Monday, 6 December 2010

Driving on Snow and Ice: 10 Safety Tips

Expert Advice To Prevent a Car Crash

The best tip for winter driving: Sometimes it's best to stay home, or at least remain where you are until snow plows and sanding crews have done their work. If you crash on a snowy or icy road, you'll certainly be late — or worse. But since you can't always call in to work claiming a "snow day," it's better to learn how to correctly deal with driving in the snow.

I've battled snow- and ice-covered highways in two-dozen states behind the wheel of both passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers. I've performed hundreds of tire tests on snow-covered roads, attended snow-driving schools and done precision (translation: "barely in control") driving in the snow for videos and still photos. From this experience, here are some snow driving tips the average driver can follow to reduce the chances of a crash.

1.Get a grip. To have adequate snow traction, a tire requires at least 6/32-inch deep tread, according to The Tire Rack. (New passenger-car tires usually have 10/32-inch of tread.) Ultrahigh-performance "summer" tires have little or no grip in snow. Even "all-season" tires don't necessarily have great snow traction: Some do, some don't.

If you live where the roads are regularly covered with snow, use snow tires (sometimes called "winter tires" by tiremakers). They have a "snowflake on the mountain" symbol on the sidewall, meaning they meet a tire-industry standard for snow traction.

2.Make sure you can see. Replace windshield wiper blades. Clean the inside of your windows thoroughly. Apply a water-shedding material (such as Rain-X) to the outside of all windows, including the mirrors. Make sure your windshield washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid. Drain older fluid by running the washers until new fluid appears: Switching fluid colors makes this easy.

3.Run the air-conditioner. In order to remove condensation and frost from the interior of windows, engage your air-conditioner and select the fresh air option: It's fine to set the temperature on "hot." Many cars automatically do this when you choose the defrost setting.

4.Check your lights. Use your headlights so that others will see you and, we hope, not pull out in front of you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are clear of snow. If you have an older car with sand-pitted headlights, get a new set of lenses. To prevent future pitting, cover the new lens with a clear tape like that used to protect the leading edge of helicopter rotor blades and racecar wings. It's available from auto-racing supply sites.

5.Give yourself a brake. Learn how to get maximum efficiency from your brakes before an emergency. It's easy to properly use antilock brakes: Stomp, stay and steer. Stomp on the pedal as if you were trying to snap it off. Stay hard on the pedal. Steer around the obstacle. (A warning: A little bit of steering goes a very long way in an emergency. See Tip 8.) If you drive on icy roads or roads that are covered with snow, modify your ABS technique: After you "Stomp" and the ABS begins cycling — you will feel pulses in the pedal or hear the system working — ease up slightly on the pedal until the pulsing happens only once a second.

For vehicles without ABS, you'll have to rely on the old-fashioned system: You. For non-ABS on a mixed-surface road, push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. Repeat this sequence rapidly. This is not the same as "pumping the brake." Your goal is to have the tires producing maximum grip regardless of whether the surface is snow, ice or damp pavement. Use the tips in "How To Survive the Top 10 Driving Emergencies" to practice before the emergency.

6.Watch carefully for "black ice." If the road looks slick, it probably is. This is especially true with one of winter's worst hazards: "black ice." Also called "glare ice," this is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Test the traction with a smooth brake application or slight turn of the wheel.

7.Remember the tough spots. Race drivers must memorize the nuances of every track, so they can alter their path for changing track conditions. You must remember where icy roads tend to occur. Bridges and intersections are common places. Also: wherever water runs across the road. I know people who lost control on ice caused by homeowners draining above-ground pools and by an automatic lawn sprinkler that sprayed water onto a street in freezing temperatures.

8.Too much steering is bad. If a slick section in a turn causes your front tires to lose grip, the common — but incorrect — reaction is to continue turning the steering wheel. That's like writing checks on an overdrawn account: It won't improve the situation and may make things worse.

If the icy conditions end and the front tires regain grip, your car will dart whichever way the wheels are pointed. That may be into oncoming traffic or a telephone pole. Something very similar happens if you steer too much while braking with ABS. Sadly, there are situations where nothing will prevent a crash, but turning the steering too much never helps.

9.Avoid rear-tire slides. First, choose a car with electronic stability control. Fortunately, ESC will be mandatory on all 2012 models. Next, make sure your rear tires have at least as much tread as your front tires. Finally, if you buy winter tires, get four.

10.Technology offers no miracles. All-wheel drive and electronic stability control can get you into trouble by offering a false sense of security. AWD can only help a vehicle accelerate or keep moving: It can't help you go around a snow-covered turn, much less stop at an icy intersection. ESC can prevent a spinout, but it can't clear ice from the roads or give your tires more traction. Don't let these lull you into overestimating the available traction.

Regardless of your driving skill or vehicle preparation, there are some winter conditions that can't be conquered. But these tips may help prevent snowy and icy roads from ruining your day.

Source : Mac Demere -

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Drugalyser: New Weapon In The Clampdown On Drug Driving

A new handheld “drugalyser” that detects substance abuse in under two minutes could become the latest weapon the clampdown on drug driving.

The portable handheld device can detect cocaine and heroine from a saliva sample within 90 seconds and other substances within minutes. It is able to detect drugs in the body at far lower levels than existing testing devices

The new portable device, which will be available in 2011, would mean police officers could carry out tests on suspected drug drivers at the roadside.

A positive result would mean officers would no longer have to wait for permission from a doctor before a blood test could be taken to be used as evidence in court.

The government announced plans in August to install a device to catch motorists driving under the influence of drugs at every police station within two years after a survey revealed earlier this year that nine in 10 drivers support a tougher stance on drug driving.

Last year, in a government-sponsored study, 10 per cent of drivers aged 18-29 admitted getting behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.

Peter Welch, chairman and chief executive of Concateno, which produced the decvice, said: “The new system will offer significant operational benefits to healthcare and police professionals; perhaps the most important being the ability to speed up the point of care testing process.

It may also be used hospitals and doctors surgeries to detect patients with substance abuse problems.

Source :

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Drivers To Face Random Drink And Drug Tests Under New Powers

All drivers face random drink and drug tests under new powers being requested by the police.

Chief constables have asked ministers to change the law to give officers “a power to randomly check any driver”.

The request from the Association of Chief Police Officers has emerged as ministers draw up new rules on driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Some police forces already use checkpoints to stop and check drivers, but police chiefs want to be able to go much further.

In a memo submitted to MPs investigating the issue, police chiefs said:

“ACPO wholeheartedly supports the introduction of a power to randomly check any driver.

“Putting conditions on when a breath test can be required simply supports the view that you can drink, drive and avoid prosecution by playing within the ‘rules’, police have unrestricted powers to stop vehicles to check tyres, condition and the documents of a driver but are restricted when they can check for drink or drugs.

“A random power would support targeted checkpoint testing of drink drivers carried out now is some areas but requiring an element of consent.

“Random powers are supported, not necessarily because we believe that the existing powers are inadequate; rather, we believe that this simple measure, widely publicised, would increase the perception in the minds of drivers that if they do drink and drive they are likely to be caught and brought to justice at any time, anywhere.

Police chiefs also demanded a change in the law to make it easier to test motorists for illegal drugs, warning that officers are “disillusioned” with the current legal “barriers” to carrying out such tests.

Granting police the power to carry out random breath testing is one of the key recommendations in the report on road safety prepared by Sir Peter North, former Principal of Jesus College, currently being considered by ministers.

The previous Government had drawn up plans to change the law to allow this to happen, but were voted out of office before they were able to do so.

However Kevin Delaney, the former head of traffic at Scotland Yard, said the police could carry out random testing already.

“They have two powers which enable them to do this,” he said.

“Police can stop any car at random. This, I believe, dates back to the 1930s, when officers wanted to check whether the driver had a licence.

“They also have the power to carry out a breath test if they think drink has been taken. It could be they smell alcohol on the breath or see someone driving away from a pub.”

The ACPO plea was backed by Rob Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.

“International experience shows that regular and visible breath testing by police forces reduces the amount of drink-driving,” he said.

“Allowing the police to stop any driver and breath test him or her would send a clear signal to the driving public that the law is being enforced and that drinking and driving are two activities that are best undertaken separately.”

Responding to the call, a Department for Transport spokesman said:

“We are considering the North Report’s recommendations and will respond in due course.

“Our priority will be to tackle dangerous offenders in the most effective way possible to protect law abiding road users.”

Source :

Monday, 8 November 2010

Young Drivers Don’t Need To Pay Over The Odds For Car Insurance

Young drivers struggling to find an affordable insurance policy are turning to new technology to bring down premiums.

The average premium for a motorist aged between 17 and 22 is now £1956, according to the AA. That’s an increase of more than 50% since last year.

Young motorists pay such high premiums because statistically they are more likely to be involved in an accident. Road crashes are the biggest killer and cause of paralysis, limb loss and brain injury in young people. An 18-year-old is also more than three times as likely to crash as a 48-year-old.

Ian Crowder of the AA says: “Insurers are shunning young drivers because of the high volume and cost of claims. If you end up in a wheelchair because of a car accident, then the insurer could be facing a £17 million claim. And it’s a lot more common than you might expect. One in five young people will have a catastrophic accident in their first year of driving.”

A number of firms are using new technology to monitor motorists. The idea is to promote safer driving and so reduce premiums, which can benefit all drivers but might be particularly attractive to youngsters with high premiums. Insurethebox, for example, fits a satellite device into your car so it can track its movements. The system rewards careful motorists who drive a limited number of miles each year. Mark Grant, business development director of Insurethebox, says: “The technology not only reduces premiums, but also promotes safer driving.”

Insurethebox’s annual insurance policy covers 6000 miles. Drivers are then given 100 bonus miles each month – as long as they drive carefully. Bonus miles are deducted for a number of risky activities, such as driving at rush hour or at night, or for speeding. The average Insurethebox customer earns 50 bonus miles a month.

Drivers can buy top-up miles if they are likely to breach the 6000 limit. Extra miles are sold in bundles of 250 and the cost depends on your original premium. I-kube customers also have a “black box” fitted to their car. But they earn a discount on their standard premium by agreeing not to drive between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

Anyone who drives during these so-called “red hours” incurs an additional premium of £60.

Coverbox is another firm that uses tracking technology to monitor your driving. Customers can then get a rebate on their premium if they drive fewer miles than forecast or if they drive more often than expected during the day than at night. Of course, if you exceed your forecast mileage, or drive more than expected at night, you will have to pay an additional premium.

Penny Searles, director of Coverbox, says: “The black box constantly monitors your driving and customers can look at their driving reports on their own portal. It allows them to control the costs of their insurance and makes them more aware of their driving behaviour.”

Searles reckons that Coverbox customers pay on average 25% less for their insurance than with a standard policy.

Coverbox works with a panel of six insurers, including The Co-operative Insurance. Grant Mitchell, head of motor insurance for The Co-operative Insurance, says: “The Co-operative Insurance is committed to young drivers and raising awareness of the importance of driving safely and responsibly. Through our work with National road safety charity Brake, and Coverbox, our technology provider, we are in a unique position to help educate young drivers on the importance of responsible driving. We do this through the specialist website and can also offer young drivers the opportunity to access cheaper car insurance through our partnership with Coverbox.”

Motorists who drive safely can also expect lower premiums in future because they can build up a no-claims discount (NCD). Drivers earn a discount on their premium if they do not make any claims. The NCD can be valuable, reducing the cost of cover by a third after one year.

The specialist firms usually arrange for someone to come and fit the tracking device to your car at a convenient time and place. But check on any fees for the box and installation. Also check whether there is a charge to remove the device if you change cars or insurers.

Some drivers might be wary of the black box. Perhaps it’s a bit too much like Big Brother, collecting potentially incriminating data, such as breaches of the speed limit. But there are other ways, outlined above, for young drivers to save on car insurance.


1. Buy a sensible car. Every new car is assigned to a car insurance group, and the lower the group, the lower the likely premium. You can find details of the car insurance groups at

2. Don’t modify your car with spoilers and fat tyres as you will pay a higher premium.

3. You might earn a discount on your insurance if you fit approved security devices, such as an alarm or immobiliser system. If you can, keep your car in a locked garage when it’s not in use.

4. It is sometimes cheaper to buy third party, fire and theft insurance rather than comprehensive cover. But you have to weigh up the advantage of saving against the disadvantage of limited cover.

5. If you are prepared to pay a bigger voluntary excess, you might pay a lower premium. But remember that the excess is the amount of money you contribute towards any claim, so it should be affordable.

6. Shop around for an insurance quote. But make sure you compare like with like. A car insurance policy might be cheap because it does not offer many benefits.

7. Consider taking the Driving Standards Agency’s Pass Plus course, which gives extra tuition on night, motorway and inner city driving. Insurers and brokers often offer substantial discounts to drivers who have completed the course.

8. Pay annually. It is more expensive to spread the cost of your insurance over monthly instalments because you will be charged interest.

9. Add an additional driver. If you add an older, more experienced family member with a clean driving record it could cut the cost.

10. If you are the main driver or the registered owner of the car, do not insure the vehicle in your parents’ name and put yourself down as a named driver. The practice – known as “fronting” - is illegal and could invalidate any claim.

Source :

Thursday, 4 November 2010

New Speed Camera Can Catch Drivers Committing Five Offences At Once

A speed camera designed to catch motorists committing up to five offences at the same time could be heading to Britain's roads. As well as catching speeding motorists, the Asset camera should be able to pick out drivers who are not wearing seatbelts and accurately measure distances between moving cars to identify tailgating.

Asset (advanced safety and driver support for essential road transport) can also note number plates and recognise cars with out-of-date tax discs and no insurance.

Funded by the European commission, the camera system is being developed by a consortium that includes a number of European universities and research institutes and is being tested in Finland.

Motoring organisations and campaigners in the UK gave the system a cautious welcome. AA president Edmund King said he was pleased if it stopped motorists tailgating but hoped it would not be used as a money-making measure. "Tailgating is more dangerous in most cases than speeding so I think most motorists would welcome it," he said. "We will need sophisticated technology to police the roads and there would have to be safeguards. But it needs to be done as a safety measure, not as a money-making machine."

The campaign group Speed Cameras Dot Org said the devices should not become a replacement for traditional traffic police officers. A spokesman said: "We cautiously welcome a device that can detect several potential motoring offences, but it remains to be seen how accurate it is and how fairly it will be used.

"The main actions that cause the most accidents, namely not paying attention to the road, misjudging distances and other drivers' intentions, cannot be detected by a device of any sort. More police patrols and better driver education are the only ways to reduce accidents."

The development of Asset began in 2008 and is due to end next year. The developers hope that by 2013 its cameras will be set up across Europe, including the UK. Its selling point is that one camera can do a series of tasks: cameras now tend to be used for different jobs.

Matti Kutila, senior research scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, where the system is being tested, said: "The main intention is to support traffic police to supervise that the drivers follow traffic rules such as wearing seat belts, preventing over-speeding and maintaining sufficient distance to the front vehicle. This of course is beneficial for road safety."

Source : Steven Morris -

Learner Drivers To Sit Theory Tests ‘Blind’

The multiple-choice questions which appear in the written part of the exam will not be published in future, so candidates will not be able to memorise the answers.

‘The driving theory test should help to prepare drivers for real life on the road,’ said road safety minister Mike Penning.

‘Good driving is not just about vehicle-handling skills but also about having the knowledge and understanding of safe driving theory.

‘No longer publishing these questions and answers will mean that successful candidates will have to understand the theory rather than simply memorising answers.’

The minister said the move would lead to better drivers and safer roads. It follows the introduction of independent driving into the exam and the decision to stop publishing test routes to make sure the candidates can handle motoring along unfamiliar roads.

The Driving Standards Agency will change the format of books and learning materials to help people prepare for the new theory tests, which start in January 2012.

Practice questions and answers, not used in theory tests, will still be available for revision.

Read more:

Source : Mike Penning -

Monday, 6 September 2010

Millions Drive With Poor Eyesight

Millions of motorists are driving around with poor eyesight, according to a survey.

As many as 23% of those not wearing glasses admit their vision is less than perfect, the poll by LV= car insurance found.

And 7% of drivers who should wear glasses for driving do not always put them on when they get behind the wheel, the poll revealed.

Some of those who admit sight difficulties say they have trouble seeing at night and others struggle in bad weather.

Yet a third of them have not had their eyes tested in the last five years and 13% have either had a test more than 10 years ago or never had one.

In a test of 256 randomly-selected drivers, LV= car insurance found 9% were unable to make out a number plate just over 20 metres away on their first attempt. This figure rose to 18% of drivers aged 55 or over.

Of those who should wear glasses for driving but do not, 57% said they simply forget to put them on and 32% think it unnecessary.

A total of 2,490 UK drivers were surveyed.

LV= car insurance managing director John O'Roarke said: "The number plate test is a compulsory requirement of the driving test for a very good reason. However, this is no substitute for regular eye examinations as eyesight can change significantly over time.

John O’Roarke, LV car insurance managing director, said: “The number plate test is a compulsory requirement of the driving test for a very good reason. However, this is no substitute for regular eye examinations as eyesight can change significantly over time.

“Driving with poor eyesight is a criminal offence and can result in a fine, penalty points or even a ban, as well as invalidating your car insurance when it comes to making a claim.”

New EU legislation, set to be introduced in 2011, will require holders of private licences to have their eyes tested every 10 to 15 years, with holders of commercial licences having to do it every five years.

Source : Press Association

Parents 'Need A Refresher Lesson Before Teaching Kids To Drive'

Parents giving their children driving lessons should brush up on their own skills beforehand, according to What Car? Driving School.

The company said in a statement many adults are choosing to give their teenagers lessons rather than pay for a professional as a result of the recession, but the majority of parents' driving knowledge is out of date.

Paul Atkinson, managing director of What Car? Driving School, noted 45 per cent of motorists in the UK would be likely to fail the current driving test if they took it today.

"It is all too clear that these drivers need a refresher driving lesson or two to ensure they do not pass on their bad habits to their teenagers," he commented.

The organisation listed approaching junctions too quickly and rushing observation procedures among the typical bad practices of parents.

A recent study by found a third of mothers and fathers do not know the correct laws on child car seats

Source : Mary Treen -

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Vauxhall Corsa Vehicle Recall

Following a vehicle recall notice issued by Vauxhall, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has announced conditions for allowing Vauxhall Corsa D models on the driving test.

This applies to all Vauxhall Corsa D vehicles with registration plates with a ‘59’ or ‘10’ year identifier.

For these vehicles, there is a possibility that the handbrake cable end fitting could move within the supporting bracket welded to the under body of the vehicle.

If this fault occurs, it might lead to a sudden loss of handbrake function at any time.

If you want to use one of these vehicles for your driving test, it will only go ahead if:

· the vehicle is fitted with dual controls - this is to help the examiner control the car in the unlikely event of a failure


· if you supply documents to show that remedial work has been carried out – this will usually be in the form of the Vauxhall recall letter stamped by the dealer and containing written confirmation that the remedial work has been carried out.

If none of these criteria are met, you’ll need to contact customer services to arrange for your test to be rebooked once the remedial work has been completed.

As there’s been no prior warning of this action, customers will have their test fee refunded or will be given a free retest only on the first occasion that they bring an affected vehicle for their test.

Source : DSA

Battle Of The Sexes Continues In Cars

Research reveals that when it comes to motoring, it's not just how men and women drive that is different, but how we crash too. Find out how it can affect your car insurance.

Diamond, the women's car insurance specialist, has revealed that there are certain types of accidents women are more likely than men to be involved in.

The list for women includes accidents in car parks, bumps on roundabouts and prangs at traffic lights. On the other hand, male motorists are more likely than female motorists to have a head on collision, drive their car up or down an embankment or hit a crash barrier.

"Our research suggests the way men and women drive is different. Possibly men drive faster and more aggressively than women, while women are more easily distracted than men behind the wheel of car," said Sian Lewis, managing director of Diamond. "Women tend to be in more accidents at slower speeds, where cars are close together, while men have more high-speed accidents where it is easy to lose control."

Car insurance claims revealed

Women are also more likely to have their car broken into and have something inside stolen, while men are more likely to have their car stolen outright. Men's cars are also more likely to catch fire than women's and they're more likely to drive through a flood. Men are also more likely than women to claim for fuel contamination.

Research from Direct Line recently revealed a number of 'crash for cash' hotspots, which add an estimated £44 on average to every UK motorist's premiums. Whether a man or a woman, it is always advisable that you regularly review your car insurance policy to ensure you are getting the best deal on your motor insurance.

Source :

New Hands-Free Technology Lets Motorists Use Twitter While Driving

British motorists could soon be able to use Twitter while driving with new hands-free technology from car company Ford.

The system, called AppLink, allows applications on iPhones and BlackBerries to be voice-controlled.

It reads 'tweet' updates out loud while the car is on the move - but does not allow the driver to respond.

This is all controlled by Ford's SYNC system - a hands-free technology that is also capable of reading out text messages and uses voice recognition to select specific songs from an MP3 player.

It was created after a study, from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in America, revealed the dangers of driver inattention.

Research suggested that being distracted for a matter of seconds is a factor in a staggering 80 per cent of accidents.

Ford says its SYNC technology offers significant safety benefits by allowing the driver to focus more on the road.
Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, said: 'It's only through continuous improvement that Ford will maintain its lead in voice-activated vehicle controls.

'Making SYNC even more intuitive and easier to use will encourage more drivers to take advantage of its hands-free capabilities, helping them keep their focus on driving.'

The system is expected to appear in the Focus model in Britain next year before being installed across the range.
But it's being greeted with some scepticism by driving experts in the UK.

John Franklin, from the RAC, said: 'RAC welcomes any innovation that improves safety by limiting the distractions in the car.

'However it's debatable whether this type of technology will help as it's likely to increase the distractions available to the driver.

'Tweeting while driving is an unnecessary distraction and shouldn't be seen as an essential activity when behind the wheel.'

A spokesman for the AA added: 'This technology has Jeckyll and Hyde qualities.

'It has positive aspects - it could entertain you on a long journey and provide valuable information about your route.
'But it could also be a distraction - the temptation is there to 'tweet' back if you hear one read out.

'It's fine if it's merely meant to be listened to - like a radio - but not if the driver has to start fiddling around with buttons.

'Hands-free technology can be dangerous if the driver is distracted for too long.

'It is the driver's responsibility to use the technology safely.'

Read more:

Source :

Monday, 12 July 2010

Pass Plus Course For Learner Drivers

As you pass your driving test you are permitted to drive on roads, but then also you are still an inexperienced driver.

As per the statistics roughly 20% new drivers are around 10 times more expected to be involved in an accident and unfortunately, two drivers under the age of 25 die each day in crashes in the UK.

Driving Standards Agency has designed a scheme called Pass Plus. It is designed with coordination and cooperation of the driving instruction and motor insurance industries.

The main aim of this scheme is to enable new drivers to gain valuable knowledge, learn new skills and techniques, improve anticipation and alertness, learn how to diminish the danger of accidents and uphold a polite attitude on the road and also assist to build up existing skills.

Who can take part

Pass Plus is a post driving examination course. The purpose is for giving driving knowledge to a qualified person who has passed the driving test quite recently.

It has been observed that entirely new drivers are more often considerably more prone to mishaps, predominantly within the first couple of years of driving.

The Pass Plus scheme which is designed by DSA is a final test that is modular and given in 6 parts, which in effect results in the creation of superior drivers who will respond promptly as well as more obviously to any sort of incident that they might come across while driving. In this way, together their aptitude and their self-confidence are improved, the effect being a less hazardous and more knowledgeable driver.

Purpose of the Pass Plus course

•To have a precise safe and sound driving knowledge.
•Be trained how to deal with a broad range of road and traffic situations, many of which you almost won’t have come across before
•Upgrade on your existing skills and knowledge – it can take years to become a skilled driver. Pass Plus helps you to get this by speeding up the learning procedure under the guidance of a professional instruction.
•Diminish your danger of being in a road crash – the training will help you to improve your consciousness and alertness on all kinds of hazards and help you in learning how to become an expert, avoid the hazards and deal with them carefully.
•Pass Plus training also helps in boosting up your self confidence whenever you feel nervous while driving on your own.

Pass Plus course overview

Pass Plus includes six practical modules that cover driving in town, in all weathers, on rural roads, in dark, in day light, on dual-carriageways and on motorways. Within the first 12 month of passing your test you can take this test.

It is in fact adapted for those who have recently passed their driving test and require the knowledge previously not obtained by them. It has to be explained that it is not only for those who have recently passed their driving test, but for those also who have passed earlier and wants further experience in the same field.

The Pass Plus couse consists of a series of six modules of at least one hour each. These cover:

•introduction and town driving
•all-weather driving
•out of town driving and rural roads
•night driving
•dual carriageways
•motorway driving

As a sign of the effectiveness of the scheme, latest survey conducted for the Driving Standards Agency showed that 93% of people who had taken Pass Plus felt more confident on the road, and 80% considered that their driving skills had enhanced as a result of taking the course.

Choosing an Instructor

Talk to your instructor about the Pass Plus course before, as well as after the completion of your driving test. The instructor will explain the skills which will be provided. The driving instructor will provide a minimum of one hour to all of these areas of motoring; yet, some less experienced motorists may require additional lessons. The instructor must possess and ADI green badge and also be registered as DSA Pass Plus instructor, in order to teach the Pass Plus candidates.

Pass Plus course fee

You can reduce your car insurance premiums or get an additional no claims bonus with some insurance companies. Costing depends on the motoring organization and the actual amount of time spent on the candidate. Moreover, every part of the country has its own costing system. One supplementary financial concern in passing your Pass Plus is the cut down in your motoring insurance premium.

Advantages of completing the Pass Plus-After the completion of Pass Plus course you will be able to drive in town, in all weathers, on rural roads, at night, on dual carriageways and on motorways with much more confidence.

Pass Plus gives you an additional experience and reduces your car insurance premium/discount.

More than 1,000 successful candidates per month have enjoyed the profit of highly developed training and insurance discounts, since the scheme stated in February 1995

Frequent driving scenarios and conditions are introduced to the new driver and this will surely improve his or her taken as a whole knowledge as well as skills.

Ask your instructor about Pass Plus on your next driving lesson. Or if you have passed your driving test, contact your driving instructor to book your Pass Plus course.

Source :

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Elderly Motorists Need More Support

Medical checks, driving evaluations and better public transport could all help older drivers stay safe on our roads.

The RAC report on motoring, out this week, highlights strong support from 84% of older motorists for refresher driving courses. With over three-quarters of 70-year-olds driving for over 30 years, and 86% having no additional driver training or assessment since passing their test, the driving needs of elderly motorists must be reviewed. Whether this translates into regular medical checks and refresher courses for all drivers, or when the driver reaches a certain age, the debate must be led by both government and society and any changes must be based on hard evidence.

Statistics show that, although older motorists have no more accidents each year than other drivers over 25, they are more likely to be the cause of an accident. Our research reveals that seven out of 10 of Britain's motorists are concerned about older people driving on the roads today. And with over 3 million older motorists on the road – set to double to over 6 million in the next 20 years – that is a large number of drivers to worry about. Indeed, around two thirds of British motorists support compulsory medical checks and driving evaluations for the elderly.

So, government needs to consider initiatives to help the older generation to continue to drive safely. Perhaps we can learn from our European counterparts? In Spain, a driving licence is valid for only five years when the holder is aged 45 to 70, and two years from 70 on. A person over the age of 70 is asked to present a medical certificate at each renewal. In France, once aged 75, you must pass a medical test every two years to retain your licence. Much stricter than the UK's current rules, where motorists at the age of 70 get their driving licence renewed for 3 years with a self-declaration of fitness.

Improving the quality of our roads would also go a long way to ensuring older motorists' confidence: 14% of older drivers lack confidence on driving on damaged roads with potholes. This means nearly 500,000 older drivers are having difficulties on our roads today. Improving public transport links and networks to ease the mobility of older people would also help, as our research shows half of all older motorists would use their car less if public transport were better. Government needs to make better provisions for managing and repairing the roads, as well as provide viable transport alternatives.

The challenge for society is to ensure that older generations are competent drivers, and we need to have a serious debate about the practicalities and benefits of refresher courses, compulsory medical testing and driving evaluations.

Source : David Bizley -

Friday, 25 June 2010

Drink-Driving Laws Should Be Tougher, Says Report

Sir Peter North recommends cutting legal limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

A government-commissioned report [pdf] has called for Britain's drink-driving laws to be toughened to a level that would put some people over the limit after one drink.

In the first review of drink-driving laws for 34 years, Sir Peter North recommends cutting the maximum legal limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. Drivers found with this lower level in their blood, which for some people would represent a single glass of wine or a pint of strong beer, would face a 12-month driving ban, as they do now.

North stressed that most drivers could still have a drink without infringing the new limit. The government said it would consider all of his 51 recommendations.

The report cites figures from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, which estimates that as many as 168 lives could be saved in the first year of a reduced limit.

North said the public supported tougher limits. "Research conclusively shows the much higher risk posed by drink driving. With a blood alcohol level between my proposed new limit of 50mg/100ml and the current 80mg/100ml limit, a driver has a six times greater risk of road death than a non-drinking driver. The public is ready for a lower limit."

If adopted North's proposals would bring Britain's drink-driving laws into line with most European countries. In seven countries – Sweden, Poland, Belgium Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – any drink-driving is effectively banned.

"Great Britain is almost the only European country to continue to have a

BAC limit above 50mg/100 ml," the report says. It points out that Britain's 12-month driving ban is tougher than the European norm.

North, who was commissioned by the former transport secretary Lord Adonis, called for improvements to drug-driving laws by allowing nurses as well as doctors to authorise blood tests of suspects. He recommended the development of a roadside saliva test of those suspected of driving having taken drugs.

North ruled out a 20mg alcohol limit for young and new drivers but said this possible lower limit should be looked at again after five years. The report says cars of high-risk drink-drive offenders should be targeted and coroners should test for drugs in all road deaths.

The transport secretary, Philip Hammond, said he would "carefully consider" the report but would balance it against the possible damage to the drinks industry.

"It is important that we fully investigate the economic and public service resource impact of any suggested changes to the law, taking account of the financial and economic situation.

"Our priority will be to tackle drink and drug-driving in the most effective way possible to protect law-abiding road users."

Drivers' groups and safety campaigners welcomed the report. The AA president, Edmund King, said: "Our members want action on drug-driving and also support a reduction in the drink-drive limit, together with a 12-month ban."

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The message needs to be sent that drug-driving is as socially unacceptable as drink-driving. Tougher regulation will help underline this."

Alan Kennedy, chairman of Road Safety GB, which represents more than 200 local authority road safety groups, said: "Each year hundreds of people die at the hands of drink-drivers, yet the UK has some of the most lenient drink-driving laws in Europe. We are one of only five countries in the EU with a legal limit of 80mg.

"This is a great opportunity to significantly reduce the number of deaths on our roads and we urge the government to accept the North findings."

Source : Matthew Weaver -

BSM Thinks Pink To Calm L-Test Nerves

BSM, a major motoring school, is using pink Fiat 500s because it claims their paintwork calms learner drivers.

The company quotes research showing that pink has a relaxing effect on physical behaviour, reducing anxiety within minutes of exposure to the colour, helping to steady nerves.

The pink Fiats will be located in London, Bristol, Manchester and the south-east.

According to the Institute of Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, USA, pink helps heart muscles relax, promoting slower and deeper breathing, leaving novices relaxed but alert.

This apparently allows the learner to "be in a more receptive state of mind" so that they can absorb and respond to information from their instructor.

BSM has also worked with colour therapist Suzy Chiazzari, who said: "Pink expresses our ability to actively carry out a task in a positive and relaxed manner while keeping the goal in mind.

"This research helps indicate that the pink BSM Fiat 500s will increase success rates for learner drivers."

Friday, 18 June 2010

Independent Driving Explained

From 4 October 2010, learner drivers will be tested on independent driving as part of the practical
driving test.

During their test, candidates will have to drive for about 10 minutes, either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.

To help candidates understand where they're going, the examiner may show them a diagram.

It doesn't matter if candidates don't remember every direction, or if they go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

Pass Rates

Some newspapers have claimed that independent driving would lead to a fall in the driving test pass rate. This claim is based on early research where conditions did not reflect the eventual design of the new element of the test.

Subsequent trials with a larger number of participants and more closely reflecting the conditions in the planned new test showed no significant fall in the pass rate.

Length Of Driving Tests And Test Fees

The length of driving tests and test fees will not change when independent driving is introduced in October. Driving test fees can be found at

Categories Of Tests

All categories of practical driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving.

For approved driving instructor (ADI) qualifying tests, this will be in the part two (driving ability) test.


From October, car test candidates (category B) will have to complete one reversing manoeuvre rather than two. The manoeuvre will be selected at random by the examiner from:

* turning in the road
* reversing around a corner
* reverse parking (either on the road, or into a bay)

An emergency stop exercise will still be conducted on one in three tests.

Manoeuvres in all other categories of tests will not be changed. Candidates for the ADI part two (driving ability) test will still have to complete all the manoeuvres.

Special Needs

DSA already has procedures to identify special needs and disabilities when tests are booked online or over the phone. The examiner then knows which type of special needs the candidate has so reasonable adjustment can be made.

For independent driving this could be asking the candidate which method they prefer for the section – in other words, following signs, or a series of directions (a maximum of three) which are supported by a diagram approved by the British Dyslexia Association. In some cases this will be shortened to just two directions.

DSA recognise there are many ways of developing perfectly road-safe coping strategies in order to navigate from A to B and is satisfied that examiners will manage the situation accordingly. Independent driving is a significant road safety addition to the practical driving test but will not prevent candidates from holding a licence.

DSA is determined that no member of society should suffer detriment due to any change we introduce.

People Who Don't Speak English

Driving examiners are very experienced at dealing with candidates who speak little or no English and they'll be able to manage the situation accordingly.

For example, sometimes this will include writing place names so it is clear to candidates where they are being asked to drive to. To help all candidates, when asked to follow a series of verbal directions the examiner can show a diagram, so that they can picture the route they've been asked to take.

Just as currently, the candidate can have an interpreter along with them on their test if they wish. Since 6 April 2010 ADIs have been able to act as an interpreter for their own pupils.

Routes, Directions And Sat Navs

If the candidate goes off-route during the independent driving section, the examiner will get the candidate back on route and continue with the independent driving section wherever possible. The test won't be terminated.

If the candidate looks like taking a wrong turning, the examiner will control the situation as they do now and preferably step in before the candidate goes off route. If that's not possible, the examiner will help the candidate get back on route as soon as possible by guiding them with normal directions.

Independent driving is not a test of the candidate's orientation skills. If the candidate goes off route, but does not commit a fault, there's nothing to assess. Any faults that did occur would be assessed under the circumstances at the time - as usual. There is no change to assessment." target="_blank">Download an example of an independent driving route diagram (PDF, 305Kb)

There will be times when, due to poor or obscured signage, the examiner may have to intervene. If this happens the examiner would say, ‘There are no signs here. Just continue ahead please' and then, ‘Now, carry on following the signs to ……'

If the candidate asks for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will be happy to confirm them. Driving independently means making your own decisions and, just like when driving with friends, this includes deciding when it's safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation on where you're going.

Independent driving is designed to test the learner's ability to drive unsupervised and make decisions without guidance and in unfamiliar contexts. DSA is therefore taking the opportunity to review the appropriateness of current route publication practices.

The independent driving section of the test is approximately 10 minutes when you will be asked to drive making your own decisions. A sat nav gives directions in much the same way as the driver trainer, or the examiner, so it's not appropriate to use for independent driving.

Guidance and paperwork
The DL25 driving test report form will not be changed when independent driving is introduced, as there is no change to assessment.

ADIs sometimes refer to a document called the DT1. This contains internal operational guidance for driving examiners in the conduct of driving tests. An updated version will be published on DSA's corporate website at the beginning of October.

Friday, 23 April 2010

New Rules For Accompanying C1 And D1 Learner Drivers

With effect from 1st May 2010 new rules are introduced making it illegal for anyone to act as an
accompanying driver in a category C1, C1+E, D1 or D1+E vehicle unless they have passed a driving test for the particular category of vehicle concerned. From 1 May, the supervising driver in category C1 or D1 Vehicles (including vehicle plus trailer
combinations) must:

1. hold a full (post 1997) licence for the same category of vehicle as that being driven by the learner

2. have held that entitlement for the relevant period of time, usually three years

The intention was that drivers holding category C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E entitlements obtained before 1997 (on other words, implied rights), and who passed a driving test in one of those categories before 6 April 2010, would be given credit for the time they had held the implied rights entitlement for the category concerned. The effect being that they would, from the date that the clarifying amendments to the regulations were implemented, already meet the requirements at (a) and (b) above. However, the deadline for passing the test(s) and gaining access to the concession has been extended and is now 1 May 2010.

Drivers who pass the relevant driving test(s) after 1 May will have to wait until they have held their new entitlement for the relevant period, usually three years, before they can act as an accompanying driver in a category of vehicle covered by that entitlement.

These new arrangements do not affect a person's existing entitlement to drive a medium sized lorry or minibus.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Newbury Instructor’s New Product To Banish Nerves

A NEWBURY driving instructor has launched a unique two-CD-set solution to driving test nerves has
just been launched which allows nervous learners to overcome their nerves and pass their driving tests.

Do you remember your driving test? Do you remember how you felt on the day of your test? Arriving at the driving test centre, anxiously waiting for your turn and wishing you were back at home.

These nerves have caused many a sleepless night, and in many cases may have hindered a learner from gaining their full driving licence. A recent survey of 1,500 learner drivers found that 51 per cent are ‘panicked’ by the prospect of parallel parking with a further 22 per cent ‘terrified’ about reversing around a corner.

The thought of stalling the car strikes fear in to the hearts of just 21 per cent of learners and only eight eight per cent were worried about failing their theory test. Sixteen per cent claimed to dislike turning right at a T-junction and admitted to sometimes driving ‘the long way round’ to avoid

the manoeuvre. Driving instructor Martin Caswell specialises in teaching nervous drivers and decided that he would develop a product to help learner drivers to overcome these learning to drive and driving fears.

The product that he came up with was the Driving Test Nerves series of two-CD Sets. He drew on his own teaching experience stretching over 35 years together with the experience of fully qualified and hypnotherapist David Clayton.

This series of CDs combines hypnotherapy sessions with simple to follow practical advice to help learners to grow in confidence to the extent of enabling to pass their next driving test.

Mr Caswell has tested his CD sets on his own pupils, and said: “So far, astounding results have been achieved. Each person without exception has felt much calmer and relaxed and perhaps more importantly, enhanced feelings of much greater confidence, and have gone on to pass their driving test at the following attempt.

“What makes this series of CDs unique is that it is not like any other hypnotherapy CD made for learner drivers, as the content for this series is drawn on the specific teaching experienced of a fully qualified Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor (DSA ADI).

The flagship Driving Test Nerves hypnotherapy two-disc set walks the learner through the actual driving test procedure as it is today in 2010, step-by-step, as well as providing additional hypnotherapy session to give the newly-qualified driver confidence when driving on their own for the very first time.

This particular series contains two CDs, with the second CD containing detailed diagrams and offering practical advice on precisely how to competently complete the required driving manoeuvres, such as reversing round a corner, parallel parking, bay parking and three-point turns, with step-by-step instructions on each individual action you need to do to complete them successfully. Other CDs in the series include Motorway Driving, Refresher Driving and even one specifically for those who suffer with road rage.

Mr Caswell explained: “It’s really about getting the mind to be positive. A lot of people go in feeling negative. They say ‘I won't think about passing, so if I fail, it won’t be so disappointing.’ I say to them ‘think about Richard Branson. Do you you think, when he started Virgin Atlantic, he said ‘I won't think about it being successful in case it fails’? The CD is about reinforcing what you have been told – you can do this. It reinforces what the instructor has told you.”

One of the CDs even prepares newly-qualified drivers for driving on their own for the first time.

Currently available from Mr Caswell’s website, he is opening to market the product through wider channels, including promoting the product nationally.

For more details on these CDs and how they can help you overcome your Driving Test Nerves visit

Source : Richard Maynard -

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Driving Tests 75 Years Old This Month

The driving test is 75 years old this month, and over that time motorists have become well aware of
the need for caution around learner drivers.

Provisional Marmalade, the new driver’s champion, has collaborated with Halfords to provide an innovative car insurance product that provides provisional drivers with fully comprehensive insurance on a family or friend’s car for just £3 a day.

More traditional insurance usually involves a hefty premium that can be thousands of pounds, and jeopardise the car owner’s no claims bonus.

The high cost has meant that learner drivers aged 17-21 have declined from 46% to 32% in recent years.

Halfords’ Diane Perry has said that high prices have put off many young drivers from taking advantage of extra practice outside of paid lessons.

High costs are not only an issue for learner drivers.

Recent research by has shown that one in ten families are performing the criminal act of ‘fronting’, which is when a parent takes out insurance on a child’s car in the parent’s name.

Steve Sweeney,’s head of car insurance, has said that the practice is illegal and would be classed as fraud by an insurer.
Source : Richard Kilner - www.insurancedaily.,

Monday, 22 March 2010

'Are You Ready?' Video For Car Tests

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has updated its 'Are you ready?' video for the car driving test.

'Are you ready?' is the official step-by-step explanation of the driving test. It's been updated so you know what the examiner will ask about taking someone with you on you driving test.

DSA encourages you to take someone with you on your driving test. This will usually be the person who has taught you to drive, but it could be a relative or a friend. They must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.

The person who goes with you will be able to see how you perform during the test. To get the most benefit from this, it would be sensible to ask your instructor to go with you. They can then give you advice on how to improve your driving, whether you pass or fail.

If you run your own website, you can embed the new clip into it. You can also share it using social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo.

See the video by copy'n'pasting this link:

or visiting our facebook page:

Source : DSA

Friday, 19 March 2010

Car Joy For Man Who Lost Two Limbs

A MAN who lost an arm and a leg in a motorcycle accident 26 years ago is celebrating after finally
passing his driving test.

Chris Allen, 44, from Kempsford, has passed his driving test after the fourth attempt in a car which has been specially adapted to meet his needs.

Chris was left devastated at the age of 17 when he lost his right arm and his right leg in a motorcycle accident on a dual carriageway between Chippenham and Lavington in 1983.

His injuries were so serious that he was in a coma for more than two months and even had to learn to speak again.

He also uses a prosthetic leg.

At the time of the accident he was having driving lessons but vowed never to get behind the wheel again due to the severity of his injuries.

However, last month, Chris finally passed his test in Chippenham with four minor faults.

He said: "I am so delighted. I was craving some indepedence and I just wanted to feel normal again. Now I do.

"It is a saviour having a car. There is only one bus a day from the village into Cirencester which was a nuisance.

"Now I can just hop into my car and go anywhere, anytime.

"Having a car is essential if you live in a remote village."

In 2008 Chris asked the government to help him fund his lessons. However, he found he was ineligible for charitable funding because he is not aged between 16 and 24. So he paid for the lessons himself.

His car, which is on a three-year lease through Motability from the Allen Ford dealer in Swindon, has been specially adapted. The car is automatic and the brake and accelerator are both operated by the left leg.

There is a knob fitted to the rim of the steering wheel which Chris can move with one hand. Features such as indicators and windscreen wipers are operated by an infra-red panel just off the steering wheel.

"I was so nervous getting behind the wheel for the first time but I was determined to do it," Chris said.

"When you are 17 you think you are indestructible. I won’t be making that mistake this time.

‘The car took a lot of getting used to but now it has become second nature. I never thought I’d be behind a wheel again, I know I’m very lucky."

Source : Gemma Casey -

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Driving Examiner Strike On Wednesday 24 March

The PCS union is asking its members to take strike action on Wednesday 24 March.

If you have a driving test booked for that day, you are asked to attend as scheduled.

The DSA won’t know the effects of the strikes until the day as not all of their examiners and staff are members of the union. They don’t know at this stage who will attend for work, which is why you are asked that you arrive for your test regardless.

You don’t need to do anything and there is no need to contact DSA.

If you can’t take a test because of the action, you will have the test rebooked automatically, free of charge, and an appointment confirmation will be sent by email or post.

If your new appointment isn’t suitable you can change it online at

Source : DSA

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Virtual Tragedies Get Teens’ Attention Behind The Wheel

Sometimes a single choice can change a life forever. It's especially true with new teen drivers. A
new program called One Simple Decision, available later this month to schools and law enforcement agencies across the country, drives home the risks of being distracted or impaired when you're behind the wheel - without putting anyone in danger.

Students sit at a computer screen and control a small steering wheel on a simulated drive, adjusting speed with a gas petal. The program uses videotaped scenes with real police officers and a judge to help teens experience a mock arrest, booking and sentencing for mistakes they make behind the wheel.

Per mile driven, teenagers have about four times the risk of other people of being in a car accident, according to the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a community-based education and advocacy group. And the first 18 months when new drivers are gaining experience is the most dangerous time. Experts say about 4,000 teens die each year in car accidents, and being distracted or impaired is often a contributing factor.

"So you take inexperience, add on hand-held electronic devices distracting teenagers and you have a fatal combination," says Dr. Brendan Campbell of Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford. "It's almost like an addiction that teens are not able to recognize the risk that hand held devices pose and they can't resist the urge to use them," says Campbell.

Drivers of all ages are four times more likely to be in an accident when using a cell phone and at least eight times more likely while texting, according to the National Safety Council.

But unlike adults, teens' brains are not fully developed, especially in the areas affecting judgment and decision-making.

"They think that they are invincible and that they're bulletproof and that bad things aren't ever going to happen to them," says Campbell.

On his One Simple Decision drive, Henry Sewell, 17, rear-ended a car while using his cell phone. High school junior Kaley Markham crashed into a fire hydrant while driving under the influence.

Would those lessons apply to their real lives? "I do text sometimes in my car and I occasionally do talk on the phone," says Henry. For Kaley too: "I change the song, I text occasionally and usually my GPS I use when I'm stopped, but sometimes I have to fix it while I'm driving." But watching scenes through the eyes of an arrested driver who is booked in a real police station and then taken before the judge for sentencing was unsettling for Kaley and Henry.

"One minor rear ending while you're texting or calling could end up being jail time," says Henry. Kaley fatally struck a pedestrian during her second driving simulation. "I was actually scared when I saw the video of what you get charged for when you hit people," says Kaley.

But will this virtual driving experience change their driving behaviors? Henry says he'll wait until he's at a stop before calling people and is rethinking his texting habits.

"I'll definitely prohibit myself from texting as often as I do," explains Henry.

Campbell says he's encouraged by the possibilities new virtual driving tools offer but advises teen and parents alike to also remember the low-tech fundamentals.

"The most important thing you can do as a parent is to drive with your teenager," he says.

Source : Leslie Wade - CNN Medical Producer

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Driving Standards Agency Confirms Barry Driving Test Centre Closure

THE Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says there will be no reprieve for the Barry Driving Test Centre and that the office will close as planned - but Vale MP John Smith says the fight isn't over.

The DSA and the Department for Transport (DfT) last week announced that the closure will go ahead, regardless of a meeting between Vale MP John Smith and Transport Minister Paul Clark last month.

Chris Lee, a spokesperson for the DVLA, said: "The closure is still planned for March 26, 2010.

"It was stated in the meeting that if there was a future need for a test centre because of population growth, then it would be considered at a later date, should the need arise."

A DfT spokesperson added: "Paul Clark met with John Smith MP to discuss the test centre closure and understands the concerns Mr Smith forcefully put to him.

"However, to date, the evidence provided by the DSA is conclusive on the issue and Paul Clark has written to Mr Smith explaining that the closure is planned to go ahead."

But Mr Smith denied that any decision had been confirmed, and last week had a second meeting with the transport minister.

A spokesperson for Mr Smith said: "Mr Smith had a further meeting with the Transport Minister last week and what's more, he has recently submitted evidence on future population growth here in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan which he believes hasn't been properly taken into account and warrants the retention of the Driving Test Centre in Barry.

"In the past when Barry Driving Test Centre faced closure, the case for keeping it open was properly listened to and closure was averted. Let's hope that the same happens this time around."

Barry driving instructor Lyndon Davies, who has led the campaign against the closure said: "Thousands of people signed the petition to keep Barry Driving Test Centre - we must do everything we can to convince the DSA to keep it open."

Barry driving instructors, backed by the town’s learner drivers and politicians, have tried to prove the need for a test centre in the town.

Source : Elinor Cross -

Friday, 12 March 2010

Passing Your Driving Test

We've all heard the horror stories - the friend who took eleven times to pass their driving test, the relative who crashed during the exam and the colleague who was simply never granted the elusive license.

So, how does a learner motorist ensure that they do not become driving test folklore and pass their exam swiftly?

Firstly, it is important to know exactly what the test will entail so there are no surprises on the big day. Being caught out by the unexpected will only make a candidate's nerves worse.

The driving test will always begin with an eyesight check. This will normally involve the examiner asking the candidate to read the number plate of a car parked in the area. If a candidate fails this test, they will not be able to sit the rest of the examination - so those who suspect they might need glasses should get their eyes checked out prior to a driving test.

After this, the examiner will ask the driver to perform some basic safety checks on their vehicle, such as turning on the hazard lights and identifying where the oil gauge is.

The practical test will then begin. On average, this will last for about 40 minutes, during which the examiner will be assessing the candidate's overall standard of driving.

Candidates will be directed around the area by their examiner and those who are keen to pass would be advised to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the test route before the big day.

This will ensure that if there are any quirks in the road layout or confusing junctions etc the candidate will know to expect them and be confident in maneuvering the car through them.

Examiners will be assessing how well candidates change gears, their awareness of road hazards, perception of other cars and how they navigate the vehicle through junctions and roundabouts.

In addition to this, a candidate will be asked to perform a number of manoeuvres, which those hoping to pass their test should have practised and perfected before the big day.

The manoeuvres candidates should prepare include a reverse around a corner, a parallel park, a turn in the road and an emergency stop - although it is very unlikely they will be asked to perform all of these in one test.

Those taking their driving test should also think carefully about which vehicle they take the exam in. If a driving instructor cannot make the test date, choosing to undertake the test in a friend or relative's car, which the candidate is not as familiar with, could prove to be a fatal mistake.

Finally, try to be as calm as possible on the big day.

Source :

Friday, 5 March 2010

Drivers Who Pass Test at The Second Attempt Are Safest

Drivers Who Pass Test at The Second Attempt Are Safest

New Study Reveals Drivers Who Pass Test at The Second Attempt Are Safest On Roads.

Surprising results from a study performed by Continental Tyres reveals those who pass on their second attempt have fewer points on their licence, are less likely to suffer road rage or be stopped by police.

Motorists who pass their driving test second time round are the safest on the roads, a recent study has revealed. Researchers at Continental Tyres have found those who pass on their second attempt have fewer points on their licence, are less likely to suffer road rage or be stopped by police.

Guy Frobisher, director of safety at Continental Tyres which surveyed 6,200 motorists on their driving history and skills said: “It seems that second time around is perfect when it comes to the best drivers.

“Second time passers appear to fare better, especially when it comes to driving safely and considerately. Perhaps this is down to concentrating more and taking into account different road conditions and other drivers.

“First time passers know how to handle a car but some might be over-confident and that can quickly lead to recklessness. Safety should be the priority for all drivers, this includes making sure the car is roadworthy before you set off and being aware of issues such as stopping distances being affected by weather.”

Second time passers are also less prone to being cautioned for using their mobile phone behind the wheel, have had the fewest accidents in the last 5 years and are unlikely to scare passengers with their driving.

However, the research also found the more attempts Brits take to pass their test, the severity and frequency of their bad habits increase.

Rather unsurprisingly, drivers who need a dismal four, five or six efforts before making the grade have the worst record when sat behind the wheel. They run more red lights, admit to driving the wrong way down a one-way street and have been stopped by police for speeding more than any other driver. They have also had their car clamped, hit stationary objects whilst trying to park their car and claimed on their insurance more than anyone else.

The nationwide survey of 17-65 year old motorists quizzed them on 20 aspects of their driving life – including who would feel confident teaching others to drive, who have been issued parking tickets and how often they take their eyes off the road. The sometimes surprising statistics include:

* The average first-timer passer emerged as being able to perform driving manoeuvres – such as parallel parking, hill start and three point turns - the best

* Second time passers are least likely to drive at a snail’s pace

* Those who need six goes or more are cheeky enough to clip a car and not own up

* Motorists who enjoy first-test success are least likely to stall the engine and happy to teach others to drive

* Those who have three or more tries to pass are guilty of letting their eyes wander off the road ahead

* The average driver has broken the law four times in the last month but has escaped being caught

* The typical motorist currently has three points on their licence and takes at least two years to become a confident driver from the moment they pass their test

Also included in the survey was a selection of the worst driving distractions. Items topping the list include re-tuning the radio (51 per cent), talking to a passenger (49 per cent) and listening to loud music (44 per cent).

Source :

Driving Examiner Strike - Candidates To Attend Tests

Driving Examiner Strike - Candidates To Attend Tests

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is asking its members to take strike action on Monday and Tuesday, 8 and 9 March.

If you have a driving test booked for either day, we ask you to attend as scheduled.

We won’t know the effects of the strikes until the day as not all of our examiners and staff are members of the union.

We don’t know at this stage who will attend for work, which is why we ask that you arrive for your test regardless.

You don’t need to do anything and there is no need to contact DSA.

If you can’t take a test because of the action, you will have the test rebooked automatically, free of charge, and an appointment confirmation will be sent by email or post.

If your new appointment isn’t suitable you can change it online at

Source DSA