How To Tackle Driving In City Traffic

How To Tackle Driving In City Traffic

When you learn to drive, you’re often taken to quiet suburbs, housing estates and country roads to get the hang of things.

But for the millions of us who live in the city — and the many more who work in one — your real-world, independent driving experience is going to be a lot different. You’ll have no one to tell you which lane to be in, no one to bear the brunt of any hostility or road rage and, perhaps most importantly, no one to tell you which way to go.

But though driving in cities can be tricky, it’s not THAT tricky. UK cities are comprehensively designed and optimised for motorists — it won’t be like Mumbai. With a few tips, you’ll be able to handle them no problem.

Tip #1: know your route

First things first, make sure you know where you’re going. Cities can have confusing one-way systems, dead ends and other tricky things that can send you off in completely the wrong direction.

So, think ahead: trace more complicated bits on your sat-nav, or on Google Street view if necessary. You may also consider doing a trial run of a given route if you have time — it all helps to limit surprises and make you feel calmer and better prepared.

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Tip #2: be cautious

City roads can be busy and narrow, both with parked vehicles and traffic. So when you’re coming out of a junction or turning a corner with a restricted view, make sure you edge, peep and creep slowly until you can see properly.

Likewise, some roads may be busy with pedestrians, or even semi-pedestrianised. Go slowly, even if you think said pedestrians should mind out of your way. It’s also very useful to know the width of your car and don’t be overambitious with tight squeezes.

Tip #3: but be confident!

While it’s important to be cautious, be sure to keep up with the flow of traffic. Not doing so can cause confusion, congestion and many other more dangerous problems. So drive, tackle roundabouts and change lanes with confidence — other cars will let you do so, just as they would elsewhere.

Tip #4: avoid traffic

Finally, it’s better to simply avoid stressful situations where possible, instead of tackling them. So don’t drive in cities when it isn’t necessary, and try to steer clear of rush hour when you do.

ADS driving school ensure that you get the training to tackle any motoring scenario — rural or urban. Get in touch today.

Using A Sat Nav During Your Test

Using A Sat Nav During Your Test

Back on 4th December 2017, the UK standard practical driving test changed its terms, with one of the biggest changes being a section that includes following the instructions of a satellite navigation system.

From this date forward, all drivers are expected to complete a section of independent driving where they follow directions and instructions from a satellite navigation unit, commonly known as a sat nav.

The specific sat nav used throughout driving tests is the TomTom Start 52. This model has a large 5” screen, meaning that learners can easily see the map without having to focus too long on the screen, and it has a loud, clear voice, meaning that directions can easily be heard.

What you must remember

Regardless of what point in your test your examiner asks you to use the sat nav, there are a few rules you must stick to.

  1. Pull over first
    If you have to enter a destination or use the touchscreen on the device, pull over safely to do this. Everything you do on your test has to be legal and safe; your examiner is unlikely to feel safe if you have your hands off the wheel and are typing in an address while still attempting to drive!
  2. Don’t focus on the screen

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    Look at the screen when it is safe to do so. Sat navs are not televisions, and you should only glance at the screen briefly when your attention does not need to be elsewhere. Once you have looked at the screen and understood the instruction, immediately look back at the road conditions to check that nothing has changed. Remember that sat navs give directions audibly too, so you can listen to the instructions and follow the guidance without even needing to look at the screen.

  3. Sat navs are just an aid
    While sat navs can be extremely helpful, it is important to remember that they are not always accurate, and in no way should be followed over and above the conditions in front of you. Always be aware of the changing road conditions, and use your normal judgement to navigate the roads safely.You won’t be penalised for taking a wrong turn, and if you are unsure at any point in the test, ask the examiner for confirmation. They are there to help you as well as examine your driving skills.

 

 

Not everyone passes first time, and there is no shame in failing and retaking your test. However, one of the best ways to pass is to prepare and practice, so ensure that you feel 100% confident on everything that will be in the test before sitting it.

 

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East Ham Has Some Amazing Roads To Practice Driving On

East Ham Has Some Amazing Roads To Practice Driving On

Learning To Drive In East Ham

Outside of the hustle and bustle of central London, East Ham is a true East End gem, replete with multicultural cafes and quintessentially Cockney market traders.

Yet even though it boasts some of the most convenient rail links in the area, its bucolic greenery and location just outside of the frenzied centre of the city make it an ideal place to learn to drive a car.

Cruise around Central Park, tour some of its many green spaces or take in the views of the local nature reserve from the comfort of your car.

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Learning to drive in a quieter area in the shadow of the city of London has many benefits.

While there will still be a wide array of traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and general motoring vagaries to negotiate, the neighbourhood feel of the area makes it less daunting than driving in the city centre.

With slightly fewer distractions to contend with, you are free to concentrate on the task at hand: learning to drive a car in a decidedly less frenetic area, yet with enough happening so that you feel you are still being challenged with real-life scenarios.

If you are local to the area and agree that it is an attractive area to begin driving lessons – and have done your research and chosen a driving instructor that you feel comfortable with – here are some quick general tips that can aid a learner driver on their personal road to motoring independence.

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Firstly, remember what you can’t see: it’s vital that you check your blind spot over your right/left shoulder when moving off, to ensure ultimate safety for yourself and other road users.

Secondly, when approaching any type of hazard in the road, there is a sequence of checks to remember to complete: mirror (look to see how your movements will affect those behind you), signal (let others know what you intend to do), and manoeuvre (complete the necessary action, if you determine it is safe to do so).

Finally, there is an aspect of driving that is critical when getting behind the wheel, and this will assist a new driver to become acquainted with the road: anticipation (e.g. learning to ‘read’ the road).

Look well-ahead and gather as much information as possible so that you can react accordingly. This will also help you to feel in control, and consequently relax (and perhaps enjoy the scenery!) during what can be a rather nerve-racking experience.

How To Master Roundabouts In Brentwood

How To Master Roundabouts In Brentwood

Plenty of learners find it difficult to get their head around roundabouts – not just in Brentwood but all over the country.

Just seeing a roundabout sign can induce fear and panic in most drivers, but roundabouts aren’t half as scary as you think if you get your road positioning and signalling right.

Get the basics right

There are around 10,000 roundabouts in the UK and they come in all shapes and sizes. You only need to master a basic four exit roundabout as you can then apply the skills you learn to other more complicated road layouts.

As you approach, look for road signs and road markings that will direct you into the right lane. Check your mirrors and signal in plenty of time if you need to switch to another lane.

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Tackling roundabouts is all about being in the right position, driving at the right speed and keeping an eye out for other road users on the passenger side, particularly motorbikes and cyclists.

Turning left (first exit)

  • Position yourself in the left-hand lane
  • Signal to turn left
  • Move on to the roundabout when the road is clear and keep signalling left
  • Use the passenger door mirror (nearside) to check that it’s safe to exit the roundabout

 

Going straight ahead (second exit)

  • Approach in the lane indicated by road signs or markings – if in doubt, stick to the left-hand lane
  • Only signal left once you’ve passed the exit before the one you want
  • Use your nearside mirror to make sure the exit is clear and you’re safe to leave the roundabout

 

Turning right (third or final exit)

  • Position yourself in the right-hand lane
  • Keep signalling right as you move around the roundabout
  • Signal left when you pass the exit before the one that you want to take
  • Use your nearside mirror to check for other road users and then exit the roundabout

 

Any other tips?

Don’t panic! Just remember MSPSL: Mirror – Signal – Position – Speed – Look and check that the car in front is actually moving before you pull away. Larger and more complex roundabouts can seem intimidating, but they all follow the basic pattern for signalling and lane positioning, so start with smaller roundabouts and work your way up.

Mastering roundabouts in Brentwood is all about practice, so book in for a lesson and ask your driving instructor to take you round the Brook Street roundabout until you’re 100% confident with your roundabout driving and ready for your test!

Roads To Practise On In Dagenham

Roads To Practise On In Dagenham

If you’re learning to drive in Dagenham, then it’s important you find some roads that are good to practise on.

Driving is a great skill that’s necessary for many jobs as well as your own independence.

Find a great Dagenham driving instructor and get confident by practising on some of these roads.

Try driving at quieter times, such as after the school run and rush hour, and before people finish work. Driving around 10am-2:30pm should be quieter for you as you can avoid people on their commute.

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If you’re just starting to get some driving practice in Dagenham, then these quieter areas will be perfect. The intersection between Stamford Road and Langley Crescent is a good place to start practising your basic driving skills on a quiet road.

Make sure you’ve got your L plates on and that you are confident with the person who is taking you driving.

Getting confident on roundabouts is another important aspect of learning to drive.

Roundabouts nearby include Winston Way, Beccles Drive and Green Lane, and these have all been included in driving tests in this area so it’s worth getting some practice on them.

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Make sure you follow the correct protocol, keeping an eye on other cars and knowing when to give way. Valence Circus is a tricky section of driving that you can practise until you are confident. Pay attention to traffic, people pulling out and pedestrians too.

Like many built-up areas in the UK, there are lots of car parks which are great for practising driving manoeuvres and parking, which is a big part of your test.

The best times to practise here are hours when supermarkets or offices are closed, like Sunday afternoons.

Some good options for practising driving in Dagenham are the ASDA car park and Heathway Shopping Centre car park. If you are feeling more confident as a driver, then try at a busier time, paying attention to signalling, other drivers on the road and the rules and limits that apply.

Estates like Becontree are perfect for practising turning and following directions so make sure you know the area well. In residential areas it’s essential that you keep an eye out for parked cars, children playing and cars pulling out.

Depending on your confidence in your driving ability, any of these roads are great for getting to grips with driving and honing your skills.

Our professional driving lessons are also great for learning new routes you can follow and getting expert advice.

What’s Covered In The New Driving Test

Whats Covered In The New Driving Test

How many of you experienced drivers believe they would pass their driving test first time if they took it now? Although the basic skills of driving a car haven’t changed – possibly just your bad habits – the whole driving test process is different to what it was 15 or 20 years ago.

The new driving test that was introduced at the end of 2017 is designed to reflect the modern age, with an increased amount of time focused on learners driving without guidance. Drivers are now required to follow directions from a sat nav or risk failing their test.

The new driving test also takes learners on busier roads, as opposed to quiet roads.

What does the new driving test involve?

Driving Test

Independent driving is a huge focus of the new test. This is where an examiner will give a destination, but will not provide further directions.

This is intended to replicate a real driving experience. Learners are required to undertake independent driving for 20 minutes during the test.

The increase to 20 minutes of independent driving, rather than 10 minutes in the old test has been introduced to give examiners more time to check for bad habits and faults.

While drivers are undertaking the independent driving part of the test, most learner drivers will be required to follow a route on a sat nav, which is provided.

The examiner will set the route and it doesn’t matter if a wrong turn is taken. One important consideration to note is that not every driving test will make use of a sat nav, and candidates will be expected to follow road signs instead.

With the introduction of the new driving test, the DVSA dropped the reverse around a corner and turn in the road manoeuvres.

Drivers are now required to perform one parking manoeuvre from a possible list of three. These are parallel parking at the side of the road, driving in and reversing out of a bay and pulling up on the right-hand side, reversing for two car lengths before joining the traffic again.

Tell me and show me

Before the driving test begins, examiners will ask a ‘tell me’ question. It’s expected that learners are able to tell examiners how to carry out a safety task on the vehicle. As well as this, during the driving test, examiners will also ask a ‘show me’ question.

Tell me and show me

This requires learners to show the examiner how a specific task should be carried out while they’re driving.

The new driving test is aimed at ensuring the safety of new drivers on the road and has been developed to replicate the world we now live in, making use of technology, as is the case in everyday life for drivers.

The new driving test has built on the content that was previously required.

6 Tips On Mastering A Roundabout

Roundabouts

If you’re learning to drive – or even if you’ve already passed – roundabouts can be very intimidating.

But like motorways, parking or taking your first lesson out on the road, roundabouts quite simply aren’t as bad as they appear.

What’s more, they get easier and easier the more you use them.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to make the process easier.

Tip 1 – Choose your exit, and your lane

The first thing you want to think about is which exit you’ll be taking.

You should know this in advance of entering the roundabout, and your sat nav will also tell you. Stay to the left-hand lanes, or the left of the road, for the first 50% of exits, and be on the right-hand side for the following ones.

For a three-lane roundabout, only the first exit requires you to be on the left-hand side.

Tip 2 – Watch your gears and speed

An appropriate speed is absolutely essential to tackle a roundabout. If you go to fast, you’ll make hasty decisions and potentially endanger other road users. Too slow and you’ll hold things up, which is also very dangerous in itself.

Second gear is absolutely fine for your average roundabout, and you can go up to third for faster ones on A-roads and dual carriageways. Sticking to these gears is a good way to ensure you keep the right speed.

Tip 3 – Remember to give way!

You’ve probably heard a bit about this one already. Put simply, by ‘giving way to the right’, we mean to allow traffic coming from the right-hand side to have priority. Once there’s no more traffic coming from the right, then you can enter the roundabout.

Tip 4 – Indicating

Indicating

Indicating at the right time is very important – doing it incorrectly is confusing for other drivers. Indicate for your lane as soon as you pass the exit point of the preceding lane. So if you’re coming off on the second exit, begin indicating as you pass the halfway point of the first exit.

Tip 5 – Be assertive

It’s important to be assertive, yet careful, when you’re exiting the roundabout. After you’ve checked your mirrors and indicated, begin to move into the next lane if appropriate, and ensure that you’re in the right position to leave the roundabout.

Tip 6 – Get away!

After you’ve exited the roundabout, it’s important to get away from it quickly so as to keep the traffic flow moving. Go up a gear and accelerate away.

Motorists Could Be Punished If They Are Caught Driving Too Slowly

Driving Too Slowly

It’s a well-known fact that drivers can be punished for driving over the speed limit, but you may not be aware that driving slowly can be equally as dangerous.

In comparison to the UK, many other countries around the world make sure that all road users are aware of a minimum speed limit, due to the fact that slow drivers can often be just as responsible for causing severe accidents.

Minimum speed limit signs are rare in the UK, but are often in place to make sure that road users are driving at a swift speed to keep the traffic moving.

Minimum speed limit signs

These signs are most often placed in tunnels, where emergency service vehicles can struggle to get through stationary traffic.

What do minimum speed limit signs look like?

Minimum speed limit signs are circular in shape and blue in colour with the minimum speed limit displayed boldly in the middle.

Is there a motorway minimum speed limit?

 

There isn’t a minimum speed limit for motorways, however, if you are spotted by police for driving too slowly, there is the risk of you getting pulled over. In most cases, a verbal warning is all that it will amount to, but in other cases, you could face nine points on your licence and a fine of up to £5,000 dependant on a decision made by the court.

Penalty points will stay on your licence for four years, which may then have a huge impact on the cost of your car insurance – a real problem for new drivers who already face extremely high insurance bills.

Between 50mph and 70mph would be the recommended minimum speed limit for motorway driving. Any slower and you could become a real hazard for other road users.

Why is driving slowly a danger?

In most cases, driving too slowly can be a threat to other drivers, due to your vehicle becoming an obstacle among the flowing traffic. The constant breaking may cause other drivers to overtake and undertake dangerously out of frustration.

You may be wondering how you should be driving if you shouldn’t be driving too slowly or over the limit. Quite simply, providing that there are no serious weather conditions to take into consideration, you should aim to stick to the speed limit of each road to be on the safe side.

If you would like to read similar blog posts, please take a browse on our website for further tips and advice.

New Mobile Phone Laws – Are You Aware?

New Mobile Phone Laws – Are You Aware

Back in March 2017, new driving laws were introduced regarding the use of mobile phones while driving.

As a new driver, it is important that you are aware of these new laws before you get behind the wheel.

Not only because questions about them are set to appear in the theory exam, but also because knowing about the laws will prevent you from getting points on your licence and a possible ban from driving.

How do the new laws affect drivers?

While it has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving since 2003, the punishment for doing so was doubled in March 2017.

Drivers now face a minimum of six penalty points on their licence, plus a £200 fine. If this is not their first driving offence, drivers could also face disqualification.

If a driver racks up more than six points in their first two years of driving, their licence will be revoked. This was reduced from 12 points prior to March 2017. If a licence is revoked, drivers will have to re-sit both their practical and theory tests before being allowed back on the road.

Can I still use a hands-free device?

Yes, but you are forbidden from touching, moving or picking up your mobile device at all times while you are in charge of a vehicle.

The police can and will pull you over if they suspect you have been distracted by your mobile phone and will issue you with an on the spot fine if that proves to be the case.

What if I use my phone as a sat nav?

Yes, but the same rules apply: drivers must not be distracted by the device and must not touch, move or pick up the device while behind the wheel. That means you must program destination details before you set off.

Also, the new laws were enacted in part because drivers were found to be distracted by following directions on mobile devices. So they specifically state that it is illegal to hold a mobile phone to follow directions. Therefore your phone must be placed in a hands-free holder at all times.

Can I use my phone in an emergency?

Yes, drivers are free to use a handheld phone to dial 999 or 112, but only if it is unsafe or unpractical to pull over. This would include occasions such as a motorway without a hard shoulder or contraflow system.

Can I still pull over to use my phone?

Yes, but you must ensure that you pull over in a safe place and that you are not illegally parked. Drivers must also ensure the engine is switched OFF before picking up or touching their mobile phone. Failure to do so will result in penalty points and fines being applied, regardless of if the car is moving or not.

These new laws are designed to keep all road users safe, the number of accidents caused by drivers being distracted using mobile phones has been steadily increasing. It is hoped that more stringent penalties for offenders will help reduce the risks and make the roads safer for everyone.

5 Common Car Insurance Claims And How To Avoid Making Them

5 Common Car Insurance Claims And How To Avoid Making Them 1

Wasim Bux is product manager at the car insurance provider iGO4. Here, he talks us through some of the most common car insurance claims, and how you can avoid having to make them.

As a new driver, it’s important that you know what the most common car insurance claims are, and what you can do to avoid having to make them. This will ensure that, every time you hit the road, you’re aware of the most prevalent dangers, and know how to keep you and your passengers safe, as well as preventing your car from getting damaged.

Here, I’ll talk you through five of the most common claims drivers make and explain how you can avoid making them. Read on to learn more.

Rear-end collisions

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of accidents on the road, but they’re also one of the easiest to avoid. Although weather and road conditions are sometimes to blame, most rear-end accidents are caused by drivers following the vehicle in front of them too closely, or not paying enough attention to the road.

To avoid falling victim to a rear-end collision, you should ensure that your brake lights are always working perfectly, so drivers behind you are aware of when you’re slowing down or stopping. You should also pay careful attention to your rear-view mirrors, so you always know what’s happening around you, and keep an eye out for careless or aggressive drivers. If you do feel threatened by someone in another vehicle, it’s best to move away from them as soon as you safely can.

To avoid crashing into the back of another car when you’re on the road, leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. A good gauge is the 2 second rule, which involves choosing a marker — maybe a bridge or a sign — and checking that there is two seconds between the car in front of you and your vehicle passing your chosen point. When the roads are wet, it’s best to double this to four seconds.

Windshield damage

It’s easy to think that windshield damage is unavoidable — you can’t force stones to stay planted on the road, after all. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent some of the most common situations where windscreen damage occurs.

Most windshield damage is caused by rocks and grit falling from the back of large trucks so, if possible, it’s best to keep your distance from vehicles that are likely to cause you problems. When you’re travelling on roads that feel particularly uneven, or that have recently been gritted, then it’s wise to reduce your speed. This will help to prevent your tyres from throwing up debris that could damage your windscreen.

Parked vehicle collisions

Parked cars are quite frequently damaged by other drivers and, while you can’t always prevent your vehicle from being hit while it’s unsupervised, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of falling victim to a hit and run.

For example, sometimes it’s better to park further away from a shopping centre, supermarket, or entertainment venue. While this will mean you need to do a bit more walking, it will help you to avoid what are likely to be the high traffic areas and, in turn, this should reduce the risk of your car being scratched or dented by another vehicle.

This might seem obvious, but it’s vital that you always park inside the white lines of a parking space. You should also try to leave plenty of room either side. Additionally, if you’re driving into a space near cars that are already parked, you should leave them plenty of room, so the driver and potential passengers can easily open their doors without hitting your vehicle.

Single car crashes

If your car crashes into anything other than another vehicle, this will be considered a single-vehicle collision, and it’s one of the most common reasons people claim on their insurance. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to avoid being involved in this kind of accident.

You should always adapt your driving style to the weather, even if your car is the only one on the road. So, if the conditions are less than ideal, keep your speed down so it’s easier to keep control of your vehicle. Additionally, having an empty road in front of you doesn’t mean you can pay any less attention to what’s happening ahead. So, you need to remain vigilant at all times — don’t be tempted to look down at your phone or change the CD that’s playing.

Vandalism

Depending on where you live, car vandalism might be an issue you need to consider. The best way to prevent vandals from causing damage to your car is to lock it away in your garage when it isn’t being used. But, if this isn’t an option, there are still some things you can do to prevent it catching the attention of people looking to cause trouble. For example, it’s best to park in a well-lit area, rather than an enclosed alley way. You should never leave valuables — or any items that could catch a thief’s eye — on display in your car. And, of course, you should always lock your car when you’re leaving it unsupervised, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.

To stay safe and help prevent damage from being caused to your vehicle, take these tips on board. You’ll reduce the chance of you having to make an insurance claim, which will help to save you money in the long run.