Direct Driving – Our Blog


23
Apr 14

THE HIGHWAY CODE- YOUR GUIDE TO THE ROAD UK-Road-Signs

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The Highway Code is more than just a guide to help you successfully get your driving license, it’s 307 rules instruct new drivers on the law and safety procedures of the road. They keep you safe, keep other drivers around you safe, and help you avoid serious traffic offenses that could land you in prison.

The Highway Code is one of the UK’s best selling books of all time and is credited with saving thousands of lives. It is a detrimental study guide for both the Theory and Driving Practical Test; memorise the information well and you will be rewarded with a passing grade and a driving license to put it all into practise. Here is an overview of what you can expect to learn from reading The Highway Guide, from driving in the snow to handling the detestable roundabout.

The Safety Code of The Highway Code

Safety is at the forefront of The Highway Code, so it is no surprise that safety has it’s own section within the text. It is particularly targeted at new drivers, and the issues they will face the first year on the road. These are a few of the highlights.

- Avoid driving between midnight and 6am. This is the highest risk time frame for new drivers, with more collisions during this period of the day than any other.

- Everyone in the car should wear a seatbelt.

- Don’t drink and drive.

- Watch your speed, especially around bends.

- Never let passengers distract you when driving. Concentration is paramount for the safety of all.

Driving in Adverse Weather Conditions

You aren’t likely to face many adverse conditions during your driving courses or exam. When you finally do, you should know the best way to approach them when driving.

- Keep your distance from the car in front of you.

- In icy or snowy conditions, windows should be cleared before you begin driving.

- Drive at slow speeds when the roads are covered in ice, snow, or heavy rain.

- When you drive in fog, your lights should be on.

- In rainy conditions, the road can be slippery. Adjust your speed accordingly and avoid sharp turns and sudden braking.

Other Important Info

You should fully read (and re-read) The Highway Code before you complete the dsa driving theory test booking, but here are some of the more important key points you’ll come across.

- Always drive with consideration of other drivers in mind.

- Never drive dangerously or carelessly.

- Use the posted speed limits as a guide, not a target. In many situations, you should not be driving the maximum speed.

- Don’t get caught up in your own, or other peoples road agression. Stay calm, pull over if you need a break.

- Avoid distractions when driving. This includes smoking, loud music, eating and drinking, and satellite navigation systems among others.

- Do not use a cell phone while driving. It is not only unsafe, it is illegal.

When it comes to navigating the road, The Highway Code offers unparalleled support. You can get a full copy with our Driving Test Kits which provide everything you need to pass your exams.


23
Apr 14

5 WAYS TO FAIL YOUR PRACTICAL TEST

Sometimes it is as helpful to know how to fail, as it is to pass. If you know what you need to avoid, and where people commonly go wrong, you are better prepared equipped to take on tougher challenges. For some reason ‘failure’ has become almost synonymous with the Practical Driving Test, when in fact the pass rate is higher than most people expect. Still, there have been enough unsuccessful drivers to provide an interesting look at the most common mistakes made during the Practical Test. These five examples are a great way to fail your practical test, but why not learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before you?

1. Only Use Your Mirrors When Reverse Parking

When reverse parking you should never rely solely on your mirrors. Take the time to turn and look where you are driving. Many drivers get points taken off with this rookie mistake, and as it is a core maneuver on the Practical Test it can quickly lead to a failing grade. Using your mirrors, and your own eyesight, utilise the POW method. Prepare, Observe, and then Move.

2. Go As Quickly As Possible

When you are nervous, it is understandable that you may try to get through your test as quickly as possible. Not following the speed limits however, are one of the biggest reasons people fail the Practical Test. Keep your eye on the speedometer and road signs to ensure you aren’t speeding. Driving to slow is also a good way to fail, so take your time and go the recommended speed.

3. Forget Your Signals

Entirely forgetting to use signals, or using them at the last second, is another sure way to fail the test. Always signal before you maneuver the vehicle, this includes turning left, right, or moving into traffic. Signals can also be used to help pedestrians. Always cancel a signal that is no longer applicable to your drive.

4. Speed Through Junctions

Junctions can be scary. Cars coming at you from every direction may feel overwhelming, but if you speed on through without following protocol you will definitely fail your test. Pay attention to road signs including stop signs, give way warning signs, and traffic lights. Use your mirrors and signal before you move the vehicle. Take your time, and the junctions will be a piece of cake.

5. Don’t Hold onto the Wheel

Your hands should be on the steering wheel at all times. There is never a good reason for your hands to not be holding the wheel, it is a major safety concern if you aren’t in full control of the vehicle. Your hands should be on the 10:10 or 9:15 position, unless you are signalling or changing gears in which case the left hand still remains on the wheel. It is actually a law that one hand must remain on the wheel at all times, if your examiner catches you not following suit- you will automatically fail.

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There you have it, five great ways to fail your practical test! Lucky for you, Book Your Driving Testis here to help you pass the Practical Driving Test, not fail it. Check out the great study aids we offer and pass your Practical Test the first time.


23
Apr 14

PASS YOUR DSA THEORY TEST WITH YOUR IPHONE

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Most of us do just about everything on our phones or tablets. We read on them, catch up with news on them, and even communicate with our families and friends on them. Using them as a tool to pass your DSA Theory Test is a logical next step, and technology has finally caught up and made that possible. While you can always go with the old fashioned theory test book, consider downloading an app that offers official test questions at your fingertips anywhere you feel like studying. If you are super serious about passing, use one of these three apps to compliment the official DSA study aids.

1. The Official DSA Theory Test App

This App is straight from the Driving Standards Agency themselves, so you know it full of helpful goodies. Includes mock tests, videos on hazard perception, practise questions, and helpful extras such as the Official Highway Code. Only App on the market that is officially a DSA product, and that features every DSA Theory Test question. A no brainer.

£4.99 on iTunes, compatible with iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.

2. AA Theory Test

Created by one of the UK’s most respected authorities in driver education, the Automobile Association (AA), this App offers everything you need to pass your Theory Test. With over 950 official DSA questions, covering every category on the Theory Test, this App makes it easy to practice with it’s fast-paced question format. This one doesn’t come packed with extras, but the simple mock test interface will surely be a valuable tool.

£1.99 on iTunes, compatible with iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.

3. Theory Test UK-Driving Test Success App

This App doesn’t have a big name behind it, but don’t let that throw you. The Theory Test UK app features the most up-to-date DSA questions, unlimited mock tests, and feedback after every test including extra help on questions you may have missed. In addition, there is a UK customer email and phone support if you run into any trouble or just have a question about the test, a very cool extra you won’t find with any other App. There is also a progress monitor that shows your progress as well as your strengths and weaknesses. For the price, the Theory Test UK App is a steal.

£0.99 on iTunes, compatible with iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.

Do you own an Android device? Here’s one for you.

Theory Test UK 2014 DTS

The best-selling Theory Test App on the Android marketplace, Theory Test UK 2014 has been downloaded over four million times to great reviews. Features official DSA questions, mock tests, interactive case study questions, and a progress meter. Great all-around choice, free UK support if you need it.

£1.99 on Android Marketplace, compatible with all Android mobile devices.

Using a Theory Test App is a fantastic way to get in extra practice on the long bus ride commuting to work or as educational fodder when you need some reading material on the loo. If you need additional study aides, check out the large assortment of official DSA products we stock. When you feel like you are ready, book a Theory Test online. Good luck and happy studying.


23
Apr 14

AFTER YOUR TEST: SAFE DRIVING TIPS

Congrats! You have your license, and are ready to take on the road. One of the most important lessons you should learn going forward is that you will never be done learning. Whether you have been behind the wheel for one week of three decades, there will never be a point that you can stop paying attention and throw the rules out the window. In order to keep yourself, and others, safe on the road, here are a few safety tips to remember long after passing that exam.

Driving with a Crowd

During your driving practical test you will ride with the test examiner, and possibly your driving instructor. It will not prepare you for driving with five friends who are all talking loudly on top of one another and it will not prepare you for a screaming baby that can’t be calmed down in the rear seat. You need to be sure that you are able to concentrate while driving, and if you can’t- pull over. The safety of your passengers, and yourself, should always be an utmost priority.

Weather Changes

Chances are that your practical exam won’t take you through snow, heavy rain, or powerful winds. However, you can expect to deal with a lot of different weather conditions at some point or another in the future. Always be aware of what is going on on outside, and drive accordingly. Just because the speed limit is there, it doesn’t mean you can’t go slower if conditions aren’t favourable.

Drinking and Driving

As you are already aware, drinking and driving don’t mix. The experience of a driver does not matter, if alcohol is in the system it is unsafe and illegal to drive. In 2012, over 1,200 people in the UK were seriously injured as a result of drunk driving, and 280 were killed. While you can legally drive up to a .08% blood alcohol level, even a small amount of alcohol can impair your judgement when driving. Be smart, don’t drink and drive.

Road Rage

Attitude is an important aspect of driving that most people don’t think about. You will encounter aggressive drivers on the road, and you need to respond to these situations calmly and responsibly. You can’t control how other motorists behave, but you can control your response. Here are a few tips for dealing with road rage.

- Focus on your own driving, don’t make eye contact with other drivers and ignore any aggressive behaviour.

- If a driver is tailgating you, don’t respond with anger or by speeding up. Make it easier for them to pass you, safety is more important than teaching them a lesson.

- Never brake suddenly in response to road rage, it can cause an accident and put you and other drivers on the road in danger.

- If you ever feel overwhelmed by the aggression of another driver, pull over and let them pass. If it continues, call the police and report the vehicle.

A responsible driver knows that their driving education is never finished. Direct Driving Testsoffers a variety of learning aids that will help you study for the Theory Test, guides such as a practical test book, and resources that will help you in the years that follow. Be a smart driver and make your time on the road enjoyable and as safe as possible for you and other motorists.


23
Apr 14

WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS WILL YOUR EXAMINER BE ASKING?

When you book a practical driving test, you should be prepared for more than simply proving that you can manoeuvre a car along the road. Your instructor will ask you a number of questions from the approved list of ‘DSA Questions and Answers’.

The questions are related to aspects of basic car maintenance, and are reviewed and updated every year In order to remain appropriate to the changes in car design. The questions will either start with ‘show me’ or tell me’ and you will be required to either show the examiner how to do a practical task, or explain how something works. If you get the answers wrong you will not fail your driving test, but you could receive a driving fault by failing to answer them.

Here is an example ‘Show Me, Tell Me Question’

What About the Car?

All of the questions that you will be asked are based upon the Ford Fiesta. Don’t worry if this is not the same make and model of car that you are learning in, most cars are basically the same under the bonnet. Many of the questions will relate to turning on the car’s ignition. All you need to do is turn the key enough to switch on the electrics and not get the engine running.

Tell Me – What?

As part of the ‘tell me’ questions you could be asked a number of things relating to basic car maintenance. For example, you may be asked to explain how to refill your windscreen washer reservoir, or you could be asked to tell you examiner exactly how you would check that your car had enough oil. In which case you would explain how to check the oil level using the dipstick. You could also be asked to explain how you check the levels of engine coolant, something you should only do when the engine is cold. Make sure you know where all of these parts of the car are located and how to go about checking fluid levels.

Ensure you also know things like how to ensure your brakes are working correctly, as well as how to check and adjust your tyre pressure and ensure that is has enough tread to remain road legal. Get familiar with the lights on your dashboard and make sure you understand what each warning light means.

Show Me – What?

The way that you handle the ‘show me’ questions proves that you have a practical understanding of how the car works. You may be asked to show the examiner how you would check that your brake lights are working, or how you should check that your steering is working, especially power assisted steering, before you set off on a journey. A common one is to show the examiner how to clean the windscreen whilst driving, or use the car’s demister to clear the windscreen when frosted over.

All of these questions and practical tests can sound a little daunting, but they should all be second nature to you by the time you are ready to book your DSA practical driving test. Take your time answering the questions, try not to get flustered, and remember to think before you speak.


23
Apr 14

YOUR DRIVING TEST – WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

For many people, the anxiety starts as soon they book a practical driving test at their local test centre. The biggest reason that many people feel an overwhelming sense of panic is because they don’t know what to expect when the test starts. So here is everything you need to know before you arrive at the test centre for your practical driving test.

Here’s a short video which is a must to watch!

On the Day

Remember to take all of the required documentation with you. You need to make sure you have:

- Your pass certificate, or written confirmation for your driving theory test.

- Both your paper licence and photo driving license.

- If taking a motorcycle test you need to have your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training Certificate) for both test modules.

- If taking a bus or lorry test you should arrive with the pass letters for the hazard perception test, multiple choice and theory test.

- If you are still in possession of an old style license without a photo card you need to ensure that you take a secondary form of identification with you, such as a passport.

When your name is called you will be required to sign an insurance declaration. The examiner will then check your photo ID, and ask about any disabilities or changes to your health since the day you booked the practical driving test. You will then be asked to take the examiner out to your car.

In the Car Park

The examiner will look around the car park and choose a car from which you should read out the license plate. If you get the plate wrong twice the distance to the car will be measured. Failure to read the plate at the required distance will result in an instant fail and you will have to book another practical driving test. So, if you do wear glasses or contact lenses be sure to wear them on the day. This will be followed by the examiner asking some ‘show me’ or ‘tell me’ questions relating to general car maintenance. Before entering the car the examiner will note down the car’s details and ensure that it is safe for taking out on the test.

On the Road

Before you pull out of the car park, be sure to perform all of the checks that you instructor has taught you. You will be expected to drive following the instructions that the examiner provides. They will tell you where to turn, which exits to take and when to stop. It is up to you to take note of road signs and traffic signals and drive accordingly. The examiner will occasionally make notes on the test paper as you drive, do not let this worry you. In one test in three the emergency stop is requested, so be prepared. During the course of the test you will be asked to perform up to four different manoeuvres such as reverse parking or a turn in the road. Ensure you make all of the correct observations and signal at the appropriate times and you will be fine.

When you are ready to book a practical driving test online, try not to let your nerves get the better of you. Remember that the examiner is not a monster and there to make you fail. Show them what you can do and make sure you walk away with a pass.


23
Apr 14

THE MOST COMMON REASONS FOR DRIVING TEST FAILS

Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to pass their driving test first time. Yet many people are failing for the same kinds of reasons. Before you get round to booking a practical driving test, make sure that you understand why people fail in order to avoid making the same mistakes.

Watch Your Speed

You can fail your test by driving too slowly just as you can for driving too fast. Many people fail to adjust their speed according to the type of road that they are on. Causing a delay by not keeping up with the speed of the road can be just as dangerous as driving with excess speed.

Turning in the Road

It used to be called the three point turn, but it is now known as a turn in the road as the manoeuvre can be completed in more than three points if required. Many people fail to illustrate the proper amount of control over their vehicle whilst making this manoeuvre. Full observation of the area surrounding the car is required yet many people fail to check their rear view mirror before they move.

Steering Control

Failure to take a turn at the correct speed and in the correct gear is classed as a steering fault. Taking the turn too wide or too tight can result in the car hitting the kerb, and this is also a steering fault and another way to fail.

It’s All About Positioning

This is all about lane management. Make sure you are in the right place on the road for the direction in which you are travelling and in the right position for any manoeuvres you wish to make. It is all about paying attention to the road markings and signage. If you are in the wrong lane when you need to make a manoeuvre you could end up failing your test.

Signalling

Even experienced drivers can make a mess of their signalling. You could be given a fail for signalling too late or too early. Remember that you are signalling to let other road users know your intentions, incorrect signalling can be misleading and could lead to an accident.

Mirror, Signal Manoeuvre

If you don’t pay attention to the traffic when you pull out you could cause a driver to swerve and cause a collision. Do this on your test and you are looking at an instant fail. Your examiner will be watching to make sure you use all of your mirrors at the correct times.

Parking in Reverse

One of the biggest parts of the practical driving test upon which people fail is the reverse parking manoeuvre. They fail to make the proper observations before they begin to move the car, and often end up with the car in totally the wrong position.

Before booking your practical driving test online make sure that you are aware of all of the points where you could be setting yourself up to fail. Be sure that you train yourself to make all of the necessary observations at the right times, and you can be sure you will only need to book your practical driving test the once.


23
Apr 14

HOW TO BEAT PRACTICAL DRIVING TEST STRESS

It is entirely common to be stressed out before taking your driving test. After investing in expensive driving lessons and hours spent studying your practical test book, a failing grade can seem like the end of the world (if you do fail, you can try again in ten days). Follow these helpful tips to combat test anxiety and make sure you pass your driving exam with flying colours!

Know What to Expect

If you know what will happen on the day of the exam, you will likely be more relaxed going into it. You can also make it easier on yourself by completing the DVSA booking practical test online. Here is what you can expect the day of your driving test, from arrival to receiving your results.

1. Armed with your provisional driving license, both the plastic card and paper counterpart, you will arrive at the test centre ready to pass your exam. Your instructor may accompany you to both the test centre and on the driving test itself, although this is entirely up to you.

2. While in the waiting room, the test examiner will check your address details, check your provisional license, and confirm that you are insured to drive.

3. On the way to the vehicle, you will be asked to read a license plate to check your eyesight. When you arrive at the vehicle you will be asked 19 questions in which you will need to point out different parts of the car for the examiner.

4. You will then begin the driving test. The examiner will have you go through a specific route and test your ability to navigate, read road signs, and perform procedures such as an emergency stop.

5. Once you are back at the testing centre the examiner will let you and your instructor know what mistakes were made and whether you passed or failed. If you have passed, you will receive the test pass certificate and be allowed to drive immediately.

Preparation is Key

If you want to decrease your test anxiety, there is no better way than preparing for every aspect of the exam. There are a number of ways that you can study, you just need to find the best method for you.

Youtube Videos – There are a number of instructional videos that show mock driving tests, give student drivers advice, and show you specific aspects of the exam such as parallel parking. Start with this video from the DSA, which shows how the practical exam will go.

Supplementary Study Material – There are plenty of study guides on the market that cover the practical exam from dvd’s to study guides to computer programs.

Apps – You can also download a driving test app onto your phone or tablet so that you can study on-the-go.

Additional Tips

You should get plenty of rest the night before the exam so that you are alert. You may wish to consider booking the driving test during your most productive time of the day. Avoid rush hour time periods and arrive to the testing centre at least ten minutes before the exam begins.

Tests can be nerve-racking but if you prepare yourself well for the practical exam and know what to expect on test day, you will be more likely to walk away with that test pass certificate. Take your time, stay calm, and you will be on the road driving your car before you know it.


23
Apr 14

6 TIPS TO HELP YOU PASS YOUR DRIVING TEST FIRST TIME

In order to pass your practical driving test you need to prove that you have not only absorbed the theoretical knowledge that you need, but also that you possess the practical skills required to be safe on the roads. Below are some tips which will help to ensure that you pass your practical driving test first time.

1. Slow and Steady

There is no prize for getting through your lessons and passing your test faster than any of your friends. Everyone learns at a different rate. Take as long as you need, and as many lessons as it takes to make sure that you know exactly what you are doing when you are behind the wheel.

2. Know the Basics

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the way that the car’s controls work away from the main roads. Figure out where the biting point is, get a better feel for the brakes and learn more about the way that the car manoeuvres in response to your steering. To do this, it’s a good idea to spend some time on private land, after hours on an industrial estate for example, and get a good feel for the car.

3. Ignore the Horror Stories

When the majority of people are asked about their driving test they will only tell you about their failures. They will lay the blame at the feet of their examiner, claiming they were too strict, there was a personality clash, or some other made up excuse for their bad driving on the day. Forget about these horror stories and focus on yourself.

4. Sit a Mock Exam

Ask your instructor if he can set you up with a mock exam. By the end of the session you will have a good idea of not only what will be asked of you, but also which of your skills you need to brush up on before you book a practical driving test for yourself.

5. Keep it Hush Hush

There is no need to place extra pressure on yourself by telling everyone that you know that you are taking your test. If you tell other people about the date of your test, you will be carrying their expectations with you and may end up distracted from the task at hand, too busy worrying about failing and letting them down to concentrate properly. Make your practical driving test bookingwithout anyone’s knowledge and go for it!

6. Be Prepared

Be sure to practice your driving in as many different road and weather conditions as you can. Take to the roads at different times of the day and night, while the traffic is at its heaviest and when the roads are clear. This way you can be ready for your practical test, no matter what the conditions are like on the day.

When you are sure that you are ready to take the final step on your driving journey, try booking your practical test online, get your test date, and take the next step towards getting your full driving license. You will never stop learning while you are driving and will spend the next years improving your skills behind the wheel.