WrightStart App

What is it?

Take your learning to drive online with the WrightStart App. Exclusively for WrightStart customers, keep on top of your in-car skills, see how ready you are for your driving test and speed up your learning with our how-to videos.

Who can download it?

Currently our app is only available on iOS and is mainly designed for current learner pupils however everyone can download it and see what features they can access without being one of our customers.

Advantages of it?

Improvements?

We are always looking to improve and further enhance products and services. Can you think of any improvements to our app? If so drop us a message or leave a comment below…

Smart motorways: what are they, how do you use them, and what is a “red X” fine?

We’ve talked before on the WrightStart blog about the history of motorways both at home [link to blog] and abroad [link to Chinese blog], but even in the last few years our relationship with these stretches of road has been changing.

For a great example of this, look no further than smart motorways.

These motorways look a lot like the ones you’re used to driving on, but use traffic management methods to ease congestion and make road users safer. These methods include things like turning the hard shoulder into a running lane, and using variable speed limits.

Different types of smart motorway

There are currently three different types of smart motorway: controlled motorways, dynamic hard shoulder running schemes and all lane running schemes.

Controlled motorwayshave three or more lanes with variable speed limits, but the hard shoulder is only for emergencies. The speed limits are displayed on overhead gantry signs; if you can’t see one, you should default to the national speed limit  (70mph).

All lane running schemespermanently remove the hard shoulder, turning the space into a running lane for traffic and only closing it if there’s an incident. A red X on the gantry signs indicates a lane closure.

Dynamic hard shoulder running schemesuse the hard shoulder as a running lane, which can help to ease traffic during busy periods. A solid white line differentiates the hard shoulder from the normal  road.

What’s the deal with the red X?

So, a red X signals a lane closure. What would happen if you ignored this?

Previously, someone using a closed lane could only be punished if they were caught in person by the police. However, as of June 10th 2019, ignoring a lane closure will land you with a £100 fine and three points on your licence.

This is thanks to some new cameras that have been set up on the  motorway gantries by Highways England. They will automatically detect rule-breaking drivers, making it harder for them to get off scot-free.

According to recent RAC research, though 99% of drivers are aware of what the red X signifies, a quarter still choose to ignore them.

The move was praised by the RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes, who said that “Giving the police the ability to use cameras to catch drivers flouting the law is a necessary next step – and is something our research tells us a majority of drivers are supportive of.”

“The simple message for drivers is this – as soon as you see a red X sign, move over into an open lane safely.”

Smart motorways haven’t been without controversy since their introduction, with drivers questioning what the permanent removal of some hard shoulders will do for safety, particularly in the event that drivers break down and can’t reach a refuge area.

Whatever your opinion on them, smart motorways are set to become even more visible in the UK,  with the amount set to rise from 416 miles to 788 miles by 2025. With that in mind, it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay aware of the signs.

Sat Navs: Training, Practice, and what role they play in a driving test

The sat-nav is an integral part of the driving test and a fundamental area of practice in training.

At WrightStart, we utilise our in-built sat navs, which are top of the line Mini/BMW versions. The version that examiners use, the TomTom Start 52, is a little different.

Today, we’ll take you through the features and tips of using both, plus an insight into what you’ll have to do with it on your test.

 

Mini/BMW sat navs

Look and Feel

Both the mini and BMW’s sat navs have a sleek, modern look. The BMW sat nav system is displayed on the same screen as all your other in-car technology, and is controlled by the iDrive controller. Youcan input your destination in a variety of ways, from the traditional on-screen keyboard to actually handwriting each individual letter via the touch pad on top of the controller.

How to Use

You can give a range of detail about your destination. This can be simply the name of a town or city orfull addresses including street names and house numbers. You can also use your BMW’s connectivity and complete a points of interest search with the online feature, returning live results from the Google database. The recent destination menu shows previous addresses, which can be reselected at the touch of a button, and from here, commonly visited locations can be saved as favourites.

Display

The BMW’s sat nav system can tweak guidance so that it works for you. By scrolling down the menu on the left of the map screen, you can set your route criteria, enable or disable spoken instructions, access detailed traffic information and choose your preferred map view. The larger screen size facilitates split-screen mode, where several pieces of information can be displayed at once.Navigation preferences can be automatically saved so that they activate whenever the key fob associated with them is used.

Top tip

If you have a BMW and know, for example, that a certain area always has really long tailbacks on your route home, the navigation system can alter routes so that you never have to cross that area..Just bring up the navigation menu, and select ‘Route Preferences’ on the left. Scroll down to the ‘Areas to Avoid’ tab and select it. The next menu that comes up will allow you to add areas to avoid – you’ll be taken back to the map, where you’ll navigate the cursor to the center of the area you want to avoid.

Press down on the iDrive controller to select; you can choose how big the avoided area will be by rotating the iDrive controller. Once decided, just press down again, to confirm. From then on, your specified area will appear under the “areas to avoid” subsection of the iDrive menu, in order to activate and deactivate it easily.

 

Examiner Sat-Nav (TomTom Start 52)

Look and feel

The TomTom Start 52 has a 5cm touchscreen and a vehicle mount though during your test, it will most likely be sat on the front of the dashboard. You won’t have to set the route yourself – your examiner will do this for you.

How to Use

 

The TomTom Start 52 has lots of features – and though you probably won’t use many in the course of your actual driving test, it’s useful to know the main ones.

1. Switch view button this changes between map and guidance view. The latter will be most used, and is pictured above. Map view, on the other hand, looks like this:

2. Zoom buttons: zoom the screen in and out.
3. Instruction panel – shows information like the direction and distance of your next turn.
4. Route symbols – these show points of interest along your route, like petrol stations, as well as your starting point and destination.
5. Main menu button – surprisingly enough, takes you back to the main menu
6. Speed panel – shows the current speed limit, and the speed you’re travelling at.
7. Current location arrow – shows where you are on your route
8. Route bar – shows how far you’ve travelled on your route

Sat navs and the practical driving test

The sat nav will be used as part of the independent driving section of your test. This will last for 20 minutes – that’s half of your test – and is designed to showcase your driving without support.

To reiterate, the route to follow will be set for you in the test by the examiner. This means it doesn’t really matter what model of sat nav you practice with – as long as you stick to using the examiner’s one during the test.

If you’re not sure where you’re going, don’t panic – you’re allowed to ask the examiner for confirmation of this. Going the wrong way isn’t an instant fail either; you just need to make sure you don’t commit a driving fault whilst doing it.

Those of you who dislike traffic signs might be breathing a sigh of relief, but beware – despite the changes, 1 in 5 driving tests still won’t use a sat nav, defaulting to the usual traffic signs instead.

In many ways, the sat nav is one of the easiest parts of the test. Just remember to not get too engrossed in where the technology is taking you – the less driving faults you accrue, the better!

Driving with a Disability: How Adaptations Can Help

Driving is difficult for most learners, but that can be increased tenfold when you have a disability. It used to be the case that those in this situation were unable to drive at all, but nowadays cars have many adaptations that can make the process easier. Today’s post takes you through just a few of them.

1. Hand controls

These are a great option for those who have limited mobility or control in  their legs, stopping them from braking or accelerating properly. Many of them are operated by a push-pull lever (with pushing making the car brake, and pulling making it accelerate).

 

2. Steering balls/spinners

For those who have limited use of their arms or hands, a steering ball can be helpful. It’s usually attached to the upper part of a steering wheel, and allows someone to drive one-handed (also useful if your other hand is occupied with an adaptation). There are different shapes to suit different gripping abilities; the example below is a three-pin spinner, which supports the wrist, but other versions allow for vertical or horizontal control with the hand, or interaction with a prothesis.

 
3. Left foot accelerators

For those driving an automatic car who have a weakness on their right side, a left foot accelerator can be fitted. This is exactly what the name implies – a separate accelerator pedal installed on the left side of your standard brake pedal to make accelerating easier. Again, there are several different types of these available, from floor-mounted pedals that can be removed to flip-up accelerators , where pressing on the left pedal raises the right one, ensuring there’s no way to get confused between the two.

4. Remote control devices

Many devices are available to make the so-called “secondary controls” – including the lights, indicators and ignition – easier to access. Some of these are becoming included in more cars as standard, such as push-button ignition. Other adaptations place all these controls on a keypad which is mounted somewhere convenient in the car (whether that’s the dashboard, door panel or, as in the picture below, on a steering ball). When looking into this particular adaptation, make sure that the buttons are well-spaced and easy to tell apart while you’re driving.

 
5. Driving with learning difficulties, etc.

The majority of adaptations in this article so far have been geared towards those with a physical disability. Of course, disabilities can also be mental, such as autism or a learning disability – and the adaptations for that tend to be in the teaching, rather than the car itself.

There are now driving instructors across the country that specialise in teaching people with a wide range of issues, including invisible conditions such as fibromyalgia. Their individual methods will vary, but broadly speaking they’re likely to give you more time, and because of their experience, be more sympathetic to your specific needs. Having this bespoke approach can allow these learners to thrive, progressing at their own pace and in the way in which they’re most comfortable. A good place to start if you’re looking for instructors with experience of specific disabilities is https://www.disabilitydrivinginstructors.com/find-an-instructor/, where you can search within your local area.

Here at WrightStart, an integral part of our pre-17 experiences is the ability to teach people driving skills in a safe environment  before they take to the road. It can provide essential grounding for later lessons – so if you’re a disabled wannabe driver, or know someone who is, why not get in touch?

The UK driving test: time for a change?

The driving test. It’s something everyone has to take in order to get out onto the open road, and so not surprisingly, people have plenty of opinions about it. 

InsuretheGap recently asked 1,000 drivers what they would like assessed in both the theory and practical tests.

The top five additions to the test were as follows:

1. Over half (51%) say motorway driving should be on the driving test

2. 49% think tackling a roundabout should be included

3. Almost half (49%) think that the eyesight test is an important element

4. 47% want to see parallel parking feature in every practical test

5. 46% would like emergency stops to be assessed

 

The survey also revealed that:

77% (that’s almost 8 in 10!) would like to see a mandatory number of lesson hours introduced for learner drivers before they are eligible to take their test.

 

84% felt that once new drivers have passed their test, they should be subject to a probationary period,with licences revoked if they commit a traffic offence or are at fault in an accident

 

There’s also support for two other new additions to the practical driving test:

• Almost half (45%)want a night-time driving element added to the test, and

• 4 in 10 (40%)would like to see bay parking included.

 

Though it’s the most recent addition to the practical test, sat-nav driving isn’t seen to be as important, with just over a quarter of people (26%) saying they think it should be included.

There is also support for changing up the theory portion of the UK driving test. 43%of people think the theory test should be altered toinclude identification of basic issues with a vehicle,and 43% think learner drivers should be able to name parts of a car.

Retesting driving has also been a hot topic in the last few months, with the Duke of Edinburgh notably crashing in January and later giving up his licence. 87% think retesting is a good idea, with the most popular reasons for it being disqualification (55%), a high number of accidents (50%), and drivers reaching a certain age (49%).

While it’s good to see that the driving test has evolved over the last few years, we’ll leave the last words to InsureTheGap’s Chief Operating Officer Ben Wooltorton who said of the research:

“The fact that there is substantial support for the inclusion of new elements on both the practical and theory portions of the driving test is an indication that we should reassess what should be included on both UK driving tests. As driving continues to be the main mode of transport for how we all get around, tests should be reviewed to ensure that drivers are safe on today’s roads in all situations. This involves checking their competencies in different environments, such as on motorways or driving at night and also their safe use of the latest in-car technology.”

 

What do you think of the research? Do you think the modern driving test is fit for purpose – and if not, what would you change? Let us know in the comments!

The Parent Trap: How Overprotective Parents Might be Hindering their Child’s Driving

Parents are there to support their children through the most important life moments; whether it be taking first steps, riding a bicycle or, possibly, driving a car.

But as any parent knows, it can be hard to let your little one go off without you, no matter how old they are – especially when it’s on the open road.

Leasing Options conducted a survey of 1000 people to see how far parents are going to protect their children behind the wheel – and they’ve discovered that it’s not necessarily benefiting their children’s driving ability.

The Findings
Learning from parents = points on your licence?
1 in 10 18-24 year olds whose parents helped teach them to drive already have points on their licencecompared to 90% who weren’t taught by parents having a clean licence. Since you can only legally pass your test at 17, these young drivers were convicted pretty quickly.
Nearly 1 in 10 18-24 year olds who were taught to drive solely by their parents have been banned completely – this means that it has taken merely a maximum of seven years to be disqualified from the roads.

Both these statistics suggest that parents’ decisions to take the old-fashioned route in teaching their kids to drive might not be the best one for their future…

Keeping on track
Over 50% of mums and dads use a GPS tracker app to monitor their kid’s driving.

This might seem a tad overprotective, but alongside the percentage of parents that utilise these ever-more popular GPS apps, many other technologies and incentives are also in place…the next highest ranking tech on the chart is speed limit trackers, which 2 out of 5 parents say they use, closely followed b the use of rewards for good driving.

 
Long-distance doubt
Leasing Options found that of the third of parents that have driving agreements with their kids, 26% of them include an agreement to no long-distance driving.
Though this again likely comes from a desire to protect – like the over 70% of mums and dads whose driving agreement involves all the passengers in their kid’s car wearing a seatbeltsaying no to letting your pride and joy onto the motorways is a bad idea in the long run. It could hold them back from learning how to navigate or how to handle the motorway alone, essentially restricting their driving development.

Parents and the legal driving age

You might think parents restricting their kids from learning essential skills like motorway driving is bad but some would go even further than that. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they would want to increase the legal driving age (which is currently set at 17).

Parental perfection – or not

Most parents like to think they know everything regarding their kids. It’s no surprise, then, that the survey saw 76% of parents state that they were a better driver than their children.

That’s also not surprising in light of some of the words that parents used to describe their child’s driving: more than 1 in 10 parents described it as ‘worrying’, ‘risky’, or outright ‘terrifying’.

When asked about their child’s bad habits, parents put hesitancy on top of the list, followed by tailgating and driving aggressively.

However, parents don’t get off completely scot-free – their children were also surveyed, and it turns out that the mums and dads have some bad habits too…

As you can see from the chart, 3 out of 5 children found their parents act like annoying ‘backseat-drivers’, giving them unwanted criticism.
2 in 5 kids also said they find their parents physically flinching or gasping if they make a mistake in the car.
A quarter of kids even say that their parents make a habit of pressing an imaginary brake pedal when they’re in the passenger seat!

So, the question still remains: are overprotective parents making their kids worse behind the wheel? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to our friends at Leasing Options for carrying out the original research. If you want to read more about the study, you can check out the press release here.

Intensive Crash Courses

We get asked quite frequently about intense courses, otherwise known as crash courses.

They seem to be quite a popular way to go, enabling you to obtain a licence in a short space of time, usually within a week. But what do we really know about these courses compared to the conventional learn to drive method… 

Did you know that 88% of people end up passing after an intensive course, compared to 47% of people doing so in the traditional way? Let’s look at some courses in more detail:

Intense Course Traditional lessons
Multiple lessons a day Usually one lesson a week
Pass in a week Average learning time is 3 months (with WrightStart)
Average cost £1000  Average cost £870 (with WrightStart)

So, that’s how they’re different – but if you still like the sound of intensive courses, what are their pros and cons? 

Pro’s

Quick access to licence

This is one of the biggest factors behind people taking intensive courses over traditional ones. If you’re 18 and are just learning to drive in order to increase your independence, the speed of the course might not be an issue. However, if you’re learning to drive specifically for a new job or new house, for example, then getting your license quickly could make all the difference. People in these situations might find that intensive courses suit their needs better.

Regular practice

We all have busy lives – and combining that with the usual single session a week, it can be easy to forget things from one session to the next. On the surface at least, intensive driving courses can seem like a solution to this issue – allowing you to practice every day if necessary. Even if you don’t go that intense, doing your driving lessons over a shorter period can lead to you retaining more information each time, which could put you in good stead for the practical test at the end of it all. 

Cost effective

Though none of us like to admit it, driving lessons are expensive.  Taking an intensive course can be an festive way of bypassing this. With the fewer amount of lessons required to reach your end goal, you might end up paying a lesser amount than if you were to book all these lessons separately. On top of this, some driving schools have discounts of their own especially for intensive courses, which can lower the cost even further. 

Doesn’t drag on for months

When you see friends and family behind the wheel, it can make you yearn for the open road yourself. If you take a traditional driving course, it can be a good few months before you even entertain the thought of your theory test. Not so with intensive courses. 

Historically, the only option available was one extended session each day, for a week. However, some schools offer even shorter sessions – such as a two-day course with only ten hours of training. If you want to go for this option, though, make sure it’s the right one for you – as these more condensed sessions are sometimes better suited to those who only need a slight refresher ahead of a test. 

Con’s

Very intense

The clue’s in the name here – they’re not called intensive driving courses for no reason! Driving every day of the week may suit some people better than others – and if you’re not used to being in a car for that amount of time, this can have the danger of overwhelming you. 

High pressure

This point naturally follows on from the last – when you’ve only got a week between the beginning of your lessons and your driving test, there will naturally be a pressure on you to make the most amount of progress in the shortest time possible. This obviously doesn’t bode well if you’re a novice driver who might be prone to making mistakes – the more time spent correcting these errors, the less time theoretically spent preparing for the test. The feeling of there being no room for errors further increases this pressure, and can mean you take in less in the long run. 

Short amount of time to learn and process information

Speaking of being overwhelmed, another possible drawback of intensive courses over their traditional counterparts is that you don’t have as much time to process all that information. As much as some people may be able to keep up with the pace of daily lessons, those who take a little more time to learn could find themselves out of their depth. New stuff will be coming at you every day, and if you can’t keep up you may set yourself up for bad results from the start. Furthermore, if you don’t pass with flying colours on test day, you might end up feeling as if you’ve wasted your time.

Doesn’t allow for private practice and consolidation

Though some people get by just fine with only the weekly lessons, others feel the need to keep their knowledge topped up in-between with private practice, perhaps in their mum or dad’s car. Unfortunately, the sheer density of lessons on an intensive driving course makes such outside practice nearly impossible, with the time that you would have left over taken up by extended lessons with your instructor. Not only can this mean that you’re unable to really solidify what you’ve learnt, but arguably private practice gives you a bigger pool of places to drive around. This is more likely to involve different weather conditions and road types – something which you likely won’t get with an intensive course. 

 

Now you’ve seen our facts and advice, what do you think?

Review of the latest driving test – 1 year on

So it’s been a year since the introduction of the new driving test and so we thought it would be good to give you our findings so far.

As a driving school we have had many pupils pass since the 4th December and all have said it flowed well and was nothing to worry about, especially in comparison to the old test.

The sat-nav element is proving popular and in most ways easier to follow than conventional instructions or signs. The park in the right reverse is also fitting in nicely, most pupils seem to be able to manage this manoeuvre with relative ease.

Something that is new to test but not to us is the show me questions. At WrightStart we have been conducting these questions as part of the learning process despite them not being in the old curriculum. They are relatively straight forwards however what you need to bare in mind is that you should only conduct the action when it is safe to do so and when looking only glance towards the button or switch, real emphasis is paced on driving safely.

 

Positive feedback:

– Sat-nav gives clear visual instructions

– Manoeuvres are more realistic

– Show me/tell me questions relevant

 

Tricky areas:

– Some audible instructions via sat-nav misleading

– Forwards bay park not as easy as people think

– More emphasis on independent driving – however this is a positive thing in the long term 

 

General failed areas:

– Lack of mirror checks

– Late planning

– Too much time spent looking at the sat-nav screen

– Badly timed show me question operation.

 

The conclusion is clear, the test is not only more fit for purpose by encompassing more real life driving scenarios but still requires a decent level of skill as before. We always try to oust pupils above and beyond the level required to pass a test, not only to ensure your passage through to full licence holder is easier but to keep you safe when you are on your own. My final thoughts…practice and prepare and you shall be fine.

If you’ve taken your test recently what did you think to it?

Changes to the Theory Test

From 1 May 2018, we’ll be changing the way 78 theory test questions are worded, to make them more accessible to everyone.

We’ve worked with the British Dyslexia Association and the British Deaf Association to develop the changes. We trialled the changes with over 7,000 candidates, who found the revised questions easier to understand.

Main changes to the questions

We’ve rephrased all of the ‘continuation’ questions in the test. This type of question asks the candidate to choose an answer from a list, to complete a sentence. We’re changing the wording so that the candidate has to pick a statement to answer the question instead.

We’ve also removed long and complicated words, with shorter simpler words. This includes replacing words like ‘increased’ and ‘decreased’ with ‘bigger’ and ‘smaller’.

You can find more information on helping candidates with learning difficulties take their theory test on GOV.UK or Safe Driving for Life.

You will find our current provider of theory test training (Theory Test Pro) will update their software accordingly.

Hopefully you’ve found this useful and remember to keep practising little and often in preparation to pass, good luck!

August Birthdays

August seems to be a popular time for birthdays but for those of you who are born then you may know some of the problems it presents, mainly the fact that your the last to drive in your year group.

Well fear not, we’re here to help and give you that head start to learn quickly and maybe even pass before your friends.

How we hear you ask? Easy…Pre-17 Driving.

At WrightStart Experiences we specialise in educating, teaching and training youngsters in the art of driving and all the skills that come with it. We’re into our fourth year now at our original training ground and over the years we’ve begun to notice a trend.
Some of our customers, mainly 15 and 16 year olds have been attending regular sessions over the years and now that they’ve turned 17 have been able to get onto the roads instantly and drive to a decent and safe standard.

We conducted a little experiment with one of our teenage drivers, Jon. Over the course of a year we showed him all of the manoeuvres and the processes and routines for junctions on our off-road venue. We encouraged him to learn his theory well in advance of his 17th birthday and to get it taken as soon as he’d turned 17.
Sure enough he passed straight away and moved onto his practical test within a couple of weeks. That to was passed promptly and was then one of the first in his friendship group to be driving around despite being the youngest of them all.

Here’s what he had to say:

“By opting to do my pre 17 experience with Wrightstart, it enabled the instructors to provide me with the sufficient amount of experience and knowledge I needed; in preparation of my 17th birthday (when I was able to drive on the road). The instructors got me to master my observations and bearings of the car. My manoeuvres were also perfected in this period. This allowed me to focus on my driving rather than wasting time on manoeuvres. This saved me lots of time; I passed my test within 9 weeks of my 17th birthday. Before a lot of my friends that were nearly a year older than me. Wrightstart are highly recommended by me, it’s a no brainier.”

If you fancy being like Jon and leapfrogging ahead then what are you waiting for, book in your first pre-17 drive now!

Medical conditions, disabilities and driving

If you have certain medical conditions or disabilities you may still be able to drive. It can be confusing on where to start so we thought we’d share with you some useful advice. Here’s what the DVSA have to say…

1. Telling DVLA about a medical condition or disability

You must tell DVLA if you have a driving licence and:
* you develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability
* a condition or disability has got worse since you got your licence

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect your ability to drive safely.

They can include:
* epilepsy
* strokes
* other neurological and mental health conditions
* physical disabilities
* visual impairments

If you’re in Northern Ireland you must contact the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

How to tell DVLA
Check if you need to tell DVLA about your condition to find the forms or questionnaires you need. The address you need is on the forms.
There are different forms for different conditions and disabilities.
Contact DVLA if you’re not sure what to do.
You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a condition that might affect your ability to drive safely. You could also be prosecuted if you have an accident.

Surrendering your licence
You must surrender your licence to DVLA if your doctor tells you that you need to stop driving for 3 months or more because of your medical condition.
You can apply to get your licence back when you meet the medical standards for driving again.

First licence or renewal if you’re 70 or over
You must also tell DVLA about notifiable conditions if you:
* apply for your first licence
* renew your licence (if you’re 70 or over)
You’ll be asked for this information in your application form. You don’t need to contact DVLA separately.

2. What happens after you tell DVLA

You’ll usually get a decision within 6 weeks. You’ll get a letter from DVLA if it’s going to take longer.
DVLA might:
* contact your doctor or consultant
* arrange for you to be examined
* ask you to take a driving assessment, or an eyesight or driving test

You can usually keep driving while DVLA are considering your application.
If you’ve told DVLA about a condition when applying to renew your licence, follow the guidance about driving that’s in the form.

Contact DVLA if you need advice or to check on your case.

3. What DVLA will decide

DVLA will assess your medical condition or disability and decide if:
* you need to get a new driving licence
* you can have a shorter licence – for 1, 2, 3 or 5 years
* you need to adapt your car by fitting special controls
* you must stop driving and give up your licence

You need to adapt your vehicle
If you’ve been told that you must adapt your car, you get an independent assessment of your adaptation needs through the Forum of Mobility Centres.
Find out more about adapting your vehicle and where to get special controls fitted through the Ricability charity.

You must stop driving
You’ll be given a medical reason why you must stop driving, and be told if and when you can reapply for your licence.

If you disagree with DVLA’s decision
You can write to DVLA if you disagree with the decision to stop you driving.
DM Business Support
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DVLA
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You must include:
* proof that you meet the required standards for driving (for example, a letter from your doctor or consultant)
* the reference number from the letter DVLA sent you

You can also appeal the decision if you contact your local magistrate’s court within 6 months, or your local sheriff’s court in Scotland within 21 days.

4. Renewing or reapplying for your licence

How you reapply for or renew your licence depends on if you had to give up your licence, or if you have a short-term licence.

You’ve got a short-term licence

DVLA will send you a renewal letter 90 days before your 1, 2, 3 or 5-year licence is due to expire.
Renew your licence online, or send the renewal reminder back by post.

You gave up your licence and stopped driving

The letter DVLA sends you when your licence is taken away tells you if you have to wait before you can reapply.
You must check with your doctor that you’re fit to drive before you reapply for your licence, if it was taken away because of a medical condition.

We hope this has been useful but if there’s a condition you still need help with, you only have to ask.

Roundabouts

Roundabouts are always an interesting topic to introduce to a pupil, they range from basic to very complicated and are often confusing. This week we’ve broken them down and brought things back to basics.

Rule 184
On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane. You should
* use Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre at all stages
* decide as early as possible which exit you need to take
* give an appropriate signal (see Rule 186, below). Time your signals so as not to confuse other road users
* get into the correct lane
* adjust your speed and position to fit in with traffic conditions
* be aware of the speed and position of all the road users around you.

Rule 185
When reaching the roundabout you should
* give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights
* check whether road markings allow you to enter the roundabout without giving way. If so, proceed, but still look to the right before joining
* watch out for all other road users already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signalling correctly or at all
* look forward before moving off to make sure traffic in front has moved off.

 

Rule 186
Signals and position. When taking the first exit to the left, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
* signal left and approach in the left-hand lane
* keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
* signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
* keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
* signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
* select the appropriate lane on approach to the roundabout
* you should not normally need to signal on approach
* stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout
* signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

When there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it.

Rule 187
In all cases watch out for and give plenty of room to
* pedestrians who may be crossing the approach and exit roads
* traffic crossing in front of you on the roundabout, especially vehicles intending to leave by the next exit
* traffic which may be straddling lanes or positioned incorrectly
* motorcyclists
* cyclists and horse riders who may stay in the left-hand lane and signal right if they intend to continue round the roundabout. Allow them to do so
* long vehicles (including those towing trailers). These might have to take a different course or straddle lanes either approaching or on the roundabout because of their length. Watch out for their signals.

Rule 188
Mini-roundabouts. Approach these in the same way as normal roundabouts. All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so. Remember, there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal. Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts. Beware of others doing this.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10(1) & 16(1)

Rule 189
At double mini-roundabouts treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right.

Rule 190
Multiple roundabouts. At some complex junctions, there may be a series of mini-roundabouts at each intersection. Treat each mini-roundabout separately and follow the normal rules.

Top Tips to take from this

* give way to vehicles on the right
* the default lane for left/straight is the left lane and right for right
* stay within your lane during the journey through the roundabout
* exit on the left if there’s a choice of lane and it is clear to do so
* exit in the right lane if your overtaking or turning right
* always be aware of your surroundings

We hope these simple points help you in understanding roundabouts a little more, we’ve all been there and appreciate how daunting they can be for the first time.

The real cost of learning to drive

Many people ask how long it will take to pass the driving test, even more people ask how much it will cost, so this week we’ve decided to show you.

So here is our price breakdown for you:

£34 First provisional licence

£23 theory test

£0 theory training with WrightStart or £4.99 for a good up-to-date app

£765 for lessons (based on WrightStarts average learner of 30 hours, WrightStart pupils are learning to drive under the governments average of 40+ hours)

£1.84 a day insurance (from this price) or insurance with Marmalade – https://www.wearemarmalade.co.uk (10% discount for 90 day policies)

£62 weekday practical test, £74 weekend practical test – paid to DVSA

£58 instructors time & car for test, usually 2 hours

£0 updated full driving licence

Total = £942 so far (without private insurance)

Most pupils have one two hour lesson a week from initial start through to passing the test. With all the costs added in and averaged out, it costs a pupil approximately £58.88 a week or roughly £235.50 a month.

This may come as a real shock to some people as to how expensive this little venture can be however, please be assured this is the cheap bit.

Buying, running and maintaining a car is where the real costs lie.

Let’s break down costs of running a car:

£2,000 car
£120 (average) road tax
£1200 insurance
£770 fuel (based on 6,000 miles per annum @ 40mpg @ £112.9 p/l
£35 MOT (Eden Tyres & Servicing)
£167 full service (Eden Tyres & Servicing)
£ consumables (tyres, oil, pads etc)
£ unexpected bills

Total = £4,292 (without consumables or unexpected bills)

With all the costs added in and averaged out, it costs a pupil approximately £89 a week or roughly £357 a month to run a car, just worth a thought.

How can you reduce your costs of learning to drive:

Read our blog on the best way of learning to drive here.

The Driving Test – Practise, Prepare, Pass

Your-Driving-Test-Practise-Prepare-Pass-Visual-asset

Pre-17 Driver to Full Licence Holder

With only a couple of weeks to our next Pre-17 event we thought we’d let a former Pre-17 driver, now full licence holder, share their views on learning to drive. Here’s what Lydia had to say…

Why did you want to do Pre-17 Driving?

I have always been interested in driving and wanted to pass my test as quickly as possible. I felt the pre17 sessions would enable me to know the basics before going onto the road to enable me to start straight away and give me a head start before I was 17.

How did it help you?

I feel like it gave me a head start knowing all the controls prior to going on the road. This made me very confidence that I knew what I was doing so I could concentrate on the other distractions of the road which we didn’t come across on the pre17 sessions e.g other cars.

Would you recommend, if so why?

Yes I would strongly recommend. I felt that it made me a lot more confident knowing that I knew what was I was doing before going on the road. I feel like I could go straight into the more difficult areas of driving more quickly as I already had the basics.

How could it have been improved?

I think that the online portal of the car could be more clear and tell you how to do things more. E.g how to change the lights.

Did you feel prepared for real life driving?

Yes I feel prepared for driving on my own now. I feel like we covered a lot of situations and so I’m prepared for them.

Why WrightStart instead of other driving schools?

Because I wanted to pass my driving test quickly and I felt I picked driving up quickly in the pre17 driving sessions and wanted to carrying on progressing at that same rate. I feel like the online portal helped me pass my theory and practical test quicker as I had all the information I needed to revise before the test.

 

We’d love you to share your views and experiences of learning with WrightStart…

The ideal way to learn to drive

Today’s blog is all about the best way to learn to drive. This is how we at WrightStart personally believe is the right way to learn and obtain your licence.

If you follow these simple steps you will be well on your way in your driving career:

1. Discussion and observation with parents in early years

You can make an early start in your driving career by watching other people such as your parents or other relatives driving. Observing how they do things and talking to them will help to build basic knowledge and understanding prior to getting into the car for the first time.

2. Karting

Go-karting is not only really fun and physical but it is but it’s a great way to learn the basics of steering, acceleration and braking. They build on basic handling techniques that you can use and transfer into driving a full-size car.

3. Pre-17

WrightStart offers Pre-17 driver training, this is aimed at helping young drivers gain valuable skills and abilities prior to being 17. This helps the driver have more confidence but also better road awareness so that when they are 17 and begin to learn to drive they are safe and develop their skills more quickly.

4. Theory study

A lot of young drivers see the theory test as a means to an end and don’t fully appreciate or realise why it is an important part of the learn to drive process. Practising your theory questions and also hazard perception clips is vital to ensure you understand the road and also the Highway Code, at WrightStart you get theory training for free.

5. First driving lesson

Your first driving lesson with an instructor will set the tone for future lessons. It is essential that an instructor shows you the basics and discusses things in detail so that further down the line you understand how the car works mechanically and how the road operates.

6. Parental practice

Private practice is excellent way of enhancing and developing the skills you have learnt in your driving lessons with your approved driving instructor. When undertaken properly, private practice will help you improve all of the techniques and skills discussed in a lesson, in turn helping you to save a little time and money.

7. Theory test

Only take your theory test when you are ready but don’t put it off, you can’t book a practical driving test until this is passed. Ideally you want to be learning the theory content alongside the practical lessons. Ensure you know the pass requirements and don’t forget to take your documents with you.

8. Regular lessons and continued parental practice

Continuing regular driving lessons whilst also undertaking private practice is the best way to ensure skills and abilities are developed and maintained on the build up to the driving test.

9. Practical test

Before taking your practical test you must fully understand what the test involves, the requirements of the vehicle you are taking (especially if it isn’t your instructors) and how the test will be marked. Make sure you prepare fully for the test and don’t take it if your aren’t ready, WrightStart pupils have an excellent online revision tool for this making it easier. For further information check out the .gov site here.

10. Post test motorway

Motorway driving is a key part of driving, they connect major cities and provide key arterial roots between them enabling you to reduce time on your journey. At WrightStart we always give a free motorway session to a pupil after their test, yet another way we are Derbys unique driving school.

11. Skid pan and off-road training

Knowing how to handle a car in bad conditions is essential to ensure you stay keep your car in one piece, the only problem is it’s only discussed in theory as part of the learn to drive process. Skid pan training and other forms of off-road driving are excellent ways to improve your car handling skills and your abilities to stay safe on the road.

 

If you want to get your licence don’t delay, call us today.

Why should you learn to drive?

Learning to drive is at the top of the list for most 17 year olds however a lot of people decide not to learn to drive at 17 due to the high cost of learning to drive, other commitments or don’t see the need until after university. In fact there is a large number of people that wait until after university when they have the time, more money and right attitude to learn to drive.

Most people want to learn to drive because it’s the in thing at 17, teenagers see it as a sense of freedom and the ability to get away from home, or just want to get out and see friends and become more independent.

However, there are many other benefits of learning to drive and today we will discuss some of those in a little more detail.

Life Skill

At WrightStart we believe that learning to drive is more than just being able to pass the test but it is a skill for life that one day may be able to save your life or someone else’s. We feel the skills we teach and the knowledge we pass on can be utilised not just on the road but to other areas of life, it allows for in depth learning and thinking to be achieved and maturity to be developed.

Transportation

Driving is essential to be able to navigate the area do you live or work in. Relying on other forms of transport such as buses or cycling may not always be appropriate or feasible. Having access to a vehicle to commute or see friends and family in can be essential.

DofE

Many students studying A-levels will be undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Driving skills can be used to achieve such an award and here at WrightStart we have signed many pupils log books that have helped them achieve it.

Challenge

Some people relish a new challenge and find the stimulation of learning something new exciting. Trying to pick up new skills is challenging and helps keep the brain healthy and active and complex skills such as driving will help to improve that.

Employment opportunities

New data from job search engine Adzuna has found that almost 100,000 jobs require driving, while job seekers with a driver’s licence could earn thousands more than back-seat jobseekers for equivalent roles.

Job seekers looking for work could earn thousands of pounds more simply by having a driver’s licence. The research analysed over 1.2 million job ads across the UK to reveal the pay difference between job ads that require candidates to have a driver’s licence and those that don’t.

Recent figures from the government’s National Travel Survey show that 36% of 21-29 year olds don’t have a driving licence, and the number one reason for not learning to drive amongst this age group is cost.
Here’s a couple of additional points:

a) Ten of the jobs with the biggest increase in advertised salary when a driving licence was required in the job ad.

Job Title Advertised Salary Increase with Driver’s Licence
Nurse £6,146
Sales Advisor £5,153
Customer Service Assistant £4,910
Store Manager £4,725
Teacher £3,872
Mechanical Technician £3,586
Business Administrator £2,806
Chef £2,659
Vehicle Mechanic £2,499
Therapist £2,252

b) The five job sectors that are most likely to require a drivers licence (of course, this doesn’t include those jobs where you’d need to be able to drive just to get to the workplace!)

Job Sector Job Ads Requiring A Licence
Property 14.06%
Maintenance 11.43%
Logistics and Warehouse 10.65%
Energy, Oil and Gas 10.10%
Social Work 7.98%

To read the full report click here.

As you can see there are many reasons as to why you would want to learn to drive, so if you fancy doing something new and want to obtain your license, give us a call and we’ll see how we can help.

Driving test changes from December 2017

The driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The 4 main changes to the test are:

* The independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
* Most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav
* The reversing manoeuvres will be changed
* Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The 4 driving test changes

1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.
This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav
During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.
The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.
You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.
You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.
One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.
You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:
* parallel park at the side of the road
* park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
* pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving
The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
You’ll be asked the:
* ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
* ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Watch how the new test will work here.

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.
The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.
The overall time of the driving test won’t change. You’ll still drive for around 40 minutes.
The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Why the changes are being made

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.
DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.
These changes are being made because:
* most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
* 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
* research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

Changes are supported by the public

The changes follow a:
* public consultation that over 3,900 people took part in
* trial of the changes involving over 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors
The proposals were widely supported by the public. The results of the consultation show that:
* 88.2% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
* 70.8% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
* 78.6% agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are tested
* 78.4% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving

Helping you through a lifetime of safe driving

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said:
Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.
These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:
DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving. Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.

So what does this mean for you?

Well you’ll be pleased to know that all WrightStart instructors are kept up to date with all changes and are already prepared for the new test date. To be honest, we have been delivering lessons on these new topics for years and will continue to teach pupils key skills that will be required not just for test but for everyday driving to. We strive to be the best and ensure you are always prepared for every eventuality so don’t stress, we’ve got it covered!

Top reasons for failing the Theory Test

The theory test can be a stressful event for even the most clued-up of learners – but it needn’t be if you learn the five most common reasons for messing it up:

1. Failing to Revise for the Theory Test
There’s no easy way round this – you have to put the work in to get the result you want. There are dozens of learning solutions available from the Highway Code in book form through to Theory Test Pro, and using one or a combination will help you to learn the rules of the road from start to finish.
Also, with apps like Theory Test Pro, your performance can be monitored by your instructor so if there are any areas that you’re struggling with, these knowledge gaps can be spotted and discussed  during your next lesson.

2. Going In Unprepared for the Theory Test
You may have swotted up on the Highway Code but on the day itself, the idea of taking the actual test can still seem daunting. First, you may not know what to expect – fix that by heading to our step-by-step guide to the test process – and second, you’ve never actually taken the test in any shape or form.
To get yourself ready, use online and mobile services to take mock tests, which allow you to practise in the same format as the official test itself. It means you can prepare yourself for how the test actually works, plus many allow you to practise whether you’re sat at home or on the bus.

3. Wondering Why The Questions Are Different in the Actual Theory Test
Well, they are… but they’re not. Let us explain – the questions you will see in a mock test are indeed different to the ones featured in the actual test but they deal with exactly the same themes and rules of the road.
The reason? The Theory Test has been designed to test you on your knowledge, and not simply to check if you have memorised everything word for word. It’s the difference between true learning and pointless regurgitation.

4. Freaking Out Over Theory Test Questions
It can happen to any one of us during a test – we get a question that we can’t figure out the answer to and simply guess or skip it entirely. But, remember, you can mark a question using the ‘Flag’ button in the Theory Test and return to it later when the answer may have finally popped into your head.

5. Clicking Too Much In The Hazard Perception Test
The Hazard Perception Test is the part that many of us dread. Unlike the Theory Test, it’s ‘live’ with no way of going back and checking or changing answers. It can lead to genuine stress over how you will perform on the big day – but there’s help at hand. You can use apps to practise the HPT, learning how, why and when to click. And it’s the ‘when’ that can confound learners the most.

Did you know that all WrightStart pupils get FREE access to Theory Test Pro, these guys make learning the theory fun, quick and easy. If your not learning with WrightStart first of all why aren’t you? and secondly you can still download their app to have a play. Get practising and good luck…

Learning to Drive outside of the U.K.

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Private Practice

Private practice is a great way of building your road experience, improving on skills and enhancing your knowledge. However, for some parents and pupils alike it can be quite a daunting experience, especially as they don’t have dual controls and don’t want to knock your confidence.

Here’s our top tips for practising with someone at home:

These key points are vital for successful private practice and will ensure you fast track your learning without cutting corners and comprising your skills.

Driving Scholarship


Win a *fully funded learn to drive programme for 2017, complete with theory and practical test fees included, a pass plus course, skid pan training, karting sessions, a post test supercar experience and many other extras.

You have the opportunity to Learn to Drive for FREE in a Brand New Mini Cooper fitted with all the latest technology along with an industry leading Approved Driving Instructor.

This “Scholarship” is open to anyone over the age of 16 and will aim to find the next WrightStart driving champion. There is no upper age limit but applicants CANNOT have a full driving licence although previous experience is allowed.

lewis-wright

Lewis Wright of WrightStart, said: “I’m very proud to launch our 2017 scholarship competition, it is the first of its kind and we hope to promote driver safety whilst giving one lucky person the chance to learn to drive for free. The WrightStart Scholarship is a perfect stepping stone to fast track and enhance driving skills and obtain your driving licence in a safe environment.”

All entrants will receive welcome packs, certificates, goody bags, a WrightStart branded t-shirt and online access to theory training for each of the rounds.

The final 3 winners will also receive the following:

The competition will consist of 2 rounds:

Round 1 is a one day session that will include 2 basic in car practical driver training sessions along with other challenges such as theory tests. It will take place on Saturday 8th or Sunday 9th April 2017.

Round 2 will be a planned basic off-road practical driving test based on round 1 accompanied with various show me/tell me questions. It will take place on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th May.

The price to enter this competition is £99 and if selected for round 2, there will be no additional costs. For more information and to pay please call 07976 790749. Please note bookings cannot be amended or refunded.

Please note entrants must live in Derby (within a 16 mile radius of DE21). Places are limited, spaces available on a first come first served basis and the first round will take place in April 2017 in Derby.

*Funded training up to 40 hours and includes 1 free theory and practical test.

Mopeds & Motorbikes

So you’ve passed your driving test and fancy another challenge, you want to add another category onto your already shiny licence. Well have no fear, today we’re going to talk about bikes.

So let’s begin with the moped/scooter. At the age of 16 your eligible to ride a moped/scooter up to 50cc in engine size with a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course. This is a day’s training course with half a day off-road to learn the basics and then the second half of the day on road to improve your skills. You will still need to ride with ‘L’ plates.

The CBT course is designed and legislated specifically to be the 1st stage in learning to ride a motorcycle at any level. You must complete a CBT to enable you to ride a moped or motorcycle on the road if you have not already passed your motorcycle test. In order to complete the course, you MUST have both parts of your Driving Licence (card and counterpart).

At the age of 17 you can upgrade to a bigger bike with your Module 1 & 2 tests. This comprises of a theory test, an off-road obstacle course and another on road test.

The A1 course enables anybody from the age of 17 years and over to take motorcycle training and tests on a motorcycle between 120cc and 125cc, capable of reaching at least 55mph (90km/h) and have a power output not exceeding 14.6bhp (11kw). Once you have passed all the tests, you will be able to ride up to a 125cc motorcycle without L-Plates and can carry a pillion passenger. Your licence no longer auto upgrades after 2 years.

The A2 course enables anybody from the age of 19 years and over to take motorcycle training and tests on a motorcycle of at least 395cc with an engine power of at least 33bhp but not exceeding 46.6bhp. After 2 years or on reaching 24 years of age you can take a Full Category A Motorcycle Test which will enable you to ride any motorcycle to full power. All training for this course must be completed with an Approved Training Body (ATB).

Alternatively if your aged 24 you can complete a Direct Access a course (DAS) which upon completion enables you to drive a bike of any size immediately.

The DAS course is for anybody over the age of 24 who wishes to take their motorcycle training and tests on a motorcycle of at least 53.6bhp (40kw), around a 595cc motorcycle or more. All training for this course must be completed with an Approved Training Body (ATB). Once you have passed all the tests, you will be able to ride any size motorcycle to full power from the word go

Further to the training above you can then progress onto danced rider training. This post test training is designed to develop your knowledge and skills beyond basic test level standard. The training could be the Bike Plus ERS (Enhanced Riders Scheme), which can work towards advanced qualifications such as IAM or RoSPA.

If you’d like to begin your riding career or just inquisitive pop over to our good friends at Shires Motorcycle Training Derby

Eco Driving

It’s no surprise many of you are looking for Eco friendly cars, especially with the rising fuel prices, but how do you get the most out of your car.

Today we look at some basic Eco driving tips:

1. Forward plan and anticipate. By reading the road ahead you will be able to make a plan of action prior to arrival at a junction or hazard, in turn this will be smoother and less rushed
2. Don’t over-rev your car, a diesel usually likes a gear change around 2,000 revs whereas the petrol counterpart wants nearer 3,000
3. Look to stay in a higher gear when possible, be careful not to labour the engine too much as this will increase fuel consumption
4. Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated, a slightly higher tyre pressure will eek out an extra few mpg on a long run
5. When looking at statistics for your car, ensure you check the combined fuel consumption rating

So what cars are best to buy for fuel economy? Take a look below for the current top 10 most efficient cars:

The UK’s most economical cars

 

Check out Auto Express’s fuel efficiency article here.

If you have any further questions, want to check if you are an eco friendly driver or needs some extra tips please contact us here for one of our Eco driving courses.

Driving Test Mark Sheet Explained

So your taking your driving test and understandably your a little worried, but don’t fret we’re here to help.

Regardless of a pass or fail at the end of your practical test the driving examiner will deliver you your result, they will then ask if you’d like to hear why you passed or failed.

In this blog we will discuss and explain what each section means and give you some typical examples of faults that occur in these areas.

Firstly it is important to understand that you cannot accrue more than 15 driver faults, these are called minors. If you obtain either a single serious or dangerous fault, otherwise known as majors, you will fail.

You will be asked to complete one manoeuvre, possibly including the controlled stop and two show me/tell me questions. The idea is to keep the sheet as clean as possible.

So let’s being, below is a picture of the most up to date marking sheet, the DL25A.

DL25A

At the top of the sheet come your personal and instructors details, this is just for administration purposes. It is worth bearing in mind this test sheet is used for multiple test types so some sections won’t be applicable to the learner test.

Moving down to 1a, this is your eyesight check. You will be asked to read a number plate at a distance of 21 metres, if you can your test will go ahead.

Numbers 2-10 are manoeuvres, the examiners are looking primarily of good control and observation throughout the exercise. If you manage this you will be accurate and will in turn avoid touching kerbs and keeping inside the white lines.

Numbers 12-15 are related to basic car controls. The examiner is looking for smooth and correct gear changes, full observational checks before moving off, utilisation of mirrors when signalling and changing direction and also effective signal timing and use.

Number 16 is about giving other vehicles enough space when passing, for example moving around a parked car.

Number 17 is all about how you react and respond to other road users and road markings. For example have you realised the road is merging, is the other vehicle allowing you to make progress, have you seen the lights changing to red.

Number 18 is fairly self explanatory, have you been speeding. You may get away with 31,32 in a 30 but 33+ will star to accrue minor faults and eventually serious/dangerous marks.

Number 19, have you given appropriate space to the vehicle ahead, remember only a fool breaks the two second rule, think about wet and icy conditions too.

Number 20, this is about progress. Have you made suitable progress where appropriate or have you sat back and waited excessively when it was actually clear to go.

Number 21-23 relates to positioning and junctions and your ability to work them correctly. Have you checked fully, have you realised if it’s open or closed, was the speed of approach appropriate for the conditions etc…

Number 24 is about pedestrian crossings. Is the crossing clear, have you slowed down enough on approach or have you started to move off too early or even not moving off at all when it’s clear and safe to do so.

Number 25 is the position you have chosen to stop when parking, is it blocking a drive, on a bend or brow of a hill and 26 determines if you have been forward planning throughout your drive. You don’t want to be making last minute decisions, instead you want to be reading the road well ahead.

Number 27 is about the other car controls. This includes things like the lights, wipers and de-mister controls. You will be expected to operate all the cars controls effectively throughout the drive, if you need to, find a suitable place to pull over and amend any controls as necessary.

Finally ETA stands for Examiner Taken Action, this can be Verbal or Physical. For example have they told you to slow down or stop or have the had to move the steering wheel to prevent you from hitting another vehicle.

We hope this gives you a little bit more of an insight into the driving test and what the examiners are looking for. Feel free to download a copy to practice with and if you have any further questions ask your instructor.

Private Practice

So you’ve recently started learning to drive, your having regular lessons with your instructor but also have your own car or access to another car in order to complete private practice. This sounds great and is an excellent way of improving your skills and increasing road time.

Did you know that on average a learner driver takes over 40 hours of professional tuition and usually some private practice until they are ready to pass the driving test.

With this in mind we have put together a few advantages and disadvantages of private practice along with some other key facts.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Further key points for you to note:

We hope these little pointers help you out in-between lessons but for the time being keep up the good practice and stay safe out there.

Preparing for the Theory Test

The theory test is essential part of the learning to drive process and must be completed prior to the practical test. Without passing a theory test a practical test cannot be booked.

Some learners see the theory test as a means to an end and isn’t interesting or important, however they couldn’t be further from the truth. The Highway Code is the main basis for road craft and by reading the book it will significantly help a driver gain more knowledge and understanding of the road.

Even full licence holders should ensure they are kept up to date with a current copy of the HWC as rules and regulations change on a frequent basis. In fact, the HWC has been amended many times over the years, the current edition was amended and last updated in 2015. To read about its history click here or to buy your copy click here.

Our top tips for learning theory content:

1. The best way to prepare for a theory test is to manage each section in bite size chunks, don’t overload on information.

2. Always re-read your wrong answers after each section so you know what you’ve got wrong and how to correct it ready for next time.

3. Ensure you’ve covered each section thoroughly, don’t skip sections to save time.

4. Revise little and often, regular revision improves retention rate.

5. Don’t ignore the hazard perception element, you are looking for the developing hazard.

6. Most importantly, always book your theory test via the government website and not false websites. The link is here.

These handy tips should point you in the right direction and get you ready for the all important test and if your reading this and have passed your test, ask yourself, when was the last time you read up on the highway code?..

Don’t forget, if your learning to drive with WrightStart you get free and unlimited theory practice with our partners Theory Test Pro.  It’s a great online system with all the latest content helping you pass quickly and easily all whilst saving you money.

For more interesting facts and trivia about both the theory and practical tests, check out the government website here. Until next time, enjoy swotting up.

Questions about the Driving Test

Happy New Year! January has sprung upon us and many of you are probably looking forward to learning to drive this year and are eager to pass the driving test. Well, luckily for you we have put together a few common questions about the test to help you out.

Many pupils ask us last minute questions on test day about the test and what to expect, the top 5 are listed below:

1. How many faults am I allowed?

You are allowed up to 15 minor faults on your driving test and still be given a pass. A single serious or dangerous fault will result in an immediate fail. Listen to your examiners debrief at the end of the test as they will give you guidance on how to improve.

2. How long will the test last?

The driving test will last approximately 40 minutes. This does include the time taken to meet the examiner, fill out necessary paperwork, answer your show me/tell me questions and also go out for the drive.

3. How can I control my nerves?

This is always a tricky one to answer as everyone deals with pressure in different ways. Personally I like to visualise my manoeuvres and sometimes write down the order of various procedures and processes so that it is clear in my mind. The best way to ensure your calm on test day is to practice, practice, practice and try to do a mock test so you know what to expect on test day.

4. What if I fail?

Statistically speaking the odds aren’t in your favour for passing first time and if you think long and hard about it, it isn’t really the end of the world. We all now how disappointing and upsetting failure is however the examiner and instructor are both at hand to help you improve on the weaker points and make you a better safer driver. Just like a car MOT failure, take yourself away, improve on the weak points and present yourself for test again once further progress has been made.

5. How should I drive on the test?

This question is actually asked quite often. Driving test candidates should drive to the standard that they do on driving lessons. Instructors have spent a lot of time and effort into training the pupil to drive to a high standard that meets the requirements of the test. Once a pupil has reached the required standard the instructor then feels that it is appropriate to present the pupil for test and continuing to drive in this manner will enable you to pass the test.

We hope these help but if you have any further questions you’d like answering don’t be afraid to ask us…

Pre-17 Driving Experiences

Our latest project, Pre-17 Driving began after many of our current pupils continually asked if their younger brothers/sisters and friends/relatives could drive a car off-road. We started to take note of the volume of enquiries regarding this idea and so the venture started…

After many months of research, head scratching and planning we eventually came up with the solution and created the driving experiences for you all to enjoy. They are like nothing else on the market.

If you hadn’t heard you can now get behind the wheel without a licence from just £20. This is because we have exclusive use of a gigantic area in Derby at our disposal. Anyone between the ages of 2 and 17 can get a head start in their driving careers.

The experiences are a great Christmas present for anyone looking to treat their younger ones this festive period and video packages are available to remember the special occasion.

If your still unsure what all the fuss is about visit our YouTube channel to get a sneak peak.

We look forward to seeing you all there, to book visit: WrightStart Pre-17

 

 

Dual Carriageways & Motorways

Andy talks us through some of the key differences between motorways and dual carriageways in the latest YouTube video.

Understeer & Oversteer

You will sometimes here the phrase understeer and oversteer. If you’re a motorsport fan you probably hear it a lot.

Understeer and oversteer aren’t problems that should effect you very often, as long as you are sticking to the speed limits and driving sensibly. Every once in a while though you may find yourself in a tricky situation involving under or oversteer and it can help to know the reasons for your car handling this way and how you can correct the problem. If you are ever driving a car on a race track – perhaps on one of our driving experience days, this is essential reading for you.

I am going to give you a simple explanation of understeer and oversteer that is easy to undestand. After each explanation I’ll also give you some tips for how to correct them if you find yourself in a pickle. At the end of this post I will also give you some useful links if you want to get more technical and detailed info on them.

However, if you want a really simplified explanation of understeer and oversteer check out this Top Gear video.

Difference Between Petrol & Diesel Engines

This week I summarize the basic differences between petrol and diesel engines in relation to fuel economy and performance.

If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, feel free to ask away in the comments below.

5 Tips to Banish Driving Test Nerves

Driving test nerves stressing you out? Well don’t worry you aren’t alone. It is common to feel a certain amount of stress or anxiety leading up to your driving test. This is the moment all of your driving lessons have been building up to. What if I forget what I’ve learnt, what if I panic. All sorts of things can run through your mind, especially on the day of your driving test.

In this post I’ve listed my five best tips for dealing with driving test nerves. Some of them may not work for you personally but all of these are proven techniques that are simple to implement and have really helped people to deal with driving test stress. All of the techniques below are intended to give you a different focus that will distract you from the negative thoughts running through your mind.

1. Try Some Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are an extremely effective way of calming yourself down if you are feeling anxious. Take slow deep breaths and focus on breathing deep down in your belly instead of from your chest. Inhale through your nose and exhale from your mouth. As you do this try to clear your mind of any negative thoughts and just focus on your breathing. By slowing your breathing you will also actively lower your heart rate which also instils a feeling of calm. Buddhists use breathing techniques like this during their meditations and they’re some of the most chilled out and calm people you will ever meet.

2. Squeeze a Stress Ball

Another neat little tip for instant relief from driving test nerves is to get yourself a stress ball. Any type of firm foam ball that fits nicely in the palm of your hand will do the trick. You can also get specially made stress balls that have squishy gel inside of a rubber outer layer. Whichever one you choose just keep squeezing it in your hand whenever you are feeling anxious. Toy shops, gadget shops, pound stores and pet shops are all good places to pick up a stress ball.

3. Listen to Some Music

Most of us have a certain type of music or a particular song that relaxes us and helps us to chill out. Stick this song on your MP3 player and listen to it whenever you are feeling a bit worked up. Perhaps imagine you are somewhere else as you listen. Lying on a sandy beach, having a picnic on a sunny day, whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy.

4. Take Yourself Out of the Situation

This stress relief technique is a little more unorthodox but it can really help some people. If you are in a stressful situation or are thinking about one that you are going to face try imagining yourself looking at the scene from the eyes of another person. Pretend that you are looking over your shoulder, or looking down on the scene from above. You can also try taking away colour and imagining the scene in black and white. By removing yourself from the situation in this way it can help you to detach your emotions, making it seem much less daunting.

5. Ask Your Instructor to Sit in on Your Test

By the time you take your driving test you will have a really good relationship with your driving instructor (or at least we hope you will!). Having them sit in the back of the car while you take your test can be a great way to reduce your driving test nerves. Many of our pupils have found this to be very beneficial to them.

So if you find that you are getting the driving test jitters give some of these a techniques a try. Let us know if any of these work for you in the comments below and we’d love to hear about any stress coping techniques that you have found useful.

Parental Driving Tuition

This week I discuss the pros and cons of having extra driving lessons with your parents in-between the lessons with your driving instructor.

If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, feel free to ask away in the comments below.

Driving Lesson Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone.

We’ve just launched a new feature. We get asked plenty of questions by our pupils on their driving lessons. Lots of them crop up regularly so I thought I’d start a weekly Q&A session on our YouTube channel. Here’s my little intro and I will post our first question right after this.

If you have any questions please ask away in the comments and I’ll answer them in a future video.

Hope this helps you and I’ll see you soon.

Driving Barefoot

A lot of people ask me if it is illegal to drive barefoot so I thought I’d post this answer on the blog for anyone else who is wondering about this.

In short the answer is “No”. It is not illegal to drive barefoot in the UK. The only thing the highway code mentions with regards to clothing is as follows:

– Clothing and footwear must not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner.

I have heard of pupils passing their driving test barefoot. So driving with no shoes on is fine and if for any reason you get pulled over by the police and aren’t wearing any shoes you won’t get arrested, fined etc. However, there are a couple of things you need to consider before driving barefoot.

If you are take your shoes off when you get in the car to drive it is a good idea not to put them in the drivers foot-well. Shoes can slide around on the floor when the car is moving and could get stuck underneath the pedals, preventing you from operating them correctly. If you were involved in a serious accident that resulted in a police investigation and they found this to be the cause of the accident it could result in you getting prosecuted. Don’t take any chances, put your footwear in a passenger’s foot-well.

The other thing to be wary of is sharp stones on the floor of your car that could get stuck under your feet. You know how painful it can be when you tread on a jagged little piece of gravel with no shoes on. Well if one of those little blighters happens to be underneath your heel and you need to brake suddenly the sharp pain could actually cause you to withdraw your foot when you need to be slamming it down firmly! I actually heard of a case where this happened, resulting in damage and injury to third parties. When driving long distances the constant pressure of the pedal on the bottom of your foot can also become painful after a while without any cushioning.

I personally think it is wisest to drive in a comfortable pair of shoes but if you want to drive with your feet “au naturel” that’s fine but please do bare the above in mind.

Related Posts

Driving in Flip Flops

Pondering on Pass Plus?

So you pass your driving test, receive a shiny new pink licence and you’re free to go out on the road, Yay! But is that it for driver training?

Well the simple answer is NO. Pass Plus is a course designed to help improve a driver’s knowledge, understanding and physical skills and abilities of driving a car post-test. It also aims to reduce insurance premiums as a driver has gone out of their way to ensure they are a better, safer driver.

There are 6 modules to complete ranging from city driving to country lanes and even onto Motorways, which for some would be a first. The objective of each section is to develop a driver from being good to great.

The course runs for around 6 hours (1 hour minimum per module) and can be completed in one day or split over a longer period. The most popular option is to spend a day exploring, taking routes to various places that you may have not seen or been to before. It’s always nice to plan a journey beforehand taking in various road conditions, some simple and others more challenging. We also like to add in the use of the car’s other control functions such as cruise control and the speed limiter but also introduce further pre-vehicle checks, eco driving, using a sat-nav and beginning commentary driving to name a few.

Upon completion of the course the candidate receives an information booklet which is useful for finding extra snippets of info, a certificate as proof of attending and also a list of insurance companies that accept the award helping to save you more money.

To summarise, this could be a chance to help you become an even safer driver whilst learning new techniques and having fun along the way so if you have any further questions feel free to ask your instructor and we can get you booked in!

Anyway that’s all from us for now so don’t forget #startWrightStart.