Lesson 3 – Moving Off and Stopping

Here we go then, this is where it all gets exciting… This is a big lesson and there are lots of things to think about and remember. Your instructor should explain all the points on this page to you before you start the engine. That way when he or she is talking you through what to do, you will understand and be able to carry out the tasks involved. Something else you can do at this point is to familiarise yourself with where the car is in relation to the kerb. It will help you later when you come to stopping. Take a look in your door mirror and see how much space there is between the wheels and the kerb also have a look at the bottom of the windscreen where the kerb appears to intersect it. Is there something you can use inside the car to locate that position? Maybe there is a mark on the windscreen or a bump on the windscreen wipers, possibly it might be in line with one of the dials on the instrument panel. Use whatever you think will help you best. Your instructor may give you some hints where it might be beneficial to look. Remember though, that everyone sits in a different position so no-one’s reference points are the same. You will have to find your own.

Starting the Engine

There are a couple of things to remember before starting the engine.
First of all, make sure that the hand brake is on firmly. Just the act of getting in the car or starting the engine, could be enough to start it rolling, if you are on a bit of a hill and the hand brake isn’t on properly.
Secondly, you need to make sure that the gear lever is in the neutral position. Give it a good firm wiggle from side to side and make sure you can feel it spring back into the centre. ( The gear lever will still move from side to side a little bit if it is in gear, but there won’t be as much movement and you won’t feel the spring. ) If this is the first time you have used the gear lever, try pushing it into one of the gears and give it a good wiggle there too, then move it back to the neutral position and feel the difference. Continue reading

Lesson 2b – Foot Controls

Foot Control Pedals

Foot Control Pedals

It is important to remember that the foot controls are just that – controls – not on off switches! They are arranged from right to left; Accelerator, Brake, Clutch. Just remember ABC backwards.

Foot Controls – Accelerator – Right Foot

The accelerator more often than not, will be referred to as the gas pedal as it is easier to say. When you squeeze the gas pedal down, it feeds the engine with more fuel and air which makes the engine rotate faster. It does not necessarily mean that the car will go faster. This depends on other factors which we will go into later on. This is your GO pedal and should be squeezed gently down and eased gently up. Sudden movements with this pedal will make your driving jerky and uncomfortable. Continue reading

Lesson 2a – Hand Controls

If you have followed lesson 1 correctly, you should be sitting comfortably, be able to reach all of the controls and see all of the dials in front of you. So now the fun begins. We need to know what all the levers and pedals are for, what they actually do and how to use them. Unless it is freezing cold, raining or dark, you won’t be asked to remember how to use the heater, the wipers or the lights on your first lesson. You will have enough to contend with, however, I am mentioning them here, because you will need to learn how to use them at some point.

Indicator Switch

Indicator Switch

Hand Controls – Indicators

The indicators, as I am sure you know, are the orange flashing lights that tell everyone where you are going. These are usually on a stalk type lever, situated just behind the steering wheel on the left hand side. However, in some older British or Japanese cars the indicator stalk may be on the right hand side. To turn on the indicator lights, you click the lever either up or down in the direction that you will be turning the steering wheel. If you are going right, you will be turning the steering wheel in a clockwise direction, therefore you would click up for right. If you are going to be turning left, then you will be steering in an anti-clockwise direction and you will click down for left. (If your indicator is on the right. It is up for left and down for right. )Usually, the indicators will turn themselves off after you have turned the corner, unless the corner isn’t very sharp. In which case, you will just need to click it off yourself. Continue reading

Lesson 1 – Cockpit Drill



It’s a Car Cockpit – Not a Plane!

Before you can drive away it is important that you make yourself comfortable, you can reach all the controls, the instruments in front of you are not obscured and you can see the correct view in your mirrors.
Your instructor may give you an acronym to help you remember the order in which to set everything up. Although the order is not desperately important, it makes things easier otherwise you could end up doing part of the routine twice. Once you have your own car, that only you drive, you should only need to do this once and after that you just need to check that you haven’t jogged your mirrors out of place. In your instructors car, though, you will need to set yourself up at the beginning of every lesson. Remembering the order will save you time.
So if you can remember DSSSM that will help. Continue reading

OMG! The Sun has Brought Out All the Bikes…

From one extreme to the other...

From one extreme to the other…

Bikes Come in all Shapes and Sizes…

They also come in a variety of styles, as do the cyclists.
As soon as the weather improves, out come all the bikes. There are some bikes all year round, those who use them to get to work, rain or shine and the lycra brigade but in the better weather we see the fair weather riders too. Out in all their finery, well next to nothing gear… see the red shoulders burnt red raw in the sun, then there are those in bare feet or only flip flops, no helmets. The bikes that are exceedingly long with umpteen kids all strung together only attached with a few wobbly looking bolts, not to mention the ones dragging a very thin flimsy nylon covered tent thing on wheels filled with their precious cargo of 2 or three babies. How about the wobbly chubbies out to try and shed a few pounds (I am afraid to admit this, but I am one of those!) as if there aren’t enough problems on the roads without having to deal with all these bikes too. Continue reading

Do I Need to Do Anything Before I Start My Driving Lessons?

New Style Number Plate

New Style Number Plate


You don’t have to do anything apart from make sure that you have a valid provisional licence in your possession. Just having sent off for one won’t be good enough, you must wait until you have received it. It is good to note that you can actually send off for your licence 3 months before your 17th birthday ( if you are disabled, it might be possible to start driving at the age of 16 but that depends on your level of disability. You will need to contact your doctor to find out..)

Old Style Number Plate

Old Style Number Plate

The first thing your instructor should do after checking that your licence is ok, is to check your eyesight. If you think you might have a problem with your sight, it is probably advisable to have your eyes tested a month or two before your first lesson, so that if you need to have glasses for driving, you can get them in advance and you won’t have to wait before you can drive. Also you will be able to get used to wearing them a little bit before you have to use them for driving. The sight test that your instructor will do is very simple, you just need to be able to read a new number plate at 20 metres or an old style number plate at 20.5 metres. Your examiner will perform the same eyesight check on the day of your practical test too. Continue reading

Are Mirrors a Waste of Time?


Mirrors are a “MUST”!

Car about to over-take!

Car about to over-take!

I once had a new pupil who had been taught to drive mainly by his Dad, although he had had a few lessons by an instructor to start with. His driving was OK but he hardly used his mirrors at all. He got quite huffy with me when I explained that he should use them more. His reply went something like this.

“They are a waste of time, it doesn’t make any difference whether you use them or not, you still do, whatever it is, you were going to do. I won’t be bothering with them when I have passed.”

Well of course, I pointed out that unless he got used to using his mirrors, he wouldn’t pass! When I quizzed him with; “What do you look for when you are checking your mirrors.” He looked blank and confessed he didn’t know. On further investigation I discovered that due to his lack of knowledge, he was looking at them, rather than looking for particular things in them. Continue reading

Roads Have Changed, Have You?

Horse and cart

The Good Old Days

In the Beginning….

When cars where first invented around 1888(or horseless carriages as they were called then), there were very few of them around owned by just a few of the elite. They also weren’t able to go very fast. It was then considered dangerous to go above 4 mph, so to enforce that, a man had to walk in front with a red flag. Imagine that! That era didn’t last long though due to too many of the red flag men getting run over, the increasing number of cars on the road and the increasing speeds they were capable of. In 1895 the speed limit was raised to 14 mph.The test, such as it was in those days, was introduced in March 1930 for disabled drivers. Voluntary tests for anyone else were brought in at the beginning of 1935, by June of that year, it had become compulsory. The test as we know it today, is very different from the original. Roads have changed so much over the years, not just by way of the traffic controls but also by the increasing number of vehicles that use them, that many new measures have had to be included. Even in the last couple of years we have seen the inclusion of the independent drive. There are also mutterings of adding in some motorway driving for learners in the last throws of their training. It can’t be made compulsory though, as there are many areas in the UK that don’t have motorways close enough to make it a viable exercise. Continue reading

Get the Old Codgers Off the Road!


Yay,it’s a lovely day!

Is that Right?

A survey amongst young people suggested that old people are a menace on the road and that they should be made to take their driving tests again or at least have regular eye tests and co-ordination tests.
A survey amongst the older generation suggested that young people are a menace and should be made to drive only very small engined cars for a year, then have to take another advanced test to include motorways before being allowed to drive anything with more power.

??? So who is right???

Another survey by Auto Trader showed these statistics:
20% of the driving public are under thirty and are responsible for 35% of casualties
9% of the driving public are over 70 but are only responsible for 6% of casualties
that leaves the remaining 71% who are responsible for the remaining 59%

Looks like the youngsters lose big time!! Speaks for itself doesn’t it! or does it? Continue reading