Are Winter tyres right for you?

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Winter tyres
As winter bites, we prepare ourselves for the elements; donning gloves, hats, a warm coat and boots with extra grip. Is your car as prepared for the cold weather as you are? We all need to be more careful on the road when snow and ice are on the ground and winter tyres can help keep motorists safe. But are they right for you?

A quick guide to winter tyres

As their name implies winter tyres excel in wintery conditions, providing extra traction and improved braking. All important factors when the ground is wet, icy or snowy.

The tyres are able to handle extreme conditions with a special tread rubber compound, which has high silica content. This composition allows the tread pattern to stay flexible in temperatures of under 7 degrees Celsius. They are also designed to gather snow ‘in-fill’ in the tread grooves and sipe slits, to assist with grip on loose snow.

You can identify a set of winter tyres by the snow-topped mountain or snowflake symbol marked on the sidewall.

What are the negatives?

Winter tyres may sound perfect, but bear in mind they are made for cold weather and will struggle in the summer. In temperatures above 7 degrees Celsius, grip suffers in dry conditions and this has an adverse effect on braking distance and handling. This is because the soft and squishy nature that makes winter tyres flexible in cold weather makes them less responsive for quick manoeuvres in warm weather. For this reason it is advised that motorists switch back to summer tyres when warmer weather approaches.

Alternatives to winter tyres

Don’t fancy changing your tyres twice a year? There are a few alternatives to winter tyres that might suit your needs:

All season tyres: These tyres have high silica content along with a tread pattern that sits between summer and winter tyres. These can be used all year round, but the lack of specialisation means they don’t perform as well as their summer or winter counterparts.

Tyre socks: Is your drive completely snowed in or iced over? Wheel socks are made of fabric and wrap around the tyre to provide extra grip. Best used for an emergency as they won’t last long on tarmac.

Snow chains: Similar to tyre socks, snow chains can only be used when the roads are covered in a protective layer of ice/snow. Best kept in the boot to be used in extreme weather, they can sometimes be difficult to fit and remove.

Insurance implications

Different insurers have different policies on alerting them to switching tyres. If you want to check if your insurer needs to be notified, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has compiled a list that offers guidance: https://www.abi.org.uk/Insurance-and-savings/Products/Motor-insurance/Winter-tyres

Are winter tyres for you?

Unlike parts of mainland Europe winter tyres aren’t compulsory in the UK, as most areas of the country never/rarely see any extreme weather conditions. Choosing to use them will come down to how likely your part of the country is to experience weather that would warrant them. If you have decided to go for a set of winter tyres, make sure that you have them fitted before the bad weather hits as you may be caught by surprise and unable to drive to a destination to complete the switchover.

Whichever tyres you decide to go with for winter, you’ll increase their performance by ensuring there is at least 3mm of tread over 75% of the tyre width.

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Top 6 winter driving tips

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Driving in Leeds in winter can be time consuming, difficult and even dangerous, but preparing in the right way can help to make it a little easier. Depending on the severity of the weather, whether it be snow, ice, rain or otherwise, various precautions can be made to help make your morning commute that little bit easier. From before you set foot in the car to how to react to the road ahead, read on for our top tips on driving safely in winter.

1. Don’t drive

Okay, so this may sound like a strange one, but it’s worth considering how important it is for you to drive if weather conditions are particularly bad. If you can get public transport or re-schedule your plans for another time so that you don’t have to leave the house, then that’s the safest option. However, this may not be an option available for everyone.

2. Dress appropriately

If you can’t avoid leaving your house, then you need to make sure you’re fully prepared for driving in snow, ice and other extreme weathers. Although many modern cars come with various heating appliances, being prepared for a potential breakdown is important. A hat, scarf, pair of gloves and coat are all essentials if you’re venturing out in the snow. Also, avoid bulky footwear that can bring in snow. Normal, comfortable footwear that won’t get too wet and cause your feet to slip on the pedals are the safest option.

3. Prepare your car

Now that you’re fully prepared, you need to give your car the same treatment. Ensuring that you clear all windows on the car, including wing mirrors, front, side and rear – will ensure that you have a clear field of vision for when you’re on the roads. The best way to do this is by either using a scraper, warm water, de-icer spray or by turning the engine and hot air conditioning on. Be sure to clear the roof of any snow as well, as this can fall forward onto your windscreen once you begin your journey.

4. Drive carefully

Though obvious, there are specific precautions that should be taken to ensure you drive safely when in the snow. Keeping the pedals covered at all times is important. Whether accelerating or braking, keeping control of the wheels and not coasting will prevent any chances of sliding on wet or icy surfaces. Reducing your speed as well as increasing the distance between traffic will also help you to stay prepared for anything on the road ahead. Trying your best to not stop on a hill is also advised, as starting on hills can encourage wheel spin – which may result in you getting stuck.

5. Keep your tank well fuelled

Driving safely in winter is as much about how you maintain your car as it is about how you control it. Keeping fuel levels above at least half way is always advised, as this prevents moist air from freezing inside. Too much moist air can freeze the fuel line, which will prevent your car from starting. Topping up your fuel more regularly in the winter will ensure your engine remains in good working order, no matter the weather.

6. Equip your tyres

Your tyres are one of the most important components for keeping control of your car driving in winter. Winter tyres have a deeper tread and are more suitable for driving in snow when it is particularly deep. Even if you don’t require specialist tyres, it is still recommended that your tyres are at least 3mm for winter driving, and certainly no less than 2mm. Good, unworn tyres make all the difference when extra grip is required, and will keep you safe when driving in winter this year.

Winter driving safety is important for drivers of all levels of experience, as it can be unpredictable and challenging. Following our winter driving tips, from the clothes you wear to the way you treat your car, will ensure that you stay safe on the roads this winter.

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

 

British drivers confused by road signs

imageBritish drivers find road signs confusing with some not even able to recognise the national speed limit. Sixty years after the introduction of standardised road signs in the UK, the figures, from car finance broker Zuto, found that almost half of drivers believed that there were too many signs on the road, with one-in-twenty admitting they’ve made driving mistakes due to confusing road signs. A survey found that 90% of British drivers said they found road signs confusing, with a third unable to recognise the national speed limit and more than 40% confused by the ‘no vehicles’ sign.British drivers find road signs confusing with some not even able to recognise the national speed limit. A survey found that 90% of British drivers said they found road signs confusing, with a third unable to recognise the national speed limit and more than 40% confused by the ‘no vehicles’ sign.
Sixty years after the introduction of standardised road signs in the UK, the figures, from car finance broker Zuto, found that almost half of drivers believed that there were too many signs on the road, with one-in-twenty admitting they’ve made driving mistakes due to confusing road signs.
Almost one in ten said they found the ‘men’ at work road sign sexist and due for a makeover, while over four million UK drivers don’t understand the ‘level crossing without a barrier’ sign, a further 31% failed to recognise the National Speed Limit sign.
James Wilkinson, CEO of Zuto, commented: “As the research has shown, I’m sure every motorist can relate to being baffled by road signs at some point and, after 60 years serving the UK roads, perhaps it’s time for some signs to enter retirement.”
The research also revealed that one in four don’t recognise the ‘Cars & Motorbikes Prohibited’ sign, with 13% incorrectly believing the exact opposite of the sign’s meaning – that cars and motorbikes are allowed.
But Britain’s most confusing sign is one only half of all motorists recognise, the admittedly bizarre sign for ‘no vehicles carrying explosives’, while almost a quarter don’t understand the archaic ‘no horse drawn vehicles’ sign.

Confusing road signs:

Signs which tell drivers to increase space – 42%
Signs which warn of emergency vehicles approaching – 41%
Signs which tell drivers using mobile phones to stop – 41%
Signs which all read the same in critical situations i.e. emergency – 36%
Signs which allow drivers to communicate i.e. Stop Tailgating! – 27%
Signs which graphically depict accidents to deter reckless driving – 18%
Hologram signs on the road, rather than on the sides, to avoid distraction – 13%

 

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Are Intensive Driving Lessons a Good Thing For The Learner Drivers?

Teenagers often long to drive but the bad thing, most of them are far being patient behind the steering wheel. It’s the same impatient behaviour that prevails when a teenage learner driver wants to acquire a driving licence at the shortest time possible. So you’ll decide to learn fast by taking the intensive driving lessons Leeds.

The world is really spinning the way it’s doing these days, because many people have been choosing the traditional two or three lessons a week over the course which runs for several months. So, they’re now  in favour of a week-long intensive driving courses which are also called as “crash courses” in order to save time and money.

A learner driver in the United Kingdom (UK) would average 47 hours of driving lessons and 20 hours of private practice before taking their practical driving test. The average cost of one driving lesson is £22. So a learner driver can now expect to pay in excess of £1,000 before even booking their practical exam at £62 .

If you will compare this to a five-day driving course at a driving school costing just £600 including the test. So you can see the savings that can be made if you choose to take a quick-fix option.

There was a fast learner driver named John who took the five-day intensive driving course but still failed during the practical driving test because he did not consider some of the negative realities of his quick-fix choice. He wanted to get the test quickly done as much as possible.

He wasn’t aware that the driving school in Leeds didn’t lie to anybody for the term “intense.” It was really a very real intense. Imagine that he was driving six hours every day from Monday to Friday, and then had his practical driving test on the Saturday. In other words, his mind and body were shocked by the system.

So, what’s your verdict on crash courses? You may not have the answer if you’re already inclined into it, but it’s nothing more than a waste of time and resources for John.

Throughout John’s experience, there’s no wonder that car insurance premiums are too high for young drivers. The statistics could show that 40 % of male young drivers aged 17-year-old have an accident in their first six months behind the steering wheel. This is really no surprise if young drivers could take to the road alone after just five days of their intensive driving course.

So, the problem with intensive driving courses is not just the small amount of experience of learner driver on the road come the day of the test, but the overall stress of it. John was concentrating for solid six hours a day at wheel and trying not to make a single wrong move was too tough on the body and mind.

There’s some reason why teachers would often tell their students to start reviewing their lessons even months before a periodic exam.  It’s the best way to remember things. However in intensive driving course, a learner driver will just spend five days learning to drive, and definitely it isn’t long enough to consider anyone safe or qualified behind the steering wheel.

Therefore, intensive driving lessons Leeds is not only unfair on young drivers who are tempted to take it, but it’s potentially dangerous for other road users. Because attempting to start from being scratch and then 30 hours later you’ll become legally qualified is a big mess and recklessness.

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Older Drivers in Britain Increase in Number

The number of motorists aged 70 years or above has been increasing by 10,000 drivers every month across the United Kingdom (UK). So, there are currently 4.34 million drivers aged 70 or older with valid driving licences in Britain, which is 320,000 more compared to the figures in previous year. It has an increase of 11 %  from 3.9 million in this age group.

With this fast growing number of aged drivers in the UK, concerns have been raised that this age group would pose as potential hazards on the road because the fact behind old age is a significant decrease in hazard perception and reaction time.

They may be still okay in terms of quickness in making decision as their brains are still functioning well, but weakness prevails in their other body parts.

However, there is also another fact in a free society that as much as possible older motorists have their own rights worthy to be uphold such as, to continue to enjoy their life on the road and experience the challenge of today’s motoring which is far more different compared with the time when they were young.

In the past 31 months, the number of motorists in this age bracket has increased by 323,631 which also means a monthly increase of 10,440 drivers. Meanwhile, the number of drivers who are 80 years old and above has now surpassed the one million mark for the first time.

Britain’s oldest holder of driving licence is now 107 years old. This is actually amazing that ultimately reflects how deeply Britain’s love and care for its elders.

Because of this significant increase in the number of drivers aged 70 years and above, there have been calls for some action plan in dealing with the specific needs of this age group. The IAM or the Institute of Advanced Motorists said the government, driving and medical assessment professionals should work together to ensure that these older motorists are well catered for.

IAM Chief Executive Sarah Millers says the people today have been living a longer life and many of them are still on Britain’s roads. We want these older motorists to enjoy their motoring as long as possible, so we want some resources and thought to go into the ways how we could make this happen.

A study conducted by the IAM has shown the common factors in road accidents that involve motorists aged 70 years and above are as follows: (1.) Poor turn-in manoeuvres (2.) To Fail in judging other road users’ speed or direction (3.) Losing control (4.) Illness or disability (5.) Nervousness (6.) Anxiety or panic (7.) dazzling sun.

In addressing these problems, the IAM has drawn an action plan for older motorists that includes among others a consideration of the vehicle’s design which could help this age group avoid road accident as well as how more information on the road could be provided to them.

Also, there should be more tools on the online assessment for older motorists, more voluntary assessment on the road and a more cooperation among different driving agencies across the country.

Highly recommended driving school Leeds, give us a call today!

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Government Records of Road Fatalities

The British government has recorded and published the number of deaths in many road accidents across the country purposely to provide warning especially to young motorists to follow the Highway Code and other vital traffic regulations so that road fatalities would be prevented.

Road accidents involving young drivers between 17 and 21 years old are taking a terrible toll on young road users. There were 234 teenage car passengers who were seriously injured or killed when the young driver they were travelling with had been involved in car crashes last year.

That’s more than four deaths a week. If you would include casualties of all severities, the figure could rise to 2,144 or it’s around 41 deaths each week.

According to the government data, it’s not just passengers that are caught in the wreckage. There were 191 people under 24 years of age were killed and around 20,000 were injured in 2013. They’re all riders and drivers of cars and motorbikes.

Teenage drivers between the ages of 17 and 19 make up only 1.5% of full licence holders yet they are involved in 12% of accidents where someone is killed or seriously hurt.

But there is more shocking statistics. This could probably explain why road accidents are the biggest killer of young people in the UK, bigger than both drugs and alcohol.

These latest figures have been prompting many concern individuals and government officials for a renewed call aimed at the introduction of a system of graduated licensing for young drivers, where they  couldn’t gain access to a full licence until they’ve acquired longer experience on the road.

The system has been proven effective in reducing the number of young driver casualties. For example, , car crash injuries reduced by 23 % in New Zealand for those aged 15 to 19 years old and by 12 % for 20 to 24 years old  following the graduated licensing being introduced in that country.

A graduated system in the UK has been estimated to result in up to 114 fewer deaths and as many as 870 fewer serious injuries every year.

The graduated licensing consists of three stages: (1.) The “learner” period. This would last a minimum of 12 months. (2.) The “intermediate” (3.) The “novice.” This usually with restrictions on driving at night and passengers.

One in every five newly-qualified young motorists would have an accident within six months after passing their driving test, so the government would also restrict the number of young passengers that can be carried by a young driver in the first six months after passing his or her driving test.

This has been a fact that the risk of road accident increases in the presence of young passengers in the car because young passengers are a distraction to young drivers.

Plus, it would impose a zero alcohol limit and a driving curfew between 11:00 o’clock in the evening and 4:00 o’clock dawn during the first six-month period, although, those young motorists who are travelling to their driving schools in Leeds or to their work, would be allowed to drive at night.

The system wouldn’t only save lives, but it would also reduce the car insurance premiums resulting in  potential saving of £370 a year.

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Driving Lessons Leeds Tips: The Danger of Drug Driving

Here’s a great driving lessons Leeds tips about danger of drug driving

It’s illegal to drive your car when you’re impaired by the effects of drugs whether it’s illegal or prescribed by your doctor, or if you’ve taken certain drug resulting to the level of it that’s beyond the specification in accordance with the law.

If the police would stop you and thought you’re under the influence of drugs they would test you at the roadside by the use of a drug screening device. If the policemen have no such device at that time, they may use “Field Impairment” test which would assess your driving ability.

If drugs would be detected in your system or when you’re deemed impaired by illegal drugs, you’ll be arrested and taken to the police station for urine or blood tests. You could be charged with drug driving if the tests would show that you’ve taken drugs beyond the specified limits.

Remember that you don’t have to be under the influence of illegal drugs to be impaired on your driving, but also when you’re taking some prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Your ability to drive could also be impaired by the drugs prescribed by your doctor. So, you better talk to your doctor, healthcare professional or pharmacist first, and ask him/her if it’s just okay for you to drive whilst taking these medicines.

It’s worth bearing in mind that today the danger of drug driving has been raised to the higher level as it’s detection has been made easier by the government. So, be reminded that on March 2, 2015 the drug driving law was changed to make it easier for drug drivers to be caught by the police and be convicted in court.

Remember that it’s now an offence to drive with certain drugs above the specified level in your bloodstream, just as it is with drink driving. There are all 17 illegal and legal drugs being covered by the law, including ketamine, cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis. The limits are extremely low for all illegal drugs which mean that taking even a very small amount of it could already put you over the limits.

The penalties for drug driving and drink driving are the same. If you’re convicted of the offence, you’ll receive:

(1.)  A driving ban of at least 12 months
(2.)  A criminal record
(3.)  A hefty fine or a maximum of six months in prison or both

The consequences of a drug driving conviction by a court are far-reaching and these can include the following:

(1.)  Job loss
(2.)  Loss of independence
(3.)  The shame of having a criminal record
(4.)  Increase in car insurance costs
(5.)  Trouble to go abroad to countries like the USA

You should be aware that today driving under the influence of illegal drugs has become extremely dangerous because of the new law on drug driving aside from affecting your driving skills in a number of ways which will result to fatal road accidents.

For example: the cannabis users always think they’re safer because they drive their car more slowly. However, this drug slows your decision and reaction times. It could also distort your perception of distance and time, and would result in losing control of the vehicle and your poorer concentration whilst at wheel.

Cocaine users have a sense of over-confidence. They perform unusually more aggressive manoeuvres at greater speeds, thus putting them at higher risk.

Ecstasy users are extremely dangerous whilst behind the wheel because they would have distorted vision, altered perception and judgement of potential hazards, their perception of sounds is heightened, and have over-confident attitude at wheel.

Learn safe driving lessons Leeds with us today!

Real Motoring Tuition

47 Shaw Leys Yeadon

Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Driving lessons with a family member: your best and worst experiences

Road to divorce

My ex-husband was deeply attached to his car, so much so that when I got my provisional licence, in my early 30s, he wouldn’t let me have a go. It was nothing exotic, only a Seat, but the car was his sovereign territory to the extent that he always insisted on driving home when we were out, sometimes after a bottle or more of red wine. He claimed he never got drunk and his skills were unaffected. Older and wiser, I see that this is the opposite of a man who “looks good on paper”.

He suggested I buy a car of my own to learn in, which I did. He took me out in my little rustbucket Austin Metro once for a practice drive but was constantly edgy and snappy – clearly, he didn’t like not being in control, even if only behind the wheel. It took me 76 lessons over 18 months with a driving instructor to pass my test. I don’t think the marriage lasted much longer after I passed on the third try.

Sasha Scott

Mum was in labour!

Mum was heavily pregnant and Dad had just broken his foot playing rugby. Dad was teaching me to drive, but at this time my driving was limited to first and second gear. On my fifth lesson with Dad, we were about to pull away when Mum screamed from the bathroom: “I’m going into labour!”

Due to his broken foot, Dad had made sure that a back-up driver was available, but this driver was tending to her own emergency at the time. So I became plan B and before I knew it, Dad was helping Mum into the car. I stalled three times before we set off and I was more panicked than my mum. I remember horns blaring in my direction, along with my mum’s screaming. But we finally got to the hospital and my baby brother was born a few hours later.

I’ll always remember that journey because it was the first time I changed to third gear successfully.

Tom Forte

Mum, the minimalist

My mother was born in 1915 so, at 17, she got a driving licence without a test. After she was widowed, she taught my two eldest sisters to drive in our Hillman Minx estate – with us and several friends in the back, and no seat belts.

Because she’d driven trucks in the war, she said we only needed three proper lessons each before our tests.

Janie Hampton Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Janie Hampton, left, sitting on the car bonnet, with her mother and sisters in 1961.
Shortly after I was 17, she made me drive in our old Ford Anglia down the A1 on a bank holiday, then round Hyde Park Corner in central London. After six months she said I was ready to take the test. My instructor said, “Who on earth has been teaching you? A truck driver?”

I passed my test at the second attempt after six lessons, which my mother complained were unnecessary and extravagant. I think it was worth it – I’ve been driving for 46 years and as yet have no points on my licence. But then, neither did my mother, after no lessons and 70 years on the road.

I drew the picture, above, in 1970 while waiting for the AA – it was constantly breaking down but I soon learned to fix the carburettor myself.

Janie Hampton

Terror in the back seat

In the 1960s, my father tried to teach my mother to drive in our brand new Austin 1100. I was too small to be left at home and was forced to sit in the back seat, enduring kangaroo jumps and erratic braking as we lurched slowly along the straight, wide, traffic-free road that led, ironically, to our local crematorium. My fear was as irrational as it was real, but I knew there was no way that we could trust Mummy to drive. She would kill us all.

I screamed and cried relentlessly: “Daddy, don’t let her drive. Pleeeease, Daddy, make her stop!”

Sadly, despite subsequent professional lessons, my mother never took her test.

Mandy Huggins

Attention, son!

My father was a driving instructor, so naturally it was he who taught me to drive. He had been a drill sergeant and PT instructor in the RAF and was used to his commands being carried out without question.

He wanted me to pass first time, as did I, so tuition was intense. At the end of a session, my neck would ache from several attempts to reverse round a corner, “keeping to six inches from the kerb all the way round”. If I hesitated for too long before emerging from a junction he would say, “If we stay here much longer, the lady in the house opposite will bring us tea and biscuits.”

Moving away from the kerb without looking over my shoulder would mean, he said, “The examiner has failed you, the rest of the test is a waste of your time and his.”

Tensions ran high close to the date of the test. He put me through a “mock test” that lasted three minutes before we argued and I got out and walked home. I passed first time. Thanks, Dad.

Jon Webster

Bum steer with MiL

Years ago, when I was still at the “nervous” learner-driver stage, my (now, sadly, late) mother-in-law took me for a practice spin in her Triumph Herald. We began on country lanes in first and second. Followed by an A-road, up a gear.

Then we were on a huge multi-lane road, where I was encouraged (“check there’s nothing coming …”) to leave the nearside lane, switch to fourth gear, overtake other cars, use the middle lane… until, suddenly, in the distance there loomed a huge island-roundabout, a major (city-to-city) highway crossing our path.

Unsure which lane I should be in, I asked as calmly as I could: “Where are we going?”

“Straight ahead!”

So, still in fourth, at about 60mph, I drove straight ahead – across the first half of the road, then the island, the second half of the motorway, and down the (luckily, empty) road opposite. I was encouraged to slow down, pull over and stop.

“Right!” said my mother-in-law, brightly. “I think we’ll change seats now and I’ll drive home …”

Frederick Robinson

Snoozing on duty

My dad took me out on my 17th birthday, in the Mini he had bought me. He was a very laidback man. Nothing fazed him. When he was in the army, in action in the second world war, he was known for falling asleep standing up even when danger was close by.

Off we went on my first “official” on-road driving lesson. As we approached the bottom of our road, I asked where we were going. “Anywhere you like,” he replied. We were only about a mile from home, when I asked if I was doing OK – but there was no answer.

He was asleep. I shouted to wake him up. He asked why I was shouting and I told him he had fallen asleep. He was tired, he said, and besides he knew I would be able to drive as he let me drive his old tractor across the fields when I was 10. I said that I thought that was different and we were on an actual road now, but he had fallen asleep again.

Julie Bronze

Brave, patient Dad

At 17, I was the proud owner of a brown 1.2 litre Vauxhall Nova. Having failed my first test after lessons with an instructor, my dad, who had recently retired, agreed to coach me until my next test date came through.

We spent hours side by side in the car, his patient, gentle support helping me to gain confidence and teaching me far beyond “mirror, signal, manoeuvre” to become a considerate and courteous driver, just like him.

He’d choose our route. Invariably it took us to Middleport, the area of Stoke-on-Trent he’d grown up in, where the poorer streets of the Potteries were being levelled. Three-point-turns were mastered in Prospect Street, a cul-de-sac of abandoned factories and a few remaining homes. Dad would relive youthful memories while I tried to find the clutch.

I didn’t know it at the time but his early retirement was prompted by a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease two years earlier. My parents thought I was too young to be burdened with the news, so I went on in that self-absorbed teenage way, not noticing his grip on the steering wheel becoming more determined.

Years later, when Dad had given up driving, I drove him to appointments, to day centres, and back to the changing streets of Middleport and I was grateful for the skills he’d passed on and that precious time we spent together behind the wheel.

Nicky Taylor

Legacy of the lessons

There was never any question but that my father, a motoring journalist, would teach me to drive. From the day of my 17th birthday, we went out every evening and I passed my test after two months. But the instruction didn’t stop there.

When the first snow came that winter, my father taught me how to handle a skid. He taught me motorway driving skills, how to change a tyre, read a map, park and, when I drove abroad for the first time, gave me a crash course in continental motoring.

Those two months broke down a lot of teenage barriers. Qualities in my father that I sometimes found frustrating at home made him the ideal driving teacher: he was rigorous, patient and unflappable. For 30 years I have loved driving and feel confident and safe behind the wheel of a car.

As my father advances into his 80s, I realise that his greatest legacy to me is his constant presence on the road as I drive every day.

Rachel Bladon

We’re still together

My main aim when I went off to Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1987 was to get a boyfriend. To achieve this in the first term was fantastic, to get a boyfriend with a car was a great bonus.

Sally Cooke with her student boyfriend – now husband – and the car he taught her to drive in, with his windsurf board on the roof.
He drove a 1975 Vauxhall Chevette with his treasured windsurfing board permanently on the roof bars. He offered to teach me to drive when we had been going out for a year. So, after spending a little bit of my student grant on a couple of “proper” lessons, we attached L-plates to the Chevette and hit the local housing and industrial estates.

He winced as his car hit the kerb as I failed repeatedly to reverse round the corner. He buried his head in his hands as I overshot a junction by about 10 feet and patiently waited out my tears as I told him “I JUST CAN’T DRIVE!”

But slowly, gradually I got the hang of it and began to drive.

We’re married now and the kids think I drive better than Dad does.

Sally Cooke

L-plate shenanigans

My parents were never going to pay for driving lessons, so they taught me themselves. I passed my test first time in a six-seater Fiat Multipla that, on test day, was held together with masking tape.

However, it didn’t come without struggles: the arguments on roundabouts about what I had actually been told to do; the family road trips when I had four people (both parents and my two younger siblings) all giving me instructions about how to park; the time when the L-plate flew off the front of the car while we were travelling down a 60mph road and there was nothing else for my mum to do than hold a spare L-plate up at the window for the rest of the 60-minute journey.

Despite all this, it hasn’t put my mum off, she is still planning to teach my siblings to drive.

Fiona Murray

Intensive Driving Lessons Leeds: Smooth Operator

High on the list of the mixtures of techniques for a good and safe driving is the need to use the car’s brakes in a fine, smooth and progressive way.  The drivers need to develop anticipation and observation, so that they could begin braking at a stage early enough to leave a decent margin for braking more heavily if the need arises unexpectedly.

There are drivers who tend to brake too hard and too late. While there are many of them have the habit of touching the brakes, enabling themselves to feel better, even if they have no intention to slow down the car to any measurable degree. This is called “comfort braking.”  They’re doing this believing themselves as careful drivers.

It’s better by far learning to read the road ahead. Not only to get early warning of developing hazards, but you can also respond to them by adjusting your speed using only your gas pedal.

An advanced driver will judge the distances and speed involved and, having left a decent gap, he would be able to follow safely by letting the speed “fall away” and so he/she will avoid the need to brake.

Also think about your road positioning. Make sure that you maximise your forward view. You can do it by positioning your vehicle slightly different on the carriageway. This should be a smooth change in your line and not an abrupt repositioning, enabling you to see forward that little bit better. Your careful adjustment of road position can improve your view ahead, especially through corners.

To apply these techniques will not only make you a smooth operator of your vehicle but it will also help you save fuel.

Another technique to make you a smooth operator can be applied not only on your road positioning and braking but also in accelerating your car particularly when you’re driving a manual transmission car.  It’s a task that will take you some training. Definitely, it can be accomplished pretty much by anyone who puts his/her mind to it.

It will really take some finesse and knowledge – to drive a manual transmission vehicle smoothly, particularly a truck or other large vehicle is more difficult because of a more rigid transmission, larger engine and heavy flywheel.

When you drive smoothly a manual transmission car you should depress the clutch fully. If you can feel any slight movement, slightly depress the brake pedal. Then, move the stick into neutral. Take note that the neutral is usually between first and second gear. The gear stick moves freely from right to left when you’re in neutral gear position.

Fully depressed the clutch pedal, then slot the stick into the first gear. Release the clutch slowly and at the same time depress the gas pedal slowly and smoothly until the car begins to engage and moves forward slightly. You will notice a point when the head of your car in front of your sight jolts a bit. At this point, release your hand brake.

Continue releasing the clutch slowly as you press on the gas pedal. Keep the Revolution Per Minute (RPM) slightly above idle. You should manage this with the gas pedal as you consistently release the clutch. Then, continue adding more throttle slowly and release the clutch fully for you to accelerate smoothly and normally ahead.

More about the tips, visit our blog regularly. Learn Standard or Intensive Driving Lessons Leeds with us today!

Real Motoring Tuition

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Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7LA

Phone: 01943470202
Email: Contact@r-m-t.org.uk

Drive to get kids behind wheel at as young as 11

With studies showing that children who start learning to drive from as young as 11 are half as likely to have an accident when they pass their test, a petition to teach driving on the school curriculum has been launched in Britain, writes Lisa Salmon. Could the north benefit too?

LEARNING to drive starts from the age of 17, right? Wrong. Getting behind the wheel and learning to drive a car under proper supervision can start, on private land that doesn’t have public access, from as early as 11, when a child is tall enough to reach the vehicle controls.

And research shows that the earlier a young person starts learning to drive, the safer their driving becomes.

One in five new drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test and, every year, hundreds of people are killed in accidents involving young drivers throughout Ireland and Britain. But research shows that youngsters who start learning to drive under the age of 17, and in some cases from as young as 11, are half as likely to have an accident when they pass their test.

A number of driving schools in Britain are now teaching children under 17 how to drive, and a petition has been launched urging the British government to include driving on the school curriculum.

Kim Stanton, managing director of the pre-17 driving lessons provider, Young Driver, which has launched the petition, says: “Driving a vehicle is potentially one of the most dangerous and responsible things a person can do. Learning to drive should be done over a long period, and from a young age, when pupils are more receptive to safety messages.

“Research shows that road safety messages are better absorbed by children in their early teens rather than at driving age. By having this take place at school, it can be made inclusive for all.”

The petition is backed by motoring organisations including the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the RAC, the Driving Instructors Association, and motoring expert and TV presenter Quentin Willson, whose son, aged 16, and 11-year-old daughter, have both started driving lessons.

“I think it’s vital – it’s a road safety revolution in the making,” says Willson. “If we could get this on the curriculum, so the opportunity was open to all, it would have huge ramifications in terms of the safety of our young people. And, as both a father and road user, that’s certainly something I want to back – 100,000 signatures could help save 400 precious lives every year.”

Although young drivers can’t start learning to drive a car on public roads until they get their provisional licence when they’re 17, driving lessons can be held on road systems created using cones and road signs on private land, such as car parks that are closed to the public.

Driving schools like Young Driver use dual-controlled cars with insurance for lessons provided by qualified CRB-checked driving instructors, and drivers from the age of 11, and at least 1.42m tall, learn everything from changing gears and parking, to using roundabouts and even manoeuvring a slalom. Lessons mirror those taken on the road at 17, but give youngsters the chance to take their time without any pressure to pass a test.

“The accidents that young drivers have are usually down to a lack of experience and not having the right training,” Stanton explains.

“By starting at a younger age, you can more easily focus on attitude and behaviour and you have a better chance of tackling a young person’s sense of invulnerability.”

But while children can learn the basics of driving and how to control a car from the age of 11, the fact they aren’t legally allowed to drive on public roads until they’re 17 means they can’t experience how to deal with other traffic.

Stanton agrees that full driver education needs to involve driving on real roads and learning to deal with other road users, but she points out this can be learned after the age of 17, when the practical side of driving, such as changing gear and steering, has been mastered earlier on.

“When they get on the road at 17, they can spend driving lesson time focusing much more on interaction with other road users, rather than concentrating on when they need to use the clutch, for example,” she says.

“Even if you just have four hours of driving a year from the age of 11, that’s a lot of hours behind the wheel by the time you get to the age of 17, when you can then learn to socialise with the traffic out on the public roads.”

Stanton says Young Driver is already providing lessons in some schools, but stresses: “Our goal is to get this on the school curriculum. The government says there isn’t the money to do that, but the cost of 400 young deaths a year, let alone all the serious accidents that happen to these very young people who’ve just passed their test, is massive, and learning to drive earlier can help tackle that.”

Mark Lewis, director of standards for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, agrees that the driving education youngsters currently receive is inadequate.

“The high number of accidents and the sad loss of life as a result of unprepared young drivers urgently needs to be tackled,” he stresses.

“Learning such an important skill shouldn’t potentially be done and dusted in a few short months – there needs to be more done at an earlier stage.”