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.

How Learning to Drive Has Changed

As we all know, the name Henry T. Ford comes up time and time again when we talk about the motor car (a bit of an old fashioned way to put it, but then that’s the way Mr. Ford would have liked it)! We first saw cars come to our roads back in 1903, and back then there was no such thing as a driving test.

In fact, if you had the money (and you needed plenty) you could simply buy one, switch it on (or wind it up) and take to the roads. However, in the summer of 1935 the driving test was introduced, and I’m sure anyone reading this will understand why. At that time, there were fewer than 1.5 million cars on the road in the UK which is a far cry from the 38 million we see today, and that number is growing!

So, what is it that’s changed about learning to drive since then? Let’s take a look.


Unfortunately, the driving test was not well received when it first came out, especially for people who had already been “merrily” using the roads. So, the Government issued plenty of film to let people know it was nothing to be afraid of but was indeed, compulsory.

Or course, back then there were no such things as indicators so the learner was taught various hand signals so other drivers knew what they were up to. Other things such as an eyesight test, knowing the Highway Code and general road safety were also tested. Interestingly, learner plates (as we know them today) were also in use.


Technology had already moved on when cars were being produced at this time, but hand signals were still in use when learning to drive for people who were yet to afford one with this “new technology”. If you’re interested, you may want to ask a grandparent or even one of your parents about this.

By now however, the driving test had changed. The mirror, signal, manoeuvre was put in place plus, you were also tested on an emergency stop.

Present Day

Anyone who is currently learning how to drive will probably be a little shocked to learn how simple it was to gain a driving licence in years gone by however, given the number of vehicles there are on the roads these days we do have to respect the lengths the DVLA goes to.

Today, (as you probably know) there is a theory test as well as a practical driving test. If you are new to the whole world of learning to drive it can still be daunting but unlike in the 1930’s there is plenty of help available both online and in your local book shop.

It is true that learning to drive has changed an awful lot, but as we all know moving with the times is what matters. Just remember that even though you might wish it was easy as it used to be, there are very good reasons for the safety measures that are in place today.

Tips on Choosing the Right Car

As this article is being written, Easter weekend is upon us and many people will (hopefully) be enjoying a bit of sunshine and LOTS of chocolate! However, because most of us have a few days away from the daily grind, we prefer to spend the time wisely and this might be about deciding which car will suit you best.

If you’re of the younger generation, this might well be the biggest purchase you have made in life so far. For those of you who are a little older it might not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to consider your decision.

It’s very easy to get a little over excited when you visit a showroom. Not only are there lots of brand new and shiny looking cars to look at, you also have salesmen who will be more than willing to offer you all the “extras”. So just to try and keep things under control, below are a few tips to think about.


This is highly important and it’s not just about how much you spend initially. You also have to think about tax, insurance, maintenance and fuel. How much all of these things will cost you does depend an awful lot on the type of car you choose.

You should also think about how much money you might expect to make when it’s time to sell your car. Not all brands are created equally and some retain their value better than others, so it’s worth asking about this when talking to a dealer.

Paying for Fuel

There are a myriad of choices in this respect these days because manufacturers have responded to the demand for economically efficient vehicles. Of course, diesel engines will cost you less to run and some engines will yield as much as 70 miles to the gallon.

However, if you really want a car that runs on petrol, some of the models that have smaller engines come pretty close to their diesel counterparts. You may even want to consider a hybrid car which is becoming ever more popular.

Do bear in mind though that the most economical cars on fuel tend to be more expensive to buy. For this reason, think about the amount of mileage you’re likely to do. If it’s not going to be that much, you may want to consider a cheaper car that’s perhaps not as economical on fuel.

Other Points to Consider

Of course, you also have to think about what you’re car will be used for (other than driving). How much boot space will you need? Will you often carry passengers in the back and will these be adults or children?

These questions will need to be answered because there is no point in spending your hard earned cash on a car that won’t suit your needs. In fact, (and don’t be afraid to do this) when you are looking for a car, take along things like golf clubs, the kids or even your pets so you know they will fit into the space you’ll have.

If you think carefully about the type of car you need BEFORE shopping for one, it will make your job an awful lot easier!

Car Tax Discs Are About To Be A Thing of the Past

Today, you were going to find some tips on how to deal with rush hour driving as we move ever closer to the Christmas shopping season. However, a headline caught our eye today that needs to be addressed!

For those of you who are still in the process of learning to drive, you might not be aware of how taxing your car works or, indeed what it even is. Car tax is something every legal driver has to pay in order to use the roads in the UK. The reason for this is so the Government can keep all types of roads, both minor and major in good condition so they’re safe to use.

However, don’t get too excited about the title to this article because we’re not about to tell you the Government has decided to abolish car tax! Instead, Mr. George Osbourne will announce in his autumn statement that drivers will no longer have to display a tax disc in their vehicle.

How to Tax Your Vehicle Currently

You can apply for your tax disc online and this is done using the DVLA website. If you’re applying for the first time, or you want to renew there are a few requirements which you will find below:

  • You must be able to prove you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle being taxed.
  • The DVLA must have your current address, correct name and vehicle details.
  • If applying for a renewal you can apply using the V11, V85/1 or V5C certificate.
  • You must be able to prove you have insurance on your vehicle.
  • Finally, your vehicle (if needed) must have a current MOT.

It’s actually very easy to apply because all you need to do is follow the on-screen instructions. Paying is also very simple by using a debit or credit card. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can still apply via post at your local post-office but this is where things are about to change.

What the Government Intends to Do

Once the autumn statement has been disclosed to the public it will include the fact that you will no longer have to display a tax disc in your car. Instead, you will have to register and pay for your tax online. This will then go into a central database and every single vehicle that passes through various road traffic cameras will be automatically checked to ensure it’s taxed.

Police officers on the beat will still play a part in making sure this tax is paid but instead of checking a disc, they will run the registration through a central database.

Is This a Good Idea?

On first glance, it’s hard to imagine that policing such a radical change in the way road tax is paid will be easier to do however the Government has announced this will save businesses across the UK about £7 million in administration costs.

Will it work? Who knows, but all we can say right now is keep an eye out for these changes should they be implemented.

Why Driving is a Skill Everyone Should Have

For some people, learning to drive is just too much to bear in terms of anxiety, and they shy away from it. For others it’s a skill they can’t wait to learn. Now, this isn’t a psychology lesson but there are personality traits that run through both brackets of people. Those that find it too much in terms of stress tend to be shyer than the average person, and those that can’t wait are, well, a little more outgoing.

So, why is driving a skill everyone should learn? Below are some reasons that might get you thinking:

Freedom with Life

When you learn to drive, pass your test and get your own car the doors open to you are endless. It’s much easier for you to get about so you’re not tied to bus or train timetables or the expense of taxis (unless of course you intend to drink alcohol). If you’re currently thinking about learning to drive but are too nervous, think about what your life would be like if you could?

You won’t have to worry what time you can go to the shops. You can set times to meet friends and family that suit you, and you have the freedom to visit places that would otherwise not be as accessible.


It’s hard to imagine, but being able to drive does actually help your confidence. Why? I hear you ask. Well, think about this. When you’re in charge of a vehicle you’re in control. What happens on the road is largely down to the decisions you make and not others. This sub-consciously helps you in other areas of your life.

Perhaps you’re the type of person who takes their time over making a decision, or you find it hard to do so. When you’re driving you don’t have this option. Making a turn in the road, crossing a set of crossroads safely is something you need to know and understand, and that’s what decision making is. In fact, this is a skill that many driving instructors are able to instil in you without you realising it.


If you’re not what you would call a “spring chicken” anymore, you might think this side of the argument doesn’t include you and that might be true to a certain extent. However, being able to drive teaches you how to respect what’s going on in the world around you, and with that you “grow-up”. Maturity isn’t just about age, it’s about knowing when to be sensible in life (among other things), and you will learn this when you decide to become a legally accepted driver.


Learning to drive isn’t just about knowing how to safely operate a car. It’s not even about knowing how to spot the danger signs so you can avoid an accident. It actually has many other benefits that can help you in other areas of your life. That’s not to say you can’t learn these skills without learning how to drive, but it certainly will help!

Learning to Drive with a Disability

If you have some form of physical or mental disability, you may think that finally getting your full driving licence is beyond your reach. This couldn’t be further from the truth! You have the right, just like any other able bodied person to be able to get about by car. Whilst there may be certain restrictions in place when you apply for your provisional licence, as long as you’re honest this shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, the DVLA encourages everyone at, or over the age of 17 to learn to drive.

Finding an Instructor

You might be surprised to discover this, but there are lots of companies that have specially trained instructors to help people with a disability learn how to drive. Of course, patience is a must for anyone who teaches a person how to drive, but if you have special needs you should look for an instructor who is used to dealing with type of disability you have.

One great source is the internet. If you’re not able to do this on your own, ask someone to help you. You will be met with a plethora of choices, but make sure you look into a company’s background. Ask questions about how long their instructors have been working with disabled people, what type of training they’ve had, and most importantly how well equipped the cars they use are.

Don’t Shy Away from Learning

Life can be far more difficult for you if you’re in some way disabled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a perfectly normal life. In fact, there are many thousands of people just like you that can take themselves off to the shops in their own car. They go about daily life just like anyone-else.

When you find the right instructor, this person will help to build your confidence as well as teach you how to drive. You’ll be met with someone who is patient and knowledgeable about your disability.

Higher Rate Disability Allowance

If you’re someone who receives the mobility component disability allowance, you can actually apply for a provisional driving licence at the age of 16. If you’re between the ages of 16 to 24 years old, you may also be eligible to receive some form of financial help in order to get you on the road. Just make sure you check all the avenues available to you.

There is Help Out There

Of course, there are various aids out there to help you pass both your provisional and practical driving test (other than an instructor). If you have a disability that prevents you from using these aids that are designed for able bodied people, there are plenty that have been designed to help you as well.

Just because you’re disabled it doesn’t mean you have to be house-bound. Learning to drive and gaining your full licence will open up a whole new world for you. Just like anyone-else you will have more independence, and you’ll be able to live a more fulfilling life overall.

If you’re in anyway concerned, talk to the DVLA who are there to help not hinder!

Your Car and Insurance Costs

As a newly qualified driver you will no doubt get loads of advice from all sorts of people. The trouble is that not all of this advice (as well meaning as it is) is something you should follow. Friends might get excited about the sort of car you should purchase and, if you’re in your teens or early 20’s the emphasis is probably more on power and looks than practicality.

If you’re someone new to the world of cars and owning one, insurance is going to be one of the biggest costs associated with your vehicle (aside from fuel) and, the type of car you opt for will have a huge bearing on how much you pay.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies see younger or new drivers as high risk. The reason for this is that to a certain extent you’re still learning and statistics prove that insurance claims are higher from people in your bracket. In the following few words, you’ll find some tips and advice on what you should think about in terms of the type of car you have and how to get the best insurance deal.

Type of Car

Basically, unless you have pots of money (which is unlikely), you are going to be limited on the type of car you can have. The more powerful it is, the more insurance you pay. The more expensive the car, the more the insurance will be. These are pretty obvious points to think about but, when you’re caught up in the excitement of buying a new vehicle, they can easily be forgotten.

Before You Purchase a Car

The best thing to do is to at least have an idea of what your monthly outgoing will be for insurance. If you have your eye on a particular type of car, check out how much it will cost you to insure it. There are various ways you can go about this.

Comparison sites on the internet are a great place to start. Because this is likely to be your first insurance policy, you will need to get an idea of what all the companies out there have to offer in terms of discounts and incentives.

How Insurance Companies Help

You may think companies like this are just out for making money. In fact, these days many of them are also interested in making sure you stay safe on the roads and, there are plenty of ways in which they will help you do this. The safer you are, the less it’s likely to cost you. Below are some incentives to look out for:

  • Consider safe driving schemes. There are insurance companies that will fit your vehicle with a device that measures how safely you drive. The higher you rate, the more discount you receive.
  • Think about taking an advanced driving course that will give you a certificate once completed. This will go in your favour when you’re looking for insurance.

One Other Point

When you’re looking for an insurance company, make sure you take a look at those that specialise in new or young drivers. They will often have many more benefits to a standard policy.

Above all, MAKE SURE you have insurance. Without it, you could end up in a lot of trouble!

Summer Might Just Be on the Way – Tips on Preparing Your Car

It may not seem like it so far this year but, at some point we will experience summer in the UK. We have posted many hints and tips over the past months on what you should do to keep you and your car safe when you’re out on the road and whilst we do place a heavy emphasis on winter driving, it’s just as important during the summer months.

In the following few words, you’re going to find come handy tips that will help keep your car in good condition when the temperatures are on the rise. These tips will also help to keep you safe as well.

The Windscreen

Having a clear windscreen is of vital importance and this doesn’t just mean the parts that your wiper blades reach, it means ALL of the windscreen. When the weather starts to warm up guess what we get? Yes! Flies! These pesky insects appear to actually make a “bee-line” for your windscreen, especially when you’re driving at high speeds.

There isn’t any driver on the road that hasn’t suffered that horrid splat sound only to find a fly squashed all over the one place on your windscreen you need to see through properly at all times. You can’t stop flies committing suicide on your windscreen of course but, you can make sure what remains of the poor creature comes away without too much trouble.

Make sure you replace your wipers regularly. It’s not always easy to tell when they’re starting to wear (until you hear that terrible squeak) so prevention is better than a cure. You should also make sure you keep the washer fluid well topped up and use a decent detergent that’s made for car windscreens.

Salt and Dust

Salt will be more prevalent during the winter months and we tend to leave washing our cars at this time of year until it gets a little warmer. After all, the rain will wash away the dirt right? Wrong! Your bodywork may look OK as far as the top of your car goes but, what’s going on underneath?

Salt is corrosive and when it gets into the underside of your car, it will quickly start to cause rust. Now is the time to give your car a good old scrub from top to bottom, making sure you pay particular attention to the bodywork underneath.

Dust is another problem. If you have air-conditioning this can get inside (not to mention all the pollen that’s floating around) so, it’s a good idea to make sure you clean any filters you have to ensure they’re free of dust and other small particles that can clog this part of your car up. In fact, this is something you should do on a regular basis throughout the year.


It doesn’t really matter what time of year it is, you should always make sure you keep your car clean on the outside and maintain any internal filters that can get clogged with dirt. The only difference in summer is you’re dealing with slightly different issues.

Costs of Owning a Car

When we reach the age of 17, we all dream of owning our own car. Not only does it give us a sense of freedom, it’s a bit like one more step towards becoming an adult. The fact is, this is one of the biggest expenses you’re going to undertake at this stage in your life, and whilst many of us have Mum and Dad behind us to help with paying for our first vehicle, it’s wise to consider what you’ll have to pay on your own.

Driving Lessons

This is where it all starts. Driving lessons are something you should think about using a professional for. There are a couple of reasons for this. One: You will have someone sat beside you who knows how to keep their cool, no matter what mistakes you make. Two: They’re properly trained to teach you how to handle a car so you’ll pass your test with flying colours.

You can try and save a bit of money by asking a friend or relative to teach you but, honestly, this will come with its stresses and it will probably take you a lot longer to learn (not to mention the bad habits you might pick-up on the way).

Buying a Car

Unless you’re really lucky and your parents are prepared to buy you a brand new car at their expense, thinking about the deposit you’ll have to pay is something-else to consider. Of course, many of us decide to go “second-hand” with our first car (I know I did). If you decide to do this, the chances are you’ll have to pay for it outright and there are pitfalls. Below are some tips that will help you avoid them.

  • Make sure you take an older person with you when you go to view the car. Unfortunately, even though you think you’re an adult being in your late teens does still mean many people will think you’re a little “green” behind the ears.
  • When you have decided on the car you would like, make sure it’s looked over by a professional mechanic. In fact, certain organizations that offer vehicle insurance will arrange for one of their people to do it for you.
  • Don’t make a snap decision, and don’t be dazzled by all that fancy chrome and large exhaust pipes.


This is something that will dictate what type of car you have. Again, I’m afraid your age goes against you here. Many insurance companies see young people as a risk on the roads which pushes the premium up. Make sure you do some research and choose a car in an insurance bracket that you can afford.


This is possibly the biggest expense these days. We all know how much fuel costs at the pump so; you should try and make sure you know how much you’ll be using each week. Obviously, the more you “cruise” around, the more it will cost you in fuel.

In Conclusion

Having a car is probably the first asset you will ever purchase as a teenager. If you follow some of the tips above, you won’t find your-self not being able to drive because you haven’t got the money!

What Is Defensive Driving and How Can it Help Me?

When you hear the word “defensive”, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re about to be advised to start shouting at other road users or pedestrians you think are putting your life in danger when you’re on the road.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, it’s a practice or form of training that will help you become a far better driver as a result. We’re all guilty of thinking we’re the best when we’re behind the wheel but you have to realise that you can make mistakes just like everyone-else.

Think about this as an example:

You’ve stopped at a set of traffic lights and you think you’ve left enough room in front of your car so you can adequately see the vehicle in front. However, have you thought about what might happen behind you? More accidents happen when vehicles are stationary than you might think and you’re about to find out just one reason why.

So, you look in the rear view mirror. The traffic lights are still red and the car approaching from behind is going at a fair old lick. So fast in fact, you just know they’re not going to avoid hitting you. Then, “smash”! Everything goes black and when you come too you’re surrounded by emergency service professionals who are not only trying to keep you calm but, are setting about tearing your car apart so they can get you out.

The first thing that springs to mind (after you’re over the shock and can think about how this could have been avoided) is if you had just left enough space at the front of your car, you would have been able to swerve out of the way and avoid the whole sorry mess.

This is what defensive driving is and if you’re still wondering how it can help you, the example above should be enough to give you an idea.

Basic Rules to Follow

  • NEVER start your vehicle until you and your passengers are safely secure and this includes pets as well as humans.
  • As the example above proves when you need to come to a stop but not park, leave enough room for a “getaway” if needed.
  • If the weather is poor SLOW DOWN. It doesn’t matter how good your braking system is, your vehicle will react slower.
  • Don’t drive when you’re tired and make sure you keep your eyes open for any eventuality at all times. After all, a good majority of accidents on the road are the fault of one driver, not two.
  • Assume the worst at all times. Don’t trust other road users and be prepared for any eventuality.
  • The rules of the road are there for a reason and you should adhere to them at all times.

Is Training Available?

In short, yes. However, you can start practicing the very next time you get in your car just by following some of the rules above. It might be hard in the beginning because you’re going to change your attitude towards the road in general and how it works but, if you practice enough it will soon become like second nature.