Christmas Present Ideas for Someone wanting to learn to Drive

When I learnt to drive, all I had to help me was my trusty copy of the Highway Code which I studied “parrot fashion” and the time spent with my Driving Instructor. I didn’t have to pass a theory test or learn the basic knowledge of how my chosen car worked. It took me three attempts to pass my test and I still have to ask my partner to check my car for the oil and water levels!

What is involved with gaining a full driving license now has evolved such, that we achieve a higher standard of health and safety for all road users and with this so have the products available in order for a learner driver to pass their test so that they have a higher level of confidence and abilities when they get behind the wheel of a car on their own for the first time.

Learning to drive is an expensive process, so Christmas is the perfect time for friends and family to collate together a perfect package of tools to help a learner driver achieve success. With so many products now available there is something to suit every budget, so whether you are on a budget of pocket money only or have a healthier bank balance there will be something guaranteed to please any learner driver.

Most of us have a mobile phone which supports the many applications available in today’s market. These can start at as little as £1.99 and once downloaded afford the user the ability to learn their theory test interactively with access to over 900 example theory test questions whilst on the go. Therefore precious study can be done in all work and college breaks etc…

Nearly everyone has access to a computer or television at home, with this in mind and for a budget of approximately £10 – £60 there are arrays of interactive DVD, s which allow not only for the interactive study of the theory test but also show examples of and allow for practice tests of Hazard Perception Test. Some will also show a typical example of what to expect in a formal driving lesson and the practical test itself.

driving lesson christmas vouchersMy first set of driving lessons was a present from my parents, yet that many moons ago they cost an average of £7 per hour! This has changed considerably since then and lessons now cost a lot more. They can still be purchased and paid for by the hour however with many driving schools there is an option to buy block lessons and obtain discounts by doing so and of course there are also those centres which will allow you to take time out of life and undertake an intensive course over a few weeks.

So, if you know someone who would like to learn to drive and are struggling to think what to get them for Christmas, before you head for underwear or toiletries department to buy them those same old socks or fragrance, think about think about giving them an incentive to pass their test and browse the many wonderful comprehensive products which would help them achieve their desire.

Driving lesson video about James School of Motoring, Braintree

I am really to pleased to present a short video that I have put together about the driving lessons and Pass Plus training that is provided by James School of Motoring based in Braintree, Essex.

If you would like more information about our driving tuition, Pass Plus, etc please visit the James School of Motoring website.  To see our latest offers and discounts, click here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tips for Getting Your Car Ready For Winter

The summer is fast becoming a distant memory, temperatures are falling and the leaves on the trees are beginning to change colour from a vibrant green to fabulous shades of brown, yellow and orange. The children are headed back to school, the shops are displaying their autumn/winter ranges and no doubt we will begin to see products available and advertising reminding us that Christmas is on its way!


Driving in snowThere are many changes to make now in our personal lives in order to prepare for winter and our car should be high on the list of priorities in order to ensure our health and safety through the coming winter months.


  • You may have your vehicle serviced regularly, however; it would be prudent to check oil and water levels, tyre treads and windscreen wiper blades etc… to ensure they are working efficiently. It is very important when driving in rain that your wiper blades afford you the best possible visibility of the road ahead and that your tyres provide you with as much grip on the tarmac as possible.


Another item we often forget to check on a regular basis are the light bulbs. Even if they are working, it would be a good idea to invest in spares so that your car is fully visible to other road users at all times.


  • Now would also be a good time to make sure you have items such as blankets, a torch and all the necessary emergency items such as a warning triangle and reflective jacket etc… in the event of break down on a cold winter’s night and whilst not a part of your car it would be shrewd to ensure your mobile phone has enough credit and charge each time you make a journey.


  • Some of us still own cars which on a frosty morning often require manual labour with which to clear our windscreens. I know my credit card or such like has improvised as a scraping tool on many occasion! There are still many great products available to help thaw glass and key holes, so if your car requires defrosting by hand, then now is a good time to stock up on these essential items.


  • Ensuring all your paper work for your car is to hand if needed is also necessary and you may want to consider revising what you are covered for. It would be wise to entertain the idea of having breakdown recovery whereby you can be taken to your home town by the recovery service and that you have windscreen cover. Our weather is temperamental and we often experience varying temperatures which can wreak havoc on a slight chip in our windscreen.


  • We tend not to venture out for holidays during the winter months except those few days round Christmas when visiting the family. If you are expected to make an extended journey then you should plan in advance and make sure your vehicle is sustained to the uppermost standard BEFORE you leave and that you plan for every possible occurrence.


No matter if you only use your car for the short journeys such as the school or work run or whether you need to travel long distance it is very important you treat your car with the respect it deserves to ensure the health and safety of you and your family, especially through the winter months which afford us such varying weather. Most importantly drive with care and be aware of everyone and everything around you.

If you are nervous about driving in winter conditions, you may wish to consider some refresher lessons or the Pass Plus course.  Click here for details.

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Helpful resources to learn to drive

When I learnt to drive, the only resource available to me was a book which had in its pages the Highway Code. Other than that I had to listen to my instructor during my lessons. Technology was not what we know today; owning a computer or a mobile phone was a luxury, DVD’s were not available and the likes of YouTube had not even been thought of.  When they could, my friends and my mum would test me.  However; these times were often far and few between due to their other commitments with work etc…

The driving test is now more involved than when I took it and in my opinion this is as it should be so as to ensure the health and safety of all those using our roads however; so is technology and the ways in which we can use it. The resources available to day for those learning to drive are much more accessible and the ways in which we can use them are more effective and motivating than simply memorizing information from a book.

  • Mobile Phone Applications

Most people now own a mobile phone and they do so much more than make telephone calls; for those learning to drive there are some amazing applications which will afford them such things as access to over 900 of the current authorised test questions for the Theory Test. It will simulate the test environment and if you get an answer wrong it will explain the theory behind the correct answer. The applications are available to download instantly with free and paid for versions for as little as £1.99.

  • PC DVD Rom

The Driving Test Premium Edition Software from Avanquest covers every aspect of learning to drive; the Theory Test, Hazard Perception, Practical Test, Driving Lessons and Car Maintenance. It is the way in which the information is afforded the user which makes this software worth every penny of its £20. The videos of driving lessons and the driving test cover absolutely every aspect of what to expect and allow you to interact with them and learn, so that there are no surprises in store when the day of your actual test arrives.

  • CD’s / Download

Whether you own an iPod or similar or still rely on your car and home stereo, there are various audio resources available for download and on compact disc, covering not only the basics like the Theory Test but also such things as techniques to improve your confidence and calm your nerves. The benefit of this kind of technology is that it allows you learn whilst travelling to and from work or college and even when you are at home cooking, cleaning or just relaxing.

Most of the DVD and CD resources are available either by download or box sets, in their entirety or obtainable section by section.

The cost of learning to drive has increased since I took my test yet I have found that the resources available in today’s market are priced such that whatever your budget there will be an effective, interactive and motivating tool available to use whether you require it for at home, work, college or whilst on the go.

Take some time to visit our website where you will find practical driving tips and advice.

Tips that may assist you to pass the UK Driving Test first time

It is really common for men and women to genuinely feel nervous as their driving test gets closer.  The last thing anyone wants to do is fail, especially as this will have the added pain of having to pay for a retest.  Therefore, many will keep an eye out for almost any guidance or points that could aid them to pass.

  • You must unquestionably arrive early at the examination centre on the day of your test. This doesn’t only assure you don’t miss out on your booked timeslot, it will give the time to prepare yourself.
  • A good deal of individuals believe that the driving instructor wants them to fail.  The tester genuinely is in search of every opportunity to pass you and award a driving license. You will perform better when you have got this mindset.
  • Visualise yourself taking and passing your driving test.  This is a technique that has worked for many top sportsmen (and woman).
  • If want to feel fresh and alert at the time of your test then you will need to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep.  Go to bed early, don’t watch TV or any other activity that stimpulates the mind.  A hot drink like milk can also help get to sleep.
  • Do everything you can to feel as calm as possible. Have a couple of deep breaths prior to the test to unwind.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the examiner to repeat instructions in the event you didn’t hear it accurately.

Taking and passing the UK driving test is most likely one of the most satisfying experiences you will have.  So consider the tips above as they may help prepare you that little bit more for your test.  You may find thatit helps place you in the right frame of mind to actually enjoy the practical test, pass, obtain your licence and then enjoy a the independence of being qualified to drive.

If you would like more information on the practical driving test, click here to visit our website.

Tips for Getting Your Car Ready For Your Summer Holiday

Summer is the time when we get to escape work for a couple of weeks and enjoy a fun holiday with friends or family. If the weather is at its best then we also make the most of the sunshine at weekends and for those with children there is the thought of how to keep them amused for six weeks off school! If what we choose involves travelling there by car then we need to ensure that both we and our vehicle are ready for whatever we decide to do.

  • Even though you may service your car often, it would be sensible to check certain items such as oil and water level, tyres treads and wiper blades amongst others to ensure that they are functioning effectively, especially if you intend going on a long journey. You won’t want to find yourself broken down on the roadside with the family whilst you wait for a recovery truck all thanks to something which could have taken just a minute to check and been fixed before travelling.

It’s a certainty that you will enjoy what you had planned far much more than playing “Yellow Car, Green Car” with an angry spouse and bored kids, whilst sat on a grass verge waiting for hours on end!

  • On that note, you should however be prepared for the unexpected which may leave you stationary for a while. Plan for your trip a few days in advance and ensure those all important games consoles for children or such like as well as snacks, drinks, map books, warning notices etc… are packed.
  • If you are going abroad you need to consider so much more. Along with your passport you will be required by law to carry your driving license, insurance details, MOT and the required warning sign and reflective body wear. You may also want to take the time to research possible other laws of driving relating to the country you are visiting.

For example; in parts of Spain you are not allowed to carry your supermarket shopping on the back seat of the car – it MUST be in the boot.  Failure to adhere to this and any other misdemeanour will result in an on the spot two hundred euro fine and it’s no use saying “you don’t carry that kind of money on you” – the Guardia will either escort you to the nearest cash point or charge your credit card (I kid you not!) or in worse case scenarios’ impound your car!

Whatever your choice of holiday or day out, the safety of you, your family and other road users is of the utmost importance, so think before you travel – make sure your car is maintained to the highest standard before you leave and that you are ready for every eventuality. This will all help to have a successful trip.