5 Tips For Passing Your Test In Brentwood

Tips For Passing Your Test In Brentwood

Driving can seem like a daunting task when you are inexperienced. You are bombarded with information about blind spots, emergency stops and parallel parking, and you begin to wonder how anyone can drive comfortably. But driving is not as daunting as it first seems and is actually an exciting and rewarding experience.

Below are five driving tips that can help you to pass your test and tackle the country roads in Brentwood:

1. Practice makes perfect

Practice does not have to end when the lesson is over; instead, practice driving on the roads with a friend or relative who is allowed to supervise you when you’re driving.

Warley Hill has a small roundabout, perfect for practising your turns without fear or intimidation.

If you are not comfortable practising on the road, try an empty car park, where you can perfect that tricky three-point turn and impress your instructor during your next lesson.

2. Take your theory test as soon as possible

Think of your theory test as the backbone of your driving lessons. It will teach you many things, including the Highway Code and the meaning of traffic signs.

This is something that can get confusing, especially on Brentwood’s country roads, where the signs might be more obscure. Getting this done as soon as possible will make lessons much easier and also give you more confidence on the road.

3. Move at your own pace

Do not feel pressured to take your test too soon. If you do not feel comfortable in your skill level, there is nothing wrong with taking a few more lessons to run over anything you are unsure of; after all, confidence is key when you are learning to drive.

4. Ask questions

It is important to remember that you are still learning.

Your driving instructor in Brentwood will expect you to make mistakes and ask questions when you are unsure. Make the most out of your lesson and ask anything, no matter how trivial it may seem to you; the instructor has probably been asked the same thing by students in the past.

5. Try to enjoy the lesson

Perhaps the most important tip of all is to enjoy driving in Brentwood; it is a small town with a variety of driving routes to practice on in order to become a skilled and safe driver. It won’t be long until you can get rid of those ‘L’ plates, so enjoy the journey.

If you’re looking for more tips on driving in Brentwood or want to find a reliable, friendly driving instructor in the area, get in touch with Alfie’s Driving School today.

Why Is The Hazard Perception Test Important?

Hazard Perception Test Important

Anyone who has set their sights on earning their driving licence will first have to pass a theory test.

This exam – which must be passed before a learner can attempt their practical test – consists of two parts. The first section features 50 multiple choice questions on topics such as road signs and speed limits. The second – perhaps more dreaded section – is the hazard perception.

While this half of the theory test can be difficult to pass, it’s certainly important when it comes to preparing learner drivers for life behind the wheel.

Here are a few of the reasons why the hazard perception test is so valuable in assessing prospective road users’ ability to drive safely.

It tests awareness of hazards

It takes more than mastering the clutch and knowing when to indicate to become a safe road user. Instead – whether you’re driving through a rural village or a built-up city – there’s always an element of needing to detect hazards.

The hazard perception clearly outlines what these can be using visual aids of bikes, cars and pedestrians. These threats are exactly the type of thing that people will encounter when they achieve their driving licence.

It tests reactions

Those sitting the hazard perception test are required to watch 14 clips where there is at least one developing hazard.

To pass, learners need to be able to identify these hazards – and quickly! The section of the exam isn’t just about seeing if individuals can detect when there could be a possible issue, but also how fast they can spot it happening.

Again, this helps heighten people’s awareness before they’re put in a situation where an accident could occur while driving.

It can’t be blagged

The multiple choice section of the theory test is often deemed easy to ‘blag’.

This means that people can achieve the pass mark of 43 out of 50 just by using educated guesses or relying on sheer luck. Unfortunately, this can mean that people are one step closer to being qualified road users without a firm understanding of how to be a safe driver.

On the other hand, the hazard perception element is harder to guess and ensures that drivers must have a decent knowledge of emerging hazards before they can pass. In turn, this reduces the risk of accidents for everyone who holds their licence.

Good luck!

The first step to passing the hazard perception test is realising that it serves an important purpose in preparing people for life on the road. Once you’ve passed it and you’re clued up about potential hazards, you can start looking towards sitting your practical driving test and earning your licence.

4 Tips For Driving In Essex

4 Tips For Driving In Essex

Whether you’re learning to drive in Essex or have just passed your test in this fantastic county, read on for four top tips for driving in Essex:

London drivers

One important thing to remember in Essex is that the driving style of other drivers can differ hugely, depending on where you are.

Where Essex borders London in the towns of Loughton, Brentwood and Grays, you’ll find that folk drive in ways that are typical of ‘London drivers’. This means that other drivers may be less patient, snappier, more likely to cut you up.

Driving close to London takes a bit of experience, but remember all drivers must stick to the rules of the road wherever they are.

Driving within the London/Essex borders just takes a little confidence if you haven’t done it before.

Rural driving

On the other extreme, driving through the sleepy Suffolk/Essex borders is a different kettle of fish and if you learnt nearer London you may even find this frustrating.

Remember that drivers here too are simply following the rules of the road and that nothing is so important that you need to take risks or dangerously overtake other cars or tractors in order to get to your destination quicker.

The A12

Arguably Essex’s arterial road, the A12 starts in East London and travels all the way through Essex including around Chelmsford and Colchester and leads to Ipswich in Suffolk and beyond.

New drivers travelling the A12 for the first time should avoid rush hour if possible, when the road becomes heavily congested. You should also take extra care when travelling through the A12 accident hotspots. Familiarise yourself with the country roads that come off the A12 and how they can link up with other roads.

This can really help you out should you end up in heavy traffic and want to leave the A12.

Boy racers

Essex may be famous for ‘boy racers’, a term used to describe mostly young men who buy flashy cars and are thought to race around urban areas late at night.

To be fair, the boy racers of the 80s and 90s have largely disappeared and anyway, those who have spent a lot of money on their car are not going to want it to be damaged, so as intimidating as these kinds of drivers appear – don’t worry, they want to stay safe on the roads too.

Just remember that driving in Essex is essentially like driving anywhere in the country, even though Essex is more heavily populated than much of the UK.

Essentially no-one wants to crash their car or break the law and provided you are respectful of other drivers, on the whole they will be respectful of you.

Driving Lesson Routes In Brentwood, Essex

Driving Lesson Routes In Brentwood

Brentwood is home to lots of quiet residential roads and other routes which are perfect for when you are learning to drive.

In between your driving lessons you might want to practice on any number of these routes.


Quiet Residential Roads And Small Roundabouts

When you first start learning to drive you will want to stick to quiet roads so that you feel more comfortable and can build your confidence.

Warley Hill has some small roundabouts where you can practice your turns and indicating without being intimidated.

Turning onto Pastoral Way you can go straight ahead for some distance, navigating mini roundabouts.

Further down on Pastoral Way you come to Osborne Heights – here you can either head onto Osbourne Heights and practice turns, or turn left to carry on down Pastoral Way.

If you keep going on Vaughan Williams Way you can practice a right turn on the quiet Crescent Road. At the end of Crescent Road, having practiced your right turn, turn back onto Warley Hill.

If you wanted to, you could repeat this route to get used to left and right turns, and going round roundabouts. While you might be tempted not to signal on the little roundabouts, make sure you do. This will get you used to the process for when you move onto larger roundabouts later.

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Four Path Intersection

Going straight over an intersection can feel intimidating at first because of the need to look not just left and right, but also ahead, to make sure oncoming traffic won’t turn into your path.

If you turn onto Primrose Hill from Kings Rd you will come to Crown Street. Turn left and then go left again onto Regency Ct. From here turn around, and return the way you came. You can cross over Crown Street onto South Street, over a relatively easy four path intersection.

Because the other side of Crown Street is access only, traffic is unlikely to be crossing in your path, meaning the junction is likely to be quieter. Of course, you should still stay alert, but this is a good way to practice.

At the end of South Street there is a car park you can turn around in. Once you’ve turned around you can practice going back over the intersection in the other direction.



Add In Your Manoeuvres

As a bonus, you can practice your manoeuvres either end. You’ll be practising turning as part of the above routes, but there are also built in opportunities for you to practice your turns in the road, for example.

On the four path intersection route above you will need to do this to return the way you came. Here you could also practice bay parking in the car park. Depending on the time of day, you might also be able to practice your emergency stop in the car park.

On the first route set out above there are plenty of places where you could practice reverse parking too.

Driving Lesson Routes In Dagenham

Driving Lesson Routes In Dagenham

Dagenham has lots of routes and residential areas, which is great if you’re looking to head out in the car for practice in between your driving lessons. We’ve picked a few routes below to help you get started.

Quiet housing areas and four path intersections

Downing Road and nearby Arnold Road, Rowdowns Road and Coombes Road are all quiet residential roads where you can practice driving and build your confidence. Because of the way the roads connect, you can practice by doing a series of loops, incorporating right and left turns.

The intersection between Arnold Road and Rowdowns Road is a great place to practice navigating a four way intersection, where you’ll need to check the intended route of oncoming traffic, as well as traffic approaching from your right and left.

One thing to bear in mind on this route is the proximity to the Thomas Arnold primary school. Because of this, we’d suggest you only practice on this route outside of school hours, for the safety of the children as well as your own peace of mind.

Once you feel comfortable on this smaller four way intersection, you can drive up Heathway, where you’ll have the chance to practice on larger intersections.

Braving roundabouts and junctions

There aren’t many small roundabouts in Dagenham, so before you move onto large roundabouts we’d suggest you head out of the area to practice on mini-roundabouts, or get comfortable with your instructor. Once you have done so, there is a nice loop for you to practice on larger roundabouts and junctions.

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On Ballards Road, head north with Old Dagenham Park on your left. At the roundabout, take the final exit onto Rainham Road South. This will turn into Dagenham Road. Go straight over the next roundabout and you’ll come to a four way junction. Turn right onto Cherry Tree Lane here, then turn right again when you get to New Road, where you’ll practice driving on a dual carriage way before turning back onto Ballards Road at the McDonalds junction. Repeat as you like!

Add in your manoeuvres

Near to Ballards Road and Old Dagenham Park, there are lots of residential roads where you can practice turns, turning around a corner, U turns and reverse parking. You could add this onto the loop above. Nearby Dagenham Park Leisure Centre has a car park where you can practice bay parking or, after hours, use the space to practice manoeuvres, including emergency stops.

When you’re ready to give driving the go ahead, get in touch with Alfie’s Driving School. Our reliable, friendly instructors can help you gain confidence and succeed while driving.

Driving Lesson Routes In Barking

Driving Lesson Routes In Barking

Learning to drive in Essex can be intimidating, and if you’re based in or near Barking you might be forgiven for thinking that you’d struggle to find places to practice between your driving lessons. To help you out, we’ve picked out a few places that are ideally suited to learner drivers and the types of driving and manoeuvres you’ll need to practice.

Quiet residential roads

Head right off the roundabout that divides St Pauls Road and onto Gascoigne Road. From here, you can explore the network of residential streets, where there are opportunities to practice right and left turns, as well as your manoeuvres. Quiet housing areas are perfect for practicing turns, reverse parking and, on some of the streets, reversing around a corner.

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Master your manoeuvres

After hours, head to any of the superstores near Barking Abbey Grounds and Abbey Road. Here, you can practice bay parking, as well as turning, reverse parking and emergency stops. If you’re only just starting out, ask your supervising driver to drive you here when the car park is empty and just practice controlling the car.

Master roundabouts

Once you’re comfortable driving on the roads and executing turns, its a good idea to practice roundabouts. Head up Abbey Road, with Barking Abbey Grounds on your right. You’ll come to a roundabout where you can practice checking your mirrors, making sure you’re in the correct lane, and indicating. Take the last exit here onto the Northern Relief Road.

At the next roundabout, take the second exit to continue ahead, with Barking Park on your left. At the junction, take a right onto Upney Lane and continue, passing Barking Hospital on your right. At the junction, turn right onto Ripple Road. After you pass Ripple Primary School on your right, you’ll come to a small roundabout. Take the second exit to continue on Ripple Road.

At the next junction, bear left and follow St Pauls Rd round. Keep following it until you get to the large roundabout. Here, go straight over. Now you’re back at the start with Barking Abbey Grounds on your right, and you can repeat the route as many times as you like.

Because you’ll pass a few schools on this route, you should avoid peak times when kids might be going into or coming out of school. This is for their safety, as well as your peace of mind. Avoid rush hours, too, as you will find traffic will make it slower to complete the route, meaning you’ll get less time to practice.

For experienced, trust-worthy driving instructors in the Barking area, get in touch with Alfie’s Driving School today and see how we can help you.

How To Reverse Around A Corner First Time

How To Reverse Around A Corner First Time

As someone that’s learning to drive, there are a number of manoeuvres that can be incredibly difficult to grasp, from clutch control to three-point turns. However, there’s one that’s arguably harder than most: reversing around a corner.

So, we’ve put together some handy tips to ensure you can master the manoeuvre, first time, every time.

1. Make sure you look around you for any potential hazards – remember to look for traffic, road conditions and pedestrians.

2. Always drive past the corner you’re looking to reverse around and pull into the kerb, leaving a gap of about half a metre at a point around two and a half car lengths beyond the junction you’re about to reverse around.

3. Make sure you always look again, check the rear window and your mirrors one last time before you make your manoeuvre.

4. Without using your indicators, put the car into reverse and move the car slowly backwards.

5. Keep an eye on the kerb, looking through your rear window as you continue to reverse. You’ll eventually lose sight of the kerb momentarily, before it reappears in your rear-side window, and when it does, turn your steering wheel to the left. If the corner is sharp, remember to turn the wheel fully to the left. If it’s a wide corner, judge how much to the left you turn the steering wheel by keeping an eye on the bend of the road.

6. Make sure you look again; the front of your car will begin to swing out into the road as you reverse, so you should be constantly checking all around you for any hazards.

7. Once you’re round the corner, straighten your vehicle up – your car should be parallel to the kerb out of your rear window. You’ll need to be careful to ensure your car is lined up so that it’s close to the kerb, but not touching it.

8. Finally, once you’re in position, make it safe by putting on the handbrake and putting the car in neutral.

Once you’ve mastered this manoeuvre once, you’ll develop all the confidence you need to get it right every single time. If you’re looking to book some more driving lessons to brush up on reversing around a corner, contact us at Alfie’s Driving School.

How To Stop Your Car Stalling During A Driving Test

How To Stop Your Car Stalling During A Driving Test

We’ve all been there – nearly every driver, whether experienced or a complete beginner, has stalled their car at some point or other. Whilst stalling your car during a driving test may not automatically mean a major fault, taking a few simple steps to learn how to avoid stalling can make all the difference between a pass and a fail.

What causes a car to stall?

Stalling a car usually occurs either when pulling off from a standstill, or when slowing the car back down to a stop.

The point where the two plates in the clutch are brought together is called the ‘biting point’. Many learner drivers find it difficult to judge where this point is, and can release the clutch too quickly, which causes the plates to jam together and the engine to stall.

Most drivers will find that with lots of practice, finding the right biting point of a car becomes second nature. However, in the early days when preparing for your test, understanding the correct technique for pulling away can help avoid stalling, and increase all round confidence in your driving ability.

How to avoid stalling

Follow these simple steps every time you pull away:

  1. Press the clutch fully to the ground with your left foot.
  2. Keeping your foot pressed down, select first gear.
  3. Gently apply pressure to the accelerator with your right foot. You will hear the engine start to rev.
  4. Very slowly raise up your left foot from the clutch until you find the biting point where the car begins to move.
  5. Release the handbrake.
  6. Continue to gently increase the pressure on the accelerator, whilst raising your left foot off the clutch as you move away.

Most importantly of all, remember to keep calm! If the worst happens and you do stall, just take a deep breath, apply the brake and put the car back in neutral, and work through the steps above again. You’ll be driving away smoothly in no time!

Who Has The Right Of Way At Crossroads?

Who Has The Right Of Way At Crossroads

As a learner driver, an important lesson to learn is who has right of way at crossroads. Your driving instructor will go through everything with you, but in the meantime, here’s a helpful aide memoire.

Approaching crossroads to turn from a main road

The traffic on the main carriageway always has priority at crossroads.

However, when approaching crossroads on a main road, if traffic is emerging from either side road to cross your path, you must stop, even though you have priority.

If you’re turning right into a side road, you might also find an oncoming vehicle that also wants to turn right. In this case, vehicles usually turn near-side to near-side and neither party has priority.

Emerging at crossroads

Side roads meeting a main road at a crossroads are marked with dashed give-way lines. These lines mean that you MUST stop before proceeding.

Turning left and right at crossroads is exactly the same as at ‘T’ junctions and is relatively straightforward. The priority is with the traffic on the major road and you must wait until your way is clear and you have plenty of time to pull out safely. However, you should be ready to take advantage of vehicles slowing down to turn into the side road opposite you.

Right turning traffic should give way to oncoming traffic, although you should never assume that another driver will comply and always proceed with caution. A general rule of thumb is that the driver to arrive at the crossroads first would usually proceed first.

Staggered crossroads

Emerging at staggered crossroads can be tricky as the priority between vehicles may not be clear, even though it is essentially the same, so you should exercise particular caution.

Unmarked crossroads

In the case of unmarked crossroads, neither is regarded as the major road, so proceed with extreme caution and always be prepared to stop. The priority of oncoming vehicles remains unchanged but you should never assume that the other driver will observe this.

To learn more about rights of way and other important information, get in touch with us today and find out how our instructors can help you!

DVSA To Change The Part 3 Assessment

The Part 3 Assessment

The DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) has recently announced early autumn plans to change the Part 3 assessment of the ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) qualification test.

What is the Part 3 assessment?

The current Part 3 assessment is a role play segment where the examiner acts as a pupil to assess the instructor’s ability to teach.

The new assessment, which brings the testing in line with the new ADI Standards Check introduced in 2014, asks that the instructor in training brings along their own pupil instead.

This can be anyone from another instructor in training (as long as they haven’t already done this part of the test) to a novice driver.

The trainee will be required to teach a full lesson that is structured, effective and relevant to the pupil’s driving level.

The changes are expected to better develop an instructor’s skills in teaching and directing a lesson as well as how to interact with a student.

The current test is considered too restrictive and doesn’t allow the trainee to show their full range of skills, including how to develop a lesson.

The new assessment is a more rigorous style of training and helps future instructors thrive to not only become better instructors long-term, but learn how to teach properly and run a successful, honest and reliable business.

But what does this change mean for you as a learner driver?

Better trained instructors means better instruction.

When you choose an instructor who’s had DVSA approved training and undertaken the new assessment, you can be assured you are receiving the highest quality training possible.

As a learner driver, you need thorough, intensive and dependable teaching and these changes ensure that from day one of qualifying, your instructor can deliver this every day in every lesson.