Monday, 30 December 2013

Get Some Driving Done

Get Some Driving Done

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Here's one from my blogsite (new word) all about learning to drive with family and friends. It can be a good thing which gives you valuable experience and builds your confidence. If done with the right person. Sometimes it can be a bit counter productive if the advice you get is bad and you don't feel comfortable driving in their presence.

Learner drivers in Nottingham

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Reading The Signs

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Worn out road signs are hard to see

I was doing a driving lesson on hazard perception and forward planning yesterday. As I was coaching my pupil and getting her to actively look for road signs I realised how many of them are in such a poor state.
   Now it's winter and the leaves are fallen from trees and bushes you can just about make them out through the branches. In summer you've got no chance as the branches are never cut back to allow the signs to be seen. Big problem if it's a speed limit sign and you end up breaking the limit.
    There are signs that have slipped around on the pole and now face in another direction. Some are tilted so much it look like they apply to a different road altogether. They need turning round and the metal bands tightening up.
   The worn out signs have a post apocalyptic feel to them. Rusted round the ages and the printing faded so bad they are completely illegible. Like they are from a world that was abandoned long ago. I have an urge to get a brush out and scrub the ones that are covered in that green moss stuff. If I did the lettering would probably come off with it. Ha.
   The Highways agency need to take on a few sign cleaners to keep everything neat and tidy in the interests of road safety. Never happen though. It would probably cost too much.

Where can I train for the Diamond advanced driving test in Nottingham?

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Driving Instructor Training in Nottingham

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Great session this morning

I love to conduct a bit of driving instructor training me. Had a good couple of hours this morning with Jeanette who has been training with another Nottingham driving school.
   She has her first attempt at the part three exam in a few weeks so time to pull everything together ready for the big push. We started by working through what I think is the hardest of the pre set tests which is moving off and stopping with mirror use. There is a lot of information to pass on to the pupil in this topic.
   It's important to ask questions during role play to find out who your pupil is. Make sure to find out what they did last lesson. In this case it was probably a controls lesson. Ask if they started the engine and found the biting point. This could save a lot of time.
   Mirror Signal Manoeuvre routine is central to all the topics involved in driving so it's got to be well understood by the pupil. Take your time with this. Treat mirrors as a subject on it's own and check that the pupil knows where the blind spots are.
   Practising the talk through was a lot of fun. There's always scope for a laugh I find when teaching PDIs and this can really help get rid of those nerves. After a couple of tries we wrapped it up by practising the debrief. Make sure the pupil is actively involved in this.
   For light relief I turned into a guy who couldn't do roundabouts and never looked for signs. This lead to me breaking the speed limits. Not by much though cos we've got to keep it safe for the general public.


Where can I get help with ADI check test training in Nottingham?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Time Those Signals Properly

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Don't Mislead other folk.

It's been a funny old week for the indicators on my car. Timing of the indicator signals has been an issue on most of the driving lessons I have done. Yes, I know it's been Christmas and I should have had some time off but driving instruction ain't a normal job.
   Mistiming of signals can have a big impact on the way other motorists respond to your intentions. If you fail to notice a junction before the one where you intend to turn you can mislead people by signalling too early. They will think you want to turn at the first junction and pull out in front of you depending on the situation. Put on the signal after passing the first junction.
   It's just as bad to signal too late. This can be an issue with learner drivers when changing lanes. They will sometimes stare into the door mirror for ages waiting for a gap before they signal. Other drivers cannot read your mind and don't know that you want to change lanes until you signal. In this case the signal acts as a request to be let in so get it on early then wait for a gap.
   Forgotten which exit you are supposed to be taking at the roundabout? Look at the dash to see which way you are indicating. That will remind you. Always a bit funny when that happens on a lesson. You've got to have a laugh.

Where can I get courses for older drivers in Nottingham?

Getting The Sounds On

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Make sure you can hear what's going on.

I love a bit of music when I'm driving. In fact I like a lot of music when I'm behind the wheel. It relaxes me in the traffic jam and it entertains me on those long long stretches where I'm just rolling along. Like everything in driving though it needs to be properly managed. There's a time and a place for everything.

Music can be great when driving but can also be a dangerous distraction. I recall many years ago I was blasting out Korn on the stereo when I noticed other motorists were staring at me. I wondered why. After moving the rear view mirror so I could actually see through it I saw the ambulance behind me with lights flashing. When I turned the music down I could hear the sirens. Not very clever.

Best to keep the volume at a level where you can hear sounds from outside the car. I like to adjust volume according to the situation. If I'm approaching a major roundabout I'll turn it down so I can concentrate and then turn it up again afterwards. If I'm in a built up town area with pedestrians around I'll turn it off altogether.

It annoys me when I'm sitting in a traffic queue and I can hear massive bass blasting out from a car that's three placed behind me. Even worse if the driver has their windows down so we can all benefit from their awesome taste in music. Enjoy your music while you're driving by all means. Just do it responsibly.

Want to save money with an Eco Safe driving course in Nottingham?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Shades in Winter? You Bet!

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People who are learning to drive don't consider bringing along their sunglasses to driving lessons and often regret it after we are well away on the road. Winter sun is a problem as the sun is very low in the sky and glaring straight into your eyeballs. Shades can go a long way to making you more comfortable and increasing your level of safety.

For smaller people the pull down sun shade in the car does not come down low enough even if you crank the seat up to it's highest setting. No escape for you. After a while of squinting into the unceasing glare you will start to feel fatigue and perhaps even get a mild headache.

If the road is wet as it often is in winter then the problem is even worse. Road markings can be almost impossible to see in these conditions so take care at junctions. Cars will often keep headlights on if the sun is low but not every driver does. Brake lights are masked by the glare so keep a good following distance of two seconds. Sunglasses will be a real help here.

Some learners think you're not allowed to bring sunglasses to driving lessons because the instructor can't tell if you are checking your mirrors. This is nonsense. An experienced instructor can tell if you're using the mirrors by the way you drive. It's no good being blinded and uncomfortable on your lessons as this makes things unsafe.

When you've passed your test always keep a pair of shades in your car. If you wear normal glasses you'll need to make sure you get prescription sunglasses. Happy sunshine motoring.

Where can I find a list of driving test Show me Tell me questions?

Driving Test Pass Today!

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Well done Hossein Mowahedi

What a way to start your Christmas holiday. Big cheers for Hossein Mowahedi who passed his driving test today at Beeston test centre here in Nottingham.
   It's been quite a journey for the guy. He has been driving on an international license while working as a security guard all over the place. He puts in a lot of miles and drives on the motorways regularly.
   We worked hard to get Hossein using the MSM system of driving you need to get a licence. After a few goes round the busy multi lane roundabouts he soon got the hang of them.
   Manoeuvres were never a problem, they went smooth as silk. Hossein is now free to pursue his next career move and has many years of motoring before him. Well done mate and all the best for the new year!

Where can I get help with the extended driving test in Nottingham?

Monday, 23 December 2013

My Most Favourite Drive in The Whole World

My Most Favourite Drive in The Whole World
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Here's a small article all about my favourite drive which is from Withernsea to Bridlington. It gives me a sense of great wellbeing to drive the winding country lanes and see the familiar places of childhood. There's nothing like getting away from it all.

Make Friends With The Handbrake

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It's there to help you!

The handbrake sometimes seems like a thing of mystery to people taking driving lessons. Unable to decide whether to use it or not they will put it on at every stop or in some cases never use it at all.

The handbrake only works on the back two wheels whereas the foot brake works on all four wheels. It's for this reason that the handbrake is not used for actually stopping the car. Don't reach down while moving and yank it on hard to bring the car to a harsh stop. Keep both hands on the wheel, stop using the foot brake and then apply the handbrake to hold the car steady.

Regard the handbrake as a tool to use for your convenience. If you pull up on a hill you will need to use it to hold the car still while you sort out the gas and biting point. If you don't use it the car will roll back while you flip your foot from the brake to the gas. For learners this can result in panic and stalling. I really don't like the car to roll backwards, especially if there is a vehicle behind.

You won't need the handbrake if you are not waiting and are moving off downhill. In this case the car will roll in the direction you want to go. Allowing the car to roll before getting the biting point actually makes moving off earlier.

Always use the handbrake if you are waiting at a pedestrian crossing. That way if you are shunted from behind you won't be pushed forward into people crossing in front of you. Always press the button in before lifting the lever. I can't abide that ratchet sound.

Where can I get advice on booking my driving test?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Why I'm a Diamond Man

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It's good to keep up standards

It's a good thing for a driving instructor to be part of a professional association. It is probably worth checking if your instructor is a member of a group or association.
  One of the things that I have done is sign a code of professional conduct. This goes some way to reassure my pupils that I will maintain a good standard of professional behaviour at all times. I also like the teacher/pupil confidentiality clause. I don't like to hear instructors talk bad about their pupils when I'm sat at the test centre and it's not something I would do myself.
   Professional bodies also keep an instructor up to date with all the latest news within the industry. It's good to stay on top of all the changes that occur. As people who work alone it's easy for us to get left behind. Some of the topics in the news such as young drivers and client centred learning will shape the way that learners are taught in the future.
   Professional bodies often provide a path to further qualifications. I got my diploma in driving instruction and passed a few advanced driving tests with the DIA which qualify me as a Diamond Advanced Instructor. This helps me maintain a high standard of driver training at all levels.
   Yes, pupils and instructors alike can benefit from the advantages of membership to a professional association.

Why not take the Diamond Advanced Driving test?

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Driving Lessons Nottingham Review

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Nice Review from a happy customer

Thanks to Samantha England who wrote this review after passing her driving test with me, Russ Chaplin.
   Samantha writes -
  " Russ is a fantastic driving instructor! I lacked in confidence within myself and hated driving all together when I couldn't get it right, but the thing I appreciated the most from Russ is that he had faith in me and always encouraged me to Keep Positive and succeed, in which I did! We even did a little dance when I passed haha!!
If your looking to learn quick whilst still enjoying yourself, Russ is the man for you! Thank you soooo much again."
   Now Sam has her license and is off to pursue her future career in fashion. She has the freedom of the road and the independence that comes with it.
   You can do it too if you stay positive like Samantha did. All sorts of opportunities are open to you when you get that driving licence. With proper tuition you will learn to be a safe and skilful driver for the many years of motoring ahead of you. Go for it!

Check out more of my reviews here

Friday, 20 December 2013

Think Drivng Is Easy and It Will Be

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If you believe it's hard you're in for a tough ride.

I sometimes teach people to drive who have no shortage of ability yet continue to struggle. They tend to dread their driving lessons and are already wound up and nervous before they even start.
   With an approach like this it would be difficult to learn anything. If you look at a guitar and think 'That looks really hard. What a lot of work and struggle it would be to play that' then you can guarantee it will be. If on the other hand you look at the guitar and think 'That would be a lot of fun. Reckon I'd enjoy that' then chances are you would get a lot further.
   Do the same with learning to drive. Imagine yourself driving around after you have passed the test. Look at the people you know who can drive. Are they superhumans? No. If they can do it then you can do it too.
   Take a more playful approach with the controls. Don't be afraid to stall now and then and if you do just forget about it and carry on. Your instructor is there to make sure things stay safe so feel free to enjoy your lesson. Pretty soon you'll be motoring along with no effort at all. Go for it!

Info about the driving test for learner drivers.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Go Go Delivery Guy!

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The heat is on...

I was awoken early this morning by a delivery man knocking at the door. He was delivering a David Beckham calendar I got my mum for Christmas. Why she has developed this fascination for Becksy is beyond me, but I digress.
   There are a lot of delivery vans speeding around at the moment. It's that time of year and time is running out before the big day. I did a stint as a delivery driver when I was training to be a driving instructor and I can tell you the pressure to meet deadlines is huge.
   I managed to hit a bus stop and crack the windscreen during one incident. On another occasion I drove under a bridge that wasn't quite high enough for the van and busted the roof in. On both these occasions I had got behind in my deliveries and lost my temper. It's so important to remain calm behind the wheel even when you're up against the clock.
   It can be tempting to squeeze through the amber light, push it over the speed limit or any number of things that feel like they save time. In fact there is very little to be gained from these types of risks. Better to keep calm and know your route.
   Be prepared for delivery vans to slow down or pull over suddenly. A driver looking for an address may speed up and slow down somewhat erratically as they try to read door numbers. Leave them enough room and remember they are in a rush. It's tough being a delivery guy.

Where can I get advanced driver training in Nottingham?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Watch Out For Those Dustbin Men

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Slow down near the truck

It's always an interesting situation with new drivers when they first encounter the dustbin wagon on their driving lessons. Being confronted with a blocked road especially if there are parked cars all over the place can be a daunting experience for the newbie.
   You've got to consider the level of danger these guys are exposed to during the working day. They constantly move in and out from the rear of the van, not appearing to the motorist until the last second sometimes and without warning. They cross the road non stop dragging the bins as well so you've got to look ahead and plan your drive early.
    Scan the road and see if there are any workers in the road, they will usually be towards the rear of the van but may sometimes get ahead of it. If you are approaching from the front of the lorry then be prepared for them to step out at any moment. These guys are busy and tend to work fast so nice and slow passed the lorry leaving as much room as possible and have your foot covering the brake just in case.
   Spare a thought for the driver and leave space for the lorry to pull in after it has moved forward. These are large vehicles and it takes a lot of skill to squeeze down the narrow streets without damaging anything. If you know your rubbish is being collected the next day on your street then fold in your door mirrors the night before. Those extra few inches of space make all the difference.

Why not take a refresher driving course Nottingham style?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Shopping Nightmare For Drivers

Christmas Shopping Nightmare For Drivers

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Here's one all about the misery and distress caused to my psyche by the act of driving to town to indulge in a little Christmas shopping. It's not a good time for me. On the lighter side I completely managed to avoid it this year. Now I can enjoy the rest of the festive season in peace and tranquillity.

Well Dodgy!

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Swerving around the debris

My last driving lessons was well dodgy. It's one of those days where there just seems to be rubbish and debris all over the place. From plastic bags with mystery contents to dead animals and leaf mulch, there is so much to look out for. It can do so much damage to cars, especially to tyres and even to the steering if what you hit is big enough.
   Learner drivers really seem to have difficulty knowing where the tyres are on the road. This leads to people actually moving position so the tyres hit the stuff when they would have missed it had they done nothing at all.
   It's important to avoid hitting debris in the road as motorcyclists know only too well. When you move position be sure not to put anyone in danger by swerving in front of them and cutting down their road space. Check the door mirrors before moving as well in case you are being overtaken. Spot the debris early so you can move at a gentler angle and then pull back to the normal driving position.
  Make sure you avoid pot holes as well wherever possible. They can be invisible when it's been raining and they are full of water. Happy motoring on the smooth and well maintained highways of Britain.

Where can I read driving lessons Nottingham reviews?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Driving Lessons Nottingham Test Pass

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The longest driving test in history.

Here's the mighty Tomas Walker who passed his driving test today at the Beeston test centre in Nottingham. Owing to massive road works projects in the area his test went over time by more than half an hour. Tom took the pressure well and dealt with the poor traffic conditions to test standard and cam out with only two minor driving faults.
   We've had quite the chuckle during our lessons. like me he's a bit of an axe man. No he's not mad, he plays guitar in a rocking style. He's got a great sense of humour and a good line in conversation.
   Yes we managed to master those troublesome mini roundabouts. Slowing down the approach speed and looking earlier for a safer and smoother ride. Now he's had his provisional licence taken away to be swapped for a new full licence he's got no ID to get into clubs. Ah well, that's life!

Well done Tom. It's been a real pleasure teaching you to drive. Have a great Christmas and all the best for the new year.

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Sunday, 15 December 2013

You Need Some Sensible Shoes

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Title is from a song by David Lee Roth

He used to be in Van Halen when they were somebody.
   Anyway. Clutch control is one of the most difficult and disliked tasks for new drivers. It requires precision movement and a certain sensitivity. You're not going to be able to do that if you're not wearing reasonable footwear.
    The things I've seen on people's feet when they're learning to drive is quite amazing. I've got to wonder what they were thinking. The worst are those Herman Munster type shoes with the thick crepe soles. There is no way you're going to have any feeling of pedal movement in those. it's no use wearing them and then complaining that moving off is difficult. It just don't add up.
   One person was keen to try in flip flops. it can get warm in summer but this is not the beach. This is driving and foot wear must be fit for purpose. High heels look good but put your ankle at a weird angle so again not ideal.
   If you like to express your personality by way of shoes it's worth keeping a pair of driving shoes in the car at all times. Something flat with a sole that's not too thick so you can feel pedal movement. Once you get used to a certain pair it seems you'll always drive better in them. hey may even put you in a safe driving mood.

Where can I get advanced driver training in Nottingham?

Can't Replace a Headlight Bulb?

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Yes, I'm aware they're called headlamps.

I'm all for user serviceability in a vehicle. Which is to say I think it's a bad thing when it's impossible to change a headlight bulb quickly and easily without tools.
   More and more modern cars make it increasingly difficult to reach the headlight bulbs. Some models require removal of the front bumper in order to replace them. I think this is poor design and there ought to be a law against it. Bulbs are basic safety items which cost very little to buy.
    It's a fact of life that the bulbs blow without warning at any time. Most of us who have been driving for some time will have experienced this. It should only be a two minute job to sort it. In some countries it is a legal requirement to carry a spare bulb kit. Little use if like me you would have difficulty removing and replacing a bumper.
    it's a driving instructor's nightmare when a bulb goes just before a test. The examiner would allow a minute or two for a bulb to be replaced before cancelling the test so it's imperative this can be done. They're not going to stand around while you get the toolkit out are they? Make sure you know how to replace your bulbs.

Where can I do a refresher driving course in Nottingham?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Colourful Cars

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It's all grey nowadays

I was watching this programme on the telly all about the rise of the German car industry and I thought to myself “aren't car colours getting boring these days?”

During the footage of British cars from the 1970s it was a cavalcade of colour out there on the road. All the primary colours were present and plenty of tertiary colours as well. I remember those two words from school. It may have looked naïve compared to today's cynical world outlook but at least you could make a choice and express yourself a bit.

I wanted a green car when I bought mine. Turned out they'd stopped doing it because nobody wanted it. Dark metallic green is a well smart colour for a car. I could have the usual silver (boring), dark metallic grey ( got that one) or denim blue (pants). Most cars on the road now are silver or grey which looks really depressing in a traffic jam. You get black and white as well but white only looks good if the car's clean. Other colours are a minority.

I used to work at a place that made car graphics kits. Older bods like me may remember the splashy stripes you could put down each side of your motor. Business stopped owing to lack of demand. They were a way to make your car truly yours without need for expensive modifications.

You would probably have difficulty fitting them now as the creases in the panels are all over the place and it's all about rounded edges in modern car design but that doesn't stop us having a bit more colour out there on the road.

Who do I call for an intensive driving course Nottingham?

What Does SLOW Mean?

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It means slow...

I am often asked by pupils why the road markings on the road say Slow. This is not as daft a question as it may seem. Often the slow markings appear on national speed limit roads. Why not make the speed limit lower instead? I hear you cry.
    According to the official Know Your Traffic Signs book the slow marking is normally associated with a hazard and accompanied by an upright sign. It would be confusing to have a speed limit that constantly changed every time there was some kind of hazard. The Slow marking provides a solution to this problem.
   Best thing to do is ask yourself why the Slow marking is there every time you see it. his will prompt you to actively scan the road ahead and look for the associated hazard. Once the hazard is seen then you can plan an appropriate course of action and incorporate it into your driving plan.
   That was a bit wordy wasn't it? Just bear in mind you should always be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear so if there's a bend ahead or the road narrows check mirrors and slow down.
    Slow could mean any number of speeds so it's up to you as the driver to choose one where you can get past the danger area safely. Once you're past and the road opens up feel free to speed up to the limit again. Happy motoring.

Where do I go for motorway lessons in Nottingham?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Getting The Most Out Of Your Driving Lessons

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Choose wisely and put the work in

It can end up costing you a lot of cash to learn to drive so you've got to get the most out of them. When you've finished you should be a safe and competent driver who can handle a wide variety of traffic situations.
   When you first start you may have to be taken to a quiet area. It all depends where you live. If you live in a quiet area then you can start at your house probably. If you live in the middle of the city then your instructor may have to drive you somewhere more suitable. This shouldn't really take more than ten to fifteen minutes. You've got to get the most actual driving time possible so it might be worth meeting for your lesson somewhere quiet.
    Do your homework. back up your lessons with a reasonable amount of private study. As well as revising for the theory test you can watch some of the many you tube videos that are available. These are provided free and can help you to remember what you did last lesson as well as prepare you for the next one.
   You could keep a learning journal where you write down the subjects covered and things you are not sure of. Don't hesitate to tell your instructor what it is you want to practice. Take part in shaping your lessons to your own requirements. Remember that learning is a two way process between teacher and pupil. Client centred learning yeah?

Where do I go for Motorway driving lessons in Nottingham?

Why I Love My Skoda

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4 in a row and still going strong

Yes that's right. I've had 4 Skoda Fabias in a row now and I may have four more yet. It's a smashing car for teaching and learning to drive in. Like a Tardis there's tons of room inside a small body.
   The gearbox is an absolute joy. You can move the gearstick by simply blowing on it. Okay that's a lie but it is super smooth and easy to use. Some pupils can be a bit heavy handed with it, especially if they are used to a different car. You should never need to look at the gearstick when changing gears. Let your hand do the work.
    Dead reliable is the humble Skoda. I'm out there all day every day with very little time off the road. I hear a few horror stories from other driving instructors about things going wrong with their cars. Apart from servicing I'm never off the road.
   It's a car that can accommodate the largest to the smallest of people. I'm over six feet tall and I can stretch out and even fall asleep in there in laybys when I have a spare hour and I'm a bit tired. Small people can jack the seat right up, move it forward and have no difficulty reaching all the controls.
   It has a nice European feel to the styling as well. Looking smart on the road even with the roof box on. You're in your car all day in my game so it's got to be right.

Where can I get refresher driving lessons Nottingham?

Bad At Driving Games

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Don't you just love games consoles? I know I do. Many an hour have I spent raiding tombs or assassinating folk. Endless fun. I've never excelled at driving games though. Perhaps I lack the killer instinct for a race as I always seem to be content to follow at a safe distance. Perhaps it's the instructor in me.

Way back in the days of PS1 I absolutely ruled at Wipeout 3. Nobody could touch me in this futuristic racer. You sort of hovered along above the ground along a track. It had definite physics and you could get the back end out, turning two curves into one.

That game was the end of my dominance. Now I spend my time getting absolutely flogged at drift racing on Need For Speed. Coming nowhere near the scores my friends get. I tend to throw the towel in early and pretend I'm deliberately crashing and that I don't care. Inside it really hurts.

I had a brief comeback on Colin McRae Rally 2 many moons ago. Really bad on tarmac but a king when it came to mud and snow. I like it when the car is sliding and this is where I win. Modern rally games seem a bit anal and an exercise in how much mental punishment you can take before giving up.

As a middle aged man now I think I'd better stick to Skyrim for my thrills. I seem better at fighting dragons than taking corners accurately at speed.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

How to Drive Over Speed Bumps

How to Drive Over Speed Bumps

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Here's an article all about driving over those sticky up bits in the road.

Two Driving Test Passes in One Day!

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Feeling fantastic about it all

Here we see the lovely Samantha England resplendent with her driving test pass certificate. I'm not sure what's wrong with the camera on my phone but the images just aren't as clear today. Still, I won't let that detract from my feeling of joy.
   I've enjoyed Sam's lessons immensely. She has never lacked in skills and we just needed some time on the road for her to gain confidence in her own abilities. We've been all over this crazy city gaining valuable experience by doing all the hard bits and it's paid off big time.
   She is now free to go on the road when she pleases and all this right before Christmas. Nice one Sam. Netflix has changed my life for the better thanks to you!

Great prices for driving lessons in Nottingham

Driving Test Pass. Hurray!

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Well Done Aziz!

Here's a picture of Aziz Alzahrani who passed his driving test today at Beeston test centre here in sunny Nottingham. Being from Saudi Arabia he had been used to quite a rushed and some may say aggressive driving style. He's not an aggressive guy though, he's a really nice guy.
   Good skills controlling the car and full use of mirrors were already in evidence. It was the rushed style and lack of forward observations and planning which we needed to work on.
   After a few lessons the improvement in Aziz's driving was remarkable. A nice flowing and safe drive is what's needed to gain the driving licence and now that's what Aziz has got.
   As a busy student who already owns a car Aziz is now free to carry out his career plans and can get himself around nicely. Thanks mate. I've enjoyed our lessons and wish you all the best for the future!

Where can I see some great customer reviews for driving instructors?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Parking On The Pavement

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I rode out on a test the other day with a guy from overseas who just won't have lessons cos he thinks he can drive. He can make the car move but that's only a small part of proper driving.

Anyway, he was asked to pull up at the side of the road in a safe and convenient place. When he did so he pulled up about a foot on to the pavement, 2 wheels on 2 wheels off. Needless to say this was an issue on the test and the examiner asked the candidate what difference being another foot into the road it would make if he parked properly.

The answer in real life is a lot of difference. There are many areas in Nottingham that have streets that were never meant to carry the volume of traffic that they do and there is absolutely nowhere to park. If you don't park part way up the kerb then there is no room for a car to get through. If a car can't get through then neither can an ambulance or a fire engine. People could be in real trouble while everyone comes out to shift their cars.

Common sense rules in driving so if you do need to park half and half just make sure you look for pedestrians first and take it slowly so as not to damage tyres or steering. Make sure you do leave enough room for pedestrians to safely use the pavement and fold your door mirrors in. Do not park on the pavement during driving tests though as strictly speaking it is illegal.

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Getting Along With the Tram

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Here comes the road train

We've got trams in Nottingham. With an ever expanding network into new areas we will soon have a lot more. It can be difficult for learners to get used to them at first especially when driving in a busy city centre.

The first thing that surprises the new driver is the lack of noise. Silently they glide until the warning bell chimes or you can hear the robotic voice when they pull up. Some residents in Nottingham mounted a campaign because the tram pulled up outside their house and the voice was driving them crazy, but I digress.

The length of a tram can be an issue when it comes to overtaking one that has pulled up. It's a long time on the wrong side of the road and you can't always get a clear view. Probably better to just sit and wait behind. It won't be long. Unlike the time you have to wait in traffic where the new tram lines are being built. You could be there all day.

The idea of a cyclist getting stuck in tram lines seemed a bit daft when I first read it as a question on the theory test but when I look at the tram tracks I see how easy that would be. They interfere with cars as well. Try to keep the tyres off the tracks or you'll slip slide around. Not good.

I Like Washing My Own Car

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Got to look good for those driving lessons

You can't move nowadays for car wash businesses. These have boomed recently with one set up on every disused petrol station in the land. They show initiative and are a good use of spaces that would otherwise be left abandoned. Some are becoming very professionally organised with gazebo type structures for cover and eye catching signs.

I've never been to one though cos I love to wash my own car. It's amazing how long some people will sit in the queue to get it done. I suppose it's good for people who live in flats and don't have the space to do it themselves.

There's nothing like getting the mats out and hoovering round all the nooks and crannys. Brush off those mats and get the dust out. Cleaning the windows on the inside to prevent smears when they mist up is an absolute treat. Wipe the dashboard down lovingly with some baby wipes.

Time for the wheels now. Rinse off those alloys and apply the wheel cleaner. Don't squirt directly on to the wheel though or you'll get it all over the brakes. They will start to squeal when braking as you take away the grease. Instead squirt it onto a pan scrubber brush and work it in. Nice.

Top up screen wash and check the oil while you're there. Might as well be thorough. On with the wash and wax. Mmmmm. Getting up a good lather to cut through the grease and grime is wonderful. Rinse off with a watering can and wipe down with a micro fibre cloth. Stand back and admire your own handiwork.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Let's Hear it for Those Problem Pupils

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A Challenge to those teaching skills

We all have them don't we? Those problem pupils that get out of control owing to defective personalities or poor quality upbringings. It's hard to suss them out at first. They can seem perfectly normal. Then the descent into chaos begins. Sometimes it's a gradual process, sometimes it just blows up in your face.
   I had one young lad who seemed ever so nice. Things were going well then one day he just explodes and tries to put the car into a lamp post. When I told him I'd be taking over the drive he answered in the vernacular and slammed the door shut when he got out. When we got home I refunded what was left of a block booking and said goodbye. One must be professional in these matters.
   I've heard test centre tales of panels being kicked in by angry chav pupils. Luckily that's not happened to me. I don't like it when wise cracking kids who know NOTHING of cars tell me they don't like mine. I find it personally hurtful. It's all in a days work I suppose.

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Learning to Drive? Bring the kids!

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It's all about real life driving

Some people put off learning to drive because they can't get childcare. Young single mums who may need to learn to drive may find this a particularly hard problem to get around. Why not just bring the baby along.
    I have had a few mums who have brought baby along to the lesson. There is nothing wrong with this at all. On the contrary, it's real life driving that I teach and ferrying kids about is real life driving. So long as the infant is placed in a proper car seat and the seat belt is properly secured around the seat then the child is in very little danger.
    If a child starts to cry or mess about then the situation can be dealt with calmly and under supervision. If a person has just passed their test and is confronted with a crying infant in the car it can be very stressful and lead to dangerous situations especially if the young driver panics.
   Much better to have dealt with this during driving lessons then it won't be so bad when you're on your own. Safe driving for life as they say.

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Shirt and Tie? No Thanks!

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It's all about smart casual for me

I sometimes hear complaints from the old guard about the apparel and general presentation clothes wise of other driving instructors. However, in the modern age of guerrilla fashion statements and alternative outlook of our youth I find the shirt and tie look to be a tad officious when dealing with the general public.
   If I was just starting out learning to drive and felt a bit nervous then a shirt and tie is the last thing I would want to see. I would feel like a school child who may or may not be in trouble.
    I find a more casual approach to dress more appropriate for the teaching environment. It generates a more relaxed atmosphere in which learning can take place. It's a lot more I'm OK You're OK as the transactional analysts would put it.
   You can take this too far though. I saw an instructor wearing a vest to work and he had really hairy arms. Not a good look. Also the instructor with the red Mohican was a no in my book but the guy has since let it grow out. Wise move.

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A Lovely Drive to the Pub

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You Can't Beat a Sunday Drive

We had a fantastic drive out for a Sunday pub lunch yesterday. There's nothing like getting out of the house when you've just watched a Jason Statham film and your adrenaline is up as a result.
   Driving down to Burton Joyce is ideal after a week of teaching in the city. Nice to get a flow going after all the stop start stuff and the stalling.
  I even went so far as to offer my partner a commentary on my drive. It's a good way to check your driving skills are in order while simultaneously winding up and annoying your passenger. Ha.
I gave commentary on approaching hazards as well as the MSM routine being used. Made me feel all professional it did. Afterwards I had scampi and chips, Bev had the chicken salad. There were too many onion rings so we brought them home wrapped in a napkin. Nice afternoon all round.

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

My Car is My Restaurant

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No time for the café

Like many of my driving instructor brothers and sisters I simply don't have the time to take a lunch break and visit a food emporium. If I did that I'd be working until midnight just to pay my gas bill. That's an exaggeration.
   Nevertheless I like to get the most lesson time out of the day so I take a packed lunch. I like a couple of sarnies made with a deli filler and a packet of crisps. They can be a pain cos I have to exit the car and dust the crumbs off me in case the next pupil thinks I'm a scummer.
  I'll usually follow that with a few biscuits I keep in a food bag. These double as a mid morning snack as I'm usually hungry by then. Fruit is the last thing to be eaten but that's true of anybody. An apple and a banana keep me going to early evening.
   Those café bills can add up over the course of a week. I've worked with some blokes in the past who think nothing of spending 20 odd quid a week at the greasy spoon. Too rich for my blood.

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They all Want Something for Nothing

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I've Got a Voucher

It's nearly Christmas and the Google rankings are chock full of third party entities offering vouchers so driving instructors have the privilege of working for next to nothing for a good few hours. Name one other job where you'd have to work for 4 hours for free and then not have a guaranteed take up from a customer.
    It's an outrage and makes what we driving instructors do look cheap. I think it's a serious business teaching someone to drive and not a frivolous item to be given away for nothing.
    Poor driving instructor man has to drive out to the pupil, do the lesson, drive back again and cover the cost of fuel and wear and tear on the car and all for about 4 quid. I'm all for a sensible offer between instructor and pupil but these internet leeches make me mad. Mad I Say! I refuse to do it when anybody rings up and says they have a voucher. I'm polite, course I am, I'm a professional. Wish some others would do the same. Merry Christmas!

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Coming in to Land at the Supermarket

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Drivers thinking for themselves

So I'm driving to the supermarket along with other fully licensed grown up drivers. Just an ordinary day like any other. Imagine my surprise when I find a whole bunch of guys with large glow sticks waving me into land like I'm piloting an aircraft.
   Surely people are capable of entering the car park and finding a space on their own? It's not like the blokes looked interested or knew what they were doing. Had they had any training to take control of traffic or had Geoff from personnel just sent them out on a whim?
    I really don't like any kind of dumbing down when it comes to driving. Parking in a field at the music festival probably does need some organising but that's a different story. Once I remember the temporary traffic lights had broken down on a reasonably busy road. A couple of kids about 12 years old started to wave traffic through and the adult drivers actually obeyed! Zombies.

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Saturday, 7 December 2013

Let's Have Proper L plates

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L plated must conform to requirements

I had to chuckle to myself the other day when I was down the local driving test centre. By local I mean the other side of our mean city. A guy turns up for his test in his own car. Fair enough I hear you say. It is says I but you must display L plates correctly to the front and rear.
   This guy had dodgy looking home made L plates on the bonnet and rear stuck to the car with brown packing tape. The tape was all over the plate making it not even square. We all know that the plates have to meet specific requirements which includes the amount of white space around the red L. These were nothing like and still the test went out.
   I have seen instructors roof boxes with plates that are too small and others partly obscured by the company phone number. Surely one could have ones vehicle insurance made void by not properly displaying L plates. Am I pedantic? Hell yes.

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What about Them Leaves?

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They're blowing everywhere.

It's time for the leaves to fall from the trees and blow around all over the road. Good news is they've all gone from my garden. Well, most of them anyway. Bad news is they're all over the road.
   Add a touch of rain or frost to the mix and you've got a slip slide surface which just does not go down well with learner drivers. Hard to see the kerb when you're trying to reverse round a corner as well.
I've even pulled a few out from the engine compartment. Hard to remove as they have dried up in there and turned all brittle and crumbly. I'm a sucker for a tidy engine compartment though so I'll pick at them until they come out.
   A strong gust of wind and pupils start to watch them fly across the windscreen and try to follow them. Plays havoc with the steering. I suppose they will all be swept away soon. Or covered with snow.

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Paranoid Car Listener

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Listening for potential disasters

I'm what you might call a car listener. I listen very closely to all those tiny noises a car makes as it gets more worn as the time flies by. If I discover a new noise then I'm all ears and concentration as I try to figure out where the sound might be coming from and if it's serious.

It mat be a clunk from in the boot. Could be anything. Could be my foot pump moving about or it could be my exhaust about to fall off. Why do I get different sounds from going over speed bumps? Sometimes it's a horrible thunk like the shock absorber is about to spring out and at other times silence. Seems worse on a morning before the old girl has limbered up.

What is that thud that sometimes comes from the front nearside wheel? Is it the brake discs that are loose or is it the cv joint about to give way? Perhaps it's nothing and I should ignore it but I can't cos I'm a car listener.

A pupil of mine said her friends car began making a screeching noise one night. The solution? Turn up the radio loud. Maybe I should be more like that!

Friday, 6 December 2013

I'm Jumpy Driving Through the Uni

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Driving Schools Nottingham

If there's one place I don't like driving through it's the university. I really feel like I shouldn't be there. I don't know if it's the security barrier that does it to me or what but I just feel on edge.
   They won't let students drive as learners on campus even though they are all big boys and girls. The absolute cream of academic society. This seems a bit nanny state to me.
    Could it be the weird road layout that does it. Small bits of one way making you drive all the way round again if you missed the turning. Could it be the student body with their headphones on who seem oblivious to the car which is right next to them. It's like it's public but it isn't.
   Anyway, I did manage to find my way around it today. After driving all the way round after missing my turning.
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What's Happened to My Blower?

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Well what on earth has happened to my blower? It was working fine the other day and now it only works on number 4 which is way too strong for me.
   There was a strange whirring noise coming from behind the dashboard which has been bugging me for the last couple of weeks. I reckon that it was the sound of the resistor burning out. Getting it fixed on Tuesday.
   Until then I've got windows steaming up unless I give us a blast of hot air. Like a party political conference. The noise is way too much and we're sweating after 30 seconds. One needs the gentle waft of number one with a number two for solid back-up. Can't wait until normal blower function is restored.

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Windy Days in the Big City

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It's been a scary week weather wise. Yesterday was as windy as I can remember. There were a few downed trees, good sized ones too. I thought that my roof box was going to come off as it's only held on by magnets. I had visions of seeing it blowing off and smashing through the following car's windscreen. Nasty.
   Keeping the pupils calm is what it's all about so I've got to keep cool myself even when I'm not. You learn these things when you're on the road so much.
   Anyway the day went alright and we all got home a little more experienced. Cheerio for now.

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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Will Telematics Make Young Drivers Safer?

Will Telematics Make Young Drivers Safer?

I don't think that black box technology can match the teaching of driving instructors in Nottingham when it comes to keeping young drivers safe. But then I would say that wouldn't I?