Here at Drive4Life we understand that you may be nervous leading up to your first driving lesson, but what exactly will it involve? It’s finally here! – The day you get behind the wheel for what is probably the first time. It’s a big day, but it can be pretty nerve-wracking too. It helps if you know what to expect beforehand, so make sure you prepare. You’ll pick things up much easier if they’re familiar to you and you feel confident about what happens next.
- The night/morning before your lesson:
- Get some sleep
- Do NOT drink the night before
- Breakfast! Something light as heavier food will make you less aware and will give you a slower reaction time.
- Double check where and when you’re being picked up (you would have arranged this with your instructor, usually at your home, but you can meet almost anywhere)
- Choose comfy, non-slip shoes (no heels)
- Take glasses if you need them
- Remember your provisional licence
- The pick-up
Don’t worry – you’re not going to have to get in the driving seat straight away! You’ll be getting in the passenger seat to start with, while your instructor takes you to a quiet place for you to get to grips with the basics. Usually a quiet carpark or a very quiet side street.
3. The cockpit drill
When you’ve arrived at a quiet road with low traffic, your instructor will have you switch so you’re in the driving seat. Your instructor will then explain the cockpit drill to introduce you to the checks you’ll need to do every time you drive (DSSSM):
- The cockpit drill or DSSSM:
- Doors securely closed?
- Seat in a comfortable position?
- Steering position established?
- Seatbelts on?
- Mirrors adjusted?
5. The controls
Next, you’ll get a run-through of the clutch, accelerator and brake; how to use the handbrake and indicator; and how to change gear. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can run through the controls again because you’ll want to be sure when you’re suddenly doing 20 miles an hour and it feels like your speeding. Don’t worry too much though – your instructor will talk you through everything as you go and if you’re unsure about something, just ask your instructor, it’s what they’re there for!
6. The road
Before you start the engine, your instructor will explain a few key procedures:
- Moving off: getting ready to use your gears
- Clutch control including finding the biting point
- Checking your mirrors and blind spot
- Signalling with your indicator
- Changing gear
- Stopping the car, covering the brake and the clutch
- Curb side parking
Once you get going, try to relax and remember that your instructor has their own set of controls so you can focus on learning without being scared. If you get the chance, do move out onto the road so you can experience ‘proper’ driving. You won’t regret it!
If you would like to take your driving lessons with us, or you would just like a quote of our prices, then please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly regarding our next steps.
HELP AND TIPS FOR WHEN DOING TURNS WITH DRIVE4LIFE
Today at Drive4Life we will be discussing tips for when you are doing turns on the road. Listed are some tips and advice on how to perfect turns during the driving test.
When you’re initially going through the motions during the test, in the turning situation the examiner will more than likely choose a road crowded with vehicles, to see if you’re able to cope with the pressure of the situation. When you’re going through the motions, other vehicles may become frustrated with your driving methodology and try techniques to either get in front of you, etc. It is highly recommended that you become very familiar with this skill, because it will make it a lot easier on you, to apply the skill under these circumstances. Everyone had to go through this at one point, everyone whose driving with you at that time, remember that, and remember what you’ve been taught, because you have the skills to do it.
DON’T GIVE UP
When you’re taking your test, you don’t have to be perfect. The invigilator is not expecting you to drive flawlessly. If there’s anything you’re not completely certain on you’re able to perform when doing the test, then we recommend that you do not attempt it. Whenever you’re asked to do a maneuver, if you don’t think you’re able ot perform it, then try doing something similar but would get you through the same situation. This will occur in you getting a minor for the final testing results, but it is better than having a big mistake on the report. You just have to make sure that you don’t do anything dangerous during the test.
There is nothing against what kind of turn you’re doing for the situation, the only thing you have to concern yourself with when going through a turning situation is that you’re doing something that’s safe. You need to be constantly aware of your surroundings, just to make sure you know everything that’s going on, and you’re not going to make a mistake based off of your negligence, rather than your ability. Depending on approaching vehicles, if they want to get ahead of you, make sure that you remain steady until they’ve passed, if they come to halt and allow you to continue, then continue with the exercise.
If you would like more helpful tips like this one, then please keep checking our blog page as new ones are added quite frequently. If you’re unsure on your MSPSL then please check out our MSPSL Explained article. Alternatively if you would like driving lessons and you’re based in Runcorn, Chester or Widnes then please contact us today and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.
What is MSPSL? A Quick Discussion with Pete from Drive4Life
MSPSL is the term used when driving around on the roads and you’re about to make a turn or impede other drivers on the road. They are rules to follow and you will learn them over the course of your driving lessons, failing to follow MSPSL will result in you failing your practical driving test. So what is MSPSL? Well it stands for MIRRORS SIGNAL POSITION SPEED LOOK and bellow are just what these mean;
Mirrors: The appropriate mirrors must be checked on the approach to any junction type. The main interior mirror initially, followed by the wing mirror of the direction that you are turning (left would be left wing mirror, whilst right, would be right win mirror).
Signal: Once you have checked your mirrors it’s time to let the other drivers & pedestrians know what you’re about to do and you will need to indicate in the direction that you want to turn. Not using signals at all or using them too late is dangerous and it could result in a) running a pedestrian over b) a collision with another vehicle.
Position: The correct road position must be applied depending on the direction you are turning, the width of the road and if lanes are used. Left turns are usually taken in your normal driving position, taking too close to the left side may result in you hitting the curb. If making a right turn, position the car just to the left of the centre line in the road.
Speed: Speed is relevant to the location and situation on the road. The location may be a residential area with a closed junction, this may require a much slower speed than a wide open road with open junctions.
Look: Looking refers to all round observation. Before making the turn, it is important that there are no other vehicles moving into your path, cyclists or pedestrians. Turning left often requires a quick final look into the left door mirror before making the turn to make sure there are no cyclists under-taking you.
With a lot of practice the MSPSL rule will become second nature and you will have a much better chance in passing your exam. If you are looking for driving lessons in the Runcorn area, but have not yet decided on an instructor, there is nobody better than myself! I can slowly teach you the basics and then implement new ways into them, you’ll be mastering the harder parts in no time at all and you’ll be passing your test in almost a blink of an eye! If you are interested in our lessons, then please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll be in touch with you shortly!
How to do uphill starts – A quick article to help you on the roads with Pete from Drive4Life
Today at Drive4Life we will be discussing a number of tips for when you’re trying to do an uphill start. These can be quite tricky as you’re used to finding the bite and releasing the handbrake and just moving. But with starting a car on a hill you need to get the revs to 2000 rpm instead of 1500 rpm. Only doing 1500 will force the car to roll down the hill.
Uphill starts are always included in the practical exam and you won’t be able to avoid them (they’re a massive pain at first, until you get the hang of them). When you have parked up on the left (the examiner will not ask you to park up on the right), apply the handbrake and select neutral, the examiner will then tell you to move off again when you are ready.
Select 1st gear and slightly press the accelerator. The usual amount of gas (revs/rpm) needed is around 1500 rpm on the rev counter. You will need slightly more than this for hill starts, around 2000 rpm should do, if you don’t have 2000rpm on the rev counter and you release the handbrake, then the car will start to roll back, this is dangerous and you could fail your test over something so little like this. Although if you start to roll backwards, you haven’t found the bite fully (or your revs are too low), put down the brake and handbrake and start again, although doing this on your test will result in a fail.
You will now need to look into your left blind spot, through all mirrors and finish with the right blind spot. You need to check all mirrors and both blind spots to ensure a pedestrian is not directly crossing behind your vehicle as on a hill start there is a risk of your car rolling back.
If when you move off your car begins to roll back it is essential to take action immediately as failure to do so will result in a failed driving test. You have 2 options; the first is to slightly raise the clutch to prevent rolling back further or immediately depress the clutch followed by the foot brake. The latter option is preferred if you are not too confident with clutch control although it will require you having to start the entire moving off procedure again. When you do start to move you may need to keep the car in lower gears (1st, 2nd etc.) for longer than usual as the engine will require more power to climb the hill in these gears.
If you found this article informative and helpful and you would like to see others like this in the future, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly. Or if you would like to see some of our other articles, like our Recovering from a Stall then click here.
Applying for your British Provisional Driving Licence
Applying for a Provisional Driving Licence is that first all important step to learning to drive, but before your application there are several criteria to meet and a few boxes that you’ll need to tick.
To begin with you’ll need to be a resident of Great Britain and knowing your National Insurance Number will certainly speed your application. You’ll also need to have utility bills or letters covering 3 years to prove you’ve been a resident in this country and you’ll also need a valid proof of identity, eg passport.
If you’re merely interested in riding around on a moped or quad bike then at the age of 16 you can do this quite easily. However, if your intention is to drive a car then you must be 17. Apply for it nice and early, before your 16th birthday, then you’ll feel like you’ve got things moving.
You’ll need to meet the minimum eyesight requirement too. If you need to wear glasses for distance you will also need them for driving, a quick visit to the optician will put your mind at rest. They will also ask if you have any eye conditions that prevents you from seeing normally.
Your payment of £50 can be paid either by debit or credit card and this should be sent with your completed D1 form.
The whole process is fairly quick and you should in possession of your very first Provisional Licence within 1 week of your application.
Remember, if your looking for driving lessons, a driving instructor will need to see your licence before you can start learning to drive
If you found this article helpful and you would like to see more like this, then please keep checking this blog regurlarly as it’s frequently updated. If you are interested in our Driving Lessons Chester, then please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.
Today at Drive4Life we will be discussing tips when navigating roundabouts on the roads. When coming to a roundabout and you notice that your vehicle is approaching the painted triangle in the road (this means it is the start of the roundabout), you will need to apply the brake to around 10mph and then swap down to 2nd gear. If the right is clear and there are no vehicles approaching from the right hand side of the roundabout, then you may just keep going in the correct lane and come off the roundabout as you would normally do. But if you notice there are cars on the right hand side, switch to 1st gear and creep on the roundabout, a full stop may cause an accident, because the person behind you may not be paying attention to you and may also be reading the roundabout and when they see it’s clear they may just try and go as they would be assuming you would be going too.
If you’re unsure what direction the vehicles are going on the roundabout (whether they’re coming off, or staying on) but they don’t have indicators on, then look at the vehicles wheels as this will let you know what direction they are facing which means what direction the other vehicle is going to take.
When on the roundabout and you’re on the outside lane, make sure you take the angle wide enough to let other vehicles use the inside lane(s), once you’ve passed the exit before the one you’re taking off, indicate the way your going and then increase your speed when coming off the roundabout, this ensures that any vehicles behind you now have a gap in between your vehicle and theirs.
If you found this article informative and helpful and you would like to see others like this in the future, then please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly. If you’re looking for Driving Lessons and you’re based in Widnes, Runcorn or even Chester, then look no further as you’ve just found the best driving school around!
Here at Drive4Life we understand that one of the main things that may be stopping you from learning to drive is the cost of insurance for people aged between 18 – 24 as it is anywhere around £5,000 per year. Although this shouldn’t let this put you off learning how to drive, because you could have your licence after you pass, even if you don’t actually drive for a couple of years. If you were to be the an extra driver on your parents car insurance then you would save a lot of money on your insurance and it would be more affordable although this does mean that the car isn’t officially classed as yours, but you would still have the choice to drive as and when. Now the second way is mostly waiting until you are 25 before you buy your first car, this is because you are then seen as a mature driver and not a “boy-racer”, obviously if you passed your test at 18 and waited until you were 25 before getting a car and insurance then your insurance costs would be a lot lower and they would be the same as what everyone else pays for theirs. At Drive4Life we recommend that you have some refresher lessons to check and enhance your skills.
Many young people are put off from learning how to drive, due to the costs of insurance and that they’d never be able to afford it, so they think what’s the point? Well if you knew how to drive you could apply for a job where driving is part of job description then your firm would then pay for your insurance for the vehicle you’d be using during company hours. This would show insurance companies that you respect other drivers on the roads and after a few years, when you come to buy your own insurance the costs would be considerably lower than when you looked after passing your test although you would have no “no claims” bonus.
If you would like some more information on our Driving Lessons, or you would just like to know some more information like this, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.
ADVANTAGES OF MANUAL TRANSMISSION – A Discussion with Pete from Drive4Life
Here at Drive4Life I have been asked many times by many different learners, which car is easier and better to drive, an automatic or a manual? Today I will be discussing the advantages of a manual transmission over the automatic transmission. Although Automatics are easier in most situation, manuals are better for the long-run and are a lot cheaper.
How much will one cost?
Manual transmission cars are quite a bit cheaper than the automatic equivalent and are cheaper in the long-run too (due to automatics failing more often than manuals). An automatic transmission is more complicated than a manual transmission to develop and build and in the UK there are less of them manufactured, therefor automatics costs more to make and ultimately cost more to purchase to the consumer. Although if you were American, it’d be the other way around. If you walked into a dealership and asked for a manual they’d just give you a blank expression like they didn’t know what you were talking about.
I have an automatic driving licence, what’s my options?
If you are licensed to drive a manual car in the UK, you are also permitted to drive an automatic vehicle on public roads. If you are licensed for an automatic car, then you are not permitted to drive a manual on public roads. If you wanted to drive a manual, you will need to re-sit the UK driving test for manual transmission cars. This is because with Automatics you don’t need to know how the clutch works as there is no clutch. It does make it easier for slowing down and pulling off (as you only need to put it into Drive (D) and push the gas and you’ll move).
What if my car breaks down?
If you drive an automatic, but are licensed to drive manual and your car breaks down, your repair garage may provide you with a courtesy car. The garage is highly likely to provide you with a manual transmission courtesy car although an automatic would be unlikely as these aren’t seen as much in the UK as they are in the US.
An automatic transmission is much more complicated than a manual. As it is more complicated, a like for like model is more likely to malfunction with an automatic gearbox. Any problems with a manual transmission are likely to cost far less than its automatic counterpart. Although automatic transmissions are significantly more advanced than they once were, an automatic is likely to need servicing more frequently than manual.
Speed is important when choosing my car
If you like more control and speed out of your engine, manual transmission is the way to go. Many tend to find automatics boring to drive as the gear change is made for you. CVT transmissions are a modern form of automatic gearbox that allow for better fuel economy and speed if needed. Although due to no need in switching gears, automatics are considered safer as you can keep your hands on the wheel constantly, without having to move one to switch gears up and down.
Automatics and manuals in snow and ice
Manuals do offer a distinct advantage over automatics when driving in snow and ice. Engine brake is an important factor when driving on a slippery surface such as snow and ice. Using the foot brake as little as possible is essential in reducing the risk of a skid when slowing down or stopping. As manual transmission vehicles allow you full control over gears and speed by using clutch control, engine braking can be mastered, giving you maximum control in such dangerous conditions. For instance, if you are driving on icy roads, then a manual can be better as you can keep it in 2nd so you won’t be going too fast for the roads, although if you were in an automatic this wouldn’t be possible and you would need to make sure you keep at a certain speed for the ice.
If you found this article informative and you would like to see more articles like this one, then please keep checking our News page as new articles are posted quite often. Alternatively if you are looking for Driving Lessons in the Widnes, Runcorn & Chester areas then look no further, we at www.Drive-4-Life.net can give you the learning you require to get you onto the roads. If you would like to know more information on our lessons, or you would like a list of prices, then please don’t hesitate to get into contact with us today and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.
The 5 Gears Explained with Drive4Life’s Pete – Cheshire’s #1 Driving Instructor
Today at Drive4Life we will be discussing what the 5 gears in your vehicle are actually for (although some vehicles can have more than 5 gears). Below are what the 5 gears are, from neutral through to 5th and how you would move up from the previous gear
Neutral isn’t really a gear, it’s when a gear hasn’t been selected and the gear stick is “wobbly” and is completely centre. Whenever you get into a car you should always check the handbrake is on and the vehicle is in neutral before starting the engine. Your examiner may ask you to park your vehicle, make sure you put the handbrake on, put the gear to neutral and then turn off indictors (if used).
1st gear is basically to get the car moving from a stand-still, although if you’re pulling off on a downhill road, you may be able to use 2nd. 1st gear is also often used with a combination of clutch control in slow moving traffic and manoeuvres during the driving test. 1st gear is found when you push the gear stick all the way to the left and then upwards.
2nd gear will allow you to move faster and to gain speed to get into 3rd. 2nd gear is used for turns in which you can’t see the full bend and you don’t know what the road is like. 2nd is more fuel friendly than 1st as you won’t burn as much fuel as quickly as you would in 1st. To move from first to second, you literally just need to pull the gear stick downwards.
3rd gear is the best gear when driving around housing estates and busy roads. As 3rd is best used when travelling at 20-30mph its good for most residential areas. To move into 3rd from 2nd, just gently nudge the gear stick so that it goes into neutral and then push it upwards. Neutral is literally sat under 3rd and above 4th so it’s always good to gently push the gear stick to neutral and then find where your next gear is from then on (remember odd numbers are at the top, whilst evens are at the bottom).
4th is another ideal gear for driving around towns, cities and busy areas in general really. If your car is happy to drive at 30mph in 4th gear, it will be a more economical choice than driving in 3rd would be, as it doesn’t put as much strain on the vehicle, thus reducing the amount of fuel burnt in the process. To get to 4th from 3rd, just pull the gear stick directly down.
Majority of cars will use 5th gear for when driving on faster roads (40mph+). 5th gear is to be used on open roads which have national speed limits (or are a 40-50 zone) or dual carriageways and motorways as these are meant to be driven at national speed limits (unless told otherwise by road signs, etc.). To get to 5th gear from 4th, put the gear stick to neutral, then push it to the right and then upwards, it should be in the furthest top right that it can move to.
If you found this article informative and helpful and you would like to see others like this in the future, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly. Or if you would like to see some of our other articles, like our MSPSL one then click here.
When to change gear – A quick discussion with Pete from Drive4Life
Today at Drive4Life we will be discussing when you should be moving up in gears whilst driving on the roads. You will need to master this art as you cannot stay in 1st forever as you’ll be an inconvenience to other drivers, you’ll burn more fuel and you’ll fail your test if you do it on the test day.
When to move up from 1st
Other than on the occasional downhill start, 1st gear is always the gear we use when moving forward from a stationary position. We also us 1st gear when moving along in traffic queues at very slow speeds (also known as crawling), which is usually combined with some clutch control. In normal driving, as you begin moving off in 1st gear, you will need to change into 2nd gear almost instantly. Remember when moving off from a stationary position, you will need to release the clutch slowly or else you may stall the car and that may stress you out or force you to panic (refer to our Recovering from a Stall article).
When to move up from 2nd
There is an easy way to know when to move up from 2nd gear up to 3rd, just check the speedometer and if you’re doing around 15-20mph, it’s time to switch it up a gear. Any below this and you’ll feel the vehicle begin to struggle to keep up with the gear change.
When to move up from 3rd to 4th
3rd gear is an intermediate often only used for increasing speed. Whilst accelerating in 3rd gear, when a speed of 30mph is reached change into 4th gear. Many cars that have been made recently are more suited to driving around in 3rd gear at 30mph, although if you do stay in 3rd you will burn off more fuel and your vehicle won’t be as eco-friendly.
When to move up from 4th to 5th
5th gear is suited to open roads and dual carriageways. Using these reference points on when to change gear is an ideal aid for learning to drive. It does however involve taking your attention away from the road and onto the speedometer to establish when to change gear. This is perfectly acceptable for a novice driver over the guidance of a driving instructor. Ultimately however it is of course safer to change gear without these reference points and listening to the engine will in fact provide you with all the information on when to change gear. If you’ve played a lot of racing games in the past, you will know what to look out for, but if you haven’t don’t worry! You will hear the car make a more aggressive noise from the engine, it will sound a lot stronger than it did maybe half a second ago? This is the time when you would change up in gear, you will then notice the engine’s noise will calm down again and it won’t seem as aggressive.
If you found this article informative and helpful and you would like to see others like this in the future, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly. Or if you would like to see some of our other articles, like our gears explained one then click here.