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Ltest School Of Motoring - Your Driving Lessons

Practical advice

The following page offers some practical advice on getting the best out of your driving lessons and preparing you to pass your driving test.

Preparing for your 1st lesson
Before your driving lesson:

  • Find your provisional licence. You will need to present both parts (the plastic card and the paper counterpart) of the licence to the instructor
  • Bring any glasses or contact lenses if you have been prescribed them
  • Wear a flat sole pair of shoes
  • Don't worry. Many learners are nervous before their 1st lesson, your driving instructor should put you at ease.

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Pupil Commitment
To get the best out of your lessons you should understand the commitment you are making when learning to drive. You may have some ideas about what is required from friends who have already learnt to drive but try to remember the following points:

  • Turning up for lessons - Make sure you are at your agreed meeting point with time to spare. You are less likely to feel anxious or stressed and this will help your progress during the lesson.
  • Cancelling a lesson - If you have to cancel a lesson you should normally provide at least 48 hours notice. In the event that you cancel at short notice for any reason we may be forced to charge you for the lesson. If you are unwell you should contact us as soon as practicably possible.
  • Making payments - You can pay for your lessons either at the beginning of each lesson or by prepaying for a block of lessons at any point. Paying for a block of lessons is always cheaper and saves you time during the lesson.
  • Training & the theory test - Nowadays pupils must pass a theory test before sitting their practical test. We recommend that you have driving lessons while preparing for your theory test. This will help you put your knowledge into practice and you will learn faster as a result. You should also consider buying a CD-Rom or a book covering the theory syllabus.
  • Regular lessons - having your lesson at a regular time and place makes it easier to remember and will help you make better progress throughout. We recommend having at least a 1½ hour lesson per week although we understand that this may not always be possible for everyone.
  • Time of day - Having lessons during rush hours or during dark evenings may hinder your progress at the early stages of learning to drive. Try to find a time to practice when the roads are quiet and practice in good daylight.

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Taking a crash course
We are often asked about a crash course over one or two weeks. Pupils who attempt to complete a course in such a short space of time will normally be offered poor quality instruction at a higher price and their chances of passing the test are significantly lower than the national average of 43%. Even if a pupil does pass there is a much greater risk of being involved in an accident after the test. Therefore any savings made are likely to be lost and you could be risking your life.

Candidates booking for a test will always be subject to the waiting time for the test centre in question and a practical test cannot be booked prior to passing the theory test. Although some cancellations are made available, these will be difficult to find in an area where the pupil has been practising and therefore pupils are more likely to fail if they are unfamiliar with the roads.

As an alternative you should consider doing an intensive driving course. Intensive driving courses will normally see you complete the syllabus over a 2 month period. You will need to have completed your theory test when you start learning to drive and to book for your practical test soon after you start learning.

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Booking your Lessons
You can book your lessons by calling us free on - 0800 0432 801. Alternatively you can email us and we will call you to arrange your first lesson.

In most cases we recommend that you book a series or block of lessons with an instructor following your first lesson. Most of our students choose to do 1 ½ hour lessons, although 1 and 2 hour lessons are also available.

You can pay for your lessons either directly with your instructor or you can pay by cheque through the post. We will shortly be introducing on-line credit and debit card payment facilities.

You can pay for a block of lessons at any time during your training and you will receive a discount for paying for a block of 10 hours at any point. A further discount is available if you pay for 35 hours of lessons or more.

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Cancelling Lessons
If you need to cancel a lesson for any reason, please call us as soon as possible and speak to our office team. We do not accept cancellations by email or text message as these may not be received.

If you cancel your lesson with less than 48 hours notice you will normally be charged for the full lesson. If there are exceptional circumstances why you need to cancel speak to our office team or your instructor who will be able to advise you of whether a charge will apply.

Cancelling lessons at short notice will often mean that another student who could have had a lesson is no longer able to do so and that time slot will remain unfilled.

If our instructor arrives to take a lesson that you have arranged and you do not turn up, you will normally be charged for the full time of the lesson.

Where a pupil has not turned up or cancelled a lesson on short notice we will normally request an advance payment before a lesson booking is made.

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Vehicle Handling
The first stage of learning to drive is all about handling the vehicle properly and in a safe manner. You will taught how to:

  • Understand and use the vehicle controls
  • Move off & stop at the side of the road
  • Steer the car correctly
  • Select an appropriate gear and control the clutch (manual cars)
  • Turn left and right through corners
  • Emerge from a junction safely
  • Move off from an uphill or downhill position
  • Perform an emergency stop (in a controlled situation)
  • Recognise and approach crossroads and junctions

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Manoeuvres
During your training you will also be taught how to perform a number of manoeuvres including:

  • Turning in the road (known as a 3 point turn)
  • Reversing left or right around a corner
  • Reverse parking at the road side
  • Reverse parking into a car park bay

You will normally be asked to perform two of these manoeuvres correctly for your driving test and may also be asked to perform an emergency stop exercise. You need to be able to perform these safely without any assistance from the examiner.

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Dealing with Traffic
Since 1997 the overall volume of traffic on UK roads has increased by over 50% with little or no expansion of the road network. For new drivers this has meant that they have to be much more aware of the traffic and respond quickly and appropriately to developing situations.

As you continue through your lessons you will be dealing with increasingly complex traffic situations and will have to make decisions based upon your knowledge of the road, what you can see and the actions of other drivers and road users.

You will make better and more confident decisions as you gain experience. During your driving test you will be expected to show that you can deal with the various traffic situations that occur while making reasonable progress and without being unduly hesitant.

In the course of your lessons you should be able to:

  • Recognise & respond to road signs and road markings correctly
  • Respond appropriately to oncoming traffic situations
  • Use your mirrors defensively in response to the road ahead
  • Use your own signals and respond to the signals of other road users correctly
  • Approach and deal with roundabouts correctly
  • Anticipate traffic lights
  • Make reasonable progress given the traffic, weather and road conditions
  • Position correctly for your intended action
  • Approach more complex and unusual junctions correctly

Your driving instructor will teach each skill separately and gradually build your ability to handle multiple situations that can occur while driving.

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Planning Ahead & Anticipation
One of the hallmarks of a good driver is the ability to anticipate potential hazards on the road ahead. New drivers will only be able to manage this level of competency once they have mastered the skills of vehicle handing and can deal effectively with various traffic situations.

Drivers who are able to anticipate likely situations and plan for them accordingly are less likely to be involved in an accident. They tend to be more alert of their speed and are able to prioritise their response to observations of the road ahead.

These skills become particularly important when driving at higher speeds for example on dual carriageways and country roads. Learner drivers should be introduced to handling higher speeds during their training however these skills are not always tested upon and can sometimes be overlooked by pupils taking their test too soon.

The DSA will be introducing an assessment of a candidate's ability to demonstrate eco-driving from September 2008. This will include smooth control of the vehicle with particular attention to moving off, accelerating, using gears, and driving at an appropriate speed. Forward planning will also be considered where pupils reduce emissions by acting in good time to developing hazards, using engine braking and stopping the engine where appropriate.

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The Driving Test
In order to gain a full driving licence in the United Kingdom you must successfully complete a theory and practical driving test. It is not possible to book your practical test unless you have completed your theory test.

You can book your theory test online at the following address:
https://pt.dsa.gov.uk/tests/online_booking_1.asp

Alternatively you can book over the telephone on 0300 200 1122 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. To book by post you will need to complete a booking form available from most test centres or your driving instructor.

The Theory Test
The Theory test comprises 50 multiple choice questions and a Hazard Perception test. To pass the test you must answer at least 43 questions correctly and score more than 45 in the hazard perception test at the same attempt.

The questions may have one correct answer or you may be asked to choose 2 or more correct answers from a list of possible responses. The DSA publish a full list of the question bank and we recommend that you purchase a theory book or CD Rom. You should also consider purchasing a copy of the Highway Code which was revised in September 2007.

The hazard perception test consists of 14 video clips of 1 minute each. In each clip you must identify approaching hazards; there is normally only one scoring hazard in each clip although you can click more than once. You can score a maximum of 5 for each clip except for 1 clip where you must identify 2 scoring hazards and can score 10. You should click on hazards as soon as they appear to gain the maximum score.

Recommended Resources to help you pass your theory test

  • Driving Test Success - Theory CD ROM £9.99 - Includes full list of questions & answers and a number of hazard perception test clips.
  • The Official Highway Code - (Revised Sep 2007) £2.50

 

You can sit your theory test at any of the UK test centres. Find your nearest centre here. You must pass both elements of the test on the same occasion in order to gain a theory test pass certificate.

The Practical Test
The practical test is a test of your ability to drive on a variety of different types of roads and varying traffic conditions. The test lasts around 40 minutes and will also include two reversing manoeuvres and may include an emergency stop.

You can book your test at any of the UK test centres; however we recommend that you book at your local test centre as you will be more familiar with the area and will feel more confident when taking your test. Find your nearest test centre here. If you are taking your test in your instructor's car you will need to provide your instructor's ADI or PDI licence no.

There are normally around 20 different test routes around each test centre. Details of the routes are published on the DSA website.

At the test centre you will need to have your provisional driving licence (both the plastic card and paper counterpart). You should also bring your appointment letter from the DSA as well as your theory test certificate.

If you have trained with an instructor you will use their vehicle to take on test. This is always best as driving instructors' vehicles will normally have dual controls, an extra mirror for the examiner and full insurance.

If you have trained with an instructor you will use their vehicle to take on test. This is always best as driving instructors' vehicles will have dual controls, an extra mirror for the examiner and full insurance.

Test Readiness
You should only consider taking your test on the advice of a driving instructor. Some students may feel that they already know how to drive, however this does not mean that you are likely to pass the test. The average candidate presenting for test will pass less than half the time!

We recommend that you consider sitting a mock driving test first. A mock test will be conducted in exactly the same way as a practical driving test. By passing the mock test you will gain a better understanding of what is required to pass and you are less likely to feel nervous on your driving test.

What to Expect
The test will last around 40 minutes after you are met by the examiner at the test centre.

At the beginning of the test the examiner will ask you two questions about your vehicle, called Show me/ Tell Me questions. Ask your instructor to provide you with a list of the questions you could be asked. You can not fail the test if you are unable to answer the questions however, you will receive a minor fault if you answer either or both questions incorrectly.

The examiner will offer you a brief explanation of how the test will be carried out and give you directions along the test route. You will be advised to turn either left or right in plenty of time and should follow directions unless road markings or road signs prevent you from doing so. The test will cover a variety of roads under different traffic conditions and include two reversing manoeuvres and possibly an emergency stop.

You will pass the practical test provided that you do not commit any serious or dangerous driving faults and that you do not get more than 15 minor driving faults. A serious fault occurs if you cause another vehicle to take any avoiding action or do not observe traffic behind. A dangerous fault occurs when the examiner is forced to take control of the vehicle at any point during the test. A minor fault occurs when you do not take an appropriate action such as using the mirrors correctly or choosing the wrong gear for your speed.

The examiner will direct you along the route and you will finish the test at the test centre where your instructor will meet you. Before the examiner gives you your result he/she may ask if you wish your instructor to be present for the result of your test. This is always a good idea as if you have not passed the instructor can listen to the details of where any mistake has occurred.

You may also choose to have your instructor join you for your test. If you wish your instructor to be present you should ask the examiner before the start of your test.

If you have passed the examiner will provide you with a pass certificate and take your provisional licence from you. You will be provided with a copy of the test sheet and your full driving licence will automatically be sent to you in the post within a couple of weeks.

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Beyond the Driving Test
After your driving test you should consider taking one or more of the following courses to improve your driving ability. 1 in 5 new drivers will have an accident within the first year of driving but by continuing your learning you will significantly reduce the chances of being involved in an accident and may also receive a lower insurance premium.

The Pass Plus Scheme
The Pass Plus scheme is a training scheme for new drivers. Its aim is to improve your driving skills and make you a safer driver. It can also lead to insurance discounts.

We highly recommend that you consider doing this course after your driving test as you will develop your skills and knowledge in areas where you may have limited experience.

The course includes motorway driving, rural roads, dual carriageways, driving at night, town driving, and all-weather driving. The course can be completed in a minimum of 6 hours provided that you demonstrate the necessary skills. There is no need for you to sit an exam, however your instructor will continue to assess you throughout the course.

The course is primarily aimed at new drivers who have passed their test in the last 12 months, however may also be considered by nervous drivers who wish to improve their driving ability.

To book a course of Pass Plus lessons you can email us using our booking enquiry form.

The New Drivers Act
Newly qualified drivers are now subject to the New Drivers Act of 1995. It requires that within the first two years of holding a licence you do not get six or more points for committing any driving offences. You can get 3 points for speeding or running a red light. Just two of these and you would be required to surrender your licence and resit both your theory and practical tests again. You will also have to pay any penalty and reapply for your provisional licence.

The cost of losing your licence can be considerable if you take into account the loss of use of your car, the penalty fees, application fee for your licence and tests as well as any extra lessons that you might need.

We recommend if you have just passed you should consider being accompanied by an experienced driver some of the time. Ask a passenger to tell you how comfortable you make them feel and perhaps consider taking a lesson in any areas where you still feel you need to develop your skills or gain confidence.

Other Motoring Organisations
There are a number of other professional organisations that can you help you to improve your driving skills. You can find more information by clicking on the links below:

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Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance

 

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