings, which are controlled by the police, traffic wardens or “lollipop lady.”
Traffic Light controlled, which may be at ordinary traffic lights, or under pedestrian control, such as pelican, puffin or toucan crossings.
Refer to the Highway Code and learn the different types of crossing.
Zigzag lines means that you must not overtake or stop in the zigzag area.
Avoid stopping in the studded area
Do not accelerate towards any crossing.
Look ahead, read the road for warning signs, etc., and always use the M S M routine.
Do not harass pedestrians and never beckon pedestrians across the road.
Reversing Into A Side Road On The Left.
If you are asked to perform this manoeuvre on your driving test, the examiner will ask you to pull up just before the side road on the left. He will then explain that he wants you to drive slowly past the end of the road, position the car and then reverse around the corner, keeping reasonably close to the kerb.
So, you should carry out these instructions, using the MSM and POM routines at all times.(Your driving instructor will have briefed you fully on these routines already.)
As you drive slowly past the end of the road, you should be checking what shape the corner is, square or round, uphill or downhill, any potholes etc., that might surprise you.
Start the manoeuvre using the POM routine.( Prepare, Observe and Move)
Turn slightly in your seat, set the gas, ease the clutch to biting point, check all around, release the handbrake and if its perfectly safe, start reversing. Use clutch control to keep the vehicle moving very slowly backwards until you reach the point of turn. That is the beginning of the corner. Start to steer left at this point, about 2/3rds of a turn for a round corner, and often to full lock on a square corner. Remember the front of your car will swing out as you turn, so full observation is essential. Remember to check all blind spots before you start to steer and if you are likely to affect any road user, you should pause until it is safe.
When you can see into the new road through the rear window, be ready to straighten the steering. Using a sticker or something similar as a focal point can be very helpful to line up with the kerb. Your instructor will have a reliable method to help you get used to the final position of the car.
Keep on the lookout for other road users, particularly:
Pedestrians about to cross behind you.
Vehicles approaching from any direction.
Reversing into a Side Road on the Right.
This is actually two manouevres.
First move the car to the right hand kerb, beyond the junction. Use M S M and do not steer until the front of your car is level with the centre of the road on your right.
Observation is crucial.
Stop reasonably close to the kerb, the sharper the corner, the further our you should be.
Look all around. Move back slowly, looking over your left shoulder. When the junction disappears, look over your right shoulder and guide the car, tracking the steering with the kerb. Use thorough observation.
As you will need to return to the left after the manouevre, you will need to reverse well back into the side road.
Turning In The Road.
This manoeuvre is often still often called a three point turn, and can be useful when you need to turn around and you can’t find a side road or opening.
It is important to apply the usual rules of control, accuracy and observation.
The key to this set piece is to move the vehicle slowly, while steering quickly. Top clutch control is essential.
Before you turn.
Choose a place where:
Select 1st gear and prepare to move.
Check all round, especially blind spots and give way to passing vehicles.
Turning across the road.
Move slowly forward in 1st gear, steering quickly to full right lock. Try to get the vehicle at a right angle across the road.
Just before you reach the opposite kerb, steer quickly to the left, to set up your wheels for the reverse part. You should then stop the car before it reaches the kerb. Apply the handbrake if necessary.
Select reverse gear and prepare to move.
Check it is clear all round. Looking over your left shoulder, through the rear window, ease the car slowly across the road, steering quickly to full left lock. As the car nears the kerb, look over your right shoulder, and steer quickly to the right. Stop the car and your wheels should be pointing to the right, ready for the next part.
Driving forward again.
Select first gear, check it is safe and drive forward. Straighten up on the left hand side of the road.
All round observation is essential.
Your Driving Instructor at John Lowe Driving will coach you fully on this and any other manouevres.
Moving off on a Hill
“Pull up alongside the vehicle on ahead and then reverse back and park close to and parallel to the kerb.”
This is the instruction you will receive on your driving test if you are required to reverse (parallel) park.
Provided there is a gap of at least one and a half car lengths, you can park between two vehicles using reverse gear. The car is more manoeuvrable in reverse.
Ask yourself: is it safe, convenient and practical?
M S M
P O M
C A O (control, accuracy, observation)
Move alongside and parallel with the parked car, using M S M routine. Keep your footbrake applied and select reverse gear, so that following traffic can see your reversing lights. Have a good look all round, and when safe, reverse slowly back (clutch control) looking through the rear window. When the two back ends are level, apply left lock to bring your vehicle towards the kerb.
Look around, as the front will swing out.
When you see the kerb move about a third across the rear window (focal point), apply right steering lock.
Check that you are clear of the vehicle in front, and when the front of your car slowly docks with the kerb, straighten up the front wheels, steering quickly left. Stop the car and apply handbrake and neutral. Complete the exercise within two car lengths.
Reverse into a Parking Bay (Left).
M S M
P O M
C A O
Pull up just past (about 2 car lengths) the parking bay you have selected, about 2 meters from it. Select reverse gear and look around . When safe, reverse slowly back (clutch control) and when the first white line of your bay appears in your nearside rear side window, (focal point), steer steadily onto left lock. As the car turns into the bay, check to your right. Use rear window observation. Judge when the car is in the bay and straighten up by steering quickly right. Do not reverse out of the bay at the rear.
Stop and apply handbrake and neutral.
Check your position by carefully opening your door to see the bay markings.
Adjust your position if necessary, by slowly moving forwards and then backwards, steering quickly to adjust.
Reverse into a Parking Bay (Right.)
Position about 2 car lengths past the bay, and and about 2 meters from it. Look over your right shoulder and you will see the bay. Reverse slowly into it after full observation,guiding the car by steering right.
When in the bay, straighten up by steering left. Check position as before.
Driving on dual carriageways requires somewhat different skills due to the higher speeds involved. Dual carriageways can be two or three lanes and can involve speeds of up to 70 mph (national speed limit.) Driving on dual carriageways can help you to prepare for motorway driving.
Some of the main safety requirements involve:
* Effective Observation:
Early and frequent use of mirrors( M S P S L)
Blind spots (joining and leaving the road and overtaking.)
Continual re-assessment of other vehicles, especially those ahead, alongside and behind.
Scanning the near, middle and far distance.
* Judgement and Planning:
Joining from slip roads.
Adjusting speed to fit in with other traffic.
Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead (the two second rule. See Highway Code.)
Overtaking: deciding when safe, allow enough time, have you the power? Can you get back? Use M S M routine, move back without cutting in.
Anticipate when the road becomes single carriageway. Look for signs, observe far distance, reduce speed.
*Turning left from and onto dual carriageways:
Use M S M, adjust speed, judge position.
*Turning right from dual carriageways:
Planning in advance.
Getting in the correct lane.
Look for signs, markings and approach lanes.
*Turning right onto dual carriageways:
Using the central reservation.
Assessing the speed of traffic.
Assessing when safe to cross.
Driving test routes from Gloucester Driving Test Centre make frequent use of dual carriageways, with speeds of 70 mph,(national speed limit) so your instructor from John Lowe Driving will ensure that you are fully prepared and properly coached in this aspect of driving
Country lanes differ from town roads mainly as follows:
The possibility of higher speeds (up to 60 mph, national speed limit.)
Sharper bends, more hills and greater opportunities to overtake.
Country lanes are also the most dangerous of roads to drive on, especially for younger, inexperienced drivers.
It is important to observe the road ahead, especially the middle and far distance.
Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Always make progress safely and deal with bends by adjusting speed and using correct positioning. Find out from your driving instructor about the “vanishing point,” and make it an integral part of your driving skills.
Observe “dead ground” early enough to see vehicles disappearing from view.
Overtake safely, using effective M S M routine and by judging speed and intentions of approaching and overtaken traffic.
Bear in mind that hills affect a vehicles performance and the correct gears should be used (up and downhill.)
Consider pedestrians where there is no pavement.
Look out for horse riders and pass only when safe and in a considerate manner, using M S M.
Use your horn where appropriate before sharp bends.
Be aware of farm buildings, slow moving vehicles, animals and mud on the road.
If you are driving safely and sensibly, using M S M and anticipating well ahead, an emergency situation is considerably reduced, especially if you always follow the rule of being able to stop safely in the distance that you can see to be clear ahead.
However, emergencies do arise and so you must know how to stop your vehicle promptly and under control.
Act quickly in an emergency, and as soon as you see the danger, brake firmly. Use the rule of progressive braking. Leave the clutch pedal alone until just before stopping. This reduces the chance of skidding. If your car has anti-lock brakes (A B S), the brakes can make an almighty rumbling noise in emergency braking. This is normal. Do not release the brake pedal in alarm! The car will not stop if you do! Keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel, as the braking force throws extra weight to the front wheels. After the car has stopped, apply handbrake and neutral.
Should the car skid, ease off the footbrake and then reapply the brakes with less pressure. If the back of the car swings, steer the same way as the swing. (See Highway Code.)
After the Stop.
Apply handbrake and neutral. Before moving off again, check all around and over both shoulders, and of course, the mirrors.
At some point during the driving test you will have to drive independently for approximately 10 minutes. This will demonstrate to the examiner that you are able to follow verbal route directions or route direction signs, whilst still driving safely. The examiner will test you in one of three ways, these are:
The examiner will ask you to follow the direction signs to a specific destination until further notice e.g. ‘I would like you to follow the signs towards Cheltenham and Cirencester until further notice.’
The examiner will give you a number of verbal route directions to follow. He may also show you a simple diagram of the route, like the one shown below, to help you follow the directions. E.g. ‘At the end of the road turn left, at the roundabout follow the road ahead, and then take the second road on the left.’
Verbal directions and road signs
The examiner may give you a combination of both direction signs and verbal directions to follow. E.g ‘I would like you take the first road on the left, take the second road on the right and then follow the signs towards Painswick.
If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you. Driving independently means making your own decisions and, just like when driving with friends, this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation on where you’re going.
If you go off the independent driving route it won’t affect the result of your test unless you commit a driving fault. If you go off the route or take a wrong turn, the examiner will help you to get back on the route and continue with the independent driving.
If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign – you won’t need to have a detailed knowledge of the area. If this happens the examiner would say, ‘There are no signs here. Just continue ahead please’ and then, ‘Now, carry on following the signs to ……..’
The Driving Theory Test
The Theory Test is a computer based multiple choice exam, which is easily operated. No computer skills are required, just a sound knowledge of driving theory.
The hazard perception part of the test is also computer based and will test your reactions to developing hazards. You will understand the requirements more fully when you start your practical lessons, as hazards are experienced frequently on the road.
There are a number of software programmes available online, to assist with preparation for both tests.
There are test centres in Gloucester and Cheltenham.
What is the Theory Test?
The test is in two parts.
50 multiple choice questions.
14 hazard video clips, each lasting about a minute. There will be 15 hazards.
You have to succeed in both parts at the same appointment to gain a pass.
Headphones are used throughout the test and both tests are on a touch screen computer.
Your driving instructor will give all assistance as will we at John Lowe Driving.
This will be conducted from the test centre, where possible, by your own driving instructor, who will create a test atmosphere, using an element of role play. He will mark the test in the same manner as the D V S A examiner, use the same verbal expressions, and use a D V S A test route.
At the end of the test, he will debrief you and point out any weaknesses. These can be worked on in the future and it is a very effective way of focusing attention where it is needed. This introductory mock test will usually take place when you are just “scraping” test standard.
This will be conducted as above, but wherever possible using a different driving instructor, giving a more realistic atmosphere, and a” fresh set of eyes”.
If a reasonable standard is achieved, your driving instructor will then put you forward for your driving test.
Passing a mock test does not guarantee a pass in the official driving test.
Safety code for new drivers
This code will help you drive safely in your first year after passing the driving test, when you are most vulnerable.
You should always follow the Highway Code.
It’s most dangerous driving at night – don’t drive between midnight and 6am unless it’s really necessary.
Don’t let passengers distract you or encourage you to take risks – tell them that you need to concentrate on the road.
Never show off or try to compete with other drivers, particularly if they are driving badly.
Don’t drive if you’ve drunk any alcohol or taken drugs. Some medicines can affect your ability to drive safely – always read the warning on the label.
Make sure everyone’s wearing a seat belt throughout the journey.
Keep your speed down – especially oIt can be a tricky business understanding the Hazard Perception Test. Apart from developing the skills required, you will need to know how to avoid the common pitfall of “over-clicking,” which will lead to a zero score and is a major cause of failure. Over-clicking is usually a sign of a lack of undestanding in what is required in the test.
When each video begins, have it in mind to “plan your journey,” as you would on a real road. For example, should you be on a country lane, think about what you may encounter, in the short pause before the video begins.
Expect sheep or horses for example, possibly farm machinery, narrow road areas or fast moving vehicles. Look for brows of hills and the “vanishing point” of the road.(Ask your driving instructor!) The point is to glean a better understanding of your environment before setting off so you have a clearer idea of the kind of hazards you’ll be coming across.
When to click. As soon as you see a hazard, click. If the hazard develops, click again. This is the point of the test- to identify developing hazards. The speed at which your second click is recorded will determine your score on that video. Rapid clicking will be picked up by the cheat detection system and will score zero.
There is one hazard on each video to deal with, but there will be one video in the test with two hazards.
Look for clues, as you must in real driving, school signs, bonnets up, ladders near the road, tops of lorries above trees, vans with doors open, that can create hazards. Below is a list of typical circumstances that can lead to hazards, and some tips on where to look and when to click.
Look into the far distance, you may see a clue, a pedestrian for example, who may cause you problems a little later. Click when you see him, and again if it develops.
Junctions and crossroads. Watch for cars from either side.
Parked vans. Look along its side and underneath it. You may see their feet before they step out.
Traffic lights. People crossing and cars turning.
Pedestrian crossings. People crossing normally, or running towards it.
Straight roads. Bonnets up and doors open.
Straight roads. Pedestrians, click early.
Ladders on buildings near the road. Probable workmen.
Roadworks signs. Lorries and workmen.
School signs. Lollipop ladies and children.
Country lanes. Bends etc., horses, pedestrians in road, lorries and cars.
Motorways. Traffic joining after a bridge. Look for warning signs.
Motorways & Dual carriageways. Lane changing, causing hazard.
Roundabouts. Sudden lane changes.
The more you practise, the easier it gets, so make sure you are ready and you should have no problems. Your driving instructor at John Lowe Driving, will of course offer any help needed.
Be very careful driving high-powered or sporty cars – even if you learnt to drive in one.
You must have insurance – it’s an offence to drive without it.
You’ll lose your licence if you get 6 penalty points within 2 years of passing your first driving test. You’ll need to pass both tests to regain your driving licence.
This safety code makes a lot of sense, and to help further, don’t forget your driving instructor from John Lowe Driving is available to assist you in any way, even after you have passed your driving test.
Safety code for new drivers
This code will help you drive safely in your first year after passing the driving test, when you are most vulnerable.
You should always follow the Highway Code.
1. It’s most dangerous driving at night – don’t drive between midnight and 6am unless it’s really necessary.
2. Don’t let passengers distract you or encourage you to take risks – tell them that you need to concentrate on the road.
3. Never show off or try to compete with other drivers, particularly if they are driving badly.
4. Don’t drive if you’ve drunk any alcohol or taken drugs. Some medicines can affect your ability to drive safely – always read the warning on the label.
5. Make sure everyone’s wearing a seat belt throughout the journey.
6. Keep your speed down – especially on bends.
7. Be very careful driving high-powered or sporty cars – even if you learnt to drive in one.
8. You must have insurance – it’s an offence to drive without it.
You’ll lose your licence if you get 6 penalty points within 2 years of passing your first driving test. You’ll need to pass both tests to regain your driving licence.
This safety code makes a lot of sense, and to help further, don’t forget your driving instructor from John Lowe Driving is available to assist you in any way, even after you have passed your driving test.
I’ve recently been calculating our overall performance as a driving school, going straight to the statitistics that everybody is most interested in, the practical driving test pass rates for John Lowe Driving, for the last six months.
It has made pleasant reading, because as a driving school, we have far outshone the local and national averages. Our overall pass rate in Gloucester came in at 81%.
The average pass rate for all driving tests taken at Gloucester is around 48%, and the national pass rate is even less than that.
Why are the national pass rates so dismal?
There are literally hundreds of ways to fail a driving test, but firstly, let’s have a look at who conducts your test and how it is marked.
Who conducts your test?
Driving tests are conducted by driving examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), an executive agency of the Department for Transport.
These driving examiners have qualified to conduct driving tests after rigorous training and they are without doubt the best in the world. They all work to the same high standard, so the same result will occur, whichever examiner you get.
How is it marked?
Your driving test is marked on a Driving Test Report, technically known as a DL25, which is currently divided into 33 sections, some of which are further broken into sub sections. Some sections on the form do not refer to “L” tests, so I will leave them out in my explanations.
The examiner will only use a negative marking system, with no awards for doing anything well. You begin the driving test with a “clean sheet” and as faults occur, your chances of success reduce.
The examiner will be looking for all driving faults, but will record them differently, as minor faults, serious faults and dangerous faults. You can have 15 minor driving faults recorded, and still pass, but 16 minor faults will result in a fail.
However only 1 serious and/or 1 dangerous fault will also fail you.
A minor fault by itself is not enough to fail, but habitual minor faults will be viewed as below standard, that is, if you keep committing the same minor fault.
A serious fault is any fault that is potentially dangerous.
A dangerous fault is any fault that is actually dangerous.
I will be working my way through the driving test report, in further posts, using my long experience of driving tests to bring to you how to avoid the most common ways of coming to grief on your test.
Follow the articles on the Driving Test Report.
If you need any help with your driving or test preparation, call us on 01452 614226.
At last the day arrives!
Firstly, well before the date, check that your documents are in order. You will need:
Your provisional licence (including the paper counterpart until it is discontinued.)
Any emails or correspondence from the D V S A confirming your driving test.
Your driving instructor will normally pick you up one hour before the test time, in order to allow you time to “warm up” and practise some manouevres. Remember, we are not trying to learn anything in this hour before- that has all been done- it’s just a “loosener.” So make sure you are properly prepared.
Your driving instructor will come with you into the test centre and give you any advice you need. The examiner will then take you for your driving test, which will be similar to the mock tests you have done.
During your driving test, read the road and keep out of trouble. Think clearly, because you will know what to do. If you think you have made a mistake, don’t dwell on it, it may be a minor fault. If your manouevre is not going well, stop and adjust position (usually requires radical steering) before you touch the kerb, for example. Use full observation before adjusting. There is usually no need to completely restart the manouevre.
Be prepared, have documents in order,wear comfortable clothes and shoes and ask your driving instructor anything that will help you.
For more information on the driving test and how the test is marked, keep scrolling this page for detailed advice on the Driving Test Report, which is the marking sheet used by your examiner.
In the following posts, we’ll look at how your driving test is marked by your driving examiner, going gradually through the Driving Test Report that the examiner will use to record your performance on your test. Each post will cover a couple of subjects, pointing out the most frequent errors that happen, using the numbering as featured on the DL25.
This is the very first hurdle that you must jump at the beginning of your test. The examiner will ask you to read a new style vehicle number plate from a distance of 20 metres, or an old style plate from 20.5 metres. If you wear glasses or contact lenses to achieve this, then you must keep them on for the test and any future driving.
If you are unable to read the number plate, the distance will be accurately measured out, but if you are still unable to read it, that is the end of your test. It is most uncommon, but I have seen tests terminated due to poor eyesight.
So, if you have eyesight worries,get them checked before your driving test.
This section will not be used.
2. Controlled Stop.
Frequently called an emergency stop, but now officially referred to as a controlled stop. Only 1 in 3 tests will be asked to perform this, but make sure you know what to do! The examiner will ask you to pull over and will explain what he expects you to do, and what signal he will give you.
He wants to see that you can stop the car promptly, smoothly and under control (without stalling.)
What can go wrong? Plenty!
Students have been known to let go of the steering wheel, swerve to one side, hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, severley stall because of forgetting the clutch pedal, skid for yards, grab the handbrake, and react about 5 seconds too late. Avoid any of these faults, and there are others too, by regular practise.
That will do for this post, next time we’ll look at the reverse manoeuvres, how they are marked and what can go wrong.
We now come to the always popular part of the driving test, which are the reverse manouevres. This section of the test often fills candidates with dread, but it need not. The exercises are listed on the Driving Test Report as follows:
3. Reverse left. (Reversing around a corner to the left.)
4. Reverse right. (Reversing around a corner to the right.)
5.Reverse Park. (This can be either on the road, parallel parking, or in a car park, bay parking.)
6. Turn in Road.
You will usually only be asked to do one of these manouevres on your test, but make sure you can do them all with ease before attempting your test, as you will not know which one your examiner will choose.
A lot of test failures come from the reverse manouevres, so what is your examiner looking for?
In each section there are two sub sections entitled control and observation. Your examiner will also be checking for accuracy.
So can you control your car at the low speed required for a reverse exercise, or does the speed pick up as you go along? If your speed is not consistently under control, you have not mastered clutch control sufficiently, which will lead to a test fail. Is your control of the gas pedal good, or does the engine start to scream? If so, more practise please, as this will affect your control and Eco Safe Driving, leading to disappointment.
How is your steering? Miles from the kerb, mounting the pavement, on the bays white line?
If so, more practise needed. Does your car roll down the road camber when you do a turn in the road?
If so, it’s a no no and you need to practise clutch control and use of handbrake.
All of these faults are standard fare on everybodys driving lessons, but they must be a thing of the past before you take your driving test. Your driving instructor deals with similar problems every day and will be able to show you quite easily how to solve them.
OK so you’ve mastered the steering and control, but how is your observation?
You must be aware of, and act upon every event that occurs around you when you are manouevring, as you are doing the unusual, and it’s your responsibility to give way and not to endanger or inconvenience any other road user, including cyclists and pedestrians.
The only way you will achieve this is by observation. Keep your eyes open through each step of any manouevre, expect the unexpected, listen as well, and act upon what you see, usually by stopping your car until the hazard has passed.
You will be doing this on your driving lessons, but make sure you take those skills into your driving test.
The driving instructors, here at John Lowe Driving, will be able to coach you in these manouevres to a level where they will be just routine exercises that hold no terrors.
Call us on 01452 614226 to book your lessons.
The next sections we can look at on the Driving Test Report Form, after the reverse manouevres are vehicle checks, precautions and control, which are numbered on the form as follows.
7. Vehicle Checks.
These checks take place at the driving test centre, before the driving begins, and are more commonly known as “show me / tell me.” You will need to demonstrate to the examiner a basic level of knowledge and understanding of the vehicle you are to use.
This could include opening the bonnet and pointing out the dipstick, oil top up, brake fluid reservoir etc., and having an understanding of the handbrake and footbrake and power steering, for example.
There are about 20 different questions in all, and you will be asked 2 of them, so make sure you’ve done your homework!
8,9 &10 are not relevant.
Before you start the engine, make sure you are properly seated and able to operate all controls and that the car is in neutral.
This section is pretty intense and will really judge whether or not you have mastered the basic skills required to be a safe driver. For car driving tests, it is broken down into the following sub sections:
Parking Brake (handbrake.)
Let’s look at each in turn and some of the more common faults that can spoil your day. There are many more possibilities where things can go wrong, but we can’t look at everything.
Accelerator: Too many revs on moving off, burns fuel and can cause a surge of speed. Not enough revs on moving off, can cause the car to stall. You must be able to ” set the gas” accurately. If you are waiting at lights etc, only set the gas just before you are ready to go. Do not sit there with the engine racing. The gas pedal must always be used smoothly and accurately to keep within a safe speed.
Clutch: Moving away smoothly, quickly and under control is vital for success, so you must be able to use the clutch well. If you keep stalling, you’re not ready, same if you roll back on hills. Make sure you fully depress the clutch on stopping. Clutch control is needed on manouevres and slow moving traffic, so you must be able to control the car at very low speeds, in any situation.
Gears: Make sure you are familiar with, and are able to use all of the gears on your car. Select the correct gear to match the road and traffic conditions. Change gear in good time but not too soon before a hazard. Do not allow the vehicle to coast by running on in neutral or with the clutch depressed. You should not need to look down when you make a gear change.
Footbrake: Use the footbrake smoothly and progressively when necessary. Brake in plenty of time before any hazard. You should be able to adjust the brake pressure easily as the hazard changes as you approach it.
Parking Brake. (handbrake.) Make proper use of the handbrake to keep your car still on hills and during manouevres when necessary, and when you park. Do not “click” the lever, press the button!
Steering: Accurate steering is crucial, as you obviously have to keep your car in the right place. Steer the vehicle as smoothly as possible, avoiding harsh or sudden steering. By this stage, you should be holding the wheel correctly at “ten to two” and be able to “push and pull” the wheel, avoiding crossing your hands. Keep both hands on the wheel as much as possible.
If you are having problems with any of these controls, or want to get started, our driving instructors at John Lowe Driving can really help you. They have some great techniques that will ease the heavy lifting that can go with mastering the controls. Call us on 01452 614226.
In this post, we will look at section 13, Move off. This subject doesn’t look particularly daunting, but can cause a lot of problems on your driving test if you have not prepared properly.
On your test, you will obviously have to move away several times, but it’s how you do it that counts. By this stage, moving away correctly should be second nature, but sometimes things go wrong. You will be asked to move away on the flat, from behind a parked car and uphill, all done safely and under control.
Easy, eh? What can go wrong? A lot!
What is the examiner looking for? There are 6 main requirements needed to move away safely and we’ll look at them one by one.
1. Using your mirrors correctly. You must check your interior and door mirrors to assess the road conditions before you move away. Look for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians behind and around you and act upon what you see. They have priority, so wait until things clear up.
2. As well as proper mirror use, you must observe all traffic and other road users (pedestrians, cyclists etc.) and act upon what you see. There is an old expression that is sometimes used by driving instructors- “They look, but they don’t see.” In other words, you can look at everything around you, but if you don’t act upon what is there, it will end in tears.
3. Signalling when necessary. Do we have to signal before moving off? Not usually. A signal is used to warn others of your intentions (tell them what you’re doing.) So, if there were vehicles approaching from behind, just wait for them to pass and then move off. No signal needed to an empty road.
If there were pedestrians milling around, but the road behind was clear, give a signal to tell the pedestrians. Unusual situations like Christmas shopping week when some roads are nose to tail, a signal may help you out into the flow, as another driver might let you in, but do not use your signal as a “battering ram.”
In general, just wait for the road behind you to clear, and then move off without a signal.
4. Checking your blind spots. However well you check your mirrors before moving away, you must check your blind spots, which are areas behind and to your side, which will not show up in the mirrors. You must physically look over your shoulders to be certain of safety.
5. Proper co-ordination of the accelerator, clutch, handbrake and steering. In a nutshell, you must always move away safely and under control.
It will go in this order to move off safely:
A. Check your gears are in neutral and the handbrake is on. Switch on engine.
B. Press the clutch down to the floor and select 1st gear.
C. Set your gas. You need some power to move away, so gently press the gas pedal to achieve some gentle revs.
D. Ease the clutch pedal up to biting point, and then keep your feet still.
E. Check your mirrors and blind spots, and if it’s safe, release your handbrake to move away. Gently ease the clutch up more as you add more gas.
F. Steer accurately to a safe line, about 1 meter from the kerb, if the road allows and check your mirrors again.
6. Select the correct gear to move away. Some driving tests come to grief because of the wrong gear selection on moving away. You should choose 1st gear, as a higher gear will cause the car to stall. Very occasionally, if you are facing downhill on a steep slope,you may choose second gear to move off.
Typical driving faults that can be recorded in this section:
Move off safely:
No attempt to look around.
Lack of observation ahead and to the rear.
Moves away when unsafe.
Move off under control:
Stalls the engine.
Moves off with too much speed.
So, there’s quite a lot to deal with in this section 13 on the DL25, which is appears as a very small section on the Driving Test Report, but there’s plenty that can spoil your day.
If you have had, or are having problems with any aspects of moving off our instructors at John Lowe Driving will be able to solve the problem very quickly.
In this post, we will look at the use of mirrors on your driving test and figure out why using your mirrors correctly is vital for test success.
You must make the use of your mirrors part of a basic Mirrors- Signal- Manoueuvre (MSM) routine, as you have been practising on your lessons to have any chance of passing. Again we can sum it up with a short expression- “No mirrors, no pass.” It’s as true today as it’s always been and that expression captures the absolute requirement for proper mirror use on your test.
You must always know how your driving is likely to affect following traffic, and to keep up to date with what is happening behind you at all times.
What is the examiner looking for?
Section 14 on the Driving Test Report is laid out as follows:
Use of mirrors (before)
Before signalling. This is part of the MSM routine which you should be fully aware of and able to operate easily at all times. The word “before” is important, perhaps it should be “well before.”
Change direction. This covers proper mirror use before junctions, changing lanes and overtaking. Note the word “before” again.
Change speed. Either before slowing down, stopping, or speeding up.
Your mirror use will also be checked before you open any car door, or move away.
The examiner will check that you are using the mirrors in good time, in the proper order and that you act properly on what is happening.
You must also use your mirrors frequently, depending on the road and traffic conditions occuring.
Typical mirror faults.
Signals before checking mirrors.
Mirrors and signals at the same time.
Acts wrongly on information from the mirrors.
Fails to check mirrors before turning left or right.
Fails to check mirrors before changing lanes.
Fails to check mirrors before and after overtaking.
Fails to check mirrors after entering a new road.
Fails to check mirrors before increasing speed.
Fails to check mirrors before reducing speed.
Fails to check mirrors before stopping.
We hope this post can help to clarify any mirror doubts you may have, as it’s unfortunately pointless going for your test until you’ve got all aspects of mirror use sewn up.
As always, our instructors are here to help you, so if you are having mirror problems, we have some priceless, easy to remember systems that can help you conquer any glitches.
This post will give us a chance to look at section 16 on the Driving Test Report.
This is a small section, but still important. In the past, it was described as “adequate clearance,” which sums up the aims quite well. It basically means that you should avoid driving too close to obstructions or parked cars if there is no need to.
If there is sufficient room in the road and it is safe in every respect, you should allow about a metre clearance from the thing in your way.
You must keep this clearance where possible to the rear, the side and the front of parked car, or obstruction that you are passing. A lot of driving tests come to grief on this aspect of driving, as some roads are incredibly congested and most test routes will use these roads for a period.
If, for example you are in a narrow road, with vehicles parked both sides, it may be impossible to keep a metre clearance, so if you have to be closer, then keep your speed lower. The examiner will see what you are doing and will know that you have to be close, and will expect you to slow right down.
Be careful when emerging from behind a parked car, perhaps after a parallel park, that apart from full observation, you leave a metre clearance from the offside rear of the parked car, keep the distance from the cars side, and don’t cut in sharply, as you pass the car.
Make things easy for yourself on your test, by giving way where necessary (let the other driver do the work) and positioning your car where it is easy to continue when things clear up.
Typical Faults Recorded In This Section.
Drives too close to the rear of stationary vehicles before pulling out.
Drives too close to the side of stationary vehicles while driving past.
Cuts back to the left too soon after passing stationary vehicles.
Avoiding these faults is not too difficult with practise in the right areas and our instructors are ready to help you overcome them.
Section 17 on the Driving Test Report is used to mark your response to signs and signals on the road and those given by traffic controllers (police, traffic wardens, school crossing patrols, etc.) and other road users.
The section is laid out as follows:
17. Response to signs/signals.
other road users.
There is a lot going on here, so a lot can go wrong.
Remember, on your driving test, you will be effectively alone, even though the examiner is with you in the car, he is only there to record your driving actions, so will not offer you any help, unless it is to avoid serious danger.
OK, we’ve got that out of the way, so how do we cope with this mass of information that will be all around you?
Firstly, as always, make sure you are ready to take your test. Make sure you understand the structure of the different road signs, circular signs giving orders, triangular signs which warn, rectangular signs which inform and direct. Understand also road markings (painted on the road) which can do any of these things.
Get to know the sequence of traffic lights, which will enable you to make better decisions.
If you have been having regular driving lessons and your instructor has said you’re ready, then you will be at the right standard, but you have to keep your eyes open and your wits about you, especially in busy, congested, or unfamiliar areas.
At the test centre, after you have completed the show me / tell me exercise, the driving part of your test will begin. Your examiner will ask you to follow the road ahead, unless directed otherwise by road markings, or traffic signs. You must also respond to traffic lights and traffic controllers and act properly on signals given by other road users. These skills are absolutely vital in the independent driving phase of your test, as well as the directed phase.
What will the examiner expect?
He will expect you to be able to understand, in good time, and to be able to act upon information given by:
Signals from traffic controllers.
Signals from other road users.
Driving faults will be recorded if the response to any of these situations is below standard.
What is the examiner looking for regarding road signs? He will expect you to:
Obey any signs giving orders (circular shape.)
Drive properly after seeing signs giving warnings (triangular shape), directions or information, (rectangular shape.)
Typical faults that are recorded and can lead to a bad day regarding road signs:
Does not act upon information given by road signs.
Disregards mandatory signs. (Stop, no entry, etc.)
Ignores warning signs.
Ignores prohibiting signs. (eg no motor vehicles.)
Ignores priority signs. (Often at traffic calming areas.)
Faults that can ruin your day regarding road markings if you don’t act properly with:
Lines and lane markings.
Stop or give way lines.
Box Junctions. ( Very important! Make sure you know how they work, especially positioning to turn right!)
Bus tram and cycle lanes.
Traffic calming markings.
Parking and waiting markings.
Typical faults recorded:
Does not obey lane direction arrows.
Crosses solid white lines.
Uses bus lane when prohibited.
Ignores yellow lines when parking.
Incorrect action at box junctions.
Stops on worded markings.(eg Keep Clear.)
Parks on zigzag lines. (Schools, pedestrian crossings.)
Traffic Lights. We all know about traffic lights. Don’t we? Things still go wrong on numerous driving tests.
Stopping at traffic lights.
You will be expected to stop before the white line at traffic lights.
When the light is red.
When it is safe to stop on amber.
You will be expected to move away when the lights become green, provided it is safe.
Always remember, green means go, only if it is safe.
Typical driving faults recorded at traffic lights:
Continues to drive on when the lights are red.
Fails to stop at amber light when it is safe and possible.
Drives away on red and amber.
Moves away on green when it is unsafe.
These individuals include police, school crossing patrols, traffic wardens, and those in charge of roadworks with stop/go signs. All signals given by these people must be obeyed.
Signals ignored, or not noticed, will be recorded as a driving fault, resulting in a dismal experience.
Other Road Users.
The examiner will expect you to act properly on signals given by other road users, provided it is safe to do so. This can be confusing. Take your time (not too long) when other drivers are flashing their lights and gesticulating. Make sure it concerns you, and only proceed when you are certain it is the correct action and that it is perfectly safe.
Wow! This is a hefty section and we hope that it can help with the way you deal with signs and signals. If you need any help with this subject, or want to start your driving lessons, please call us on: 01452 614226.
In this post we will look at 3 sections on the Driving Test Report that are concerned with speed and following distance. They are:
Section 18. Use of speed.
Section 19. Following Distance.
Section 20. Progress.
Let’s look at them individually and how they are laid out on the examiners form.
18. Use of speed.
That’s it. It’s all he’s got in front of him! But he will record all speed related faults in this section, nearly always faults due to excessive speed. It does not always apply that you have exceeded the speed limit, but your speed may be considered to be too high for a particular situation.
You obviously must not exceed the speed limit on your driving test, so that must be your first aim.
Make sure you know the limit on each road you are driving on, as the limits can change frequently in areas around Gloucester, for example.
Remember what you have learnt about street lights and how they designate a 30 mph zone unless signs tell you differently. Look for signs and clues! It’s all there!
Make sure that you understand the sign for the national speed limit and how the national speed limit changes depending on the type of road you are on.
When you are doing any sort of driving, always use a speed that enables you to stop within the distance you can see to be clear in front of you. This can vary tremendously, depending on the type of road and the conditions. Always have your overall stopping distance in mind and remember that weather conditions can greatly affect the stopping distance, doubling in the wet and times ten on icy or snowy roads.
So what is the examiner checking?
Your approach to junctions and hazards at the correct speed. (Speed on approach.)
Your proper use of speed to maintain a safe gap between you and other road users.
That you always drive at a speed that enables you to stop within the distance you can see to be clear.
Typical faults recorded in Use Of Speed:
Exceeds the speed limit.
Speed too high for the road, traffic or weather conditions.
Too fast approaching hazards.
Too fast on approaching junctions.
19. Following distance.
Again, that’s it! It’s all he’s got to record the faults.
This aspect of driving has its own honoured section itemised on the Driving Test Report, because getting too close and not following other vehicles at a safe distance is a common cause of accidents, in particular rear end shunts. Ask any driving instructor how long the back of their car stays intact to see why it is a constant problem!
You will be expected to:
Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front in slow moving traffic, equivalent to your thinking distance, about a car length for every 10 mph.
Keep enough distance from larger vehicles so that you get a clear view of the road ahead.
Use the 2 second rule to calculate your following distance in good conditions and to at least double the distance in poor conditions.
Remember and use the “tyres on the tarmac” rule in waiting traffic, so that if the car in front breaks down, you have enough room to manoueuvre around it.
Typical Faults Recorded Under Following Distance.
Drives too close to vehicles ahead.
Two-second rule not used.
Thinking distance rule not used in heavy traffic.
Too close to car in front in traffic queue.
20. Progress. This section is broken into two subsections on the Driving Test Report:
These sections contribute to a lot of avoidable test failure.
Some students who have not been properly coached think that by driving slowly and cautiously on their test all the time will be a good idea. NO!
Driving well under the speed limit can be just as dangerous as going too fast. It can cause rage and frustration from other drivers who may try some crazy overtaking to get past.
If you are approaching hazards, or waiting for a safe chance to emerge at a junction, you should proceed as quickly as is safe, blending with the other traffic.
If you are too hesitant, it will lead to problems for you and other drivers, as you will not be behaving in a normal driving way.
You may unexpectedly stop, unnecessarily slow down, or not move away when expected, especially if someone has given way to you. It leads to confusion and will be marked down on your test.
You will be expected to:
Reach the speed limit if the road and traffic conditions allow, or at a realistic speed if conditions are tricky.
Approach hazards at a sensible speed, without being overcautious and spoiling the progress of others.
Emerge promptly from junctions without stopping at Give Way lines if it is safe, or emerge at the first safe chance.
Typical faults recorded on Progress.
Drives much too slowly on clear roads.
Never reaches maximum speed for the road when safe.
Slows down excessively when not necessary.
Makes slow progress when increasing speed in normal driving.
Stops unnecessarily at junctions and other hazards.
Waits unnecessarily when it is safe to go.
Waits for green light at pedestrian crossings, when it is clear on flashing amber.
Waits for other drivers who are clearly giving way.
The problems that a lot of learner drivers face, described above, are all curable with the correct coaching, so if you would like some help, or want to start your lessons, we are here.
Part 9 is under construction. Won’t be long!
We now find ourselves at section 21 of the Driving Test Report, where your examiner will record any faults committed at junctions. This will include all types of junctions including roundabouts.
I have sometimes thought that there should be a separate section for roundabouts alone as there are so many types which can create different problems, but roundabouts remain included with junctions.
Now junctions are a big subject, as they are literally everywhere, so make sure your driving is at a high enough standard to cope on the test, because if it is not, you will be found out!
If you have been having professional lessons, your instructor will be satisfied you have the necessary skills and you will know it yourself.
Your judgement and observation including mirror use must be full on to avoid problems.
The Driving Test Report for this section is set out as follows:
There are about 10 skills the examiner will be looking for and checking:
That you use the Mirror – Signal – Manouevre routine in good time on approach.
Regulate the speed of your car to deal with the junction and select the correct gear.
Stop in a safe position and use your handbrake if needed.
Accurately follow any lane markings.
That you give way to pedestrians and cyclists.
Take effective observation on your approach, before emerging, or entering any new road.
Creep and peep if you can’t see immediately.
Keep to your side of the road, if possible.
Keep moving where possible, avoid stopping if it is safe.
As mentioned earlier, a lot can go wrong, so here are the most common faults committed that will lead to disappointment.
Speed too high. No time left to assess the situation.
Speed too low. Following drivers get frustrated.
Only looks one way.
Stops short of the line.
Looks both ways too late. (After emerging.)
Looks the wrong way when emerging.
Does not see unmarked crossroads.
Emerges when it is unsafe.
Crosses centre line.
Incorrect position in a narrow road.
Too far from centre line.
Does not use protected centre lane.
Stops short when giving way to approaching vehicles.
Stays behind stop line at green light, with space ahead.
Too central on approach, away from the kerb.
Swings to the right.
Too near the kerb.
Rear wheel hits the kerb.
Steers too early and cuts onto the wrong side of the road.
If you are learning to drive, or want to start your lessons and you want to get the better of junctions, our driving instructors are ready and waiting to help you.
Call us on 01452 313713.
Section 22 on the Driving Test Report is entitled “Judgement.” Sounds pretty serious, eh? Well, it’s not the Day of Judgement, although it can probably feel like that, but a record of any faults you may commit on your test regarding overtaking, meeting and crossing other traffic.
The section is constructed as follows:
All of these driving situations can occur on your test and you need to deal with them safely.
What will the examiner expect?
When you are overtaking, meeting, or crossing the path of other traffic, you must:
Use Mirror – Signal – Manouevre on your approach.
Hold back or proceed correctly.
Complete the operation safely.
Let’s look at these operations in more detail:
Overtaking. You should:
Overtake slower vehicles when a safe opportunity arises.
Always use the MSM routine at the proper time.
Overtake only where it is safe and not prohibited by signs or markings.
Only commence when there is clear road ahead and the speed of approaching vehicles has been judged.
Accelerate quickly past, to avoid taking too long.
Give proper clearance as you pass, and then return to your lane.
Horses, cyclists and pedestrians should be given as much clearance as a car.
Typical faults that crop up with overtaking:
Unsafe traffic conditions.
Takes too long.
Not enough clearance given.
Cuts back too soon.
Meeting. You Should:
Properly use the MSM routine.
Regulate your speed, to avoid stopping if possible.
Judge hold back, or proceed.
Position properly if you need to stop.
Obey signs and markings that give priority to approaching traffic.
Adjust speed and position to pass through narrow gaps.
Typical meeting faults:
Makes approaching vehicles slow down or stop.
Drives on when other vehicles have priority.
Crossing. You Should:
Use the MSM routine in good time.
Regulate your speed on approach to avoid stopping.
Judge hold back or proceed.
Position properly so traffic can move, if you need to stop.
Accelerate across to avoid taking too long.
Typical crossing faults:
Cuts across other road users.
Having problems with any of these items? Our driving instructors can help, or if you want to start your driving lessons, call us on:
In this post we will take a look at how your examiner will look at sections 23 and 24, which are Positioning and Pedestrian Crossings.
Wherever you are driving, you must position your car correctly between the kerb and the centre of the road, or accurately within a marked lane.
Section 23, Positioning is laid out as follows:
What will the examiner be checking? That you:
Keep well positioned to the left, about a metre from the kerb, where the road is wide enough.
Change your positioning to deal with hazards.
Do not excessively move in and out between parked cars .
Avoid excessive lane changes by early positioning.
Obey lane markings.
Use the right hand lanes of dual carriageways correctly, for overtaking or turning right.
Typical Faults Recorded on Positioning:
Too near the kerb on the left.
Too near the middle of the road.
Moves in and out excessively between parked cars.
Wrong lane at traffic lights or roundabout.
Drives normally on dual carriageway in overtaking lane. (Get back to the left!)
Straddles lane markings.
Drifts from lane to lane.
As you can see, positioning is a crucial part of driving, so make sure you have had sufficient time on the road before your test, so that you are not “taken by surprise” by any event and that you have enough driving skill to deal with positioning.
Let’s take a look at:
There are a lot of different types of pedestrian crossings, so make sure you can recognise and understand them.
Your examiner will check that you:
Correctly use MSM.
Reduce speed on approach if there are clues that it may be used imminently by pedestrians.
Do not beckon people to cross over.
Slow down and give way to people already crossing.
Obey all light and zebra crossing rules.
Stop before the stop line.
Do not block crossing area in traffic queues.
Obey all amber and flashing amber light signals.
Things can go wrong on your test regarding positioning and crossings, so if you want some help, or want to start your driving career, why not come to John Lowe Driving.
Call Us On; 01452 313713
The end is in sight of our detailed look at the Driving Test Report. There are three sections remaining, that concern the car test and in another post we will look at Eco Safe Driving, which is dealt with on the Driving Test Report, but will not necessarily have a bearing on the test result.
The remaining sections are: 25, Position/normal stops, 26, Awareness/planning, and 27, Ancillary controls.
Let’s look at the sections in order.
25. Position/normal stops.
You will be asked to stop the car at various times on your test and you will be expected to take in all of the road features and conditions, before deciding on a suitable place each time, having properly used the MSM routine.
What can go wrong? Lots of things if you let your guard down.
Typical faults recorded:
This section is concerned with you looking ahead and anticipating what might happen and your ability to plan your actions to minimise hazards.
Typical faults recorded:
27. Ancillary Controls.
What are ancillary controls?
You will be expected to know when and how to use any of these controls and to understand and deal with any warning lights on the dashboard that may come on.
Well, this concludes the series on How To Pass Your Test and the Driving Test Report. Thanks for reading this far, and we hope it has been helpful, but why not take it further and book some driving lessons, we’d love to see you!
Call Us On: 01452 313713.
“My driving lessons went really well and I’m delighted to have recently passed first time, which is really great for me as I’m choosing universities at the moment and won’t have to rely on public transport to get around the country, especially in this winter weather. My instructor, Tom Lowe was great, getting me really well prepared, leaving nothing to chance, always a fun and interesting lesson. If anybody is thinking of learning to drive in the Gloucester area, I really recommend John Lowe Driving and you won’t find a better instructor than Tom.”