These days technology is a massive part of our everyday lives. With phones being our main form of communication we are heavily dependent on them every day. This can prove difficult when we can’t use them at all whilst driving. Whether it’s letting someone know where you are, or just replying to a text message or answering a call, these glances at a phone can be so quick yet have such devastating consequences and under no circumstances are more important than the driver and other drivers safety on the road.
So many people use their phones whilst driving and probably each have their own excuse. However these people are really just lucky that they haven’t caused an accident while using their phone. There are people that have caused accidents because of phone use and have been shamed and called out by a lot of people who have most likely used their phones themselves whilst behind the wheel. But they have avoided an accident so therefore are not looked upon as badly as those who have. Each look at a phone has the potential to cause serious damage so any phone use should be viewed equally, whether it causes an accident or not.
Some people believe that they are invincible and that they won’t cause an accident because they’re still watching the road, or only looked down for a second. But no matter how good you are at driving or how long you have been driving, you can never predict what will happen on the road. You could be on a quiet road and just ‘look down for a second’ and you may not swerve but someone could step out into the road and you would have no time to react. The simple fact is mobile phones are nothing but a distraction. The best way to avoid using them whilst driving is to have the phone on silent and on the back seat or in the boot, so even if you wanted to grab it quickly, you couldn’t.
If mobile phone use is essential when you are driving, then finding a safe place to pullover and make call or get directions etc is the best thing to do. No text message, or call, or photo is worth a life.
When learning to drive, most people’s main aim is to pass the driving test. Although this is of course the only way you can get out and drive on your own, it is important to remember that driving is a very important life skill and will always require care and attention even after the test is passed. Simply passing the test doesn’t mean you are free to drive how you want, break speed limits and other small road rules. We feel it is important to teach our pupils not only to pass the test, but to become safe, responsible drivers.
We want our pupils to pass just as much as they do but we will not let a pupil go to test if they are not ready and will also not string out their lessons unnecessarily. We find it is a great incentive to have the theory test passed so that a practical test can be booked as soon as the pupil is test ready and can have something to aim for, rather than just learning and being held back by not having the theory passed or having no real aim. Having a test booked is a real goal the pupil can aim to achieve, making them more focused on their lessons.
The driving test can be quite daunting for some pupils and can create nerves that affect their driving. Having someone else in the car next to them can be quite strange as it’s not what they are used to. Even the thought of not having their instructor there to tell them what to do can cause worry in the pupil. A lot of things can cause nerves but there are ways to overcome them. If a pupil is nervous It is best to look at why they feel nervous. If they are nervous about safety, they can remember they are in a dual controlled car with an experienced driver. They should also think about the fact that their instructor has bought them to test because they believe they are ready. They believe the pupil is a safe enough driver and this should help instil some confidence in them. If a pupil is adamant they are going to fail, they could be setting themselves up for failure. If they believe they will not pass anyway, they may not worry about doing what they need to as they don’t think it will be enough. Being positive and focused can push the pupil to try their hardest and succeed in passing the driving test.
Driving instructors have an important role to play in helping the pupil to believe in themselves. Sometimes a pupil can make mistakes but it is important to not dwell on them or make them feel bad about them. Simply correct the error and try to improve whatever it is. If the instructor constantly openly shares their worries of the pupil failing with the pupil or even tells the pupil they are going to fail, this will rub off on the pupil and knock their confidence. The instructor must work with the pupil to get them ready for the test and help them to become a confident driver afterwards.
For many drivers, using a satnav device can help reduce stress and confusion while driving. The sat nav audio means you won’t have to constantly be looking at the screen to know where you are going. When glancing at the screen is necessary, the route and direction needed are very clear to see. Even if a mistake is made and the wrong route is taken, sat nav will automatically find an alternative route or take you back to where you need to be, meaning you won’t have to find somewhere to stop and manually enter your destination again.
Having a sat nav, although helpful, can become a distraction if it is placed somewhere that could obstruct your view of the road and your surroundings. It is best not to place your sat nav too high up, as trailing wires can restrict your view. However, if it is too low the wires may get caught around the gear stick. You also need to be able to see it enough so that you do not have to try too hard to view the screen whilst you are driving. The best position would be as close to the right and as low down as possible but so that it is still easy to view the whole screen.
Overall, if placed correctly, sat navs do not create much of a hazard to you as a driver. They save you time from planning a route at home, trying to read a map or follow directions given by a passenger. A sat nav will also find you the quickest possible route and provide an estimate of your arrival time so you can reach your destination when needed and don’t need to waste time driving the long way around!
Everybody takes to driving differently. Some may be more natural when learning and some may find it quite difficult to get used to everything. When learning in a manual car, there is a lot to think about. Getting used to the gears can be one of the most difficult things to get used to. Trying to keep your eyes on the road and getting used to the movement of the gear stick for different gears can cause confusion. However, the more you practice and the longer you drive, the more you will get used to doing these things naturally and without hesitation.
As an alternative to learning in a manual car, you can learn in an automatic car. This would take away the clutch and gears, simplifying the process of driving. Some people may find automatic driving easier as they may like to feel confident and be able to concentrate and having too much to do at one time can become a danger for them if they can’t focus properly on the road. If driving without gears makes the driver feel safer this will improve their driving experience over all.
A big advantage of learning and passing your driving test in a manual car is that you can drive either manual cars or automatic ones afterwards. If you pass your test in an automatic car then you can only drive automatics and if you then wanted to drive a manual car, you would need to take another test. People will have their own preferences and will know what is better for them once they start learning to drive. Some people might think they won’t be able to drive a manual but after trying it, may find they like it. It is completely down to the pupils own comfort and safety.
When learning to drive most pupils will want to pass as soon as possible. This is one of our main aims after ensuring the pupil is safe and ready for test. Many factors can contribute to how quickly a pupil passes their driving test, some which are not in anyone’s control. For example, booking the practical driving test can be held back by not having the theory test passed. No one can guarantee the test dates that will be available and having to wait until you have passed your theory to book can be frustrating when you feel that you are ready to go to test. To help prevent disappointment in this area, we encourage pupils to get their theory test booked and passed as soon as possible. We provide free theory training to all of our pupils to further assist them. We will also discuss with pupils when we think they will be ready for test and suggest they book their test in advance to avoid having to wait to book as if it is left too late, the dates they had in mind may not be available. Having a test booked and a date to work towards can provide motivation to a pupil when they need it.
The period of time in which a pupil passes can also be affected by pupil’s ability and willingness to learn. Some pupils may be naturally better at some areas of driving meaning they may generally just take things in quicker. A lot of pupils will be eager to get in a few lessons a week in order to pass quicker. However a pupil wants to do their lessons, we will give our best advice to them on what we think is best too. The same standard of driving and safety still has to be met. Our school has largely only provided 2 hour lessons as we feel these are of a bigger benefit to all pupils and their driving journey. We believe the pupils individual driving course is essentially halved by taking one 2 hour lesson a week rather than 1 hour a week.
We are always open and honest with pupils and will not string out their lessons in any way. We always act in their best interest and always take into account what they want. We try to develop a good relationship with each pupil so that they always feel comfortable and never deflated about their driving journey. A good relationship will hopefully keep them positive throughout learning and ensure their driving journey is as enjoyable as possible.
Having a car accident can be very frightening especially if you are a new driver. We aim to teach to the safest standard possible however, there may be external factors that we can’t control that may cause an accident. Someone else’s bad judgement and driving on the road or bad weather conditions can cause accidents that just can’t be prevented. Although we teach emergency stops and educate on safety as much as we can, every situation is different and we cannot create these real-life situations whilst learning. Always being cautious and very aware on the road will hopefully prevent most accidents, even if someone else is in the wrong. If you react quick enough to any dangers, you are probably less likely to be involved in an accident.
Accidents can be traumatising so getting back in a car afterwards can be very difficult. If you were a passenger during an accident, then being behind the wheel yourself may give you the feeling of having more control. So while you are still nervous about anything happening again, you are the one controlling the car, therefore making you feel safer. If you were behind the wheel when the accident happened, you may have feelings of guilt and of course a big worry that it may happen again. It may be hard to regain confidence and feel safe driving in the future. Although maybe not the best experience to go through, a previous accident may make you better at preventing similar situations in the future. You will be able to think about how you could have reacted differently, or if there was anything you could have done to stop it from happening in the first place.
If you have had an accident and then take a break from driving, you may just build up more and more nerves about getting back in the car, and be put off ever driving again. If you need to drive and enjoyed it before, it is important to not let a bad experience ruin your independence. Refresher lessons might be helpful to help you regain confidence slowly and eventually feel comfortable again being out on your own.
When learning to drive, doing your own private practice can be very beneficial along with driving with a professional instructor. Private practice can increase the chances of experiencing many different driving conditions and situations. Practising both ways means you can continue learning what you have been taught professionally and spend more time on the things you think you need to work on. Working with your instructor to discuss progress can help to make sure you get plenty of practice where needed.
It may be a good idea to initially have a few lessons with an instructor to get used to general driving and having the dual controls. Then when you begin to take private lessons you will feel safer and more comfortable without the dual controls being there. At our driving school we are happy for, and encourage, parents or whoever is providing the private lessons to sit in on the pupil’s lessons. This way they can see how they the pupil is being taught and can continue this in private practice. This will also give them a better understanding of the pupil’s ability and what areas they need to focus on more.
There are certain standards that need to be met when taking the test, so being taught by a professional instructor will make sure you do not go to test with habits picked up from whoever else may be teaching you. This will also make sure you know what to expect on the day of the test as professional instructors can perform mock tests with the pupil prior to the practical test.
Pupils who already have their own car or who will be using their parent’s car may find it beneficial to also practice driving in that car so that they can get used to it and it won’t be such a challenge after passing the test and driving independently in a different car. However, even though it may be useful, private practice is not essential and some learners may just find it easier to stick to a professional instructor. At the same time, others may prefer to learn completely privately and then have just a few lessons with an instructor prior to test. The most important thing is that the pupil feels safe and ready when going to test and confident when driving independently.
Driving with passengers can be a very big distraction. This is especially true when you have just passed your test. You won’t be as experienced and having to concentrate on your driving and blocking out passengers talking to you or moving around can become difficult. It is important that you wait until you are more confident in general, before planning a long road trip with friends or being the designated driver on a night out. Sober passengers can be distracting enough but drunk passengers can be a whole lot worse.
Once you have been driving for a while and have experienced certain situations on the road a few times, then you will be more likely to be able to deal with these situations if they occur again whilst you have passengers in the car.
Being prepared when you are travelling with passengers can help keep the distractions to a minimum. For example, making a playlist before a journey can prevent constant music changes and arguments over song choice! Planning your route or becoming familiar with the route yourself beforehand will mean you don’t have to listen over your chatting friends for directions from the front seat passenger. This will also mean you probably won’t miss any turnings and end up getting lost on unfamiliar roads.
Safety is the most important thing when it comes to driving so making sure you and your passengers have your seatbelts on when travelling is vital. If you are the driver, you are responsible for everyone in the car so being a safe and sensible driver is the priority. If you are the passenger in a full car, make sure you are confident with the driver’s ability and try not to distract them!
Everyone will have things they are nervous about when it comes to driving no matter how experienced they are. Motorways, heavy traffic, night driving or country road driving can all cause a driver to feel out of their comfort zone. For new drivers even just being on the road with other cars can be nerve-wracking. It is a completely new experience and there is a lot to think about. We believe that nerves can be overcome with the right tuition. We will ease a pupil into driving and will not force them to do anything they are not comfortable doing. Doing so could only make the nerves worse and put someone off of driving altogether. We think that by remaining calm and being very friendly we can help the pupil to relax and become more comfortable being in the car.
Experienced drivers may have avoided certain routes or driving in the dark throughout their lives. Having refresher lessons can help them to gain confidence with the help of an instructor so that they can then go on to feel comfortable driving on their own. Generally, the more a driver experiences certain situations, the easier it is for them to tackle in the future.
Being nervous when driving can cause hesitation which can then become dangerous. For example, if a driver is pulling out on a roundabout and then panics because they think they shouldn’t have, this may cause them to stall or come to a stop in the middle of the roundabout which any drivers coming from the right may not be prepared for. It is important that the pupil feels confident and ready to start roundabouts and can judge gaps correctly. This will ensure they can pull out at the right time and follow through when they do and get around the roundabout safely. Being nervous can cause a pupils mind to go blank, so it is vital that they are not put in situations they cannot yet handle as this can cause accidents.
Everyone is different in each situation. Each pupil may feel nervous about different things so we aim to work hard with the pupil to get through the nerves. Building up a pupil’s confidence in other areas may mean they feel more comfortable trying the things they are more nervous about and this is what we aim for.
Driving itself requires all of your attention as there is so much to think about. Although it becomes easier to remember things and do them naturally without much thought, there are still distractions while driving that can affect your concentration. Music, passengers, scenery can all cause your attention to be taken away from driving, no matter how experienced a driver you are.
While learning, it is taught not to look down at the gearstick as this can cause accidents because you could be missing a danger on the road. In the same way, looking away from the road at your phone or into the back seat at a passenger can create dangerous consequences. It is important to never use your phone whilst driving. The few seconds that you are looking away may seem small but a lot can change on the road in that time. If the car in front has to do an emergency stop or just comes to a stop in general (for traffic or lights) this may go unnoticed if your eyes are not forward and you don’t know that you need to stop.
Having music on loud may mean you cannot hear what is going on around you, some people may not be able to concentrate on the music and driving. Changing the radio station or adjusting the volume whilst the car is moving can cause the car to swerve. None of these things are as important as staying safe. Always make sure you are concentrating and that your mind is on the road and not on changing the song.
It is a good idea to plan your route before making a journey so that reading a map or looking for directions will not take your attention away from driving. You may lose direction and panic but worse, may cause an accident due to not looking at the road. Satellite navigation systems are useful for this as they can go up on the windscreen so are in your view if you need to take a quick glance but they also read directions aloud, meaning your focus can be on the driving. Having a passenger read directions out to you can also help avoid you getting distracted.