Driving Test

  1. Comments Off on Learner drivers now allowed on the motorway!

    Learner drivers on motorwaysAs of yesterday (4th June 2018) learner drivers of cars in England, Scotland and Wales can now drive on a motorway with an approved driving instructor!

    Here at Road Masters we’re based right next to the M5 so rest assured we’ll be taking advantage of the new rules to make sure that all of our learner drivers know how to use motorways safely. All of our students will be given motorway driving lessons prior to their test, although motorway driving itself doesn’t form part of the test.

    This won’t be tackled on lesson 1 though … it’ll be up to our fully qualified driving instructors to decide when our learner drivers are competent enough to drive on the motorway. Safety is always our priority and all lessons will be in our dual control vehicles.

    There are lots of different elements to driving on the motorway, learner drivers will now gain experience of:

    • joining and leaving the motorway
    • overtaking and using the lanes correctly
    • driving at higher speeds
    • motorway specific signs

    During the motorway lessons they’ll also be time to talk about the more practical parts of driving on a motorway, like what to do if you break down!

    Ultimately these changes will prepare drivers for a lifetime of safe driving and give them a broader experience before taking their test. Driving on the motorway forms a large part of daily life for many drivers and it can be a daunting thing if you’re inexperienced so these changes will help to improve confidence and understanding before drivers take their test.

     

    Is there anything other road users can do to help?

    If you see a learner driver on the motorway, as with any vehicle on the motorway, please keep a safe distance from them and increase the gap even further in wet, icy or foggy conditions.

    Also, (this goes for all learner drivers on any roads) please be patient, we were all learner drivers once! While drivers are learning they may not be as skilful in anticipating and responding to different road events.

     

    If you’ve already passed your driving test but don’t feel confident driving on a motorway we can help! As well as taking advantage of these new rules for learner drivers we can offer motorway specific driving lessons for drivers who have already passed their test.

    Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about our lessons and how we can get you motorway-ready!

  2. Comments Off on Driving test changes

    DVSAIf you weren’t aware, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) made some changes to driving test in England, Scotland and Wales from Monday 4 December 2017 which included following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres. The main reason for these improvements to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

    The 4 driving test changes

    From The DVSA:

    1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

    The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

    This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

    2. Following directions from a sat nav

    During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

    The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

    You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

    You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

    One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

    3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

    The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

    You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

    • parallel park at the side of the road
    • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
    • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

    4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

    The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

    You’ll be asked the:

    • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
    • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

     

    Adding to this we now know that learner drivers will be able to take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor from 4 June 2018.   This will make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.  If you want to book your motorway driving lessons, please contact us.

  3. Comments Off on Changes to the Driving Test

    Changes afoot to improve road safety

    The government has committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.  They believe that changing the driving test will help to do this.  They will be trying to make the driving test a better assessment of the candidate’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions.

    So what wil they be changing?

    The changes are to:

    • increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
    • ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part
    • replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, eg driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
    • ask 1 of the 2 vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, eg asking them to use the rear heated screen

    Why the changes are important

    Accidents on the road are the biggest killer of young people and account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.  The DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test will help reduce this number.

    These changes have been proposed because:

    • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
    • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
    • research has shown that new drivers find ‘independent driving’ training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

    What are your thoughts?

  4. Comments Off on DVSA taxi driving tests to end in December 2016

    taxi-drivingThe Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will stop providing taxi driving assessments for local councils from 31 December 2016.

    People becoming a taxi driver in around 200 council areas have to pass a DVSA taxi driving assessment before they qualify.

    DVSA will stop providing this service from 31 December 2016.

    If you already have a DVSA taxi driving assessment booked, it will go ahead as planned. However, DVSA isn’t taking any new bookings for the assessment.

    Contact your local council to find out what you need to do to become a taxi driver in your area.

    Why the DVSA assessments are ending

    DVSA is working hard to reduce the waiting time for driving tests for learner drivers.

    To help with this, DVSA is focussing on carrying out tests it has a statutory responsibility to provide. DVSA taxi assessments aren’t required by law, so they’re being brought to an end.

    DVSA carried out around 23,000 taxi assessments between April 2015 and March 2016.

    DVSA has given guidance to local councils about other organisations that can be used to provide this service, such as road safety charities and driving instructor organisations.

  5. Comments Off on For people who NEED a cancellation driving test

    For people who NEED a cancellation driving testThe DVSA’s waiting list time in Exeter is currently 8 weeks… DrivingTestCancellations.co.uk can find you a test date sooner for £18.  They will email you the second there are closer dates available give you first refusal!

    One of our recent passes, Nicola, needed to use them as she only had one week left in the UK before emigrating.

    Nicola passed

    If you are in a similar situation or just don’t want to wait, check out DrivingTestCancellations.co.uk

  6. Comments Off on A driving test for the 21st century

    gov driving testBack in November 2015 the government launched a consultation of new proposals to improve the driving test. If these proposals go ahead it could be the biggest shake up of the driving test in over 10 years.  The proposals include a ‘cashback’ incentive which will introduce deposit system where it will be returned to the driver if they pass.  This is thought to encourage learner drivers to take their test when they are ready as currently only 21% of driving tests result in a first time pass.

    Reduced driving test fee

    Under the new proposals the driving test fee would be reduced by requiring learner drivers to pay a deposit when they take their test, which they get back if they pass.  It will be an incentive to be prepared for the test and hopefully increase the pass rate.  Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said, “We want to make learning to drive safer and more affordable”.  Steve Gooding director of the RAC Foundation said “We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense.”

    Improving road safety and increasing efficiency

    The consultation also sets out proposals to:

    • introduce more driving test appointment times, including weekends and evenings
    • offer tests from a range of venues
    • review fees for all services provided by motoring agencies
    • change providers for some services
    • combine services at motoring agencies

    Information taken from Gov.uk article – www.gov.uk/government/news/a-driving-test-fit-for-the-21st-century

  7. Comments Off on The UK Theory Test… Made Easy

    Your quick easy guide to everything you need to know to pass.

    UK Theory testGetting ready to take your UK Theory Test can often seem overwhelming, just like any exam. It is however really quite simple and nothing to worry about when you break it down. So here are some useful things broken down for you…

    Background of the UK Theory Test

    The UK Theory Test was first introduced in 1996 to improve a new driver’s understanding of the skills and responsibilities associated with driving. The UK Theory Test includes:

    • Driver Attitude
    • Traffic Signs & Regulations
    • Effects of Alcohol, Drugs and Fatigue on Driver Behaviour
    • Safety and Environmental Aspects of Vehicles
    • Hazard Awareness

    What to expect

    The first part of the Theory Test consists of 45 multiple choice questions and 5 multiple choice questions that relate to a case study. To be successful you will need to correctly answer 43 out of 50. The second element of the test is the hazard perception module. You must be successful in both the Theory Test and the Hazard Perception elements to gain an overall pass.

    Hazard perception

    In November 2002 the hazard perception element was introduced to the Theory Test. It follows the theory test questions and consists of fourteen one-minute video clips of every day road scenes, filmed from the perspective of a car driver.

    The candidate acknowledges, by clicking the mouse button, when they observe a developing hazard. They will be marked according to how quickly they respond to the developing hazards.

    • The pass mark for the hazard perception part of the theory test is 44 out of 75.
    • Candidates must be successful in the theory and the hazard perception elements to gain an overall pass.

    What does it cost and how long is it valid for?

    • Your certificate will be valid for 2 years, in which, a driver should aim to pass their driving test.
    • The fee for the theory/hazard perception test is currently £31.00

    Prepare effectively and you will succeed.

    Although your Theory Test will seem scary, it really is nothing to be nervous about. As long as you put in the right amount of time studying the Highway Code and you practice hazard perception then you have nothing at all to worry about.

    Road Masters Driving School offers support in preparation for driving theory tests. Why not contact us for a free, no obligation consultation. You can also practice hazard perception and all the things mentioned with Driving Test Success on your home PC.

    Good luck!

  8. Comments Off on A Sat Nav Examiner?!

    sat nav examinerHow many of you use a Sat Nav or a phone app to get to your destination?  It might be a very useful gadget, helping you arrive at your important engagement but isn’t it distracting?!  Learning to use a Sat Nav safely is becoming a really important skill in driving.  Then, including it in the driving exam seems a good idea?

    How would a Sat Nav Examiner work?

    For around 20 minutes of the driving test you will be asked to follow directions given to you from a Sat Nav.  This is being done to make the test more realistic.  The Sat Nav will be provided and the examiner will always be ready to step in and direct should the Sat Nav have any problems.

    Why would the DVSA introduce the Sat Nav?

    Sat Navs are now being commonly used so the DVSA have said that it would better replicate a normal driving situation.  The learner would be tested on their ability to familiarise themselves with the potential distractions of using a Sat Nav.  It would also give the learner more responsibility to make their own decisions.

    Struggle to follow a Sat Nav

    The learner driver will not be tested on their ability to follow a Sat Nav but their standard of driving whilst doing so.  It will not matter if the learner driver deviates from the route recommended on the Sat Nav.

  9. Comments Off on Funny Driving Lesson Stories

    The life of the driving instructor is one of variety, interest and relatively high risk. We meet fascinating characters from different walks of life and enjoy the satisfaction of imparting essential road safety information on a daily basis. However, those of you who’ve watched programmes such as the Dangerous’ Drivers School will appreciate that one-on-one lessons are often frantic and stressful.

    Lost!

    Driving examiners are advised to explore the test routes before handing control over to the anxious learner drivers. However, one experienced experienced examiner failed to heed the advice. Without access to a road map or sat-nav he inevitably lost his bearings during the driving test. He was forced to cancel the test and order a return taxi for the bemused learner.

    Using The Mirrors

    As driving instructors we are aware of the need to reinforce the positive. One reformed boy-racer was praised on the use of mirrors during his lesson. He said that he was aware of the need to keep a look-out for trailing police cars. The conscientious attitude paid off and he went on to pass the driving test without a single minor error.

    Too Close For Comfort

    One of the most skilled learner drivers took his test in a cramped Daewoo Matiz. He found that he was brushing the examiner’s leg when changing to second gear. Worried about the prospect of a hot and steamy test, the learner opted to stick to the other gears. The oblivious examiner was obviously quite impressed and the student passed his test.

    Stripped

    One young woman feared the worst after an error strewn driving test back in the 1980s. In a final attempt to convince the examiner she lifted her top and revealed her prize assets. The self-confidence paid off and she was deemed to have passed the test.

    Do you have any Funny Driving Stories?

    If you can recall similarly humorous driving lesson stories then please send a message to the Road Masters team. We’ll be delighted to have a read and feature the best tales on our blog!

  10. Comments Off on 5 Reasons For Failing The Driving Test

    Driving lessons in ExeterThose of you who’ve been taking Road Masters driving lessons in Exeter will undoubtedly be keen to pass the practical and theory tests first time around. However, the Department For Transport have revealed that a mere 47.1% of learner drivers successfully complete these challenging examinations. Some people fail because of extreme nervousness on the big day. Others are unprepared for encountering major motoring hazards. We’ll explain some common and obscure reasons for failure…

    1. Junction Observations

      The Road Masters instructors take time to highlight the importance of approaching junctions with caution and looking in both directions before turning in the road. However, a high proportion of learner drivers are deemed to have made the major error of inadequate observation. Many fail to identify significant hazards on the left side of the road.

    2. Reversing Round Corners

      Learner drivers are prone to worrying about the performance of maneuvers. Some become so anxious that they forget to carry out blind spot checks and maintain appropriately low speeds while reversing around corners. The driving examiners also keep a watchful eye for use of the side mirrors. However, young drivers can maximise the chances of success by remaining calm, acting with due caution and practicing the principle of thorough observation.

    3. Unexpected Distractions

      Complete concentration is essential for driving test success. However, there have been some instances of young drivers being marked down as a result of unexpected distractions. One young lady was unable to resist the temptation of veering towards a hunky motorcyclist. Cats, dogs and squirrels have also played a part in driving test failure.

    4. Steering Errors

      Extreme nervousness often results in over-steering during the driving test. There have even been instances of young drivers colliding with the kerb and moving dangerously towards oncoming traffic. Thankfully there are various ways of overcoming the stress. It might be worth trying some relaxation techniques and waiting until you have complete confidence behind the wheel before registering for the test.

    5. Bumping into Pedestrians

      The driving examiners are usually able to take control and avoid collisions with unsuspecting pedestrians during the driving test. However, there was one reported instance of a learner driver who crept forward and bumped into a seemingly carefree shopper at a zebra crossing. Apparently the pedestrian had been camouflaged as they were wearing striped clothing. However, the examiner wasn’t entirely convinced!!

    Don’t fail your driving test – get your lessons with Road Masters! Contact us now!

  11. Comments Off on Is It Time To Overhaul The Driving Test?
    Mr Beere 1935

    16th, March, 1935, Mr, R,E,L,Beere of Kensington, London, proudly shows his wife, certificate number, 0001, the first ever driving certificate after he passed his driving test

    A lot has changed since the driving test was introduced in 1935. The car has become the primary method of transport and the completion of the driving test has been widely acknowledged as a right of passage. Road safety has become a major issue and the DVLA have incorporated elements of theory and hazard perception into the driving test. However, the Institute of Advanced Motorists are keen to overhaul the current system and introduce a variety of brand new training methods for learner drivers.

    Recommended Changes

    The IAM are eager to prepare new drivers for the variety of hazards which may be encountered after the completion of the driving test. They have said that driving instructors should provide night-time and wet weather training. Young drivers could also receive lessons on the safe navigation of poorly maintained roads.

    Road safety would be included as part of the national curriculum if the IAM proposals are given the green light. There would also be a restriction on the number of passengers that young drivers are allowed to travel with after passing the test. These positive steps would undoubtedly be welcomed by concerned parents and emergency service workers across the UK.

    Expert Opinion

    Newly qualified drivers already have the option of taking the Pass Plus course. However, the IAM have said that follow up-training should be mandatory. Motoring charity representative Neil Grieg said ‘The driving test needs to become a much more integrated part of a graduated licensing system that picks up on best practice from around the world.’

    Government spokesperson Jake Berry followed up by saying ‘I think many of our local responsible driving instructors will already be doing a lot of what the IAM is recommending and I would urge people to find a good local driving instructor who will give them the breadth of experience they need to be a good driver.’

    Road Masters Driving Lessons

    Road Masters driving lessons are the ideal choice for people living in Exeter and East Devon. Our instructors provide essential training and adapt effective training methods in accordance with driving test changes. We’ll equip you with the necessary skills for safe and enjoyable driving.

  12. Comments Off on Maneuvering Your Way To Driving Test Success

    passedIt is quite usual for learner drivers to worry about the challenge of performing manoeuvres during the driving test. This is quite understandable, given that the confident completion of an emergency stop or turn in the road may make the difference between success and failure. However, those of you who enjoy the benefit of Road Masters driving lessons will develop essential skills for the execution of such tricky maneuvers. We’ve even produced this handy guide to calm your nerves before the big day.

    Choice Of Maneuvers

    It’s worth remembering that the driving examiner will ask you to complete one out of a possible four maneuvers. You may be required to perform a turn in the road, reverse to the left, reverse into a parking space or safely position the vehicle in a bay. You should also be alert to the possibility of having to make an emergency stop. It is essential to remain calm and listen carefully to any instructions given during the test.

    Safe Parking

    You will be expected to make appropriate use of the interior and side mirrors while carrying out parking maneuvers. A sensible speed should be maintained and you should consider the potentially erratic behaviour of other motorists and pedestrians. It is quite possible that you will be asked to park in a relatively quiet urban area. However, you should position the car safely, away from any junctions and bends.

    Round The Bend

    Caution should be exercised if you are asked to perform a reverse to the left. You should keep an appropriate distance from the kerb and pay due regard to all other road users. The examiner will expect you to maintain controlled use of the clutch and reverse slowly. You should park a good distance from the kerb and wait for examiner to give you the all clear for resumption of the driving test.

    Three Point Turn

    You’ll probably be hoping to avoid the dreaded three point turn during the driving test. However, there will be no reason for concern if you heed the advice given during driving lessons in Exeter. You should check that the road is clear and maintain a low speed. Focal points should be used to ensure that you adopt an appropriate position in the road. The examiner will also expect you to perform a check for fellow road users before making the final turn.

    Expert Advice

    You can expect comprehensive training in each of the driving maneuvers during driving lessons with Road Masters. We’ll take the time to address your concerns and deal with any problems which may arise during the driving test. You’ll develop the confidence to deal with various scenarios which may be encountered when you’re a fully fledged driver.

  13. Comments Off on 2015 – A Year Of Change For Young Drivers

    young driversYoung drivers throughout the United Kingdom are likely to be affected by a variety of changes in 2015. Those of you who’ve been taking driving lessons with Road Masters may well be prepared to take your theory and practical tests. You may be interested in the proposals and expected motoring advancements that are highlighted in this blog.

    Government Plans

    Members of the main political parties have outlined a variety of proposals in the aim of winning the vote of young drivers in the general election of 2015. The Labour party have called for the introduction of affordable travel-to-work-only insurance for young motorists. Such a scheme would involve the use of telematics technology to monitor driving behaviour.

    The Conservative politicians are working with major motoring groups to develop a range of safety initiatives. The Liberal Democrats have also outlined plans for a green paper highlighting key steps for the general protection of the driving community. It is thought that car insurance premiums could decrease as a result of improved road safety.

    Driving Tests

    There is expected to be a considerable overhaul of the practical driving test in 2015. Challenging manoeuvres such as the 3 point turn and corner reverse might well be scrapped. However, the takers may be expected to park in bays and pull over safely when navigating minor roads. The examiners may ask for a demonstration of appropriate sat nav use. There is also expected to be an increase in average test times.

    Driver Licensing

    The DVLA have announced that they are set to scrap the paper counterpart driving license in 2015. Newly qualified drivers will be granted with standard photo license, which must be renewed every 10 years. It will be possible to view information about vehicle licensing and grant access to selected third parties via the DVLA website.

    Road Masters Instruction

    You can be sure that the Road Masters team will respond appropriately to the various changes outlined in this blog. We will continue to provide comprehensive road training at the most affordable prices for young drivers in Exeter and Exmouth. Any feedback will be taken into consideration as part of our commitment to outstanding service!

  14. Comments Off on A Guide To Buying Your First Car

    Buying your first carThose of you who gearing up for the dreaded DVLA driving test may well be excited at the prospect of car ownership. You may have dreams about cruising the open roads and arriving at the college prom in a souped-up motor. However, reality may hit when you take a look at the vehicle advertisements and consider the relatively high cost of insuring and running your first vehicle. Thankfully the Road Masters team have come up with the following tips to give you the best chance of a succesful purchase.

    Essential Research

    There are a number of options when it comes to buying your first car. If you’re really keen to pick up a bargain then it would be worth attending an organised vehicle auction. You might also be tempted to visit the local dealerships and peruse the advertisements in the local newspapers. However, it is important to resist the temptation of making an impulsive purchase. There is a wealth of information about the suitability of different vehicles online. You should also seek the advice of a trustworthy and experienced friend or family member.

    Financial Considerations

    Price is likely to be the main influencing factor in your purchasing decision. However, you should be aware of deals that seem to good to be true. It would be sensible to pay a little extra for a relatively modern vehicle rather than an old rust bucket that’s in urgent need of repair. If you’re in any doubt then ask the owner to provide documents regarding the history of the car.

    It’s worth pointing out that you may be required to pay more for car insurance than the vehicle itself. Indeed, research by one of the leading insurance price comparison websites has revealed that drivers aged between 17 and 22 pay an average of £1,158 per year for cover. However, it is possible to minimise the expense by selecting small vehicles with high safety ratings. The Fiat Panda, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Ka are just a few of the vehicles that satisfy the essential criteria.

    Sensible Advice

    Now you may be ready to go ahead and conduct some research into suitable vehicles. However, it would be worth having a discussion with the knowledgeable Road Masters instructors about the most appropriate buying options. We’ll make the most sensible recommendations in accordance with your specific requirements.

  15. Comments Off on Maximising the chances of Driving Test success

    driving-testIt is quite possible that you have spent a considerable amount of time and money learning how to drive. You might even have experienced the emotional strain of driving lessons with friends or family members. However, you’ve shown the determination to overcome the negative experiences and become a fully fledged member of the motoring community. There’s just one small problem. You still have to pass the dreaded driving test. Thankfully the Road Masters driving instructors have come up with these exceedingly helpful test tips.

    Prepare Thoroughly

    It will be necessary to develop a comprehensive knowledge of road rules and regulations if you want to pass your theory test first time around. You should study the highway code and any written information provided by your driving instructor. It would also be sensible to ask about any details that you are unsure of.

    Practice on the Test Routes

    It is absolutely essential to find out the routes which are chosen by driving examiners in your area. You should take every opportunity to hone your skills on the specific roads. However, it is worth remembering that road conditions do change from day to day.

    Stay Calm

    It’s far easier said than done. However, those of you who manage to remain calm during the practical exam will stand an increased chance of success. It might even be worth practicing some relaxation techniques in preparation for the big day. And remember that you have the option of pulling over if the pressure becomes unbearable.

    Take a Mock Test

    If you’ve been driving for some time then your instructor will probably give you the option of taking a mock test. This will be your chance to gain an idea of examination conditions and identify any issues that may be resolved in the run up to the big day.