ITS NOT BIG AND ITS NOT CLEVER
So the rain has hit the Bury and Bolton region yet again, the River Irwell is rising and the signs of the flooding are appearing once again, making driving treacherous.
I see so many videos on facebook of people driving through water that really is a little too deep to call a puddle. Although it may seem like fun to drive through the water but trust me. For instance did you know its illegal to splash somebody as you drive through a puddle, its classified as “Careless Driving”
“”Since 2013 careless driving can be dealt with by a Fixed Penalty Notice with a £100 fine and three penalty points. “If, however, they refuse [the notice] then they will face a magistrate who could impose a fine up to £5,000, although the maximum is very unlikely.”
I know that sometimes its hard not to go out driving, jobs need doing etc. Before you do go out ask yourself, is your journey really necessary and will you actually be able to complete the job in hand anyway. For example only today the M66 was closed due to flooding would you have completed your journey ?
What most people don’t take into consideration is what damage the water may be doing to there car ?
This might sound really daft, but did you know driving through any puddle (never mind flood water) WILL PUT WATER INTO YOUR BRAKES !!!! Now why would you want to do that.
Driving through deep water could easily…….
HOW TO DRIVE THROUGH FLOOD WATER
I hope you have found this short post useful.
Graham Owner – Get Driving Today
T: 01204 265055
TXT / WHATSAPP 07772843239
All Change !
So after over a year since it was first mooted, its official if you are learning to drive in Bolton and Bury then the new UK driving test coming into effect on Monday 4th December 2017 could affect you !
The driving instructor community it has to be said has a very mixed feelings to some of the changes, however here at Get Driving Today HQ we are welcoming the changes wholeheartedly and can confirm that from Tuesday 18th April all of our customers will be covering everything involved with both the current test along with the new test at the end of the year.
Farewell Reversing around a corner !!
If somebody can tell me the point of reversing around a corner to the level the current test asks for, then I am all ears, but I can honestly say that in the 33 years that have passed since I passed my driving test I have never reversed around a corner to that level, and will no longer be teaching it to that level, once the new test comes into operation. However, I have to question the taking away of the Turn in the Road (Some call it a three point turn), and would expect to find that as it is no longer to be tested then some instructors will not teach it. Turning a car around in a confined space is a skill that is required and I can confirm that we will still be ensuring our customers can complete this task before gaining their full driving licence. Imagine driving into a narrow street, finding out it’s the wrong street, and are unable to turn your car around.
Defying the Highway Code !
The “new” reversing manoeuvre is a strange one and one that is the main bone of contention in the driver training industry. “Pull over on the right hand side of the road reverse back two car lengths and then drive away as normal” Everybody does it, its not necessarily dangerous if done in the right place and correctly carried out but…….. Should we be testing something the highway clearly suggests you shouldn’t do ? It doesn’t say MUST NOT so its not actually illegal, however it does say “DO NOT” meaning it’s not recommended and is not best practice.
“Rule 239 – Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside: do not park facing against the traffic flow …. Read the full rule here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/waiting-and-parking-238-to-252”
We will ensure that all of our clients can safely carry out this manoeuvre, however we will be stressing the importance of only doing it whenever it is absolutely necessary and safe to do so.
Following a Sat Nav is becoming an essential skill, when our clients become independent drivers most of them are nervous of finding their way around and simply tell me they will have a Sat Nav to help them. So teaching how to use a Sat Nav, but not trusting its every word is likely to be an essential skill, to pass on to all new drivers.
Thanks for reading
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Taken from the official DVSA web site at www.gov.uk
The 4 driving test changes
If you would like a no obligation chat on learning to drive or how the new test will affect you why not give us a call on 01204 265055 or 07772843239
Lots of you will be aware of the extremely large amount of roadworks currently occurring on the regions main Motorway the M60 and onto the M62 towards Rochdale. Well unless you have lived in a box or a just simply blissfully unaware of any goings on they are changing it to a “Smart Motorway”
So what on earth is a “Smart MotorWay”
A smart motorway uses technology to actively manage the flow of traffic. The technology is controlled from a regional traffic control centre. The control centres monitor traffic carefully and can activate and change signs and speed limits. This helps keep the traffic flowing freely, using the hard shoulder at busier times to help keep the traffic flowing.
Smart motorways increase the capacity of the road, without the expense and hassle of widening the road, by either temporarily or permanently opening the hard shoulder to traffic.
Beware of the RED CROSS
No, not the international aid charity, they do fantastic work. We are talking about a Red Cross above your lane. IF this displays on a Smart Motorway then you must move out of that lane as soon as it is safe, if you don’t then you risk a fine.
Watch your Speed.
Smart Motorways are monitored 24×7 and are aware of not just traffic accidents but also the weight of the flow of traffic. So depending on incidents and traffic flow the speed limits will change accordingly, so please don’t fall into the trap of the speed limit yesterday was 70, so it must be 70 today, an inicident or a busier time of day may change this limit.
Its dead easy to find out the speed limit as this will be clearly displayed on the many overhead gantries, so there will be no excuses for exceeding the current limit[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C5oDYA6hkY[/embedyt]
10 lessons for £99, Guaranteed Pass I am sure you have seen these offers and thought Wow! What a deal I’ll have a bit of that…. But are they what they seem ?
CAVEAT EMPTOR !!! Lots of you will have heard this before, a lot of you will know what it means, for those that don’t it translates into one of the most important sayings you could think of when choosing the right driving instructor in Bolton, Bury and surrounding areas. Caveat Emptor – “LET THE BUYER BEWARE”
Beware of what ?
There are so many different instructors out there, some are multi car national driving schools, some are multi car local driving schools and some are single car driving instructors. Each of these are all trying to get you to join them and part with your cash with the goal of getting you your driving licence.
Let me now simplify things a little bit for you, whether you choose a national driving school, or a multi car local driving school, your driving instructor will be a self employed local driving instructor working for him or herself. This industry does NOT employ driving instructors.
Have you tried Googling a driving instructor in your area for example “driving instructor bury “or “driving instructor Bolton” ? If you have you will receive in return 10’s of pages of driving instructors. Just because they are on page one of google, does not mean they are a better instructor than someone on page 10, it just means they are better at some techie stuff or are happy to spend money on getting onto that lucrative page, to find the right instructor for you then delve into some of those later pages, a couple of extra mouse clicks or screen taps could save you quite a bit of your hard earned cash.
You will have no doubt seen many offers to entice you to choose a particular driving school, and this really is where THE BUYER NEEDS TO BE AWARE ………lets take a look at just a couple of them
10 lessons for £99
On paper and easy on they eye, this looks an absolutely fantastic offer, who wouldn’t want 10 hours of lessons for just £9.90 each. Before making that call and speaking to one of the nicest people you could want to talk to (this is unlikely to be your instructor and they are trained to get you signed up), check the terms and conditions first.
This tends to be how your 10 hours for £99 looks in reality.
So looking at the above does it now look as tempting an offer as it did originally ? If it still looks good to you, then please save some cash and go and book it.
Hey if someone can guarantee you can pass your driving test, they are either lieing, or are bribing an examiner. Nobody can take into consideration what happens on test day. However if you still fancy this offer then once again give them a call, but I would recommend getting that guarantee in writing.
So my warning to you before choosing any driving instructor be they a national school, multi-car local school or a solo driving instructor would be ;
If you would like more information on how to find the right driving instructor for you there’s a great email guide here. “FIND THE RIGHT INSTRUCTOR FOR YOU”
Thanks for reading and stay safe.
Like the title says 20 MPH limits have a place but let’s be sensible about them.
No doubt you will have noticed a whole host of new speed limit changes around recently, with lots of roads and whole area’s being reduced to 20 mph.
Opinion is divided greatly on whether or not the change to 20 mph has any real impact on road safety. In many cases the speed has been reduced due to to many drivers exceeding the speed limit with a disregard for the 30 mph speed limit, so I would ask why would these same people now take notice of a 20 mph sign, it all seems a little pointless. Or maybe it’s just me being a little cynical.
If you want to reduce actual speed surely it would be more logical to put in bollards, and chicanes and narrow the road, putting a new sign up, really is a pointless exercise.
Don’t get me wrong I am not against 20 mph zones in area’s where more caution is required, for examples school’s and area’s with a high risk of accidents etc but a blanket restriction just because it’s in a residential area I don’t personally think is a good idea and a waste of money from already cash strapped councils.
20 WHEN LIGHTS FLASH
Have you seen this sign recently ?
Now here’s a good idea, reduce the speed outside schools at the start and end of each school day, now that’s common sense.
If the lights are flashing you should find a crossing patrol (lollipop person) in the immediate vicinity so take care.
Once you have passed the school you will not get a 30 mph sign telling you to speed back up, just ensure you are well clear of the school and carry on on your merry way.
For those living in Bury take a look at this page telling you the idea behind all the speed limit changes along with a check as to when area’s will be changing http://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=11303
Thanks for reading – and don’t forget to visit often for further blog posts.
With another half term over and done with thousands of youngsters are now back at school and, if they are in Year 2 or Year 6, will be hitting preparation for their SAT’s with renewed vigour.
Much has been made of standardised testing, that it’s more for the benefit of gauging the school and teaching abilities rather than the levels reached by children. Perhaps undue pressure is being placed on children; certainly no six year old should be crying because they worry about failing a test. However, a driving school blog is not the place to wax lyrical about the rights and wrongs of the English education system.
That said, the spectre of teaching to the test, rather than simply educating pupils, is one that hangs over us driving instructors just as much as the primary and secondary school teachers. So trust me when I say teachers of the UK “we feel your pain”.
Countless times I have heard that us instructors simply teach you how to pass your driving test. I don’t want to criticise my fellow instructors, but it’s true, some will take this approach; however, it’s short sighted, not to mention intensely dangerous. Your driving test is there to assess how safe you are on the roads – if you fail it is because your examiner believes you would pose a danger to yourself, and other road users, were you to be allowed to drive alone.
Learning to drive is therefore much, much more than simply learning how to convince someone you have what it takes. Driving is more than the sum of boxes ticked on a spreadsheet and a combined score at the end.
Like every instructor I want you to pass your test. Whilst charging you for every lesson does help pay my bills, I’d be a pretty terrible instructor if all I did was teach. At the end of the day you need to get out there and be able to do it on your own. However, I’d be an equally terrible instructor if all you had at the end of our time together was an ability to pass a test.
I want you to leave the GDT car with that pass certificate in your hand knowing that you can drive. Confident in your own abilities that you genuinely have all the skills, knowledge and information at hand to be able to cope with the wide variety of different situations that are likely to be thrown at you throughout your time behind the wheel.
This is what all teachers want for their pupils and students – the ability to go out and function in the real world. To not just know what the answer is, but to understand why it is. We want to work to the speed of the person we are teaching, not to our own personal timeline, or an arbitrary one set by a governing body. Nobody learns well when the focus is purely on passing a test.
If you let us teach you the way we know works, then you will pass.
Getting that all important pass is a huge step – and something that all learner drivers covet. Some people argue that it’s not until you pass your test that you actually learn to drive, of course, we’d dispute that; however, there are some realities of driving that may have passed you by whilst you still had the safety of the L plates to protect you.
As you become an experienced driver certain things will become muscle memory and automatic. We genuinely hope that doesn’t mean you’re any less alert, but instead that you feel more comfortable and confident in what you are doing. That means you’re also more likely to pay attention to other things that may have escaped your notice whilst you were worrying about biting points and clutch control.
One such reality of driving is the fact that you can seemingly wait for days before someone will let you out of a junction. All you want to do is get to work, all you have to do is get on to the main road, but first you have to find someone that is going to let you turn on to that busy road. Finding someone, during rush hour, that is in good enough a mood to slow down and let you out can seem like looking for the Holy Grail.
It’s one of those challenges that often doesn’t present itself until you are driving alone. The simple fact is that many of us are busy and often in a rush. Slowing down and helping out our fellow man (or woman) is not always on our list of priorities as we battle the school run or fight our way to the office. So how do you encourage someone to take a second out of their day to do you a favour? Well, how about this for an idea ? try a bit of flirting :>) .
We’re not talking about winking, blowing kisses or anything as drastic but a nice bit of old fashioned eye contact and a cheesy smile won’t do you any harm. People behave differently when they know they are being watched, so if you are able to make eye contact with a fellow driver, they are statistically more likely to slow down and let you out. Equally, a smile will soften the heart of even the grumpiest driver who will no doubt reciprocate and feel obligated to be nice and helpful.
That said, some people do take flirting a touch too far and don’t use it to simply gain driving advantages when it comes to changing lanes are manoeuvring junctions. In a report conducted last year 41% of the 3,000 drivers asked admitted that they spent time flirting with fellow drivers when they should have been paying attention to the roads. A startling 15% had near-misses when it came to their flirtatious driving style.
It’s clear therefore that a bit of “common sense” is essential when it comes to the wink, smile, manoeuvre approach to driving. But what else can impact your ability to get let out when you need to? According to other reports if your car is particularly “flashy” you may find you have to wait longer than someone with a less ostentatious ride. Equally, if you do not look like you are paying attention then people are less inclined to stop to let you out, especially if they think it will take you a while to react.
Your best bet is to look alert (which you should be), lean forward (so that you look like you are ready to go) but do not actually edge out. Be visible, smile and acknowledge those who have taken the time to be kind.
Welcome to the first in this series of blog posts, highlighting some of the more difficult sections of road on our local test routes. I thought I would start with what I affectionately call THE WIDOW MAKER. I named it the Widow Maker because it really can be a make or break place on one of the Bury Driving test routes.
The Widow Maker is one of those places that for some reason lots of learners and even some experienced drivers think eeeeeek, all it is, is a set of traffic lights placed at the top of a steep hill on the outskirts of Heywood so comes under the jurisdiction of Bury Driving Test Centre.
The key to taking away all the problems in my personal opinion is the approach, you can see the lights shining in the distance from a long, long way away, in fact its probably around a 1/4 of a mile away, so there really is no excuse to not have monitored the length of time they have been on either red or green.
The highest gear you will go around this steep / bend is second gear, so there really is no excuse not to have the speed and gear ready in plenty of time regardless of colour of the traffic lights on approach.
So why do so many people fail their tests here ? There are three main reasons I can think of.
1: Not having enough confidence and skill to operate clutch control and acceleration to make a smooth set off, if the lights are or on red, hence stalling and missing the sequence of lights and holding up traffic behind.
2: Racing the lights because you really dont want to have to stop because of reason 1 above, this tends to mean you try and go around in gear three, and that really doesn’t have enough power to get you around the corner without going too wide.
3: Now this one’s sneeky, around 150 metres before the lights the speed limit changes to 40mph (easily missed if you are worrying about the lights), for those that see it all well and good. However it has been known that a perfect approach to the lights and navigating the hill what with the self congratulations and back slapping for doing the hill really well the prospective driver forgets the speed limit is 30 and then goes on to fail their test for driving too slowly on a 40mph road.
So whats the answer ? (To view the short video below in HD , you may need to click the settings icon, bottom left to HD)
The Widow Maker is for many learners something that just needs practice, on this hill and other steeper inclines so as to have the confidence to cope with whatever is ahead be it a steep hill, sharp corner or a reversing bin lorry going the wrong way down a one way street.
I hope you have found this article useful, until next time
Choosing the right driving school can in someways be like finding a needle in a haystack. You will undoubtedly have a whole range of questions you want answering before parting with your hard earned cash to a stranger, for example ?
1: Are they any good ? Well thats where you may have to do some research first. Anybody can tell you they are good, but are they really? The best way to find out has to be recommendations from other people or to look if they have had any reviews from previous customers. Obviously any one can create a review so they should be verified and if possible contactable.
Although the instructors pass rate is important, this can be a a bit of an ambiguous question as every one knows there are lies, more lies, and statistics. It really is easy to fiddle the figures to suit the situation.
2: How will I learn ? – Thats simple to answer choose us and we will teach you how YOU learn and not how we teach ? Everybody has their own learning style and it is our job to find out what yours is. If you arent taught how YOU learn, then you are likely to find it difficult and much more expensive.
3: How long will it take to pass my driving test ? – How long is a piece of string ? Learning to drive is a practical skill, and cannot be related to school and college A levels and GCSE’s (Do they still exist). eg We dont start in September and take the exam some 8 months later. The whole process takes, what it takes. You can Google the question which will advise that for a brand new driver this will take around 45 hrs of professional training along with a further 20 odd of private practice. However as I said earlier it takes what it takes, if we can get you their in less WE WILL. My promise to you is we will get you to test standard in as few hours as we possibly can.
So why Choose GDT
1: We have a fantastic line of recommendations in fact 80% of our diary is filled with people who have been recommended to us from previous successful clients. If you visit our home page, at the bottom you will also see a large list of verified recommendations.
2: We will help you with every single aspect of getting on the road, in a way that no other driving school I know of will, we will help you.
As you can see here at GDT we want you to have a pleasant experience in not only learning to drive, but for years of happy safe driving afterwards
Graham Evans (Owner ) GDT
CALL US TODAY AND LET US HELP YOU GET ON THE ROAD
T: 01204 265055 OR M: 07772843239
The first question you need to ask yourself is is the animal actually an “animal” in the eyes of the law. According to the Road Traffic act of 1988 you only have to inform the police and report the incident if the animal is either a dog, goat, horse, cattle, donkey, mule, sheep or a pig.
If you have to stop, you must stay with your car long enough for any affected parties to ask for details if they need to. For example, this could be the owner of an injured animal, the RSPCA or the police.
If you MUST approach the injured animal, approach with caution, it is likely to be nervous, scared and could attack you for self preservation, remember its an animal and doesnt actually know you are trying to help it. If the animal does let you approach it, and it looks like it could be someones pet, try and look for an ID tag on its collar.
If you find an injured wild animal on the road. Simply call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, or if possible take it to a vet. don’t worry about the vets fee’s as you will not be held responsible.
I know, I know. As you will have noticed cats are NOT on the list of animals that you need to report to the police. However should you be involved in an accident with a cat our advice would be to either contact your nearest vet or you can contact the local Cat protection league (Bolton details are Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 07760 780759
I recently started a new client, who after hearing his initial story made me stop and think a little as to how many people drive around in a car blissfully unaware that they are NOT insured.
I cant mention names etc however this new client came to me as somebody who had had their licence revoked due to accumulating six points on his licence within the first two years after passing his original driving test succumbing to the probation period regarding the “New Drivers Act”.
Gaining a new client for having the licence revoked isn’t anything new and happens far more than people think, normally though they have gained the six points due to speeding, mobile phone use or traffic light offences all of which tend to be £100 fines accompanied by three penalty points on the drivers licence.
This one though was different, which makes me think how many people have just got lucky! Our client had been awarded the full six points in one offence for driving without insurance, it sounds terrible but bare with me it’s not as simple as it sounds. He was driving somebody else’s vehicle and thought he was covered to third party status by his own insurance. Their policy stated that if over 25 years of age they were covered third party to drive any other Category B (Car) with the owners consent. The problem being our client was only 22 thus declaring this clause in his policy as void.
In years gone by it was common place to believe that your own insurance policy covered you to drive another vehicle (with the owners consent) to third party cover, however modern day insurance policies are vary wide and varied DO NOT NORMALLY OFFER THIS COVER AS STANDARD.
The moral of this story is, if you are currently sharing a car or have cause to drive another vehicle and you believe your own vehicle insurance is covering you third party CHECK YOUR POLICY NOW !!!!!!! as it is highly likely that you are not covered and are driving illegally. If you are stopped by the police or have an accident and are charged with not having any insurance the penalties are wide ranging
The police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points if you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive.
If the case goes to court you could get a maximum fine of £5,000 and or disqualified from driving
The police also have the power to seize, and in some cases, destroy the vehicle that’s being driven uninsured.
Now go check your insurance policy !!
We have an extra special guest this week, as CT Bear joins us for a week in his quest to learn to drive. And even better news is the fact he has asked if he can blog is activities to help him remember his learning. Who am I to stop him, so enjoy and dont forget to check back daily to find out what he’s been up to.
Day One – Tuesday 4th November 2014
Day 2 – Wednesday 5th November
9:30 and before I can start driving I have to do my safety checks. Today Graham has told me that to be legal I must have at least 1.6mm tread on my tyres, however if I let them get that low then I may not stop as quickly as I think , so Graham recommends changing them at 3 mm.
12:00 : the driving is going really well, and my confidence is improving. Although Graham has had to nag me for not checking my blind spot before I move away, I really don’t want to kill a cyclist, but I just forget sometimes. Here’s me making a little extra effort to checking that damned blind spot.
8:30 pm – there’s no rest when learning to drive, I’ve got to study for my theory test. In using Theory Test Pro as its free for me as I’m learning with Graham at GDT.
Day 3 (Thursday 6th November)
10:00 am Nobody told me I had to make this thing go backwards, and around a corner too, how on earth am I supposed to do that. I’m sure there’s a point to this reversing around a corner but not sure why, but Graham says I’ve got to learn how to do it, so i’d better get on with it. OMG and now he tells me he wants me to look out of the back window as well. sometimes there’s just no pleasing some people, apparently its because that’s the way we are going.. pffffffft. And to rub salt in the wounds because im only little and cant see properly out of the back window he’s made me sit on a cushion :>(
14:00 – Go me, Go Me, I’ve just sat in the back of Beths driving test, I was placed there secretly so as to make sure the examiner didn’t cheat (So Graham says anyway), What a privilege it was to see somebody actually pass there driving test, although she did get the “easy” manouvre the Turn in the Road sssshhhhhhhh (I’m not allowed to call it a three point turn)
17:00 After a hard afternoon, reversing round corner, after, corner, after corner, I think I’ve satisfied Graham, although I think my neck is double jointed :>) … Ive got the evening off so Im going to go online and see all the nice messages that have been left for my friend Super Josh.