You absolutely have the right to change instructors if that is what you want. If you are learning with a multicar school it can be so much easier especially if you have paid the school directly. Simply inform the school that you would like to change. Any decent school will sort it all out for you, hopefully before your next lesson; it can be it more difficult if you have paid the instructor cash for your lessons though.
The driving school may well ask you for the reason, but you are under no obligation to give a reason. Remember you are a customer and it is your money to spend with a driving school you trust.
Even if you have had a fleeting thought about changing tells you that the instructor you are with may not be right for you.
Remember you will usually spending at least one hour together – sometimes two – one on one, with no one else present. This is an intense working relationship. It can be a good idea to have a trial lesson with an instructor before you buy a full package. Simply book a single lesson with them, get to know them and work with them for an hour or two and, after that, if you are confident you like them you can then go on to pay for a full course if you want to, again if you have paid the driving school directly you can still request a new instructor or a refund if things don’t go to plan.
If you do not get on with your instructor because they have a bad attitude, treat you badly or are unprofessional, then things can be slightly different. You do still, of course, have the right to change your instructor, but this time it is a good idea to tell the driving school why, because they may well treat other learners in the same way. Always look for a refund policy,
Remember to speak up as soon as possible; don’t suffer for a full 10 hours if you are not getting on! Ask to swap instructors sooner rather than later.
If the situation is really bad or the driving school does not help you can report them directly to the DVSA, Remember they could be treating all their ‘customers’ this way.
Since many other parents will drive their children to school too roads can be particularly busy in the mornings, and the school run is sometimes part of an onward journey to work. Parking at school in particular can be a real trial, since very few schools have car parks or areas to pull off the road to drop off. Try to drop your kids off a little way away from the main gates to save causing even more of a jam. However, there will also be plenty of people who park just outside the school gates. Be careful passing these parked cars: children can try to cross the road without looking or some cars can just pull out onto the road without looking.
Remember, stopping on the yellow zig zag markings is not allowed, you can get a parking ticket for stopping on these lines, and it is also morally wrong as it put both yours and other people’s children at risk of being run over outside their school in front of all their friends! You must however be careful and watch out for the selfish parents who do stop on the yellow zig zag lines.
Pay attention for cyclists too, we are constantly encouraging people and children to use cycles to get to and from school for health and environmental reasons, but some drivers seldom watch out for the or in fact give them enough room when they do see them.
Particularly tough for those people who drive their children to school are the last days of school just before various holidays – Easter, Christmas, summer etc. Remember, at these times it can be stressful, you might have extra school journeys to do, for example, the school play or Christmas fair. Imagine the emotions that will be felt by children who are in fact on their last day in school, usually feeling sad in primary school and happy in secondary school.
Finally, the best way to reduce the traffic going to and from school every day is to try and walk. Is that possible? How far is your house from the school? How dangerous are the roads? Is there a clear footpath? Remember that you should be setting an example to your children and others: be courteous, be patient and be safe!
Roads with traffic calming measures are usually a 20 zone, but there are some roads with speed bumps that are 30mph speed limits. It is important that you are aware and take note of your surroundings. Going over speed bumps too quickly can result in tyre damage, damage to your suspension, which can be cause your vehicle to be dangerous on the road. It is also very expensive when it comes to replacing them. The idea is certainly not to go over these speed bumps at 30mph!
There are two types of speed bumps: the longer, thinner ones that take up the entire width of the road and the small square ones. These small square ones or cushions as they are sometimes called. They are designed with emergency vehicles in mind, so that ambulances, for example, with their wider base, can pass over without causing distress to the casualty who could have a back injury.
So why do we have all these traffic calming measures at all? Officials at the government work hard to work out the most problematic areas of the country and reduce the risks of accidents by the best or by any means possible. Sometimes that means reducing the speed limit – which, unfortunately, many do not obey – and other times it means putting speed bumps in the middle of the road, which a lot more difficult to ignore. Traffic calming usually has a good reason to be put in place and it is extremely important to follow the laws of the road.
Remember if you are in a 20mph speed limit, it will not have traffic calming, but it will have 20mph repeater signs.
The first and most vital step is to make sure you have all the right documents with you. Collect your provisional licence, your theory pass certificate and your test appointment letter; this can be an electronic version. Your driving instructor should pick you up one hour before the start of your test to and check you have all the documents you need. They will want you to drive and help you setting down, but more importantly they will make sure you are at the test centre on time.
Once you get to the test centre you will be asked to park up, if there is a car park your driving instructor will encourage you to reverse park into the bay, as this will allow you to simply drive off at the start of the test. If you are in a panic, your instructor can park up for you.
You should arrive at the test centre about 10 minutes before your test start time.
You will be asked to sit in a waiting room be sure to have all your documents ready. Your examiner will come into the room and call your name, politely stand up to greet the examiner. At this point you will be asked to sign an insurance declaration, to ensure the car you are using is insured for the test. If you are using your driving instructors car there should be no problem all professional instructors will have adequate insurance for the test purposes.
The examiner will then ask you whether you would like your instructor to come with you when you take the test. You will need to have discussed this with your instructor beforehand. If you say no, you will then be asked whether you want your instructor to also listen in at the end of the test, i.e. when you get your results. This is entirely your choice, although it can be useful to have your instructor sit in on the test or at least listen in to the feedback at the end of the test, if you do not pass, they will be able to take you back to where you may have failed the test and offer some constructive feedback, after all if you have just been told you have failed, are you really going to carry on listening?
Once everything is signed, you will go out into the car park with your examiner and be asked to read out a number plate at the required distance. If you have your instructor with you, they will then sit in the back of the car; they usually sit behind you so that they do not distract you on the test. Remember, it goes without saying they are not allowed to help you at all.
You will then be asked two of the ‘show me, tell me’ questions If you are unsure what they are they can be found on the Insight 2 Drive website. Clicking the ‘learner drivers’ tab and then the ‘driving test questions’ or simply click this link http://www.insight2drive.co.uk/driving-test-questions/
All this happens before you even start the engine!
Firstly, you need to choose an instructor and a car that are right for you. Any good instructor will know that the size of a car, for instance, matters.
If you intend to drive a family saloon then learn to drive in a similar car. Also, there is nothing worse than the car being too small for you, even on your driving lessons, you must be able to comfortably reach all the controls and see clearly out of the window. It is vital that when you are operating the clutch that you are not stretching too much to depress it to the floor, this can actually cause problems in later life if you continually do this. Equally so you can get problems with your hips and knees if you are crunched up in the driver’s seat, your knees ideally should not be higher than your hips, if they are you are putting pressure on your hip joint.
Another thing to look out for is the general presentation of the car: does it look professional? Is it clean? Is it free of loose items? Does it carry the professional livery?
Remember, using a professional instructor will ensure you are covered by adequate insurance including specialist car insurance, a good instructor will also have public liability and professional indemnity.
It should be obvious that the driving school car should have L plates on it, but it should also look professional, some part time driving instructors do not have lively on their cars, but they are still a place of work and should look this way too, with no loose items or things on the back seat that could cause danger in the event of a collision. After all you are paying for professional driving instruction, not to borrow a friend’s car.
The driving instructors themselves should always act professional, it is easy to get too friendly with your instructor and forget you are there for a reason not to simply chat about the soap opera you both watched the night before. There is a place for chit chat and it does make the environment better, but it can become a problem if this goes on more that the facilitation of the learning.
Instructors should not conduct their own stuff on your lessons, you are paying for your instructor undivided attention, no to sit outside the shop while they nip in for a loaf of bread.
Also professional instructors will not use the phone while you are on your lesson, in fact if the car is moving it is illegal for an instructor to use a hand hale device. It is just plain rude if they are on hands free, booking in their next lesson while you are paying for this one!
Finally, if you are not happy with your instructor contact the school, they will help you. If it is an instructor who is just on their own, then you might just have to swap instructors.
Driving while your brain is in ‘holiday mode’ can be risky, as you may well be rushing to get there or simply in a heightened state of emotion. Now please do not think that we are saying you cannot have fun while driving or in fact be in a good mood, but ‘holiday mode’ the sun and some great music can make us feel invincible. Keep your driving ‘head’ on at all times, be happy, listened to the music and enjoy the sun, but be on your guard for other drivers mistakes as well as your own.
Since a lot of people way well be travelling at the same time as you (school holidays and bank holidays are particularly busy) you might want to think about the time of day that you travel. Early mornings are often worse for traffic than later in the evening or night, although it can depend. On bank holiday weekends, for example, most people will choose to start moving on Friday after work, although traffic will also be heavy on Saturday mornings. If at all possible, leave earlier on Friday morning or during the day.
If you cannot miss peak hour traffic, well it used to be called peak hour! Remember to accept that you will be held up, using acceptance is a great help in keeping you calm behind the wheel, getting angry or stressed because you are in a situation you have no control over is simply counterproductive.
If you are going away for a longer stretch of time, you may well be travelling further afield. Driving long journeys for extended periods of times can be tough and you could get fatigued. Try taking the journey in steps. For instance, a 6 hour car journey can be split up into two three-hour drives, or three two-hour drives. This makes them easier to deal with and less tedious. Having a second driver on longer journeys is also a good option. If you feel tired at least they can take over and give you a rest.
If you have kids, you’ll know that they can very quickly get bored and possible start fighting or at the very least argumentative. So remember: try to make the journey part of the holiday. Bring toys and books to keep the kids distracted: try to spot a red car, then a green, then a yellow. It doesn’t matter what you do, just keep it safe. This way, your passengers will be too busy to distract the driver and your journey will be safer and seem quicker.
One final word about holiday driving. When boarding a plane with a limited amount of room and a weight limit, keeping your luggage small and manageable is easy. When driving, however, it can be easy to forget about the extra weight of your luggage and to not think twice about bringing pets.
Remember when you have your car full of passengers, pets and luggage the handling on corners, the braking and acceleration is going to be different than when you are driving solo, so make sure you are planning your drive so that you do not have to brake sharply.
One more thing to consider is your pet, unrestrained pets in a car will go flying though the windscreen if you have to break hard or in fact hit something. Keep them safe in a cage or buy a special seat belt for them. Pets also get board too and cannot tell you if they need a drink etc, so factor in stops for them too.
The first thing you should look for is their instructor licence it should be clearly on show when you get into the car. There is actually a £1000 fine if this is not clearly displayed. If it isn’t there, you need to request to see it, then check the expiry date – if the instructor has hidden it, it may be because the licence is expired and they are not legally allowed to charge you money to teach you. They may actually have never held an instructors licence Even if the licence is clearly displayed, remember to check the date of expiry.
Licensed or qualified instructor have all had an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check which are now called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. Every 4 years.
Other ways to spot an illegal driving instructor are by their general appearance, mannerisms and conduct. If they are not dressed professionally, which can be smart and casual, someone who sees themselves as a professional would not go to work in a track suit and smelly training shoes! (Unless you are an athlete of course).
A professional instructor will know that using a mobile phone whilst instructing is not only illegal, but plain rude to you their paying customer. Remember that your instructor has a duty of care to you, and that, if they are using their mobile phone, they are not concentrating on your safety. However, there are some licensed instructors who are still unprofessional and will use some of the time you have paid for to conduct their own business!
Usually, if the instructor works for a multi car school this is usually an indication that they are working legally. Driving schools, have a vested interest to only work with licensed instructor, another sure way to stay safe is to pay the school directly rather than the individual instructor, this will form a contract between you and the driving school, so they have a duty to look after your money, until the lessons have been given.
A driver should always be considerate to other road users including pedestrians, cyclists and motor cycles. Try to be understanding to someone driving too slowly – it may be a new driver or someone who does not know the area well. Speeding up behind them or tailgating will only fluster them and cause them to make mistakes or brake harshly, possibly resulting in you going into the back of them! Even if they do go faster you are increasing the risk on the road to you and other road users.
Do not allow yourself to become agitated or involved if someone is driving badly or erratically. Stress is a big killer of modern times, and it can take up to 90 minutes to calm down after an incident on the road. Being agitated on the road, because of someone else’s mistake will only fuel the situation. The best course of action is to pull over (where it is safe and legal) calm down and continue with your journey when you feel relaxed again.
You should never use bad or aggressive language to another driver or gestures. You’re only going to make the situation worse which could result in racing or dangerous driving. You certainly should not get out of the car and approach another angry driver – you don’t know how far their aggression can go, what type of person they are, or what they might be carrying with them i.e. a weapon.
Use your emotional intelligence to avoid situations such as this try to be considerate and don’t cut across other peoples paths, rush through traffic, change your mind too late which will mean evasive action from another vehicle, or using lanes inappropriately. Slow down or hold back if someone “cuts you up” by pulling out of a junction in front of you or changing lane too closely. Allow them to get clear from you – do not retaliate by doing the same to them, or tailgating and flashing your lights to intimidate them.
You must not throw anything from your vehicle including cigarette stubs, cans, paper or carrier bags. These are potentially hazardous to other road users such as cyclists or motorcyclists and even pedestrians.
After all we do not know what is going on in people’s lives, we sometimes have to drive after we have been told some bad news, been to a funeral, a hospital visit, screaming kids in a car, your spouse has just left you, etc, etc, the list goes on. It is not acceptable to assume a person is a bad person just because they made a mistake on the road. It could be the only mistake they have been all week!
Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey, check your tyres, oil, water and washer liquids are adequate and safe before setting off. Ensure that you are sufficiently rested and alert enough to drive long distance.
Checking Google maps or similar can be a great help in planning your route before you go, always listen to traffic bulletins, you may well be able to change your route before you go or even during, if you get to know about roads being closed etc.
If the weather is unpredictable, make sure you have the right supplies with you. If it’s sunny make sure your sunglasses are within safe reach – you don’t want to be rummaging round in the glove box while you are on the move. If it’s predicted snow or ice assess if your journey is essential and check your route again – if it involves country roads but you could stay on a motorway for an extra junction, take the motorway. Although it may be longer mileage wise, it will be safer in the long run.
Country roads are the last placed to be gritted so are usually harder to pass than normal roads and motorways, Ensure you have warm clothing and a blanket with you, a warm drink and food (even if it’s just biscuits and chocolate) with you. You should also carry a shovel and sacking if possible. These may help you out in an emergency if you are stuck in the snow.
Time planning is essential to safe travel, always factor in extra time, especially on important journey with time constraints in them, for example, catching a flight. Driving to a camp site or holiday cottage is a different matter though, take your time and make the journey part of the holiday.
Always, keep a set of notes with you detailing important junctions, road numbers, locations and land marks, this will be a great help if your technology lets you down at the last minute.
When undergoing a long journey try to do it in steps, for example, if your journey is about 6 hours, then do 3 2 hour journeys instead, plan for at least 2 rest stops? This really does help in the overall feeling of “are we nearly there yet?”
If you are held up on route by traffic the best way to deal with this is to ether, stop and chill in a service area or similar, or just accept you are being held up and that there is nothing you can do about it, getting stressed and angry because of a hold up is counterproductive.
Remember, some motorway holdups are due to the emergency services helping people who may have crashed, worst case scenario even a death. If an air ambulance has to land on the motorway it has to be closed as the rotors will span the whole of the motorway carriageway.