Roundabouts

There is a group called Roundabout Appreciation Society. Yes, really! The Association has just voted the roundabout at Otford near Sevenoaks in Kent, with it’s duck pond in the middle, as Britain’s best roundabout. The pond dates back to Anglo Saxon times and was Grade II listed in 1975 after villagers protested at plans to concrete it over.

The world’s first roundabout appeared in Letchworth, Hertfordshire in 1909. Roundabouts have been described as ‘ the triumph of co-operation over confrontation’. Today, it is estimated that more than 60,000 have been built around the world.

It wasn’t until 1990 that a roundabout appeared in America. In the U.S. you turn right onto a roundabout whereas we go left (they do drive on the wrong side of the road though). Which is why the word for roundabout in Swahili,a language spoken in Britain’s former colonies in Africa, is ‘kipilefi‘ or ‘ keep left’.

Funny old world.

Test Pass

Elson Bajrakurtaj gained his British driving licence today 15th May at Sevenoaks Test Centre. Elson held a licence in his home country of Albania and worked hard to achieve the standard required here in England. This is no mean feat when he had already been driving on his own for years and then had to go back to being a learner again. However, he rose to the challenge, kicked a few bad habits and passed the test at his first attempt meaning he can now apply for his company car.

Company car here I come!

Company car here I come!

Can you see where you are going??

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 92

Vision. You MUST be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres (or 20.5 metres where the old style number plate is used).

If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, youMUST wear them at all times while driving.

The police have the power to require a driver to undertake an eyesight test.

Highway Code

Alcohol and drugs

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. It’s essential reading for everyone. Here’s a reminder about alcohol and drugs.

Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will:

  • give a false sense of confidence reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.

People can often think that ‘just a small one’ won’t matter but it actually does.

If you think that you’d like to put this test and prove that the above is true, then let’s have a chat as I have a safe way to disorientate you and make you feel like you’ve had a drink.

Happy motoring.

Winter sun

Here we are in November where did the year go? With the clocks now on GMT many people will be driving after dark for perhaps the first time. Here are a few tips;

Make sure you switch your lights on before the light fails too much and use dipped lights not side lights. If you need to be seen then make sure you are. The spray from large vehicles is a problem at the moment with the roads often being wet.. This spray is dirty and coupled with a low sun can make it very difficult indeed to see clearly through the windscreen. Be sure that you top up your windscreen wash regularly.

Don’t be taken by surprise by ice on the windows in the mornings. Now’s the time to get a scraper and some de–icer organised. Probably best to keep it in the car because it will get icy again before you get to your car after work or after an evening out.

Even if you never clean your car this winter always keep the windows and lights free from dirt. SEE AND BE SEEN.

Theory and Practical Test Bookings

I would advise everyone to be very vigilant when booking either the theory or practical test. You will have been told by your instructor to use the official DSA website. If you put DSA into Google, the first two sites are NOT anything to do with the DSA but use those letters after a forward slash in their address presumably to reach the top of the rankings.

These sites will book your test but charge a fee for doing so. Why pay a fee when you can easily do it for yourself? The links below will take you to the Direct.gov website where only the test fee itself is payable. You need to see the words ‘direct.gov’ in the address bar to be sure you are in the right place.

Practical Test Booking

Theory Test Booking

 

Aircon or windows

British weather is so variable; we never know from one day to the next what the day will be like. Being hot and uncomfortable whilst driving can easily affect concentration. So, shall we open the windows or put the air conditioning on was a question I put to a pupil having a driving lesson in Sevenoaks yesterday. This led to an interesting discussion on which was the most economical. Having the windows open causes ‘drag’ on the car using 10%  more fuel at 45mph and this increases to 20% at cruising speeds of 55mph. Using the air conditioning works the engine harder and uses 10% more fuel. So, in general, the answer is to use the aircon if you are driving at speeds of above 40 mph for some distance and have the windows open for local runs where your top speed is probably going to be about 30 mph. This is a useful money saving tip.

Compliments from an Examiner

Hi there everyone. This is my first of many posts on my new Blog. Hopefully, I shall get to grips with it very quickly and be able to pass on bits of news and hints and tips for that all important goal of gaining your driving licence. So, here is the latest news; Dan Carter learnt with me after trying two other instructors. He passed with a totally clean sheet at his first attempt on August 14th. The Examiner complimented him hugely on his very high standard of driving. To use the examiner’s words, a clean sheet is like gold dust. Dan is the 3rd person to train with me and gain a clean sheet at the first attempt in the past year making me feel very proud indeed. But, all of these 3 people should remember that they were the ones in the hot seat and that their achievement was immense. Dan now has his own Nissan Micra and is relishing the freedom and independence it has given him. If you want to find the secret to keeping your nerves at bay and getting your driving test passed with compliments from an examiner, then contact me while I still have space to take you to success.