One thing I like pupils to do is to fill the car up with fuel whilst on their driving lessons. There was a time when I would “never” fill my car during a lesson. I would always fill up at the end of the day so as to start the next day with a full tank.
However I realised that it is something that I take for granted and that many pupils would have no idea how to do it. I ask them to fill the car up while I talk them through it. For example, do you know what the little arrow next to the petrol pump symbol means in the picture above? It tells you which side the fuel cap is located. So it helps you to decide which side of the pump you should park. Having said that, modern pumps and hoses are normally long enough to stretch to the other side of the car. If you do park on the “wrong” side of the pump then you need to take extra care with your positioning i.e. park a little closer to the pump and be sure that the back of your car is level with the hose. That way you will minimise the amount that the hose will have to stretch.
Another useful tip is to always take your keys out of the car and lock the door when going into the kiosk to pay. A fair percentage of car thefts happen on petrol forecourts when people leave their keys in the ignition. If your car isn’t stolen then your mobile phone or any other valuable may be. This is especially true of a night time. There are lots of other useful tips we talk through too.
AT Peter Skelton Driving School we don’t believe that our customers should only learn enough to pass their driving test. We try to teach many of the skills that they will need in the real world after they pass. For more information please take a look at the rest of our website.
So the end of another year and another decade. We decided to run a little Christmas Jumper day and for those who either did or didn’t have a Christmas Jumper we added a Santa hat too.
“So not much to do with driving” you may say. That’s very true. However we took a few minutes at the end of a lesson so as not to eat into the pupils time to don our hats and have a little fun. This may not be driver related however one thing that is teaching related is building a good “rapport”, i.e. building good relationships with our clients. This can be done in a number of ways:
taking an interest in the client
matching the teaching to the clients preferred learning style
There are many other ways to build rapport, but these are just a few. Not only that, the above list has to be genuine, you can’t fake rapport. It’s a big part of the learning process for a number of reasons:
the client feels more relaxed on lessons
they are able to attempt something without the feeling of a lecture if they get it wrong
the client feels free to ask any question without feeling judged or nervous to ask in case they are ridiculed
it can open up questions that the pupil can engage in to help them deal with real life situations e.g. “how would you feel if you were a passenger in a friends car and they picked up their phone and started texting?”
One pupil recently came to our driving school had 4 years of lessons with another school. Her driving was fairly good to be honest however what she lacked was confidence. It was the rapport that we built very quickly that allowed her to overcome her fears and pass her test first time within 1 month of lessons with us. In her own words “I have learned more in the last month than I did in the last 4 years”
What a great week it’s been teaching pupils to drive. In particular conducting intensive driving courses in both Basingstoke and in Newbury. We have also taught a number of very nervous pupils and helped them to overcome their nerves. Not everyone is suited or even wants an intensive course but for those who do it can provide a much quicker route to passing the practical driving test.
Many intensive driving companies simply ask the pupils to “guess” how many hours they think they will need. They then book online that number of hours which are normally in blocks of 10hrs. The driving test is booked for maybe a Friday. The pupil then meets the instructor maybe on the Monday morning for the very first time without knowing whether they will be happy working with them or not. The course then begins. The instructor may well after 15 minutes of driving be thinking “There’s no way I can get this pupil ready for test in the hours that have been allotted!!!” However it’s often too late to do anything about it. It may be too late to cancel the driving test, the instructor may not have any extra time to squeeze extra lessons in, the pupil may be unwilling to pay for extra lessons. The pupil may well then take the test unprepared.
At Peter Skelton Driving School, the course always starts with an assessment lesson which may be taken many weeks before the test. By doing this we are able to assess how good the pupil is currently. This applies to pupils who have never driven before and to those who have some driving experience. An honest opinion is then given as to how many hours are required. A plan is then made to tailor the course to the pupils requirements. You also get the chance to meet your instructor first so make sure that you are happy with how they teach and how well you get on. This is particularly important for nervous pupils.
We can also offer pupils the opportunity to take the lessons as a more “semi-intensive course” i.e. spreading the course out over a few weeks rather than a few days. The advantage of this is; it can be easier to process the learning over a longer period of time, there is the option to add more lessons if the pupil is struggling a little, we can subtract some lessons if the pupil is progressing better then expected, or even the option if the pupil decides to postpone the test.
All intensive courses that we provide are different and tailored to your needs. We also offer the option of weekend and evening intensive courses so that pupils don’t miss time off school, college or work.
At Peter Skelton Driving School we appreciate that many pupils come to us who are nervous about driving. We always take pupils fears seriously and as such always tailor the pace of lessons to the pupils needs. Through coaching instead of traditional instructing we will ask a pupil if they feel happy to try something new.
Some pupils who are very nervous can benefit from a great technique we use to help calm an anxious mind. It involves meditation techniques that pupils can use in between lessons to help them whilst driving during a stressful situation. In fact the meditation method can be used in all sorts of situations, not only driving related. This can be used as a way to help calm pupils who may be facing exam nerves too. We will update this blog on recent events and successes we encounter.
Well a successful week. Alex Harvey completed an intensive driving course in Newbury. There were times when he doubted that he may be able to be ready for his test on Thursday, however we worked hard together and he passed first time with only 2 minor marks. He also gave me this great review.
“I’ve been through 3 driving instructors and Peter was by far the best!
His attention to detail and being thorough with every aspect of driving safely was consistent and calmly executed. Admittedly, there were points where on more than one occasion I found myself flustered from an obvious mistake, but having Peter take the time to pause and regain my confidence really helped. The extended/harder mock tests he ran made the real test a breeze!
His faith never ceased and I thank you for all your help and support.”
Peter Skelton Driving School now provide intensive driving courses in Basingstoke in partnership with one of our specialist intensive instructors who teaches in the Basingstoke area. The benefit of intensive driving courses is that you are able to take your driving test with 1 or 2 weeks of intensive or semi-intensive lessons. Traditional 1 hour lessons can take upwards of 12 months before you can pass a driving test. All pupils will receive an assessment lesson to help us work out how many hours any pupil will be needed in order to take a test. We can also book your driving test for you and we can use our search facility to find you a cancellation test if time is of the essence.
We can also offer an intensive course during weekends and evenings over a period of 2 to 4 weeks. That allows you the benefit of taking an intensive course without the need to take valuable holiday time off work.
Only around 5% of people who have made the
change to electric vehicles say that they would move back to a convention
petrol or diesel car in the most comprehensive survey ever. Over 7,000 people
were surveyed and more than 9 in 10 said that they would not ever go back to a
According to Robert Llewellyn’s you tube
channel “Fully Charged” which has been going now for around 8 years with almost
400 episodes, over 7,000 of its viewers took part in a 50 question survey to
determine future trends in the electric vehicle market. Robert has been talking
about electric cars, batteries and solar panels for around 10 years and it’s
incredible to think that the viewers and thee general pupil are finally embracing
the changes that are happening in the car market. Anyone who has driven an
electric car are impressed by how good they are.
youtube channel has an audience that are “early adaptors” to both EV’s and also
to clean energy or renewable energy. Their concerns lie with worries about
climate change and also air pollution. Slowly but surely the UK government are coming
to terms with changing attitudes and are moving towards cleaner, renewable
energy sources such as wind, solar and wave power.
Many people are also considering
switching from conventional energy suppliers to “green energy” suppliers. Many
re also interested in producing their own energy with technology such as, heat
pumps, solar panels, small wind turbines and “vehicle to grid”. It won’t be
long before renewable energy will be the mainstream of every home and business.
the electric vehicle will be in more demand and this will reflect in peoples
demand for green driving lessons in Newbury and Basingstoke.
The DVSA refuse to accept that the driving test pass rate is
a 10 year low due to the introduction of the “Pull up on the right” manoeuvre. Currently
the pass rate stands at 45% with many believing that the new manoeuvre is
dangerous. However statistics suggest that candidates make less serious or
dangerous faults while carrying out this manoeuvre compared to others.
In July of 2019 the DVSA revealed the top 10 reasons people
fail the UK driving test and the main reasons are ineffective observations at
junctions and bad mirror use when changing direction.
A spokes person for the DVSA said “Candidates should only
attempt their driving test once the have reached the desired level of
competence and covered a broad range of skills and can drive safely and
independently. Anyone who fails a driving test has to leave 10 working days
before they are allowed to attempt another test, this allows time for
The new manoeuvre was introduced on 4th December
2017 along with front bay parking in an attempt to reflect more real life
driving. Pulling up on the right hand side, the pupil then has to reverse about
2 car lengths before moving of safely.
The DVSA admit that the manoeuvre isn’t the best practice.
They still expect candidates to know how to park on the left hand side which is
much safer for both the test and the real world. The DVSA are aware that in the
real world parking on the left isn’t always an option and hence have realised
that parking on the right is something that candidates may have to do after
they pass their practical driving test. It is far better that pupils are taught
the manoeuvre before they take their driving test by a qualified instructor
rather than relying to luck after they pass.
Before the manoeuvre was introduced it was trialled and a
risk assessment was carried out by the DVSA and RoSPA and was deemed to be low
Here in Newbury I have never seen a candidate struggle with
the manoeuvre and never had a pupil fail their driving test as a result.
Renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels for the
first time ever in the UK, a fact that would not have been believed a few years
Over 5 years the capacity for renewable energy has increased
by 300% while that of fossil fuels has dropped by 33% due to power stations
either becoming uneconomical or coming to the end of their working lives. The
rate of increase in renewable outstrips the “dash for gas” in the 90’s.
Renewable energy includes; hydropower, solar, wind and
biomass. It’s combined capacity has reached a total of 41.9 gigawatts which is
just ahead of the 41.2 gigawatts for coal, oil and gas. The whole UK power
system is slowly but surely moving from the old methods that we have used for
many years to a much more eco friendly system. The output from coal has dropped
by 25% in the last year alone with only 6 coal plants left in the UK.
However the output from fossil fuels is currently still
greater with around 40% of electricity coming from fossils as opposed to 28%
from renewable. However this figure will slowly change as we move more and more
in the right direction.
In terms of which renewable is top, well that goes to wind
which contributes around half the power. Solar comes in second with the energy
coming from around 1,000,000 rooftops and fields. Biomass comes in third. Much
of this has come as a result of the “carbon tax” imposed on generators of
Gas powered power stations however have seen a boost with
Scottish and Southern Energy building a new 840MW gas power station in
While many countries around the world are looking to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, Sweden have built a road that can charge electric vehicles on the move. The road is reckoned to be the first of it’s kind in the world. The road is 1.25 miles long and will serve lorries that have been specially adapted to make use of the new technology. In the future the technology will made available to cars and buses. Sweden are looking at a totally eco friendly system by 2030.
The adapted vehicles can
recognise when they are on an electric road and an arm connects to the power
supply to recharge the batteries while the drive. If a vehicle then pulls out
to overtake the arm lifts up and lowers again when the vehicle is back in their
own lane. The owner of the vehicle is charged by the amount of electricity
The rail has safety
features built in to avoid accidents to both people and animals. The system can
also deal with small rocks on the track. The technology is similar to that
currently being used by some buses. It will be tested over a two year period
and will hopefully be rolled out to other parts of Sweden. The cost for the
system when fully in use would be in the region of £6,600,000,000 for around
12,400 miles of road.
Experts believe it could
take up to 3 years to complete the project at an installation rate of 1
kilometre per hour and will be able to deal with snow, ice and rain..
a result of being able to power up on the move, vehicles will be able to have
smaller batteries as there will be less need to hold a large charge.
Anxious drivers and motorway driving More and more I get pupils who come to me who are nervous, anxious or simply scared of driving. Some of these fears can be because of a bad experience either when driving themselves or as a passenger. Some fears may be more of a perceived problem i.e. imagining that […]
Drivers who take drugs, drink, use their phone illegally or speed could get much tougher sentences if they kill someone under new proposed legislation. They could in fact get life sentences. The current maximum is 14 years which could significantly increased under new reforms that will be announced in parliament early next year. The changes […]
The start of a new era of driving tests in Newbury and the rest of the country too. Today, I took my first pupil to test after lockdown. Anna Van der Zwaluw passed her test on her first attempt in Newbury with only 1 minor mark. There were some changes to the driving test due […]
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So the day has come. You have finally passed your driving test! The feeling of happiness and a massive weight lifted off your shoulders is immense. All those months of lessons and all of the money that you have spent has finally given you something that every young person craves…. “Independence and freedom”! With the […]
Since I started teaching people to drive 16 years ago, I have come across a number of pupils who are nervous about driving. Most people who come to my driving school who are nervous feel like they are the only ones who feel like this. In fact feeling nervous about driving is fairly common. A […]
A breakdown on your driving lessons in Newbury is something that can happen to anyone, as happened to one of my pupils who took lessons in his own car. It’s something that thankfully doesn’t happen too often. However when it does it normally takes us by surprise and it’s easy to find that you’re not […]
Staying safe after you pass your driving test is something that isn’t taught and something that most people don’t even think about. We take driving for granted and can often feel that once we are in our cars we are safe from any danger. We create a bubble around ourselves that we feel is impenetrable. […]