Category Learner Driver Resources

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.

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.

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!

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.

Some Quick Tips on Difficult Driving Manoeuvres for Learner Drivers

As a learner driver, you will come across a few manoeuvres that will just baffle and frustrate you. What you have to remember is you’re not alone! Practically every learner has something they find hard to master, so there is no shame in spending more time practising if you need to.

Today, we’re going to centre on a couple of the most common:

Hill Starts

The best way to approach a hill start is to recognise that if you can pull away on flat ground without any trouble, you’re already half way there with a hill start. The main problem many students have is the fear of rolling back and this is perfectly understandable.

Of course, you’re driving instructor will take the time to ensure you’re happy with this part of the learning process before they move onto anything-else. However, just in case you want to get a head start on how to go about it, here’s how:

  • Make sure you understand what the “biting point” is when using the clutch in a car (your instructor will be able to teach you this).
  • The next thing to do is select first gear (your engine should be switched on) AND your handbrake should be on.
  • When you’re ready, bring the clutch up and press the accelerator until you hear the biting point. This will make the engine sound a little more robust than normal. Once you’ve made the necessary safety checks, release the handbrake.
  • One point to think about when you’re going through the process above is that you SHOULD NOT move your feet once the biting point has been reached.
  • If you do find the car rolls back slightly, simply put the handbrake back on and start again until you’re comfortable.


This may not seem as if it’s a particularly difficult manoeuvre to make however, it’s one of the main causes of accidents on the road today so it’s important you understand when and how you should over-take. In most cases you will have to make sure you pass another vehicle (which is moving) on its right hand side. But there are a few exceptions:

  • If you’re in a lane that’s used only for left-hand turns.
  • If you’re in a queue of traffic and you’re lucky enough to be in the one that’s moving more quickly. Incidentally, you should never change lanes just because the other queue is moving faster, it’s just dangerous!
  • If a vehicle in front of you has indicated to turn right and you can pass without causing a hazard to you or other road users.
  • Finally, one way streets may allow you to pass vehicles on either side.


These are just a couple of examples you’ll come across when learning to handle a car properly prior to taking your practical driving test. As said, if you feel more nervous trying these compared to other things such as a three-point turn or gearing down when you need to slow a vehicle don’t be afraid to ask for more help.

Benefits of an Intensive Driving Course

Often, when we talk about learning to drive it’s aimed at teenagers who have just reached 17 years of age. This can be a very exciting time in a young life because you’re at last legally allowed to send off for your provisional driving licence. Once that’s received you can start learning how to drive however, people of many ages may decide the time has come to get behind the wheel!

Perhaps you’ve moved further away from where you work and public transport just isn’t an option anymore or your circumstances have changed and you just can’t do without having your own vehicle. Whatever the reason might be, there are various options open to you when deciding which is the best way to go about gaining that all important full driving licence.

For the purpose of this article, we aim to deal with the benefits of an intensive driving course. Let’s, first of all, take a look at the “traditional” way of learning:

Signing Up With a Driving School over a Number of Weeks/Months

Doing this can have its benefits for many people. It could be that you can’t spare the time to take more than one lesson per week, or that you would prefer to take your time when learning because you would like to build up your confidence over time.

It also means that you won’t have to cram in a lot of information all at once, and as long as you make sure you study properly (remember, you do have to take a theory test as well) in-between lessons the chances are you’ll do just fine.

Driving Schools and Intensive Courses

This is a whole different “kettle of fish” and it’s not for everyone. However, it does have its benefits especially if you’re a fast learner. Lots of driving schools offer intensive courses that span over say, a week or two and in that time you’ll be put through your paces.

You will have to ensure you can make time for lessons every-day, but for a lot of us this can be done by using some annual leave (if you work). It also means you can keep the cost down. The last point may seem a little confusing but when you think about the fact that if you decide to take just one lesson per week, you will spend time in your next lesson going over what you learned last time.

This results in more lessons, hence more money spent on learning to drive. An intensive driving course will allow you to keep everything fresh in your mind, and for many people it means being able to pick-up driving skills much quicker.

Sticking with cost, when you decide to take an intensive driving course you will normally only pay a bulk price at the beginning which also helps to save money.


Of course, as said an intensive driving course isn’t for everyone but if you’re looking to gain your full licence as quickly as possible, and want to save some money in the process this just might be the best way to go!

Taking the UK Driving Theory Test

The Theory test contains fifty queries in a multiple choice format. All the questions will be on a computer display screen which happens to be touch-sensitive. The queries are made to be particularly convenient to read, only showing one by one. You are allowed to skip forwards and backwards through the questions, and can take up to 57 minutes to complete the theory test.

If you happen to be a learner driver in the United Kingdom you are demanded, by law, to take and complete a driving theory test before making a reservation for a practical driving exam. In some cases however, you might be required to take a different test to be able to get a driving license for another car like a motorcycle bus, coach or even a lorry.

Presently, there are 2 tests that need to be passed to be able to get a complete driver’s license. Initially there is the theory test and then, within 2 years of completing this, the practical test.

The theory test consists of 2 parts

  • Multiple-choice test
  • Hazard perception test

Both parts must be completed to be able to get a theory test pass certificate. This will permit the candidate to book a practical driving test. Applicants have 2 years from the day that they passed the first section of their theory test to take their practical test, or perhaps they will have to complete both parts of the theory test again before they can book a practical test.

Outside Europe

In case you are in possession of a complete driving license from a country outside the European Union it might be simple for you to swap your license for an exact license that is valid in the United Kingdom. To be able to determine whether you can swap your license, you should to get in touch with the DVSA.

If you were not able to swap your foreign license you will still have to go for a UK provisional driving license, which would necessitate that you take and qualify for a UK driving theory test and practical test.

For more explanation or even recommendation, it’s suggested that you seek advice from a 3rd party booking service or perhaps go to the official United Kingdom Government web page to learn about  what you have to do .

Foreign License Holders

If you happen to hold a valid ‘Community’ drivers license and you’re travelling to the UK you can use any kind of car so long as your license stays valid. The proper complete entitlement for the car you would like to drive ought to be easily shown on your license. During these situations you will not be required to obtain a UK theory exam.

United Kingdom Driving License Holder

In case you presently have a complete United Kingdom driving license for a vehicle, should you need a license for a new classification of vehicle, for instance a motorcycle, you are going to be required to take a UK theory test that includes motorcycle proper multiple-choice queries.

But, upgrading a license within the exact vehicle class will not necessitate that you take a theory test. For example, when you have a complete automatic car license and you would like to upgrade to a manual license you will not be needed to take a test.

Learning to Drive – Parents and Their Kids

Our blog section is generally all about letting youngsters know how to go about learning to drive. What the best tools there are out there to help you pass your test first time, how you can be a good driver from the minute you pass and a whole heap of other hints and tips.

However, it recently occurred to us that we have neglected how parents feel in all of this! After all, you’ve been through thick and thin with your children, and it doesn’t stop just because they’re about to move into a new phase of their lives – adulthood!

Watching your “baby” take to the roads can be a particularly worrying time for any parent. How will they cope being on their own? Will they learn how to handle a car, and deal with the road and all the dangers it can pose? Are they likely to give in to pressure and make a stupid mistake when they have friends in their car?

These are all questions that will go through a parent’s mind but at the end of the day, you have to let them grow up. Many of you reading this may think that you are letting your child grow up.  After all, you just want to help (or are you)!

Teaching Your Child to Drive

You might think you’re the best person for the job. After all, you have been driving for many years without so much as a speeding ticket to your name! You may also think that you know all the “tricks of the trade”. But, and there is one big BUT coming!

No matter how well you drive or how safe you are, you have to accept that you’re not trained in the art of teaching someone to drive. Professional instructors are highly trained and spend many years perfecting this (they hold a special licence for a reason).

Add to this the fact that the relationship between parent and child can become pretty strained when you’re out in the car together, and it could end up in disaster.

Leave it to the Professionals

Of course, its understandable that you will want to make sure your “precious bundle” is well looked after when they go for driving lessons, and this is one very constructive way in which you can help. Use your life experience to make sure the instructor who will finally be chosen to teach your child to drive will be able to do so safely, professionally and successfully.

You might not believe it right now, but if you choose wisely you’re giving your child the best start when they first embark upon their driving career. Plus, it won’t mean shouting matches in your own car because of yet another near miss with the kerb or lamp post (that’s what the professionals are there to help avoid)!

Overall, whilst it can be hard to accept that your teenager is moving on to another phase in their life that feels like they’re been taken even further away from you, they will thank you for making sure the stress they’re feeling is kept well under control. And, pretty much the only way to do that is to let them learn with a certified instructor.

Learner Drivers and Car Insurance

So you’ve finally got your provisional licence and you’re all set to start learning to drive. If you’ve just turned 17, this can be a very challenging time in your life. However, the one thing that many learner drivers overlook is the small matter of car insurance and to some degree you can be forgiven for this. After all, the world of driving is very new to you. So, in the following few words we aim to give you an idea of what you should be doing.

Using a Driving Instructor

If you intend to use a qualified driving instructor, they will ALWAYS have insurance to cover you when you drive their vehicles. In fact, this is one thing you should check when you’re looking for someone who either works alone or is part of a driving school. Check to make sure the cover is fully comprehensive and should (God Forbid) there is an accident, you won’t be held liable.

Using a Friend or Family Member’s Car

This might be trickier than you think, and it’s worth having a conversation with Mum or Dad before you decide what you would like to do with this. You see getting some practice in when you’re not due an official driving lesson can help you become more adept with your driving skills a bit quicker.

This means you might not need to spend as much money as you first thought on lessons (although it’s highly advisable you at least take a few with a qualified instructor). When it comes to insurance, it all depends on the type of policy your parents have. Sometimes it’s just a case of making a phone call and adding you to the policy however, there might be instances when an insurance company won’t accept you because you don’t have a full driving licence yet.

In the case of friends, they can do the same but again there will be stipulations. You won’t be allowed to drive unless you’re supervised by the insurance policy holder, and this person has to be at least 21 years old and has had a full driving licence for 3 years. Some car insurance companies will stipulate the age of the policy holder should be 25 simply because of the risk that’s involved.

Your Own Car Insurance

If you’re lucky enough to have your own car, or you would just prefer to take out your own insurance, there are many large insurance companies on the market that offer all types of policies. Some will let you take out a policy for as little as 7 days and others will insure you for 12 months.

Lots of them will also offer you incentives when you take a policy out with them when you’ve gained your full driving licence, so this might be a good idea if you want to save some money once you’re allowed to drive on your own.

The upshot is that you WILL need to make sure you have car insurance when you take to the roads no matter if it’s with a friend, family member or an instructor so make sure you’re covered.