Driving Tips

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New Driving Test

The new driving test 2017

In 2015 the DVSA started trials on a new driving test for the UK, the changes are designed to make the roads safer and to improve the skills of new drivers.

Instructors in test centres all around the country, are asking why we are dropping the turn in the road, and reverse around the corner manoeuvres out of the test. The simple answer is, these are the manoeuvres that the DVSA “or their advisors” think are the least likely to be used post test.

The answer I hear from instructors is “but the parallel park and reverse into a bay are the two manoeuvres most modern cars will do for you. I suppose in a few years time auto park will become main stream just as ABS and powered steering has in the cars we use today.

Use of a satnav and independent driving is an improtant aspect of motoring, lets face it, how many of us have been caught out by a late instruction from a satnav or missed a turn and it starts screaming at you to do a U turn, that can be quite daunting for a new driver using a satnav for the first time.

Parking and reversing on the right hand side of the road has got to be a good idea, as all experienced drives have to do this at times, just as they drive nose first into a bay and reverse out when visiting public car parks.

All in all I think the proposals are a good idea, my only reservation is with turning the vehicle around I think its important that we continue to teach our pupils to keep themselves and other road users safe by showing them how to turn their vehicles around to face the opposite direction in a safe and competent manor.

The changes taking place to the current driving test in the UK are listed below.

  • ‘Tell me’ question at the beginning of the test and a ‘show me’ question on the move

  • 20 minutes independent driving using a satnav or traffic signs

  • One of the following manoeuvres – drive in to and reverse out of a parking bay, pull up on the right, reverse, and rejoin the traffic or reverse parking (either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road)

For more information visit


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Turn in the Road

This manoeuvre was once more commonly known as the “3 point turn”. This isn’t really a good description, as you can perform the manoeuvre in as few or many points as you need! On many roads when practicing for your driving test you will more likely complete the manoeuvre in 3 points (or Steps) as the illustration shows below, but on narrower roads you would require 5, 7 or even more points to complete a turn. So in the UK, to save confusion, the correct term is “Turn in the Road”.

The Turn in the Road manoeuvre requires these few skills:

  • Good clutch control
  • Steering skills
  • Good observational skills
  • Confidence, you must be able to deal with oncoming traffic without panicking!

Once you are comfortable with these skills, you’ll be ready to attempt a Turn in the Road. As with all manoeuvres, you need to apply good observational skills throughout before and during each step:

1. Have a good look around to make sure it is safe to do the manoeuvre.

2. Steer full lock to the right, keeping the car slow by using tight clutch control. Looking up and down the road on the way across. When you reach the far side of the road, steer away from the kerb.

Turn in the road, Step 1

3. Select reverse gear. have another look around. If it is safe, reverse back across the road using full lock to the left. Looking up and down the road again on the way across. As you get close to the kerb steer right again.

Turn in the road, Step 2

4. Your car may now be positioned nicely for driving away. If the road is quite narrow you may have to repeat steps 2 and 3. When you are satisfied have a good look around then if it is safe you can drive away.

Turn in the road, Step 3

Always make eye contact with the drivers of approaching vehicles to make sure you know what they are about to do next. If you are unsure of their intentions then wait patiently until you are sure it is safe to continue.

Also, be aware of pedestrians on the pavement. Stop and let them pass, don’t continue until the area in which you are doing the manoeuvre is clear

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Don’t Get Crossed!

crossed hands

A common habit while driving, is to cross your arms when turning the steering wheel. It seems a harmless thing to do, and people often wonder why qualified driving instructors and examiners insist on the “feeding” or “push-pull” method. (Note: a driving examiner won’t normaly fail a pupil for crossing their arms, providing it does not cause a problem in their driving)

But there are a couple of good reasons to avoid crossing your arms. One, is that if you are turning the wheel while the car is moving at speed, and you have to swerve away from an unexpected obstacle such as a pot hole or debris on the road while your arms are crossed, you may actually obstruct yourself while trying to change direction.

Another thing to consider in the majority of modern cars, is that while your arms are crossed, they are between you and your air bag. If you are unfortunate enough to have a bump while your arms are crossed (and as hinted above because your arms are crossed!) then you have the airbag to worry about.

Remember, airbags are designed to inflate rapidly on impact, and expand at a rate up to 200 mph. If your arms are in the way your own hands will be flying towards your head at the same rate! (ouch!)

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Vehicle Safety – Under Bonnet Checks

To ensure your vehicles stays in a safe, roadworthy condition, you must check at regular intervals. Check that the lighting is working correctly, that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and that they are in good condition. You must also be familiar with the controls of your vehicle such as the window washers and demisters.

You should also be familiar with under the bonnet of your vehicle:


The example above is for a Peugeot 207. The layout and position of the engine and fluid reservoirs can vary greatly between different Car makes and models.

Washer Bottle

The Washer bottle should be checked regularly and kept topped up at all times.


You should always make sure that the coolant is topped up to between the minimum and maximum marks shown on the side of the expansion tank.

Brake Fluid

It is most important that you regularly check the brake fluid level. Again it should be between the minimum and maximum marks. If you discover a loss of brake fluid then you should have the system checked over by a qualified engineer as soon as possible.

Checking the Oil Level

Always check the oil level when the engine is cold and on a flat surface. Remove the dip stick and make sure the oil is between the minimum and maximum mark. If required remove the filler cap and top up accordingly.

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Reverse Parking

This is a manoeuvre that many find tricky, but in fact reverse parking (often known as “parallel parking”) can be completed in 3 simple steps.

Position 1

Drive your car just ahead of the target car, stop, then select reverse gear. Have a good look around and make sure it is safe to start the manoeuvre. Once you’re happy it’s safe, reverse the car back slowly until the parking brake of your car is level with the parking brake of the target car. Have another good look up and down the road to ensure it is still safe.

Position 2

Turn the steering wheel one full turn to the left and hold it still until your car reaches a 45-degree angle (2 o’clock).

Position 3

Now turn your steering wheel full lock to the right and hold. The car should now swing in behind the target car. Once your car is parallel to the kerb, stop, apply the parking brake and select neutral.

And that’s it, job done. And remember, observations are the most important part of any manoeuvre.

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