Dealing with cyclists on the road

How should we deal with cyclists when learning to drive?

Cyclists are a major road user of the road but how do you feel about them and how are cyclists dealt with as you are learning to drive a car? The video below helps to explain the role of the car driver and cyclist as we share the road together. Its only once you learn to drive that you should begin to understand the position of a cyclist and how that can differ from a vehicle’s position sometimes. You should always be prepared to give a cyclist adequate clearance to the front of your vehicle and to the side when passing one safely.  The mirrors play a vital part of identifying if a cyclist is approach from behind as you prepare to slow down or stop the vehicle.  Therefore always be aware that as you continue to move or start moving again a cyclist could be close on your nearside.  Sometimes motorists ‘punish’ cyclists by over-taking too closely, a major concern for many cyclists. Rule 163 of the Highway Code states “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car” and illustrates this advice with a photograph of a motorist leaving a full car’s width when overtaking a cyclist, so always adhere to this for your safety and the cyclist’s.


There are two main types of bike/car accidents that are more common on our roads than any others:

  • The left-hand turn, where a vehicle turns left directly into the path of a cyclist going the opposite direction. In this situation, the motorist often never even sees the cyclist until it’s too late.
  • The right hook, where a vehicle passes a cyclist who’s riding in the right hand side of the lane going the same direction, then immediately makes a right turn directly into the cyclist’s path.

Other situations such as vehicle doors opening into a cyclist’s path, or rear-ending situations can cause just as much severe damage to a cyclist as well too so always proceed with caution.

Study free for you’re theory and hazard perception test

I am pleased to announce that ALL students now get free access to Smart Driving’s free app saving you £££££!!! Its theory and hazard perception on the move how you want it to be.

It’s an excellent app which will help you pass your Theory and Hazard Perception test. It has;

– Hundreds of practice questions.

–  Realistic Hazard Perception Clips.

– Mock Tests.

– Online Version of the Highway Code.

– Compatible with Android / iPhone / iPad devices


Preparing for winter driving to stay safe

Preparing For Winter Driving

Driving in Snow & Ice

Preparing for winter driving to stay safe

• Its worth preparing for winter driving by knowing your stopping distances and are increased by up to 10 times than in the dry – so leave plenty of space and distance in front!

• If your car starts to skid, don’t brake, instead press the clutch and steer into the skid, braking will exaggerate the skid making it worse.

• Reduce the risk of skidding by driving slowly for the conditions as too much speed can be the cause of a skid happening.

• By selecting second gear to move away in heavy snow or icy conditions it will prevent wheel spin happening.  If you’re driving an automatic car use the ‘Winter’ mode if it’s fitted.

• Always park your vehicle in a safe, legal and convenient place to no prevent causing an obstruction to snow ploughs, gritters and the emergency services.

• If you find the tyres are making hardly any noise you could be driving on ‘black ice’ do not make any sudden steering or braking to prevent skidding.

• See where it has become frosty, such as frost forming on footpaths and parked cars and clear any frost on the vehicle before driving off.

• Look out for pedestrians that may be using the road as footpaths have not been cleared of snow/ice etc

Driving in Heavy Rain Preparing for winter driving

• Use your headlights when visibility is below 100 metres, fog lights may also be used when visibility is seriously reduced but do remember to switch them off again when visibility starts to improve.

• Stopping distances will be increased to double, so leave a 4 second gap between you and the  vehicle  in front.

• If the steering becomes unresponsive, ease off the gas gently to slow down you may be aquaplaning through the deep puddles from the surface rain you’re driving through.

Driving in Floods & Standing Water

• Never drive through water that you don’t know the depth of as water can be deeper than it looks or be very fast moving. Your vehicle may be swept away very quickly putting it into danger, it only takes about 2 feet of water to make your vehicle float and difficult to control!

• When you drive through deep puddles or standing water reduce your speed before the hazard, a slow steady speed in 1st gear is best for control. If water gets into the engine it will destroy it and cause mechanical failure.

• Be aware and take care when pedestrians or cyclists are standing or waiting by the curb side to not soak them from surface spray.

• After driving through standing water you should test your brakes as soon as possible for functionality.  Do not continue driving if brakes become very unresponsive from flooding water.

Driving lessons in bad weather are the most important driving lessons you can take. Therefore try to not cancel your lessons due to bad weather, unless it is essential for safety to not drive. Learning in these conditions is invaluable and could save your life after passing your test!

Don’t struggle with hazard perception tips

Do you need hazard perception tips to score well in hazard perception test? Are you taking mock tests and failing this part? Help is at hand, not only do we offer you a free app on our home page to download to your mobile or PC but also giving you a useful link below to brush up on spotting developing hazards to increase your overall score, helping you to pass more easily.  Remember a hazard is something that will cause the driver to unexpectedly change speed, direction or stop. In real life driving its about clearly looking ahead to identify and plan what you have to do about the hazard you’ve spotted.  Anticipation and planning skills are key to becoming a good driver to deal with all traffic situations safely.

Happy spotting and clicking!!

Adding a parent to your car insurance to save money

Adding a parent to car insurance can save you money

Nowadays is it possible to save hundreds of pounds on your car insurance for new drivers? Well the answer is simply, yes, so keep reading!

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a student who had just passed his test and was about to buy his first car. I told him that by adding one of his parents to his insurance as a named driver then his insurance will probably work out cheaper. After him phoning around insurers I caught up with him when giving him a lesson on motorway driving and he gave me the good news.

His insurance with a named insurer after adding his Dad on the policy went from £1400 a year down to £900. Wow that’s was a saving of £500!!!

Just remember that you must add them to your insurance, not name them as the main driver as this would be seen as insurance fraud. When getting your quote please ask the insurance company if you have any questions and be honest or otherwise your policy will be null and void if details are omitted or false.

Applying for your provisional driving licence

Applying for your provisional

I get asked how soon could you apply for their provisional driving licence before your 17th birthday.
Well the answer is you can apply three months prior to your 17th birthday. However don’t forget, even with our provisional driving licence, you cant start your driving lessons until your 17th birthday, until you choose to do an off road course prior to starting to drive on roads. You can see more information on the website.

So if you are still 16 and want to start your lessons on your 17th birthday, then apply for your licence and at the same time contact me to book your first lesson, so as to not wait any longer!

Common Faults By Pupils On Test

Common faults by pupils

Something I get asked frequently is what are the list of common faults made on test, there is not real pattern which is probably a good thing. But below are a few faults for any other student who may be taking their practical driving tests soon to look out for.

Moving off – Safely
If you are asked by the examiner to pull over in a safe position then make sure after you have parked at the side of the road, that you cancel the indicator and make sure the left hand indicator is not still going when you pull away again. In the pressure of the test, it’s very easy not hear the indicator going or the flashing green arrow sign!

Progress – Appropriate speed
A fault that often creeps up with students on test is progress, appropriate speed. In other words not going fast enough for the speed limit / conditions. If you are on a National Speed Limit road with no crash barrier or grass between yourself and the oncoming traffic then the speed limit is 60mph. If the road is straight, perfect weather conditions and no reason to be going slower then you are expected by the examiner to “make progress” (In other words, be at or be close to the speed limit, so not to be holding up other vehicles). If the speed limit is 60mph don’t do 50mph and “play it safe”!

Use of speed

The opposite of “progress, appropriate speed” is “use of speed”, i.e speeding! Always make sure you keep looking out for change of speed signs and react accordingly. Keep a close eye on your speed and if it is a 30mph speed limit for example then be careful not be influenced by cars in front who are speeding and end up speeding yourself. If you are found to speed then you could get a serious fault.

Signals – Necessary and Timing
In the environment of your test, it is very easy to forget to do things and for some reason it’s often signals. I always try and keep students staying relaxed even on test day where the nerves kick in! so remember that you can make up to 15 driving faults, so don’t panic if you do make a mistake. Remember at roundabouts that if you are turning right i.e. an exit past 12 o’clock on a clock face then you need to indicate right. Stay calm when approaching roundabouts/junctions, think and go through your normal routine you’ve practised.

What is Pass Plus?

What is Pass Plus? 

Many students wonder what is Pass Plus? Pass Plus is a scheme linked to allow you to receive insurance discounts upon being a newly qualified driver, by:
•Saving you money on your car insurance premiums initially as a new driver.
•Showing you the techniques to be a positive driver which is both enjoyable and safe.
•Helping you gain quality driving experience upon passing your driving test that you can use for lifelong driving.

The pass plus course has been designed in six modules. Modules will not all take the same amount of time to cover, but each course must consist of a minimum of six hours tuition, five of which must be driving.
The Modules

Module 1:Introduction
Module 2: Town driving and all weather driving
Module 3:Out of town driving on rural roads
Module 4:Night driving
Module 5:Dual carriageway
Module 6:Motorway Driving

Feel free to contact us if you wish any further information on pass plus or start it after passing your driving test.

What are show me tell me questions?

What are show me tell me questions?

Below are the Show me Tell Me Questions you could be asked on your Driving Test:

Under the Bonnet

1) Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.

Identify reservoir and explain how to check level.

2) Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check the engine has sufficient oil.

Identify dipstick/oil level indicator describe the maximum and minimum level.

3) Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant and tell me how you would check the engine has the correct level.

Identify the high/low level markings on the header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to the correct level.

4) Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify reservoir, check level against high/low level.


Tell me questions

1) Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before you start a journey?

Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

2) Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for the car and how tyre pressure should be checked?

Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to fit the valve caps.

3) Tell me how you would make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash?

The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or the top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable N.B some restraints might not be adjustable.

4) Tell me how you would check the tyre to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe for use on the road?

No cuts or bulges 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and round the entire circumference.

5) Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working (need to exit car).

Operate switch (turn on the ignition if necessary) then walk round vehicle .If this is a tell me question you do not need to exit the car.

6) Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system


Show me questions

1) Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working?

Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators

(May need to switch on ignition but not to start the engine).

2) Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on the car (I can assist you if you need to switch on the ignition on, please don’t start the engine).

Operate brake pedal making use of the reflection in windows, garage doors, etc or ask someone to help, (may need to switch ignition on, prompt not to start the engine.

3) Show me or explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning

4) Show me how you clean the windscreen using the windscreen washers and wipers.

Operate the control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn on ignition if necessary)

5) Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively; this could include both front and rear screens.

Set all relevant controls including; fan, temperature air direction/source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows.Enginedoes not have to be started for the demonstration.

6) Show me how you switch your headlights from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.

Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary) check the main beam warning light.

Operate the switch (turn on the dipped headlight and ignition if necessary) Check warning light is on Explain use.

7) Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (I can assist you if you need to switch on the ignition please don’t start the engine).

Operate the brake pedal make use of reflection in windows, garage doors, etc or ask someone to help. (May need to switch on ignition on, prompt not to start engine.

8) Show me how you would switch on the rear fog lights and explain when you would use them (no need to exit the car).

Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary) check the warning light is on.

9) Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear; make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.

Apply the footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake (handbrake) so that when it is fully applied it secures itself and is not at the end of the working travel.