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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Insider Tips to Save Money When Learning to Drive

I make a living out of teaching people to drive, so I shouldn't really be telling you this, but there are a number of ways you can save money when learning to drive.

1. Don't just think you are only learning when sat at the side of your instructor. If you study the Highway Code and other books frequently in the periods between lessons and get to know and understand the rules, you can spend less time talking and more of your lesson time experiencing the wide range of situations you'll need to deal with on your test. Result - fewer lessons

2. Practice with friends or family. As long as you're insured and the person supervising you is at least 21 years old and have had their full driving licence for 3 years or more then this is perfectly legal. Make sure you speak with your instructor first to ensure you are ready for private practice without the help of dual controls. Result - fewer lessons

3. Ask your instructor if you and a friend can learn together. You get to sit in the back watching and listening to your friend's lesson and therefore learning from any explanations the instructor gives or any mistakes your friend makes and vice versa. And you get twice as long for your money. Result - fewer lessons

4. If you can help it don't take 1 hour per week at the early learning stages. If you can afford it, try to fit at least a couple of 90 minute lessons in each week. This helps you retain more information over a shorter period of time. You can always reduce this when practising with friends or family. Result - fewer lessons

5. Watch YouTube videos. There are loads of good ones showing you what to do and there are even official videos showing you what to expect on the test. This visual way of learning helps you retain more information. Result - fewer lessons

6. Make sure you're ready for your test. There's the test fee to consider and the cost of a double lesson on the day. Don't go if you're not ready as this results in you paying for another test and more lesson time. Ask your instructor to conduct a number of mock tests and to keep you regularly informed on your progress. Result - fewer test attempts

7. During your lesson, listen carefully to what your instructor is telling you. Ask questions if you don't understand and make notes whenever possible. Reviewing these notes after your lesson will help you retain information longer. Result - fewer lessons

8. Avoid being suckered into cheap deals. As the saying goes, you only get what you pay for and you could end up spending more in the long term. Result - fewer tears before bedtime and fewer lessons

9. Tell your instructor if you don't feel you are progressing well enough and come up with a plan to help progress more. If this doesn't work you should consider changing your instructor. Styles clash sometimes and you may find a different style suits you better. Result happier lessons and fewer of them.

10. Make it important that you do well and learn to drive safely and responsibly. Being a good student and having the right attitude to learning means that you will achieve your goal sooner. Result - fewer lessons and fewer tests.

There you have it straight from the horses mouth. If you study well and find the right instructor for you, there's no reason for you to scrimp on quality, even if you are on a tight budget.

How to Save Money by Hiring a Professional

When you are working to a limited budget hiring a professional often appears to be a luxury. This is probably why DIY is so popular - it can't be that hard can it?

My garage is full of tools I've bought for a particular job and never used again, I've completed the job to a fair degree of satisfaction and saved some money but it never really looks like a professional has done it. My garage also has it's fair share of part completed 'projects' where what seemed to be a straightforward easy job turned out to be slightly more complicated than I'd imagined.

To a large extent this is the case with learning to drive. Loads of people can drive and therefore think it must be easy to teach someone to do it and part of me agrees - driving is not rocket science and even an amateur is allowed to teach you and there's a chance of passing the driving test, even when using techniques that are less than car or wallet friendly.
"If you think hiring an expert is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur"
So why pay a professional?

The difference lies in both the effectiveness and efficiency of learning from a professional.

The cost of learning is quantifiable and therefore it's really easy to see exactly what it costs and think "wow that's expensive." However, it takes a long-term view to see how the techniques taught by a good instructor could save you £1000's. The techniques an excellent instructor teaches you could save you even more.

Take for example the average driver's mileage of around 10,000 miles per year and the cost of fuel at 20p per mile, that's £2,000 per year. But what if you applied the fuel-saving techniques taught by your instructor and reduced this to 15p per mile, it would save you £500 per year.

I recently helped a pupil, initially being taught by her parents, get an extra 18 miles per gallon. Over a lifetime she could save enough money to buy a new car!

Added to these savings is the potential reduction in maintenance costs such as, amongst other things, replacing worn out clutches, brakes, tyres and steering and of course a reduction in insurance premiums by avoiding crashes.

You may not fail a driving test for using certain habits or techniques that are unlikely to be corrected when learning with an amateur, but over a period of time these are serial clutch killers. Habits such as 'riding the clutch' or occasionally unnecessarily 'slipping the clutch', or sitting at traffic lights in first gear with the clutch at the 'biting point' for long periods. These faults may not be deemed worthy of marking on a test but can take thousands of miles off the lifetime of the clutch. Considering that a replacement clutch is going to set you back a good £400-£600 these are expensive habits to have. This cost is comparable to around half of the current fee for learning to drive with a professional. The difference being, you only pay to learn to drive once. When treated well a clutch can last the lifetime of the car, yet if treated poorly may need to replaced regularly.

Another common habit we see that leads to additional wear and tear is changing down through each gear instead of using the more effective, and cheaper to replace, brake components . You really don't want to know what it costs to replace a gearbox.

I often recall a conversation I had with a friend many years ago. He was buzzing because he'd just taken his 4 year old car for a service and he still had 50% of his brake pads left.
"Not bad for 40,000 miles" he beamed.
I replied "that's interesting Rob, haven't you recently had your clutch replaced?"
"Yes" he said.
"How much did that cost you?"
"About £400"
"Oh, and how much would it have cost you to replace your brake pads instead? About £40?"

He didn't reply, but you could see the sudden dawning of realisation on his face.

You may have noticed that I've used the words 'could' and potential' a lot so far. This is because these savings rely on YOU doing what you've been taught, not just in the first few weeks of driving but for a lifetime (a lifetime that can be greatly reduced if you don't). And don't listen to that nonsense about learning to drive properly once you've passed your test, this just makes others more comfortable with their bad habits. You're as much an expert as they are.

Saving a few quid here and there may seem like a good idea in the short-term and I'm all for parents or friends helping out by giving learners the chance to gain experience in addition to driving lessons and actively encourage this, but a wise person should look at the money they are paying for an Approved Driving Instructor as a long-term investment in theirs or their child's future.

Something that has stayed with me is a phase my old House-master at school often said "the saddest two words in the English language when put together are...if only"

He's right you know.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Are you level headed?

The little known headlamp setting that could make a big difference.

You would hope that most drivers are able to tell you which headlight setting they should use and when, but if you've ever noticed this little known icon somewhere on your car's dash you may have been wondering what it is for. It usually has a number of settings anywhere from "0" through to "4" 

Internationalised ECE Regulation 48, in force in most of the world outside North America, currently specifies a limited range within which the vertical aim of the headlamps must be maintained under various vehicle load conditions. 
The majority of vehicles don't have self-levelling headlamps (under these regulations vehicles with Xenon lights must) and it is the responsibility of the driver to set them correctly. With one or two people sitting in the front seats without any luggage, the leveller should be set at "normal" or "0". This prevents glare from your headlights dazzling oncoming drivers - and vice versa.
You might be forgiven for wondering so what? What difference does it make?
Well here are two pictures to compare with the headlights on dipped beam. Picture 1 has the headlamp set correctly at "0" and picture 2 is set incorrectly at "4"

The white posts in the pictures are about 3 metres apart and the difference is evident. With the headlamp level set correctly you can see 9 posts ahead and the centre line, but incorrectly set you can see barely 4 posts and no centre line.

"In terms of safety this could mean the difference between hitting a pedestrian or missing them or even seeing a bend in the road too late."

Check your owner's manual to find more information about the correct settings for your vehicle - it's not always the big things that count, it's sometimes the small things that make all the difference.
Spot the control....

Friday, 1 May 2015

How to Pass the Hazard Perception Test

Before we go into any more detail about the test let's first be clear on what a hazard is and how your perception affects your reaction to them.

A hazard is anything that will cause you danger. When driving this means something that will cause you to take action such as; change speed or direction or both.

Perception is your interpretation of the information you are picking up. The correct interpretation is essential to you being able to respond with the correct action.

The hazard perception test is designed simply to check that you can recognise a developing hazard and can respond accordingly. 

It's likely that you've used hazard perception many times in your life, so it's nothing new to you. The only new bit is applying it to driving. 

Here's an example using a situation you may have experienced before. You're walking home when you see a group of kids making snowballs and think to yourself “yep, I bet one of those is coming my way, so I'll keep an eye on them.” You've just identified a potential danger and carrying on walking but with more caution.

What you're doing is gathering information and using past experience to interpret it. This forms your perception which then influences your decisions and actions.

As you carry on walking you see the situation developing as a couple of the kids point towards you and then begin throwing the snowballs at you. This potential danger has just developed into a real danger and you have to duck to avoid being hit.

When driving, instead of the snowball being the developing hazard it will be either a person, a vehicle or even an animal which makes you change speed or direction.

In the hazard perception test, it's the developing hazards that have a score attached, but there's no problem when clicking for potential hazards, so think of it like this.
In real-life when driving, the potential hazard makes you check your mirrors and the developing hazard makes you press a pedal or move the steering wheel. 
During the computer based test you register your response by clicking a mouse button.

As soon as you spot a potential hazard – click the mouse to record your response.

As soon as the hazard begins developing – click the mouse to record your response
This is important because the sooner you spot the developing hazard and click, the higher your score. 

You're driving along and see there's a side road on the left - no click needed, but keep an eye on it just in case.

Potential hazard (I might). You see a car approach the end of the side road on your left and it comes to a stop, it might pull out – click (mirror check in real-life)

Developing Hazard (I will). As you get closer you see the car start to move forward – click (brake or steer in real-life)

A third click helps ensure that you haven't clicked a fraction too soon.

Developed Hazard (I am). In real-life further action might be needed.

My pupils know this 3 click method as “The Mighty Will.i.am Method"

If you know the song "boom boom pow" by the Black-eyed Peas try clicking to the same beat as the bit in the song that goes "boom, boom boom, gotta get that" We have a laugh about it (and I can imagine the look on your face as you read this) but it produces outstanding results.

This method also reinforces the real-life actions you take because when you see a potential danger you think "I might" have to react, when it is developing "I will" have to react and after it has developed "I am" reacting.

Go on try it!

The developing hazard has a scoring "window" that begins counting down 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 0 the moment the developing hazard appears.  If you don't react soon enough you may miss the scoring opportunity completely.

There are 14 video clips, but there are 15 scoring hazards. This means at least one of the clips has two scoring hazards. You won't know which clip this is or which hazards have a score, so make sure you stay alert throughout and respond to every developing hazard you see. Some hazards require you to react quickly. These especially occur when driving around bends in the road or over the brow of a hill.

The key to being alert and spotting the dangers is to scan & plan and anticipate. Keep scanning from side-to-side and along the road, starting with the far distance, the middle distance and the near distance and anticipate danger by saying to yourself – What if?

What if there's a pedestrian crossing the road just over the next hill?
What if there's an obstruction just around the next bend?

Try to avoid clicking continuously or in a rhythm as this might be interpreted as cheating and the computer will give you a zero score for that clip. You shouldn't have to worry about this at all if you follow the previous advice of scanning, planning and anticipating and then clicking for potential and developing hazards as you see them (Boom Boom Boom).

Practising – You can of course practise by using the hazard perception CD-Roms and DVDs that are available. Recommended are Driving Test Success and Theory Test Pro. You can do these online too. However, a word of caution. You cannot improve your perception by going over the same clips over and over as once you've seen the clip you are testing your memory not your reaction.

The best way to develop your perception and reaction is to practise while out and about. You can do this as a pedestrian, passenger, cyclist etc. (People might look at you as a bit strange if you're walking around saying 'click' so it's best to do this silently in your head).

Check out the DVSA video in our Student Zone for more information. http://www.udidit.co.uk/#!student-zone/cx9 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Why Should I Pay for a Lesson I Haven't Had?

The vast majority of the UK’s Approved Driving Instructors are self-employed and only earn a wage when a client pays them – just like those awful zero hour contracts.
Imagine getting ready for work in the morning and turning up at work on time only to be told by your employer "sorry, we don't need you today". It has cost you time and probably money to be there and you might have even turned down other work and missed an opportunity to have been paid by someone else. How would you feel in those circumstances?
In a similar way it is you, the client, who employs the Instructor and therefore if you fail to turn up for your lesson or you give short notice of cancellation, your Instructor doesn't get paid.
The double-whammy is that the Instructor may well have turned down someone else for the time you have reserved and now can’t sell the lost time at such short notice. Not only does the Instructor miss out, other clients may also miss out too.
When choosing a Driving Instructor, along with excellent teaching skills and a friendly manner, no doubt you will be expecting someone with a professional attitude and someone who provides excellent customer service. Within this you would certainly expect reliability and punctuality.
Looking at it from the Instructor’s perspective, they also hope that their clients are reliable and punctual, have a good attitude and are willing to accept responsibility for their own learning and the bookings they've made.
If you had an instructor who consistently let you down, what would you do? I know what I'd do; I'd look for a replacement. I personally try to be as flexible as possible but understand that life often gets in the way of learning. Maybe the kids are ill, unexpected bills need to be paid, work calls you in etc or you simply haven't budgeted well and have run out of cash until payday. This all becomes obvious to an experienced Instructor as the last week in the month sees more cancellations than any other. You may even be in the middle of a confidence crisis and can't face the lesson. Whatever the reason, to avoid having to pay, talk openly to your instructor and look for a solution before it's too late. 
Whenever possible and subject to availability, I personally allow some flexibility by offering another lesson time within 3 working days and waive the late cancellation charge if it is attended. However, as patient and understanding as I am there’s a tipping point and in these cases I have to take everything into consideration and reluctantly part ways with clients who consistently cancel at short notice or fail to turn up.
In my experience many Instructors have a standard 48 hour or so short notice cancellation policy whereby should a client cancel within this time then the lesson fee is payable either in full or in part. There are variations in these terms so I recommend that you ask your Instructor if you're not sure.
“Why should I pay for something I've not had” cried the client who failed to turn up...
You may not have attended the lesson, but you have reserved that time for yourself and yourself only. This is not dissimilar to booking a flight; a holiday; a hotel room or even a dental appointment - in fact any appointment you make and fail to pay for or attend,   costs someone something. Imagine the cost to the taxpayer for NHS no shows. This service is not free and the cost of lost appointments must run into ££millions.
Unlike buying goods, if you reserve a service at a particular time and you don’t turn up, you have to pay because it can't be resold.
Sadly as consumers we all end up paying a little more to cover losses caused by other people’s actions, whether it’s for goods or services, and driving lessons are no exception. Apparently we motorists pay around £30 extra per year on our motor insurance premiums simply to cover uninsured drivers. As a consumer I don't like the idea of paying extra to cover other people’s poor actions. This is especially the case when I’m buying goods as I know we are all paying for the losses incurred by the business through shoplifting or employee theft.
“What can be done to reward the clients who are in the majority and are reliable?”

I often extend the lesson time for clients who turn up for every lesson and who give me plenty of notice if they ever need to change an appointment. It’s a nice way of rewarding them. I sometimes give away a free lesson as a way of saying thank you.
What I do know from my experience is that those clients who are reliable and hard-working are the ones most likely to succeed and ultimately spend less in getting their licence. 

The key is to talk openly to your instructor, keep them up to date and together you will be able to avoid paying for lessons you didn't attend and maybe even get a nice little reward.

I'll leave you with a final thought - If businesses gave customer reviews, how would you rate?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

How to Pass Your Driving Test First Time

It is easy to see why many people believe that the most important part of learning to drive is learnt simply by driving the car. It's true that mastering the necessary practical skills is definitely an important part of learning. You will need a good level of practical experience to co-ordinate the controls and also a good deal of experience in varying situations in order to be confident in the decisions you are making and the actions you are taking. But practical skills and experience form only part of what it takes to learn to drive safely and responsibly. 

To learn fully and effectively there are four main elements of learning; Knowledge; understanding; attitude and practice. 

Gaining Knowledge
Nobody likes a know-it-all until it comes to driving. Then every other road user depends on you to know what to do and then do the right thing. If you don't know what to do in a driving situation then you can take too long to make a decision and have an equally good chance of making the wrong one.
This makes you unpredictable and this scares other drivers because it increases the risk of a collision. If you've ever felt annoyed at the person in the supermarket who stops without warning, you'll know how other drivers feel when you are unpredictable.
Lack of knowledge also increases the risk of you breaking a law which could result in a fine or even a driving ban.

Your level of knowledge affects the decisions you make and actions you take when driving. During the test your driving examiner will check to make sure you can consistently make the right decisions and take the correct actions - any gaps in your knowledge are likely to show up in your driving and may result in faults being marked.

What you can do to help yourself learnKnowledge comes through study, so study frequently - the official publications "the Highway Code" and "Driving - the essential skills" are highly recommended reading materials for all drivers.

Developing Understanding
Knowing what to do is not always enough to convince you that it is the right thing do or even important to know. Sometimes we need to explore the reasons why this is the best thing to do in order to accept it.
Understanding can be developed through 'doing', so it is important to practice doing the right things.
Take this example; Normally you'd position your car about a metre from the kerb. There's not much to remember and it might not seem that important, but when you explore and consider the reasons why this distance is an important safety margin and then experience the benefits, you develop a better understanding, and in turn a good understanding helps develop a good attitude.

What you can do to help yourself learn: Don't be afraid to ask questions during your lessons,especially if you don't understand or agree with something - in fact your driving instructor encourages you to do so as this not only helps broaden your understanding, it also helps the instructor understand how to support your learning better. A poor understanding can lead to mistakes and mistakes lead to crashes. 

Demonstrating a Good Attitude
When you become a driver, you become a member of one of the biggest team participant events there is. In this team everyone depends on one another's co-operation. Some of the team are more experienced than others and some not as good as others - what we all have in common is that we all make mistakes from time-to-time.
We have to show tolerance of other's mistakes and actions because once you become annoyed or upset, your decisions and actions are affected and you become part of the problem, which ultimately increases the risks.

During the test your examiner will be monitoring your attitude to check that you are able
demonstrate tolerance and patience whenever necessary.

What you can do to help yourself learn: You need to become self-aware and recognise the behaviour in other drivers that makes you annoyed or angry and ask yourself why this is. Some drivers get annoyed simply because they've given way to an oncoming vehicle and the driver doesn't wave to say thanks - do you really need to put your own safety and that of others at risk by driving angrily for such a minor reason? Do you really need to be acknowledged every time you give way to someone? Instead, take comfort and pride from the fact that you were courteous and safe.

Developing Your Skills Through Practice
You will need to develop your practical skills and there's only one way to do this and that is by practising.
The key is to practice doing things the right way otherwise you will become very good at doing it wrong.
The sign of a good driver is well coordinated use of the foot controls and steering. This results in smooth driving which is unhurried.
During the test your examiner will check that you can maintain full control, and as you may expect, a loss of control can result in a fault being marked.

What you can do to help yourself learn: Once you have achieved a good level of coordination ask your instructor if they feel you are ready to practice privately with a suitable family member or friend. Remember though that you MUST be insured to drive any car you drive and the person supervising you MUST be over 21 years old and have had a full licence for at least 3 years. Check out Marmalade insurance for provisional licence holders on this link to my website http://www.udidit.co.uk/#!marmalade-/cowz

There's no real secret to passing first time, you just  need to take responsibility for studying to improve your knowledge, improving your understanding, developing a good attitude and getting plenty of practice with a professional instructor and private practice.

© UDIDIT Driver Training 2014 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Top 5 Driving Test Faults and How to Avoid Them

There’s no such thing as a perfect driver, drivers often make mistakes, but a good driver is able to recognise a problem and take the appropriate action to correct it. Here are the 5 most common faults committed on the driving test and how to avoid them

Top 5 Male Faults
Top 5 Female Faults
Junctions - observation
Junctions - observation
Mirrors - change direction
Mirrors - change direction
Move off - safely
Reverse left - control
Junctions - turning right
Reverse park - control
Response to signs - traffic lights
Control - steering

Observations at Junctions
A typical fault at a junction is emerging without having checked effectively.
Making effective observations means not just looking but actually seeing what is there, making the right decisions and then taking the right actions. If you don't make effective observations you could cause another road user to slow, swerve or swear.
Poor observations are often caused by stopping too far back from the end of the road which restricts your view into the new road. The same goes for emerging when parked cars are blocking your view and you don’t move forward to improve your view.
Another common reason is the amount of TIME you take to look properly. If you approach the junction too fast or if someone behind is being impatient, you may feel under pressure to go and you won’t give yourself enough time to look in the right places. This can especially happen at roundabouts.

How to avoid this fault: An essential part of your junction routine is LOOK-ASSESS-DECIDE-ACT. Make sure you get the car into a good position where you can see clearly into the new road. Sometimes you may even reach the give way line and still can't see because of an obstruction of some kind. In this event edge forwards using clutch control to get a better view and only emerge fully once you know it's safe in both directions.
Another underlying cause may be that you are trying not to be hesitant. Hesitation in driving is not always a bad thing. If you swap the word “hesitation” to “caution” it becomes a good thing as caution can save lives. Many learners misunderstand this and believe they can’t hesitate at all. You can and should when necessary, but avoid being “unduly hesitant” or in other words “over-cautious”. Don't be rushed by an impatient driver behind or by thinking that there’s a time limit for waiting for a safe gap to emerge into – if there hasn’t been a safe gap, you can’t go and won’t be expected to.

Changing Direction -Mirrors
There are many similarities with this fault and not making effective observations at junctions. The huge number of mirrors checks needed means that there is a much greater chance for these to be missed and therefore a greater chance to be marked as a fault.
There’s that old saying you may have heard of ‘look before you leap’, well this definitely applies to observations at junctions and mirrors. You are expected to look well before changing speed or changing direction or signalling. Common faults include not looking in the mirror at all or looking at the same time as taking action or after you’ve started to take action such as changing position.

How to avoid this fault: Use your mirrors frequently throughout your drive and be aware of what is happening behind you and how this is changing at all times. This helps you to keep a track of what's happening and what might happen if you want to change speed or direction. The mirror checks you make before changing direction should confirm what you already know and that the action you are intending to take is the right one. The key steps of LOOK-ASSESS-DECIDE-ACT also apply to the way you use your mirrors. A good tip is to commentate and say to yourself before you take action, for example; “I’ve checked the mirrors, I won’t cause any danger if I signal and then change direction”

Move off safely
In this case it means failing to move off safely. This usually means you haven’t checked all around properly – often missing the final blind spot check just before releasing the handbrake. There’s another link to LOOK-ASSESS-DECIDE-ACT. You need to know if it’s safe to go and whether you need to let others know you intend to move off. This is a fault because if you move off without knowing what’s happening around you, you might put someone else’s safety at risk.

How to avoid this fault: Many learners get so wrapped up in deciding whether or not to signal that they forget to check their blind spot. Make sure you are well practised in assessing the situation around you. Your mirrors do not show everything so get into the habit of checking your blind spot by scanning the road, pavements and any driveways like a life depends on it. You may get away with not looking a thousand times or miss the check once and cause danger or worse – NOT checking your blind spot is always a gamble.

Reverse Left, Reverse Park - Control
This usually means that the manoeuvre was inaccurate – the wheels either hit the kerb hard or the car was too far away from the kerb, or over the lines when bay parking. The possible causes for this include going too fast with poor co-ordination of the foot controls and mistimed steering. Other causes are poor spatial awareness due to the driver looking at one particular place for too long or only in one place. For example, the nearside mirror.

How to avoid this fault: The key to any manoeuvre is getting the car to move at a slow but steady speed, so to be good at it get plenty of practice at getting the car to move slowly on uphill and downhill gradients as well as on flat roads and corners with varying degrees of sharpness.
This slow speed creates time for you to notice and correct any mistimed steering before it becomes a problem, giving you time to check lots of different views so you can work out exactly where the car is in relation to the kerb or line.
Spatial awareness can be improved through practise. Of course, you may well get the speed right but misjudge the turning point if you are not well practised, but a slow steady speed helps as it limits the impact. This creates time to make frequent glances into the door mirror nearest the kerb – in modern cars with high parcel shelves and broad pillars this is often the only way you can see the kerb and is perfectly acceptable as long as these glances into the mirror form just one part of your all round observations and are not the main focus of your attention.

Steering - Control
An example of this is when turning into a side-road and the car didn’t go where it should. This results in either the car hitting the kerb hard or swinging out too wide. This mistiming is often caused by being too close to the left kerb on approach, or not looking into the road when turning left or approaching too fast. When turning too late for a right turn, again this is often because you are not looking into the road but instead focussed too much on approaching cars.

How to avoid this fault: After checking the mirrors, signalling and positioning, it is essential to get the speed down before selecting the appropriate gear for creating enough time for looking, assessing deciding and acting. Make sure you are well practised at using the MSPSL routine and have the car fully under control and have made your observations and decisions well before turning so that the only things you need concentrate on when you reach the side-road is looking into the road and judging the turning point.

Junctions - turning right
This fault means you were late in positioning or incorrectly positioned before turning right. If you position the car incorrectly this gives confusing messages to other road users and leaves doubt. This can lead to them making the wrong decision. For example, if you stay too far back from the side-road turning point it encourages emerging drivers to pull out in front of you. This fault also includes not moving forwards into the correct position when turning right at traffic lights.
A common reason for not moving forwards is lack of knowledge such as; “Am I allowed to move forward before the filter light comes on?” or “Can I go into the yellow box?”

How to avoid this fault: The solution to this fault is reasonably simple – study well and know your Highway Code. Be aware of the unintended messages you can give simply by your car’s position and remove any confusion by positioning as advised by the Highway Code.

Response to signs - traffic lights
There are a wide range of things this could mean, such as; the driver reacting late to amber lights and failing to stop when it was safe to do so or not complying with a red light.
This could also mean the driver was late in moving off when the light changed to green and it was safe to do so. Not moving off on a green filter arrow is especially common.
These faults are often caused by not planning far enough ahead and not anticipating the lights changing or mentally switching off when the car stops.

How to avoid this fault: You should scan the road ahead and if the lights have been on green for some time expect them to change. Most traffic lights have a sensor of some kind that is triggered by vehicles approaching, so scan for clues such as vehicles approaching or waiting in the side roads. These sensors work in a similar way to those at pedestrian crossings and change when activated. If you can read these clues, you can plan to reduce your speed and therefore give yourself more time to react if the lights do actually change.
When you come to a stop at the lights you shouldn't mentally switch off. Treat this just as a pause in moving forward and stay alert. While waiting you need to continue gathering information, such as watching the other traffic flow to see if they are slowing down or stopping because their lights have changed. Remember though - Don’t be tempted to go too early when the lights are still on red and amber – wait until the lights are green and it’s safe to go.

To avoid getting any faults during your test you need to be well prepared – this means knowing what to do, why you are doing it and that have had enough lessons and practice to do it properly.
Good Luck!

© UDIDIT Driver Training 2014