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.

Drivers Spend 44 Hours A Year Looking For A Parking Space

Drivers Spend 44 Hours

UK drivers spend 44 hours each year looking for a parking space – rising to 67 hours if you’re a Londoner!

That’s according to new research carried out by traffic information supplier Inrix.

The recent study, based on survey responses from over 18,000 UK drivers and the analysis of parking data, shows that we all understand the frustration of trying to find a space in the bustling centre of town or the popular shopping centre car park, but we might not realise that this wasted time is also wasting us money.

It is estimated that fuel, time lost, overpayment and fines costs each person an average of £733 a year (£1,104 in London!). This equates to a staggering £30 billion a year lost across the nation.

Drivers Spend 44 Hours A Year Looking For A Parking SpaceSome of our busiest cities are the worst offenders, with Bristol, Leeds and Belfast having notorious annual search times, peaking at 56 hours.

Businesses also lose out on paying customers, as around 40% of those surveyed said they often don’t go to the shops at all to avoid the struggle of searching for a space. Local high streets are losing people to out-of-town retail parks and outlets that have more parking, less hassle and are often free.

Dr Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix, stated, “To lessen the significant burden parking has on our economy and lives, smart parking solutions are available for drivers, parking operators and cities to help reduce search times, congestion and pollution as well as negate overpaying and fines altogether.”

He further states, “Parking pain will only get worse until technology is fully embraced.” This suggests our town centre car parks need to keep up with the changing technological times to keep customers coming, or the high streets that have been slowly dying will continue to suffer further.

At Alfie’s Driving School, we’re doing our bit to help cut average parking times by helping new, learner drivers to become more confident on the roads. To find out more, get in touch with us today.

20mph Speed Ignored By Eight In Ten Drivers

The 20mph Speed Limit

It’s a well-known fact that a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle at 30mph had a higher chance of being critically injured as opposed to an accident happening at 20mph.

The reality is probably worse than we’d like to think – that extra 10mph increases the likelihood of the accident being fatal by 5 times (https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/drivers/20-mph-zone-factsheet.pdf).

It would seem, however, that simply by stating the speed limit is now 20mph doesn’t go far enough.

The areas where the limit is self-policing, where speed humps or bollards ensure that the speed limit cannot be exceeded, are fine.

However, drivers on roads where the highway is clear from such obstacles are struggling to understand why they need to adhere to this speed limit. Test sites fitted with car counters across the road have discovered that 81% of drivers don’t adhere to speed rules in these areas.

ROSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, are pushing for more 20mph zones to be introduced in cities, towns and villages across the UK, but does that go far enough? It would appear that the best way to get drivers to slow down in these areas is by adding the traffic calming measures so that they have to slow down. Additionally, many of the 20mph roads are policed by local communities (such as the “20’s Plenty” campaign), which doesn’t appear to be deterrent enough for drivers.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “Research shows that 20mph zones in the right areas can save lives and we have made it easier for councils to introduce them. It is for councils to set speed limits in their area and police to decide how best to enforce them.”

What is key, however, is that whatever the speed limit, it is set for a reason and it should therefore be adhered to. It doesn’t matter whether it’s enforced by the police or the community; the limit is there for safety’s sake and should not be broken.

Some modern cars will now display the speed limit on the dashboard and alert the driver if the limit is exceeded. This can only be a good thing in the drive to reduce the number of accidents in these areas.

Are There Any More Driving Test Changes In The Pipeline?

New changes

In the UK, around 1.6 million people sit the practical car test every year, with a pass rate of 43% and a pass rate of 52% on the theory test. Recently, the DVSA has announced some changes and there are rumours of further changes in the pipeline. This is the biggest shake-up in 20 years of driving test history, so to keep you updated, here is everything you need to know about the “new” UK driving test.

New changes

There are four main changes in the driving test which come into force on December 4th, 2017.

1. There will be an increase in the “independent driving” section of the practical test. This will increase from 10 to 20 minutes.

2. Replacing manoeuvres such as ‘turn in the road’ with ones that are considered more ‘real life’, such as driving in to and reversing out of a parking space.

3. Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me/tell me’ part of the test) whilst the candidate is driving. For example, asking a candidate to wash the windscreen using controls or asking a candidate to use the rear heated screen.

4. Candidates will be required to follow directions using a Satellite navigation system as an alternative to hearing physical directions and following road signs. The DVSA says that about half of all motorists now have sat navs, so they should play a role in the practical exam in the future.

The DVSA has stated it’s important to ensure the driving test is relevant for the 21st century: “Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century, for example, the introduction of sat navs, will go a long way towards doing this.”

Future changes?

Some experts have proposed the possibility of bringing in a standardised driving test car. This is due to increased fears over the driving test becoming too easy to pass with high-tech vehicles.

It’s argued that features such as blind spot monitoring, speed limit detection and collision warning, are all available on many learner cars and can, therefore, be used during a test to an unfair advantage.

However, despite what is considered a “novel” idea, the introduction of a standardised exam car could on the flip-side also make it potentially more difficult to pass.

This is because you are giving learners an unknown vehicle on their test day – a vehicle they haven’t built confidence in. Another hold up is the funding required from the government to back the scheme, which would ultimately increase the cost of the test overall.

Whatever happens, it’s important you choose an instructor who enters their pupils for a test when they are confident and equipped with the necessary skills and attitude to be a good driver. Check out Alfie’s Driving School to see how we could help you!

Why The Satnav Is To Be Included In The Practical Driving Test


New regulations are set to come into place in December 2017 that will shake up the UK practical driving test.

It’s one of the biggest recent changes to the current examination. Students will now be tested on their ability to use a satellite navigation system practically, safely and efficiently on the road, in what the RAC Foundation has described as the most “realistic assessment” yet.

Reflecting changing times

The UK practical driving test is currently administered by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency, the body that also approves instructors. As technology evolves, so too does the way drivers navigate Britain’s roads, and the DVSA has an obligation to periodically update tests in order for them to accurately measure the skills needed in order to safely operate a motor vehicle.

One in two drivers now use SatNav technology when travelling, and with many smartphones now shipping with GPS capabilities as standard, the number of users is only likely to increase.

However, with a number of accidents having been caused by drivers failing to concentrate on the road while following SatNav instructions, it makes sense for the DVSA to introduce a test of learner drivers’ abilities to competently use SatNav as an alternative to following road signs before allowing them to remove the ‘L’ plates.

What other changes are being made to the driving test in 2017?

On top of having their SatNav skills scrutinised, those taking their practical driving test on or after 4th December 2017 will be required to answer questions about vehicle safety whilst driving, as well as being expected to drive independently for 20 minutes – double the current required amount.

A ‘show me’ question about a technical aspect of the vehicle – such as how to operate a rear windscreen heater – will now take place during driving, as opposed to the beginning of the examination. This will allow drivers to display their understanding of modern dashboard technology as well as an ability to multitask safely.

Why is the practical driving test changing?

After lengthy consultation with government ministers, motoring associations and the general public, the DVSA concluded that at least 71% of drivers were in favour of implementing more practical, up-to-date directives into practical driving examinations. They were also in favour of removing or amending “archaic” practices, like reversing around a corner, in order to create a test which more accurately represents travelling on the UK’s roads in 2017.