Can I Drive An Automatic With A Manual Licence?

Can I Drive An Automatic With A Manual Licence?

There is no denying that most seventeen year olds are excited by this milestone age for one reason, and that is the opportunity to get behind the wheel and drive a car.

It can give you that sense of freedom you have never felt before, and finally a little independence. However, before you do anything, you need to obtain a provisional license, learn to drive and pass that theory and practical test. There are two types of car transmission that you can drive.

A car with a manual gearbox where you need to learn to change the gears, and a car with an automatic gearbox where the vehicle does the gear change for you.

Getting the right license

Originally you will be provided with a provisional driving license. This gives you the permission needed to start learning to drive on the road with an accredited instructor in a learner car. This gives you the chance to start learning the ins and outs of driving a car.

A manual gearbox means that not only do you need to control the car with steering, but you also need to control the clutch and gear changes.

It can sound very complex, but once you get into the rhythm of gear changing and understanding when your vehicle will need to be in a different gear, it will become second nature. However, not all people can pass their tests and learn to drive in a manual car, and so may take that option of learning in an automatic and passing their test.

This will then give you a driving license for an automatic vehicle only.

The differences between manual and automatic

Of course the main big difference between an automatic car and a manual car is the presence of a clutch and a gearbox that needs manually changing.

As you learn to drive in a manual car, you will understand when you need to change the gears up, depending on the speed and type of driving you’re doing, and when the gears need to be changed down as you reduce your speed or drive on a speed restricted road.

An automatic car will do all of this for you, and the clutch pedal will not be present next to the brake or accelerator. Learning in an automatic car means you will likely be focusing more of the control of the car in terms of speed and steering.

Which means that you will only be able to drive these sorts of cars.

Can you drive a manual vehicle with an automatic license?

The answer to this question would be no. If you take automatic driving lessons then you will only be able to control and understand the workings of an automatic car.

Driving on the road and becoming road legal after passing your test in an automatic vehicle will mean that you only have the expertise and knock edge to drive an automatic car. If you would then want to drive a manual car then you will need to retake your test.

To do that you will have to have manual driving lessons so that you can learn how to operate the clutch pedal and the gearbox manually.

Can you drive an automatic vehicle with a manual license?

The answer to this question would be yes. If you have taken manual driving lessons and learned how to drive a manual gearbox, then driving an automatic simply means you don’t have to do that option when driving the car.

Passing your test in a manual car means that you are identifying in the operation of a vehicle and road safety, and therefore whether you drive with a manual gearbox or switch into an automatic, the knowledge you have is enough to operate both types of vehicles.

This is why it is important to try and ensure that you learn in a manual car. Understanding the clutch and gear pedals means that when you pass your test you can drive any type of car and even a light commercial vehicle confidently.

Whether you take manual driving lessons or opt for automatic driving lessons many of you just want the opportunity to get out on the open road and enjoy that independence. Alongside the gearbox differences you will also need to have the confidence eout on the road as well as have a good understanding of the workings of your car. From brake lights and indicators to fuel and oil levels.

Hopefully this has given you a better understand of the difference between an automatic and manual car and why you may need to have a specific license depending on how you pass your test.

What’s The Difference Between Zebra, Puffin And Pelican Crossings?

What’s The Difference Between Zebra, Puffin And Pelican Crossings?

Zebra, puffin, pelican – they’re all types of animals, right? But of course, in the UK, they’re also types of road crossings. As a learner driver, you’ll need to know the difference between these types of road crossings to help you approach pedestrians safely and generally be a safe and considerate driver.

So what’s the difference between zebra, puffin and pelican crossings? We tell you everything you need to know. 

Zebra crossing

Zebra crossing

Zebra crossings are a common type of crossing, but they don’t have crossing lights. You will often spy them across city centres and areas where there is likely to be a lot of pedestrian traffic.

They feature black and white stripes painted across the ground (which is where the name zebra comes from). They are also marked by two beacons known as ‘Belisha beacons’, which are named after the politician who introduced them – Leslie Hore-Belisha – in 1934. 

 

Pedestrians have an automatic right of way on a zebra crossing. As you approach a zebra crossing, you should adjust your speed and look out for anyone who could be trying to cross. 

 

It’s a criminal offence not to stop for pedestrians at a zebra crossing, so if you want to avoid having points on your licence (including a provisional licence), then make sure you stop.

Puffin crossing

Puffin crossing

Puffin crossings were introduced in 1992, making them newer than zebra or pelican crossings. A puffin crossing features the green/red man signals on the side of the road, while drivers will see traffic lights facing the road.

Puffin crossings work using sensors to monitor whether or not there are any pedestrians at the crossing.

After a pedestrian has pressed the control button, the traffic lights will change from green to red to alert the driver to stop, allowing the pedestrian to cross to cross.

The lights will then return to green when the crossing is clear of pedestrians.

Unlike a pelican crossing (more on that below), there are no flashing amber lights on a puffin crossing. You must wait until the lights return to green before you can continue to drive.

Keep an eye out for puffin crossings as you drive, you may see a sign alerting you to an upcoming one. You should keep an eye on any cars that are behind you to ensure you can both stop and accelerate safely. Your instructor will make sure you carry out the necessary mirror checks.

Pelican crossing

Pelican crossing

You’ll likely be more familiar with a pelican crossing than other types of crossing, both as a driver and a pedestrian yourself. They feature a black and yellow box on the side of the road for the pedestrian with a WAIT sign, while drivers see a set of three-colour traffic lights facing you from the road.

With a pelican crossing, the flow of traffic is controlled by the traffic lights.

A pedestrian will press the button, lighting the WAIT sign, where they must wait for a green man on the opposite side of the road to light and for the traffic lights to turn red.

After a certain amount of time, the red signal turns to a flashing amber and then green. If there are no pedestrians remaining on the crossing while the signal is flashing amber, you can continue on your way.

Once the signal starts flashing, pedestrians are no longer permitted to cross the road. 

Your approach to a pelican crossing will be the same as other crossings – checking behind you to make sure you adjust your speed to allow other cars to stop behind you as needed.

 

Learning the difference between zebra, puffin and pelican crossings

 

As a learner driver, it’s important that you learn the difference between each type of crossing. Zebra, puffin and pelican crossings each have their own rules, and failing to follow them could lead to an accident, as well a penalty on your licence.

Many drivers are guilty of breaking the rules, but if you observe them from the beginning, you’ll be a much safer driver.

Your instructor will guide you through the different types of crossings when you approach them. It’s important to listen to their instructions so that you understand when you need to stop and when you can continue to drive.

Make sure you understand how to spot the difference too – this could be something that appears on your theory or hazard perception test.

If you’re looking for a driving instructor in Essex, be sure to check out Alfie’s Driving School. We provide professional one-to-one driving lessons to help you learn how to drive with confidence. Contact us today to see how we can help you get on the road.

90 Degree Parking Tips

90 degree parking tips

Reverse and parking are words that can strike fear in a learner driver. Even drivers that passed their test decades ago can feel apprehensive at the thought of attempting reverse bay parking.

However, the idea that reverse parking is something to be feared by both learner drivers and experienced motorists is entirely unfounded. In fact, learning how to reverse park with ease is one of the handiest skills to develop in your driving lessons.

Once you have passed your test and are out on the road alone, you will be glad that you mastered the technique of reverse parking because it makes life so much easier.

What is 90 degree parking?

Before we dive straight into giving you all the tips you need to reverse park like a pro, it is important to clarify just what is meant by 90 degree parking. Just as it says on the tin, 90 degree parking is when you position your vehicle at a 90 degree angle before reversing it into a parking bay.

Why do I need to know how to park from a 90 degree angle?

Wondering why you need to learn how to reverse park at a 90 degree angle? Have you ever been in a multi-storey car park with someone that will do anything to avoid reverse parking into a bay?

They probably drove around and around the car park looking for an easy space that they could drive straight into until you were both dizzy (and probably feeling rather fed up). But, what happens when they finally find that easy to drive into space?

Well, when you return to the car they are going to need to attempt to reverse out of that space, which is likely to be a lot harder and take a lot longer than if they had reversed into it in the first place.

From a safety point of view, reverse parking is often the better option. When you 90 degree park you should have clearer visibility of what is around you.

Conversely, when you reverse out of a space your view may be obstructed by cars parked alongside you, and you may need to continually stop the manoeuvre to allow other cars to pass/

How to reverse bay park at a 90 degree angle

So, now you know why reverse parking is a useful skill, it is time to learn how to do it. The steps that you follow to reverse park are actually pretty simple, as shown below:

Remember to reduce your speed in the car park so that you can be vigilant for pedestrians and other motorists, and so that you can look for a suitable space.

When you spot a parking bay consider whether your car will fit into the space, and whether you will be able to open your doors enough to get in and out and without obstructing the vehicles alongside you.

Don’t forget to check your mirrors and look around for other road users and pedestrians before you start to position your vehicle.

Drive past the empty parking bay and position your car at a 90 degree angle.

Continue to check your mirrors, blind spot, and all around you and lookout for vehicles and pedestrians as you put your car into reverse gear.

Reverse your car until the rear passenger window is level with the white line of the parking bay.

Check around you to ensure that it is safe to move and then turn the steering wheel into the full lock position. If you are reversing from the left-hand side of the space, turn the wheel full lock to the left-hand side, if you are reversing from the right-hand side of the space, you will need to turn it full lock to the right.

Keeping your speed down as you reverse, manoevre your car smoothly into the space.

Straighten up the steering wheel as you reverse to ensure that your car sits parallel between the two white lines of the parking bay.

If your angle is a little off, don’t worry. Simply check around you to make sure that it is safe to do so and edge forwards slightly, before slowly reversing back straightening the wheel as you move.

Practise makes perfect

As you can see, 90 degree parking is nothing to worry about, and mastering this motoring skill will make life on the road far easier for you in the long term. Keep practising and you will be reverse parking like a pro in no time.

Should you choose automatic or manual driving lessons?

Should you choose automatic or manual driving lessons
So, you’ve made the decision to start learning to drive and you’re eagerly looking to book your first lesson. But before you can get behind the wheel, there’s an important decision to make; are you going to opt for automatic or manual lessons?
At one time the majority of cars on Britain’s roads were fitted with manual gearboxes but as technology has improved, the demand for automatics has grown.
So much so that of all the new cars made in 2017, 40% of them were automatics. So, is now the time to be opting for automatic lessons?

Or does a manual license have more benefits? We’ve weighed up the most important things to consider so you can decide which is the best option for you.

Which is the easiest?

Once you start learning to drive, you’ll want to pass and get out on your own as quickly as possible. Having an automatic gear box means that you don’t need to learn how to change gear or spend time fine-tuning your clutch control.

And with more time to focus on your manoeuvres and no chance of stalling, you may pass your test quicker than you would in a manual.

But be careful!

With an automatic license you’ll be prohibited from driving a manual unless you retake your test. And there may be times, such as when hiring or needing a courtesy car, that this can cause delays or other problems.

A manual license will allow you to drive both types of car which may give you fewer headaches in the long run.

Which is the cheapest?

Automatic driving lessons are usually a little more expensive than manual lessons but you may not need as many. This often makes the overall cost quite similar.

But you may feel the difference when buying your first car. Automatic cars use more advanced technology than most manuals and this is often reflected in the price tag even if it’s a second hand purchase.

A higher price also means costlier insurance as well as more expensive repair costs so make sure you do your sums properly before making your choice.

Which is best for your location?

If you’ll be mostly driving somewhere where there is a lot of heavy traffic, the constant gear changing can leave you stressed and tired. Therefore, an automatic car may make your morning commute a much pleasanter experience.

However, if you live near quieter roads you might just love the feeling of control during those country drives.

So, which should you choose?

This really does depend on you. For most people, choosing manual lessons is the most sensible option as you’ll have the scope to drive both manuals and automatics in the future.

There are still far more manual cars on the road than automatics so you’re giving yourself more flexibility and choice.

But if you are anticipating finding learning a bit of struggle and are ready to commit to an automatic life then this may be the best choice for you.

Source: Telegraph UK.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Driving Instructor

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Driving Instructor

Learning to drive can be a daunting experience, but your driving instructor is there to provide as much help and information as possible. It’s your right to ask questions of your instructor, and you should in order to ensure you have all the details you need to both feel confident about your driving and to make swift progress through your lessons.

So, here are the top ten questions you should ask your driving instructor, as well as a brief explanation of why.

What is covered in the first lesson?

Your first lesson is your initial foray into driving, ask your instructor to give you a brief overview of what they will do with you. This may include making sure you’re familiar with the vehicle, its controls, as well as a short route on some roads that are familiar to you.

What is the average number of lessons it takes to pass?

There is no guarantee about how long it will take you to pass, but knowing the rough figure of how many lessons it takes your instructor to get a student a passing grade will allow you to plan your budget and time accordingly. It will give you a general baseline to work with.

Does your vehicle have dual controls?

Dual controls are a second brake and clutch pedal situated in the passenger foot-well, that allow your instructor to stop the vehicle at any moment. This can help give you a confidence boost, knowing your instructor has always got a way to stop while you’re still learning the vehicle.

Can you accommodate my special requirements?

If you have any particular medical conditions or specific considerations you need to have taken into account in the way you learn, make sure you ask in advance. Make it clear to your instructor exactly what you need from them, and see if they will be able to accommodate those needs.

Will I have every lesson in the same car?

Independent driving instructors often have just one car, but driving schools may have a fleet of vehicles instructors use. You will get used to driving a particular vehicle over the course of your lessons, and using the same one will prevent you having to get used to a new car each time on top of your learning.

Driving Lesson Gift Vouchers
Driving Lesson Gift Vouchers

Am I going to learn with a Sat Nav?

It’s now a part of the driving test, as of time of writing, that you drive for 20 minutes unaccompanied using the guidance of a Sat Nav. Your examiner will program a route and you will be expected to follow it. Ask your instructor if they will help you train for this skill as a part of your lessons.

Can you provide a mock test?

A mock test can allow you to get used to the form of the driving test, taking specific advice without the safety net of being able to retry if you get it wrong. This will also give your instructor the ability to highlight key areas where you need to focus on improvement, to give you the best chance of passing.

What are your lesson rates?

Be sure you’re familiar with the lesson rates, so you can budget accordingly. Many instructors offer bulk discounts if you purchase a certain amount of lessons at once. Ask your driving instructor what they can do for you to make learning to drive as affordable as possible – whether it be bulk buy or loyalty discounts.

Are you DVSA approved?

An essential question – the DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) is the Government body that assesses the suitability of driving instructors, as well as MOT testers. You must make sure you only get in a vehicle with an instructor that has proper and current DVSA accreditation that they can produce on demand.

Will I have the same instructor for each lesson?

Just like the car, you will get used to your instructor more and more as you learn. If you have to meet someone new every time, there’s a risk you might not “gel” in the way that’s required for you to comfortably learn. Make sure you can book the same instructor to provide each of your driving lessons.

Remembering to take the initiative

Driving is arguably an essential skill for many people, so it’s important you learn it with the right person for you. You are under absolutely no requirement to take your lessons with an instructor or a driving school that is not happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.

Ask these questions while you’re researching the best local driving instructor for you. If they cannot communicate in a timely and professional manner before your lessons, they will not be able to during them either. Be as discerning as you can, and only book your driving lessons with an Essex driving school or instructor that makes you feel comfortable.

Drivers are being warned to avoid rural roads to help with the coronavirus

to avoid rural roads to help with the coronavirus

Drivers are being warned to avoid rural roads to help with the coronavirus

Drivers can do there bit and help the NHS

Brake, the road safety charity, has warned drivers to steer clear of rural roads to help with the fight against the Coronavirus. By decreasing traffic levels on these roads, that cause the most fatalities and serious injury, will keep people away from the hospitals and ease the burden on the NHS.

To tackle this deadly and invisible disease Britons have been urged by our prime minister Boris Johnson to stay at home when possible. Brake has warned drivers that if you do need to leave your house for essential work or food shopping then you should plan your route and try to avoid the rural roads if possible.

Casualty statistics 2018 – Rural roads

The annual report from Brake in 2018 for road deaths showed that 58% of these deaths occurred on rural roads compared to urban roads. There was 1030 fatalities on the rural roads, that is an average of 21 people per week. Data from the government reported that you are 3 more times going to be killed or 33% will suffer a serious injury on the rural roads compared to the urban roads.

Road users behaviour

The main cause for crashes on the rural roads is drivers driving too fast. Almost 7 out of 10 drivers drive over the speed limit on rural roads, they think this is acceptable. Driving too fast or above the speed limit is more than likely going to cause head on collisions, collisions at junctions or vehicles veering off the road.

The department for transport reported in 2018 that there was over 10% of vehicles that exceeded the 60 mph national speed limit on the single carriageway. The stopping distance for 60 mph is 240 feet (73m) that equates to 5 bus lengths. These road users were labelled irresponsible and dangerous from Brake the road safety charity.

Safety tips for leaving your house if essential

If you need to leave your house and drive on the rural roads then here are some clues and tips you should be looking out for.
Look out for sign posts, most common will be signs for sharp bends, T junctions, crossroads and speed limits.
Flashing headlights from oncoming vehicles on the bends at night, animals potentially running out, cars emerging from crossroads or T junctions, checking mirrors for any motorbikes that may want to overtake, looking ahead for tractors or cyclists.

Try to stay at home and keep safe

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake had this to say “We must all come together in this national crisis and keep everyone safe. Unless absolutely essential, then we would urge everyone to avoid and stop driving on the perilous rural roads. This is only going to put your self at risk of being killed or seriously injured on the road, this will will not help the NHS what so ever and put an added burden to them. Our advice to everyone is stay at home, keep you and your family safe. If essential and you must leave your home then make sure you stay within the speed limit and keep an eye at all times for unexpected hazards at all times.”

10 Quick Tips About Driving Lessons

Book the right lesson times.

Try to book your lessons at a time when you know you will feel at your most alert and awake. This means you will be at your most receptive to learning. If you’re an early-bird, book a morning lesson. If you’re not a morning person, then try to book a lesson for later in the day. Try to book your test for a time that suits you in this way too.  

Find the right instructor.

It’s important to have an instructor that you can work with. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them and the right instructor greatly increases your chances of passing your driving test. If you don’t find an instructor suits you, don’t be afraid to switch to another until you find one that you do get along with and will adapt your style of learning to help you. 

Start preparing for your theory test early.

It might seem early, but as soon as you book lessons, start studying for your theory test. There’s a lot to learn, and the knowledge will also help you to understand your practical driving more too and make safer decisions. You can take mock tests online to help you prepare effectively and to feel much more confident when you’re driving for real. It’s never too early to start preparing for your theory test. 

Check a map of the test area.

You won’t be able to find any maps of exact routes, but you can predict the roads you’re likely to be asked to drive on. Your instructor will take you out in the likely test area, and you can safely bet you will be asked to navigate challenges like roundabouts, junctions, and crossroads. Look for these features on a map to see where you might be asked to drive during your test. 

Check your medication.

If you take any medications, such as antihistamines for hayfever, double-check the potential side effects. Some medications can cause drowsiness, which is obviously not safe for driving. Check the advice on the package about driving, or ask your doctor for advice if you aren’t sure if you will be safe. They may be able to suggest an alternative medication option that is safe to take before you drive. 

Be realistic with your learning goals.

Learning to drive takes time and dedication. You aren’t going to pick it up all in one go. Try to break your learning time up into smaller, bite-size chunks. Focus on learning new skills in every lesson, instead of trying to learn everything all at once. You’ll build your driving knowledge in a safe and solid way that will help you in the rest of your driving life. 

Learn for life, not the test.

New drivers tend to only focus on their driving test and not worry about driving after the test. Driving lessons are not just to learn to pass your test, they are meant to teach you to drive safely for the rest of your life. Concentrate on learning to drive in a way that will be safe forever, and the skills to pass your test will come naturally along with that. 

Wear the right clothes.

It’s important to be comfortable while driving, especially as lessons can be stressful. Wear clothing that isn’t too restrictive and allow for easy movement. Don’t wear anything hot or heavy. Footwear makes a lot of difference too. Avoid high heels, thick soles, or heavy footwear. Choose flat, thin-soled shoes so you can feel the car respond to what you’re doing. The right shoes really help with better, safer driving. 

Try to stay calm.

Nerves are a common cause of bad driving lessons and failed driving tests. Try to stay as calm as you can when you drive. To stay calm, make sure you get enough sleep the night before driving, stay properly hydrated, and try to practice calming methods like deep breathing exercises. Staying calm means you will be better able to concentrate and make much safer driving decisions, with fewer silly mistakes.  

Stay positive.

People learn more effectively when they are happy. Try to stay positive about your driving experience, as this can really help you to learn more effectively. Make changes to your patterns of thinking so you can focus on positive things rather than negative ones. Focus on the parts of driving that you love, whether that’s the freedom of driving or the satisfaction of mastering a new skill. Don’t get hung up on mistakes. Even experienced drivers make mistakes, and the point of your lessons is to learn how to safely respond to them. 

How To Overtake Safely

How To Overtake Safely

One of the most overwhelming pieces of the learning to drive puzzle is learning how to overtake safely in your driving lessons.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, when your driving instructor asks you to pass a slower-moving vehicle, it’s a nerve-wracking time! The slower driver in front of you could be anything from another learner driver on their driving lessons, to a heavy lorry that’s taking its time going uphill due to the weight of the vehicle.

When someone is chugging along ahead of you, your driving instructor will give you the guidance you need to pull out and pass the car ahead.

via GIPHY

The problem? Well, most drivers aren’t great at overtaking safely. There’s not enough thought put into overtaking the slower vehicles on the road. Many of them out there have either forgotten what they learned during their driving lessons, or they are careless – both are dangerous situations! So, how should you overtake?

And how do you overtake safely? There are specific processes you should follow if you want to make sure that you are safe on the road. Let’s take a look:

  • Do You Need To Overtake The Car?

Before you overtake on the road – whether you are in your driving lessons or not – you need to decide whether you really need to overtake the car in the first place.

If you have somewhere to be and the road is safe to overtake, proceed with caution. If you don’t need to leave the road any time soon, stay behind the car and continue safely.

  • Plan Ahead

You’ll learn during your driving lessons to plan ahead when you overtake. The best overtaking maneuvers are those that have enough space for you to go faster, cross the lane and pass the car, then cross back and return to average speed.

It would help if you had a good stretch of road ahead to get it right. Without clear space and adequate road conditions, you could end up in a dangerous place – not ideal! Avoid overtaking on a hill where possible, and look ahead of the car in front of you before you start moving.

It would help if you made sure that there is enough room for you to go in front of the car ahead. Unless the conditions are 100% ideal, do not attempt to overtake – and definitely do not overtake more than one car at a tie.

  • Get Ready

When you decide the time is right to overtake, drop back to allow space to speed up. Then, watch your rearview mirrors to ensure that cars behind you can see you dropping back. Indicate (mirror, signal, maneuver, remember?) that you are about to overtake and don’t leave until you’ve done these things.

  • The Move

Now that you’ve checked that the road is safe and you’ve pulled back from the car in front, turning on your indicator, it’s time to go. Keep an eye on the road as you move, and if you spot a car in front or someone behind trying to overtake you, bail out and get back to the right side of the road.

The key is safety, which means that you need to be decisive. The less time you spend on the opposite side of the road, the safer you will be. Build your speed and steer smoothly to the other side of the road. You want to be faster than the car ahead.

  • Don’t Slow Down Yet!

After you have overtaken the slower car in front, keep accelerating until you have more space and can safely move in front.

  • Moving Back To The Right Lane

You should wait to pull back into the correct lane until you can see the whole of the car behind you in the rearview mirror. There’s no use being just one car length ahead – if you have to hit the brakes for whatever reason, you’ll be the culprit of a pile-up.

Give yourself and the other car plenty of space and don’t take your foot off the accelerator until you are back in the right lane. It’s then that you can ease back to the correct speed.

It Pays To Be Polite

As important as it is for the driving instructors to teach you how to overtake, you also need to know how to be passed by cars behind you. You should always remain vigilant that a vehicle behind will want to pull in front of you.

Being a consistent driver on the road will help the cars behind to assess whether they can pull in front of you, so if you see someone getting ready to overtake, maintain your speed and help them with the maneuver.

Going too fast to keep them behind you could make things dangerous, and going too slow will interrupt them if they need to bail out!

 

It’s essential to remain as safe as possible on the road – for your own driving as well as everyone else.

 

Should Learner Driver Be Taught ‘How To Avoid Potholes’ In Their Driving Test?

How To Avoid Potholes

When it comes to taking driving lessons, participants are taught how to spot the dangers on the road. They are taught how to look for the things that could become a distraction and assess them quickly.

Driving instructors make a point of teaching their students how to pass their hazard perception tests, so it makes sense that the question has arisen as to whether learners should be taught how to avoid potholes during their driving tests. 

What Is A Pothole?

A pothole is a deep crack in the surface of the road where the movement of vehicles has broken the surface over time. Potholes are dangerous for drivers to sail over because if the car bumps too hard over one, it can cause the vehicle to spin off and cause an accident. Poor road surfaces have been suggested to be included in the hazard perception test due to this damage. 

Some drivers have no idea how to handle the car or themselves when they encounter a pothole. Learning how to avoid potholes in the first place may be one of the best driving lessons that driving instructors could give their students before their driving test.

Considering that one in five roads across England and Wales are in poor condition, knowing how to avoid them keeps learner drivers more vigilant about what’s ahead of them on the road.

What To Do If You Spot A Pothole

When you are being taken on one of your driving lessons by your driving instructor, you need to learn how to be careful of potholes. If you spot one, you must slow down if it’s necessary and watch the rearview mirror. Stay within your lane if you see a pothole in the street and avoid swerving away from the pothole if it’s going to cause big swerves.

Did you know that a survey that researched driving instructors found that they have broken down during lessons due to potholes and the damage caused by them?

It makes sense that introducing learners to potholes, the dangers, and how to avoid them is on the list of things to learn in driving lessons.

via GIPHY

What Damage Can Potholes Cause?

The damage that potholes cause often affect wheels and suspension the most. The way the car dips dramatically at speed has an impact on the insurance, the confidence of the driver, and it affects how much money you have to spend on the car afterwards.

Lessons have been abandoned in the past because of breakdowns as a result of potholes, and this has an impact on both the confidence of the learner and the livelihood of the driver. Potholes are a severe issue for cars, and if drivers are supposed to pass tests based on real-world situations, then potholes should make an appearance.

It’s the most common hazard that is encountered during driving lessons, so much so, drivers country-wide are urged to photograph any potholes that become a problem. There are some common issues that potholes can cause, and these include:

  • Flat Tyres. Tyres can burst on impact with a pothole as the sidewall of the tyre is the weakest part. When this is hit, the tyre pops and can cause the car to skid from the road. 
  • Suspension. We mentioned suspension damage already, and the impact on the tyre above can cause the suspension to reach its maximum travel, which makes it bottom out. There is also the chance that you may bend the components of the car.
  • Tyre Dent Damage. Wheel damage is yet another way that potholes can wreck a car. The wheels can bend and crack, causing issues during the drive. 
  • Steering Wheel Alignment. A pothole can shift the alignment of the wheels. When this happens, the steering is also affected, and the tyres end up with increased wear.
  • Swerve. A learner driver who tries to avoid a pothole at the last minute by swerving can cause untold damage by swerving into other road users. 

What Do Driving Instructors Think?

Driving instructors are taught to teach others how to be safe while on the road. Not just for themselves, but for other road users and pedestrians, too.

The government is keeping tests under review, intending to improve the conditions of the road to avoid potholes in the first place. The other issue out there is that there are some driving schools that don’t believe that learning about potholes as a hazard is a good idea.

They argue that yes, potholes cause damage to vehicles, and yes, they are a hazard on the road. However, a hazard perception test cannot simulate real-life situations.

There’s a certain level of common sense required on the road, and some driving schools believe that this isn’t something that can be taught.

It’s a topic that will depend on the driving school as to whether it’s essential, but as potholes are such a hot topic across the board, it’s probably a good idea for the rules to change. Driving instructors should – of course – be teaching their students about potholes and their dangers, while they are taking them out for lessons. Teaching learners to observe and respond to hazards in the road safely often includes looking out for potholes.

It’s an important observation to make, and learners who are driving at the correct speed while aware of their surroundings will learn this quickly. When they do, pothole impacts should be minimal, and tests shouldn’t need to be abandoned because of their presence on the road.

The best possible advice that a learner driver can receive before their tests are how to avoid potholes and remain safe. Steering around a pothole is fine, as long as other road users and pedestrians are not at risk. Ideally, the government is going to fix the roads and the potholes that make them unsafe.

Until then, drivers must learn how to react and anticipate potholes while they are in their driving lessons. This way, they are safer individuals on the road for everyone.

 

10 Awkward Driving Lesson Moments

Awkward Driving Lesson Moments

When you are learning to drive, you are bound to make some mistakes. Everybody does it, and most of the time, it’s fine. But every driving instructor has plenty of stories about serious blunders that some of their students have made.

The dynamic between a driving instructor and a student can be a little strange at first as well because you are in such a confined environment with somebody that you barely know. That means that there is a lot of potential for awkward moments during driving lessons.

These are the 10 most awkward driving lesson moments you will have to deal with.

Small Talk 

It’s always awkward trying to hold a conversation with somebody that you don’t really know that well, but you usually have a quick escape route if you bump into them in the street. But when you are having a driving lesson, you are stuck in the car together with no way out.

After a few lessons, things will get easier once you get to know them a bit but it’s going to be awkward to begin with. Driving instructors are used to this so it’s likely that they’ll have a stock of questions that they ask to move things along a bit. 

Getting The Wrong Name 

This one can happen on either side, but it’s less likely that you’ll forget the driving instructors name because it’s usually written on the side of the car. The instructor, on the other hand, gives a lot of driving lessons each day and it’s likely that some of their students have similar names, which means they might get yours wrong. It’s always a little awkward to correct somebody for the first time, but it’ll be way more awkward if you let it slide and they continue calling you the wrong name for months before eventually seeing your real name on some paperwork. 

Picking Your Nose 

Most of us don’t like to admit it, but when nobody is around, we sometimes like to have a little scratch around in our nose. We’re not like little kids with a finger buried up there, but we’d still rather that nobody else saw us. The problem is, when you are concentrating on the road, you might forget that somebody else is sitting right next to you and decide to have a dig around. 

Forgetting Your Lesson 

Picture the scene, you’re all tucked up in bed enjoying a relaxing Saturday morning and suddenly, the doorbell goes. So, you get up and drag yourself to the door in your pajamas, only to find your driving instructor on the other side. You’re embarrassed because they’ve seen you in your pajamas and they’re frustrated that you’re late. Next time, just set a reminder on your phone. 

Not Knowing Left And Right 

When you’re driving and your instructor starts giving you directions, it’s always a bit awkward if you don’t know left and right. The first few times, they might put it down to nerves, but eventually, you’ll just have to admit it and ask for help. 

Driving Past Your Ex 

Bumping into an ex is always awkward, but it’s so much worse if you drive past them on a driving lesson. They’re watching you, hoping that you’ll stall the car so they can laugh at you. Your driving instructor will probably notice that something is up, which makes it all the more awkward when they ask if you know each other. The best thing to do is just focus on the road and try to ignore them. 

Driving Past Your Friends

Driving past your ex is bad, but driving past your friends can be even worse. They’ll all be trying to distract you and you want to make sure that you look cool in front of them, which is never going to happen. Again, the best thing to do is try to ignore them.  

Repeatedly Stalling

Everybody stalls from time to time, that’s normal. But things get awkward when you’re sitting at a junction with a long line of traffic building up behind you and you keep stalling over and over. Eventually, your driving instructor will have to take over so they can get the flow of traffic moving and you’ll be left feeling embarrassed. 

Needing The Toilet

Rule number one, always go to the toilet before your lesson. It’s always an awkward situation when you have to ask your driving instructor if you can stop the lesson and find somewhere to go to the toilet halfway through. It’s even more awkward if they’re the one that needs to go. 

Failing Your Test 

It always feels awkward when you have to tell your instructor that you have failed your test and you need more driving lessons. But you’ve got to remember that driving instructors have a lot of students, and a lot of them fail, so there’s no need to worry about it really. 

You’re going to experience some of these awkward moments at some point during your driving lessons, so prepare yourself.