The Paperless Driving License in UK

Every vehicle driver or any transportation vehicle driver has many obligations in having a car. They need to have necessary papers like registration paper and a driver’s license to use their car freely on the road and in other places. This necessary paper is also needed if you want to rent a car in other places. Every government agency, mostly transportation agency, reinforces different laws regarding having a license. Like the new policy implemented this year in United Kingdom (UK), the Paperless driving license that has  been implemented by Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The agency transforms the paper-driving license to a credit card size photo-card license. According to the agency, this newest driving license is more about online activities. They can be able to share their license details with third parties via a new digital service called “View driving License”. In this service motorists are allowed to see how many penalty points they have and what vehicle they can drive. It will also serve as a guide to those people who want to check the record of an employee or customer. The government said that they just want the motorist to have an easy access to the government services. This photo card license can be renewed by the motorist after three years. In over-all, the DVLA Strategic plan is to have an easy policy access through technology.

But does this new policy could be easy to the motorist? Is the implementation of this helpful to them? Many motorists were alarmed by this policy of DVLA regarding the new driving license that they must have this year and the paperless driving license will be no longer accommodated once the said policy is fully implemented. Many have said that it will just cause them so much time, effort and money in applying for a photo version-driving license. Many has been confused in this implemented policy mostly to those foreign  car hire firms that it may affect those individuals who are just renting a car during their visit mostly in UK. Because they need first to have necessary papers regarding this policy before they have a car they can be used. This policy may just cause them additional expenses because of the implementation of this new driving license.

But how about to those old motorists having the old version of driving license, even the government is saying and assuring that the change of their old form license will be free but are they still capable on updating their record online. They will be having a hard time in viewing and updating their records unless the government will have a special assistance that will attend to those old drivers or motorists in making those updates online.

On the other side yes, there are good effects that this new policy may have in terms of modernizing the driver’s policy through technology. But the thing is, before they implement this policy make sure that the entire individual that will be affected by this law is warned and guided enough by the government. And make sure that before implementing this new policy it should be decided by the majority.

How to view

A free View Driving Licence service lets you see what details are on your licence, including what vehicles you can drive and any penalty points you may have.  It can be accessed here.

For more information on how this impacts those starting to learn to drive, contact us at James School of Motoring.

Tips for passing the UK driving test

Even if you are the best driver in the country, it is difficult when you have to take the actual take a driving test. You are nervous, scared, and things thing you know just disappear from your memory. To pass your test, it is a good idea to know what expected of you. Some tips and tricks for passing your UK driving tests are:

  • Remember that the driving test is easy. You drive for about 35 minutes. The roads you drive on for the test are the same ones you have probably driven before. Try and remember what is on the rough and all it foibles.
  • Get extra experience and drive with parents or relatives as much as they will let you. Ask them to critique your driving.
  • Practice the general maneuvers as often as you can. Parking, stopping, turning and any other maneuver required takes practice. If you are familiar with these maneuvers, you will do fine.
  • Do not panic. If you make a mistake or feel scared and nervous or your mind goes blank, remember that this thing can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Remain calm, assess your mistakes or emotions and correct them. Let your examiner know you realize you made a mistake and explain how you will correct this error.
  • Study the exam booklet. Become familiar with the DVLA standards of driving and what is expected of you as a driver in the UK. Knowing the signs and highway codes will give you confidence when driving with an examiner.
  • Learn your vehicle. Life the bonnet and have a quick look at the mechanics of your machine. If you are familiar with your vehicle, you may be more relaxed. Ask your instructor, friends and parents how to change a tire, check the oil and learn the basics of how your vehicle mechanically operates.
  • Eat before your test. Most people do not eat when they are nervous and ready to panic. You just magnify your stress levels by not eating. Eating will help settle your nerves and give you the impetus to maintain your focus on what is going on.
  • If you do not hear the instructions from the examiner, speak up. Ask what they said, don’t stay silent and try to guess the instructions. Have them repeat what they just said. This will help you confidently carry out their instructions.
  • Arrive at the testing area a few minutes before your appointed time. Take a deep breath, shake your hands, and try to relax. A nervous driver will make mistakes; so don’t be a nervous driver. You will do fine.

Follow these tips and it should help when you take your driving test.  If you have questions or are looking for a professional driving instructor, please do not to contact as at James School of Motoring, Essex.

Learn to Drive With The Best of the Best!

Jolly teen girl sitting in her car tearing a L-sign after having her driver’s licence

OK, so you haven’t heard from us in a while and for that, we apologise! You see, it’s that time of year when people who want to learn how to drive tend to look for a good driving school, and we’ve been busy.

As you’re no doubt aware, James School of Motoring is based in Braintree, Essex and we’ve been helping new drivers gain a full licence since 1980. You may well be asking yourself what makes us so different from the many driving schools you have to choose from in our area. Well, let us explain!

What Makes Us Stand Out….

From the crowd:

Like any professional driving school, we at James School of Motoring are committed to providing an excellent service to all of our learner drivers (no matter how young or old). What makes us different is the approach we take.

  • You’ll never find yourself paying for more driving lessons than you need. We’re not about making as much money as possible we’re about making sure we have a great pass rate for all our students. After all, it’s our reputation (and your safety) at stake.
  • We understand that learning to drive can, and is a pretty stressful thing to go through. In fact, we would go so far as to say it’s possibly one of THE most stressful exams you’ll undertake. For that reason we not only make sure all our driving instructors are properly qualified, we also ensure they know how to deal with people so you feel completely at ease.
  • When you decide to learn to drive with us, we won’t turn you into a “fair weather” driver because as you all know our weather can be a little, shall we say, unpredictable!

Those Added Extras

If you pay a visit to our website you’ll find we don’t charge for advice! It doesn’t matter if you need more information on how to apply for a provisional driving licence, how to go about your theory or practical driving test and of course, everything you need to know on the packages we offer on driving lessons.

Speaking of lessons, we offer plenty of packages to suit all needs and if you don’t find what you’re looking for just give us a call where a friendly ear is waiting to talk to you.

Passed But Still Nervous?

At James School of Motoring we understand that just because you’ve passed your test and gained a full driving licence, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re comfortable with driving on your own. Nerves can take a while to settle even when you’ve done all the hard work.

If this is you, try taking a look at our Plus Pass Lessons which are available in Braintree and the surrounding areas. Not only will we help you become a more confident driver, our instructors will also teach you the following:

  • Night driving.
  • Motorway driving.
  • Driving on dual carriageways.
  • We will also teach you how to deal with driving in town and the countryside.

All in all, if you’re looking for a professional driving school that has a reputation second to none, James School of Motoring is here to help!

UK driving test information 2015

Driving tests in the UK are designed to measure if you can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions and if you know the Highway Codes. You need to show this through your driving ability, eyesight check, two vehicle safety questions, and theory test.

The eyesight check requires you to read a license plate number 20 metres away for vehicles with the new-style number plate. You will also need to read a license plate that is printed in the old style at least 20.5 metres away. If you fail the eyesight test, you will not be allowed to carry on with the theory or the practical driving test.

The driving ability part of your test will last 40 minutes. The examiner will be looking for safe driving habits. You should follow the directions the examiner gives you. The test will include normal stops, angle starts or pulling out from behind a parked vehicle, a hill start and an emergency stop. If you are nervous, you may ask someone who is older the 16 years to accompany you.

You will also need to reverse your vehicle by reversing around corners, turning in the road, and reverse parking. An independent driving test will also be administered to assess your ability to drive safely while making your own decisions.

The written tests include fifty questions that test your ability to know the rules of the road. These questions are multiple-choice, and each has four answers. The theory test has a time limit of 57 minutes. You must correctly answer 43 of these questions to pass.

Some of the questions you will encounter are: On a standard three-lane motorway, what is the purpose of the right-hand lane? The answer choices are: for low-speed cruising on the motorway, for the purpose of overtaking, for high-speed cruising on the motorway, or for use by high sided vehicles.

Another question could be: While driving behind a vehicle on a road that is slippery and wet, what time gap should you have between their car and doors? The answer should be: one second is not enough time, 4 seconds would be better.

When you feel confident about your ability to drive and take the driving test, you can book your practical driving test by going online to and following the links for Driving & Transport. The fees for the Theory Test are £25.00, and all tests are conducted in English or Welsh. There are no foreign language tests currently available.

During the theory test, you will see computer generated clips that feature every day road scenes and contain developing hazards. You will need to watch the screen and make a response. The quicker you spot the problems and solve them, the higher your score will be. If you pass the theory test, you will get a certificate. You must have a passed certificate in order to take the practical tests. Keep your certificate safe and take the practical test within two years.

If you are interested in taking lessons to help you pass your driving test, James School of Motoring can help.  Please contact us for a friendly chat.

Oh Those Frosty Mornings and Driving Lessons!

With recent reports in the news about how the UK is finally entering a season that can only be described as, well, chilly! Seeing bright frosty mornings is going to become the norm. Now, we know many people organise their driving lessons for the morning or the afternoon (after all there are other things to be done during the day).

If you’ve never encountered icy roads, bright sunshine low in the sky or even having to de-ice a vehicle before you drive it, this is something you should really pay attention to before you’re put forward for a practical driving test. Of course, any instructor worth their “weight” will make sure you take advantage of learning how to handle a car in colder weather. Just to give you an idea of what you’re up against below are some tips to help you:

Black Ice or Icy Roads in General

You’ve probably already worked out that keeping control of your car is the first thing any driving instructor will teach you, but black ice is something that catches even the most seasoned driver out. This is because (obviously), you can’t see it! Some things to be aware of when dealing with what is an incredibly real danger on our roads are:

Don’t Speed! Not that your driving instructor will let you do this anyway, but if you’re lucky enough to get some practice in before your next lesson, keeping your speed down in icy weather is of the utmost importance.

If you do encounter some black ice, the very last thing you should do is slam your brakes on (easier said than done, we know but this will only cause your vehicle to go out of control). Instead, tap lightly on the brakes or “pump” them. If you happen to encounter some black ice unexpectedly, the best thing to do here is take your foot off the accelerator immediately.

Make Sure You Can See!

One of the biggest problems in bright weather during winter is the position of the sun in the sky. Sure, all cars have sun-shades but they don’t always offer the right amount of protection. The best thing to combat this problem is to make sure you have a pair of sunglasses with you. If you’re unsure of the type you should use your driving instructor can advise you on this.

It’s not just your own eyesight you should protect, you also need to make sure your field of vision isn’t obscured and this will involve making sure all windows are properly de-iced and the water tank is topped up. Don’t think you’ll just get away with water at this time year with this one because that’s likely to freeze the minute it hits the screen. Again, your instructor will ensure all of this is taken care of, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can see how it’s done.

Above all, stay safe! There is no need for speed and if you’re careful you’ll be an expert at those frosty morning driving lessons before you know it!

Anyone for Driving Lessons in the Dark?

So, we’ve reached that time of year again when the nights are drawing in. In fact since the clocks went back, in some areas of the UK it’s probably dark when you leave home in the morning, and come home at night. For learner drivers, this can be a VERY intense time especially if you have to organise lessons early or late in the day.

If you’re just starting out with driving lessons, it might not be such a big deal because you’ll very quickly get used to the idea of driving at night. However, for those of you who started your lessons when it was still light outside the mere idea of taking to the roads in the dark can send you running (literally) for the hills!

But, Fear not because we have some advice for you:

Talk to Your Instructor

When you’re learning to drive, the instructor you’ve chosen should be your best friend. That doesn’t mean you have to talk to each other on Facebook every-day! It just means you need to be comfortable enough on a professional level to talk to them about your concerns.

It takes some-time for a person to become a driving instructor, and they’re trained to deal with just about all (if not ALL) eventualities that may crop up. Tell them you’re feeling nervous about driving in the dark even if it means setting some time aside during your next lesson.

Remember, they’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Start in Daylight

Wherever possible, take a driving lesson so its light outside when you begin and gradually gets dark as you go along. This way, your eyes will adjust to things like headlights and street lights appearing. It will also help your senses of perception catch-up with you as day becomes night.

Take an Intense Night Driving Course

This is possibly one piece of advice that will help those of you who are close to taking a practical driving test, but have never driven in the dark. After all, you don’t get to choose when you take the test and it could very well fall right at the end of the day.

Again, it’s worth talking to your instructor about this because they may be able to put a package together so it doesn’t cost you a load more cash you weren’t expecting pay out. If that’s not possible, there are plenty of driving schools around that will be more than happy to help you. Plus, they have some pretty good deals on price if you book several in one go.

Don’t Go Backwards!

The one thing to remember, even though you’re probably feeling like you’re about to take your driving test is to not let driving in the dark send you backwards. Everything you’ve learned so far will stand you in good stead for this little “hurdle” you have to get over.

After all, the more prepared you are when you finally get your full driving licence, the safer you’ll feel once you’re allowed on the roads without someone by your side.

Driving in The Countryside is More Hazardous than You Think!

When I was learning to drive, my instructor told me I had a natural ability. In fact, he went as far as to say there weren’t too many vehicles I wouldn’t be able to drive. Now, I’m not blowing my own trumpet. After all, it took me 3 times before I passed my test.

My instructor put this down to nerves, which is a story for another day! However, I digress because this article isn’t about how many times it takes to pass a driving test, or even how confident you are in a vehicle. Well, it might have a little to do with confidence and how that could be your undoing!

You may (or may not) have noticed that the Government has recently started a THINK campaign, and this is all about the hazards you can come across when driving in the country. They have pointed out that a massive 60% of fatal car accidents happen on quiet country roads. This equates to three people PER day dying!

If those statistics aren’t enough to make you sit up and THINK, take this for an example. 11 times more people die on country roads than on UK motorways! This might you lead you to ask (as it did me) why when there is so much more traffic on a motorway and it’s travelling a lot quicker.

Well, you’re about to find out.

How Country Roads Differ to Motorways

I could start by going on about the fact that motorways have more than one lane etc, but that would just be an attempt at teaching you to “suck eggs”. What you need to think about is that country roads have lots of twists and turns and not just that, they hide potential hazards.

This includes the following:

  • Concealed entrances or junctions
  • Dips in the road
  • Blind bends and summits
  • Overgrown hedges or trees
  • Debris on the road that can cause your vehicle to skid such as wet leaves.

OK, so you might get wet leaves on a motorway (just like you do on a train tracks)! However, the other hazards mentioned are VERY real, and as mentioned above can cause you to lose your life.

How to Be Safe On Country Roads

It goes without saying you should never speed when you drive in the country. In fact, you shouldn’t speed anywhere! The Government has explained any speed limit that’s set on this type of road isn’t something to aim for. For instance, the National speed limit is 60mph but this doesn’t mean you have to drive that fast!

When you approach bends, pay heed to the signs (you should know what they are) telling you how sharp it is. Plus, you should never break ON a bend but before it. Oh, and the biggest no-no is impatience! Overtaking shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially where cyclists, horse-riders and slow moving vehicles are concerned.

You may think the information above is obvious, but given the statistics pointed out here, it’s also obvious not every driver pays heed to safety on country roads. The message is don’t become a statistic!

Just Because You Have a Disability It Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Learn to Drive

As you know, we often give advice on how to go about learning to drive. This might include how to look for a driving school, what’s required of you at your theory and practical tests, and of course, how to deal with those nerves! We’ve even given you advice on many of the driver learning resources there are out there.

If you’re someone who suffers from a disability (mental or physical), it might seem that gaining a full driving licence is a very small light at the end of a tunnel let alone being able to get a provisional licence so you can learn!

However, it’s not as difficult as you might think although there are certain rules and regulations that need to followed. If you try to apply for a provisional licence and don’t declare a disability (no matter how slight) the DVLA will want to look at more closely, it could mean a fine of £1,000 and you may have more difficulty being accepted in the future.

So, with that aside what types of disability should you declare?

What the DVLA Say

There are a plethora of medical conditions mentioned by the DVLA (too many to mention here) however, to give you an idea below are some of the more common:

  • Epilepsy or any other illness that can cause blackouts or fits.
  • Diabetes which has to be controlled with medication.
  • Various heart conditions that could affect your ability to drive safely.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Any form of sleep apnoea or narcolepsy.

As mentioned, there are other conditions you’re required to report but we’ve decided to list the most obvious for you. As you can see from the list, the DVLA are quite fair about this. Basically, any illness that may cause an interruption in concentration or the ability to control a vehicle should be registered.

You Can Still Learn to Drive

Just because you might be diagnosed with a condition the DVLA needs to know about, it doesn’t mean you can’t still learn to drive. In fact, there are many driving schools that specialise in helping people with all sorts of conditions gain their full licence.

Some schools are equipped with specially designed cars for those of you who have a physical problem. There are also expert driving instructors who have gone the extra mile whilst training, so they can help people with mental issues finally gain the freedom that driving a car can bring.

If you think you’re going to be singled out when it comes to expense and driving lessons think again! You’ll be treated just like anyone-else, and in fact there are many deals on “block” driving lessons to be had simply because lots of driving schools realise it may take you a little longer to learn.


As long as you’re honest and follow the proper channels required by law, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t join many other thousands of people who are in the same situation.  Before you know it, you’ll have the “road” freedom you’ve always wanted!

It’s True People Do Make Excuses for Not Paying Car Tax!

I can hear scoffs at the title to this article as I write these words. However, for the more law abiding people who have just gained a full driving licence, this is where it all begins!

Not only have you been deemed legal to drive alone and in your own vehicle, you now have the added responsibility of making sure your car isn’t going to land you in hot water with the authorities. We could discuss insurance, MOT’s and such like but today we’re sticking with road tax.

First of all….

Changes You May Not Be Aware Of

As most drivers will be aware, the law currently states you have to display your tax disc in the bottom of your windscreen. However from 1st October this all changes because you will no longer need this valuable piece of paper.

In an effort to streamline the process, the DVLA has introduced a system that works online. This means you will no longer have to display the disc. Even if you have a few months left to run (road tax runs for 6 or 12 months), you can still do away with the paper version.

You won’t need to pay more as the system will already know you’ve “paid up”. Anyone who needs to renew their road tax or take it out for the first time will need to complete a form online. Don’t worry if you don’t have internet! Your trusty local Post Office will still be able to do it for you.

Some drivers agree with the new system, others don’t but that’s a discussion for some other time. What you do have to remember is you CAN (and probably will) get fined up to £1,000 for not paying regardless of how the process works.

Now, on to why some people think it’s OK not to pay…..

Non-Payment of Road Tax Excuses

So, some of the excuses below may seem like they’ve been made up but in fact they’re quite the opposite:

  1. I had every intention of paying my road tax but on the way, I noticed a horse race was on with one of my favourites running. I couldn’t resist and had a bet! Unfortunately, it lost and I didn’t have any money left.
  2. I fell out of a tree whilst picking fruit and broke both my arms!
  3. I was unable to go to the Post Office because I had “man” flu.
  4. I was away for a few months and forgot where I parked my car.
  5. I was informed by my accountant that I was due a tax rebate, so I thought I didn’t have to pay.

These are just a select few of the excuses various people come with, and if you’re thinking of using one of them forget it! All of the people responsible for any of the above ended up with a fine.

The fact is, as a new (or well accomplished) driver road tax isn’t something you can get away with. After all, can you imagine the state of our roads if this system wasn’t in place!

You’re Never Too Old to Gain That Full Driving Licence

When you reach a certain age, there are many things you can come across that may leave you saying “I’m just too old now”. Perhaps you always wanted to climb a mountain, but never found the opportunity and now you’re afraid your body just won’t deal with the physical stress.

It could also be that you thought about travelling the world, going white water rafting or even doing a bungy jump but never found the time. The list can be endless especially when your thirties are behind you and you feel you’ve reached a “certain age” where sense should prevail.

It can be the same if you’ve never learned to drive, and there are also many reasons why this might have happened. Perhaps you’ve spent most of your life living in an inner city and a car just wasn’t something you ever needed? Or, maybe you had a bad experience learning to drive when you were younger and that’s left you feeling too nervous to give it another go.

Whatever the reason….

It’s never too late!

OK, so the thought of jumping off a bridge with only a piece of elastic to keep you safe might send a shiver down your spine, but so can the idea of finally learning to drive when you’re older. After all, there is a certain stigma attached to gaining this skill, and that’s the fact most people do this in their late teens or early 20’s.

However the one thing to remember is, (unlike bungy jumping) learning to drive is for EVERYONE! There are no age restrictions to speak of except for the fact that you need to be at least 17 years old (and that probably doesn’t apply to you if you’re reading this). Plus, you will find that if you’re aged from 30 upwards, you’ll be met with a little more respect simply because you have more life experience.

Points to Consider

When you first start looking for a driving instructor (and it is best that you do), think about how you’re going to feel about the person sat next to you. Some people may not be bothered by an instructor who is younger than them, but for those of you who are don’t be afraid to ask for someone who is more your age bracket.

If, in the past you decided to give up on the idea of learning to drive because it was all just too much for you it can be a struggle dealing with the nerves. Again, you can speak to a driving school about this issue and the experts they have will be more than happy to help you through this.

Above all, don’t worry about the fact that you’re a “mature student”. You’re not the only one and it will surprise you when walking into a test centre how many people are the same age as you. As said, it’s never too late to gain a full driving licence and although it can be a nerve racking time there are plenty of driving schools out there who will welcome you with open arms.