Learner drivers could get money back on their driving test

Learner drivers could get money back from their driving test fees if they pass first time.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is considering the proposal in a bid to encourage learners to only take the test when they are ready and confident of passing.

It is hoped this will mean new drivers are less likely to have an accident in their first months of having a full licence.
The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conducts some 1.5m practical tests each year but only 21% result in a first time pass. Some 53% are failed and 26% are passed by learners who are on at least their second attempt.
Under the proposal, the practical driving test fee – which costs up to £75 – would be reduced. The learner would also be required to pay a deposit to be returned if they pass.

This is part of a consultation aimed at finding ways to improve road safety and increase efficiency in government agencies. An exact figure for the deposit has not been determined.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ” We want to make learning to drive safer and more affordable.
“This change will give those who pass first time some money back and provide an incentive for learners to be more prepared before they take their test. These common sense proposals mean that all learner drivers can feel the benefit.

“This consultation is a really important step and we want to hear all views.”

Motoring research charity RAC Foundation welcomed the proposal.
The organisation’s director, Steve Gooding, said: “We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense.”

Carly Brookfield, chief executive, Driving Instructors Association, said: ” There are some bold suggestions in this consultation and we do have to think more boldly about how to get more young people, and drivers generally, to properly evaluate the responsibility and risk of driving.
“If there are motivational tools we can use to achieve that aim and better prepare novice drivers as a result, then let’s have a proper and open minded debate about what those tools could be.”
The consultation also proposes offering tests from a range of venues and the introduction of more flexible time slots – such as at weekends and evenings – to reduce delays.

The DfT is considering changing the providers of some services to get better value for money.
The consultation will also look at ways to tackle the shortage of Large Goods Vehicle drivers.
This could include streamlining the application process to help those with the correct qualifications obtain their licence and start work sooner.

Transport minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: ” This is a bold and ambitious approach aimed at putting the user at the heart of everything the motoring agencies do.
“They provide a valuable public service, from issuing driving licences to taking dangerous vehicles off our roads and I want to make sure they are able to operate in the most effective way.
“These proposals are about modernising customer services and improving road safety, particularly for younger drivers, and I want to hear all views.”

The consultation will close on January 8 and the DfT will then issue a response. We will keep you informed.

Driving at night with no street lights

Driving after dark where there are no street lights may be dangerous with little experience. Your concentration at night is decreased not only because you are fatigued from the days events, but also an absence of light, making it difficult to see and prevent possible hazards or other drivers.

But driving after dark is no scarier than driving in daylight; you just need to maintain your wits about you. Put your dipped headlights on, you will be able to see where you are going, only use full beam lights when needing to see further. For instance, while you are at the front of a queue of vehicles and keep in mind to turn them off when other car is heading towards you or if someone is in front, full beams will dazzle other road users. To cope with oncoming vehicles, when a vehicle is heading towards you keep your vision peripheral, do not look directly at the lights, this will keep you from being dazzled. Keep track of road markings, your car headlights will not brighten up too far in front of you, so you have to be conscious of your location with regards to the road marks. Look forward for signs of coming obstructions for instance, a car in front braking; this may suggest a corner, or other hazard in front. Don’t drive faster than you’re able to stop within the distance you can see with your lights.

If in doubt, reduce speed, this will likely give you much more time to react when a hazard occurs. Try not to drive too slow as this may cause a danger to another road users. If you wish to stop your car for some time and it is night time keep the car as noticeable as possible without straining other streets users choose a visible place and keep your parking or side lights on. If the road you park on has a higher than a 30 mph speed limit you are required to have your parking lights on by law.

When following a car at night you must also keep your full beam lights turned off. If you want to overtake you need to exercise patience due to the lower visibility and optical illusions produced by the dark. Pay attention to unseen dips or bends that could affect your ability to easily overtake. Whenever you see pedestrians give them space and make sure you reduce speed. You may just save someone’s life. Keep in mind there is lower vision, which really increases your probability of coming up on anything or someone.

For your safety and that of other drivers and pedestrians, check your headlights and sidelights regularly are working and clean for maximum visibility.  With the efficient visibility, you can prevent any risk that will come your way.

Road Rage And Avoid Annoying Other Drivers

Do you normally become a target for road rage or frustration? Are you a target of tailgating, horn-honking and flashing highlights? If you become a target often you have to consider if it’s you causing the problem or are you oblivious to your actions and just blame others. The important thing to keep in mind when driving a vehicle is to transmit to other motorists what you intention is all the time. This might be tough, considering you cannot speak at length with other motorists to let them know what you are about to do, but there are numerous tools available. Let other motorists know what you are going to do. Below are strategies on how to avoid annoying other drivers.

Drive consistently

Do not speed up and reduce speed harshly for no reason, do not make one turn fast and next sluggish. Driving too slow for the conditions is encouraging other drivers into taking unnecessary risks by trying to get around you. Consistent driving whether being hostile or not, is the best way to let other motorists know what you are going to do subsequently. By driving inconsistently, you threaten the protection of others near you and risk road rage also.

Do not tailgate

It is quite pointless, highly irritating and quite risky. Most people have a mental reaction to tailgating that may cause them to reduce speed, and others will do it just to be indicated. If the car in front is moving gently in the overtaking lane, wait patiently. Do not flash your lights or tailgate because this is seen by many drivers as inconsiderate driving, very arrogant and aggressive. Please keep your 2 second time gap from the vehicle in front at all times.

Decelerate by using brake progressively when you need to use it

Regular tapping of the brake pedal can make drivers near you doubtful of whether you are really stopping. However, do not brake at the last possible moment. Give drivers behind you lots of time to observe that you are braking so to do likewise. The best time to start braking is when you discover the vehicles ahead of the one you are following are braking. Scanning the road ahead is critical to smooth and progressive braking.

Accelerate with purpose

This is not to say you must floor the gas and set off like angry. Just do not dawdle, particularly when the light changes to green, or when it is your turn at the give way sign. Whenever you are changing lanes, don’t reduce speed unless traffic requires it. In fact, accelerate a little bit, try to stay ahead of the traffic in the lane next to you. Mirrors, Signal, Position then Adjust your speed. Try not to slow down before positioning.

Focus on incoming traffic

Read the signs and road markings showing road layouts and junctions. When you have the chance, safely change lanes to your default lane to allow faster moving traffic to overtake you. This helps reduce bottlenecks and backups due to merging traffic that can’t enter the flow.

Show your gratitude

If another road user allows you out of a junction, gives you a lot of time to finish a turn in the road, or gestures you toward an open parking space, do the appropriate thing and acknowledge them with a nod, a smile or a small wave. This promotes good driver relations and acknowledging a good deed makes them more likely to do the same again.

In severe road traffic, choose a lane and be in it, although not the fast lane. Throughout many miles, almost all lanes go around the same speed. Unnecessary lane changing will never get you to your location any faster, and in the end only makes traffic get more slowly all round. It also increases the probability of a collision.

How to Drive on Ice & Snow

The basic rules in the video clip apply now as they did then.

With the weather changing for the worst and the snow causing disruption on the roads. The residents of Cambridgeshire would think that all drivers would be prepared and go into winter driving mode as soon as snowflakes begin to fall from the sky.
The same happens every year! Drivers across the province seemingly forget how to drive in the snow; as a result, we see large volumes of accidents.
To avoid becoming one of the statistics please, take the following winter driving tips into account and jog your memory about how to drive.

  1. Slow down: One of the biggest mistakes that people make is driving too fast on snow covered roads. Slow down and drive according the road conditions.
  2. Extra time: The odds are it will take a few extra minutes for you to get to your destination. Take this into consideration and leave a few minutes earlier than normal.
  3. Clean your car: Too many people leave ice and snow on their car and windscreen that restricts their visibility on the road. This can cause a number of issues such as not seeing other cars and pedestrians. Switch your lights on, not only to see but to be seen. Far too many people are not cleaning their lights of snow. It would help for other motorists to notice you, to know when you are breaking and to see where you are indicating.
  4. Stay home: If the roads are in bad condition, stay home if you can avoid travelling.

The snow means it is time to adjust our driving habits. Slow down, be more cautious, and don’t go out into the bad weather if you don’t have to.

All you need is some common sense. The secret of safe driving is TIME (did I say that out loud?). Giving yourself time to react, time to slow down, time to stop, time to keep safe control of your vehicle.

There is only one way to give yourself time….and that’s reducing your speed! I don’t mean driving like a 90 year old grandmother. I mean driving at a speed which is appropriate for the road and the conditions.

Moving off on ice & snow requires a higher gear and slow acceleration. When you slow down let the car lose its momentum by coming off the accelerator early, brake early and progressively.

Safe driving!

Defensive Driving | Why it’s so Important

As we enter into this topic, take a moment to think about a situation where you noticed another vehicle driving very poorly. Maybe they were swerving, speeding, or doing something as simple as not using their indicators. Now think about how you reacted, or how you would want to react if you were driving near another motorist who exhibits dangerous driving.

One of the most important aspects to safe driving is being aware of your surroundings at all times. Pay attention to other vehicles in your lane, adjacent lanes and oncoming traffic. Watch out for pedestrians and animals in the road. Always try to know were other vehicles are located as you make progress down the road. These are all vital components of defensive driving. If you know where a vehicle is behind you and how fast they are approaching, you have a much better chance of making the right decision when a crash occurs in front of you or when a animal runs out in the road. Knowing the distance between you and other vehicles and the difference in speeds helps you to determine whether you should speed up, swerve left or right, or hit the brakes to avoid a collision.

Life saving maneuvers often occur with a split second decision. If you are not paying attention to your surroundings, how can you possibly know which action to take to save your life or some else’s? Try to think about defensive driving at all times when you are on the road. Try to anticipate what you might do if the articulated truck next to you on the motorway merges into your lane because you are in their blind spot. Do you slam on your brakes, swerve left, lay on the horn, all of the above, or even none of the above? Knowing exactly what is going on around you will ensure you take appropriate action to avoid the collision.

Practicing defensive driving is crucial to your safety as well as others on the road around you. Remember, the key to defensive driving is being aware of your surroundings at all time so you can make the correct split second decision when needed.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Wow! Look at that bird perched in the tree! Not while you are driving you don’t. It is inevitable things will catch your eye while behind the wheel, but paying too much attention to anything not related to driving can not only be dangerous, it can be deadly.

A vast majority of vehicular accidents occur due to distracted driving of one type or another. While many the police take action against distracted driving by upholding stringent safety laws regarding what you are or are not allowed to do while driving, there are still so many things in this world that can take our eyes off the road. As with anything else, you have to pay attention to what you are doing. Driving is no different. In fact, it is perhaps one of the most important actions we take in which we must pay close attention to what we are doing.

We have learned through previous articles the importance of maintaining your focus and practicing defensive driving. Neither of those can be accomplished while you are distracted. Paying attention to the road also helps to ease anxiety of your passengers. If you are constantly looking at other things, the person in the passenger seat will begin to notice your lack of focus while driving. This can make people very uneasy. You don’t want your passengers to be fearful of your ability to keep them safe while in your car. Maintain focus and keep your eyes on the road. Your passenger will feel much safer if they notice you are cautious and careful while driving, and trust us, they will notice.

Put down the chocolate bar, certainly do not use your mobile phone while driving, and don’t stare at billboards or the people in a car next to you. Maintain focus and concentrate on the task at hand: Driving. If you are not focused on utilizing the proper driving skills you have obtained, the dangers of having an accident or running over a road hazard increase greatly. Don’t let your guard down just to find out you should have been paying attention to the road.