Monthly Archives: May 2013

May 31, 2013

THE DSA want to remind driving instructors that customer service is just as important as being qualified as an ADI.

Customer service can often get overlooked as seemingly more important issues take priority.

Being a driving instructor, whether as a one-man-band, with a school or a large organisation, you are representing yourself and your business.

Pupils are your customers. Just like you are a customer when you go shopping or go on holiday, you expect a certain service.

Starting with the basics, as a pupil you would want to enter a clean car that has enough fuel to complete your lesson and doesn’t smell. You would want your instructor to be clean, presentable and friendly. And for the instructor to pay attention, not use their mobile phone or take a fag break when you have paid for their time.

A good trainer will get recommendations and their business will grow based on positive feedback, but you need to achieve this first.

The DSA have often received complaints from pupils whose instructor has not turned up and provided no explanation, left a pupil stranded, taken money and then done a disappearing act.

So when planning a lesson or thinking of new ways to teach a manoeuvre, also think about how you are going to stand out from the rest, go that extra mile and leave your customers with a smile on their face.

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May 30, 2013
Road Rules Involving Emergency Vehicles

Picture the scenario; you are in your car, stuck at the front of a long line of traffic, waiting for the light to turn green, when suddenly, flashing lights appear behind you, sirens screaming and urging all drivers to clear a path immediately. You have a choice, you can either remain stationary, and allow this ambulance, police car, or fire tender to pass it’s in own time, or you can make the split-second decision to move to allow the emergency vehicle safe passage. What do you do?

Recent surveys have shown that almost half of all UK motorists believe that in the event of traffic being stopped due to an emergency, a lane should be kept free to allow emergency vehicles to pass or to access the emergency without delays. Most also tended to agree with trial runs being tested in Europe, whereby drivers can be fined for remaining in the way of an emergency vehicle.

Over a third of those questioned admitted to not being fully aware on the rules regarding emergency vehicles, with 1 in three willing to break laws to allow ambulances and police cars to pass, such as by going through a red light or entering a bus lane – despite both of these courses of action remaining illegal, even in these circumstances.

Almost half of drivers involved in the survey consider it unfair to prosecute a driver for breaking a law to allow an emergency vehicle to pass. In some cases, after receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) the charge can be waived under extreme circumstances when the relevant authority can confirm that the vehicle in question was indeed in the area at this time en route to attending an emergency.

When it comes to going through a red light to allow the emergency vehicle to pass, motorists seem to be split down the middle, with half refusing to cross a red light under any circumstances, whilst another half are willing to flout this rule – despite a massive 82% aware that this is still illegal.

The recommended actions to take in this situation are as follows:

–          Move wherever possible, without breaking a law. If you can switch lanes to allow an emergency vehicle to pass, or if you can pull over safely after indicating, without danger of causing harm to yourself or any other motorists, then do so.

–          Never enter a bus lane or cross on a red light, under any circumstances. Not only is this illegal regardless of the circumstance, it is also highly dangerous. Don’t open yourself up to unnecessary danger or prosecution – move only when safe and legal to do so.

–          Remember, these are professionals. Drivers of emergency vehicles are given authorisation to ignore rules when necessary, such as travelling above the speed limit and crossing on red lights, and they are given this authorisation to do this so you don’t have to.

Stay alert for emergency vehicles, and stay safe. Try not to obstruct them when possible (how would you feel if it was your loved ones in need of the emergency services?), but above all stay safe – otherwise it might end up being you who needs their services.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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May 29, 2013

Association of Chief Police Officers have challenged Vauxhall to build a police car packed with gadgets.

The car maker took an Astra and kitted it out with extras only the police could opt for. Extras such as three computers armed with forensics and face-recognition software.

The car also boasts high-definition cameras that will pick up images outside of the vehicle, even scanning faces.

It is hoped that by allowing officers to take their office with them, 000they can spend longer in the field.

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May 28, 2013
New Plans to Highlight Cyclist Care for Learner Drivers

Two of the UK’s most popular driving schools have revealed plans to teach cyclist awareness to its pupils.

Both the AA Driving School and the British School of Motoring have announced their decision to introduce a module to their lessons to encourage their students how to correctly avoid accidents with cyclists.

Amongst the key points of this new initiative are worksheets highlighting key facts and statistics about cyclists on UK roads, aimed to promote the consideration motorists show cyclists on a daily basis.

The main aim of the move is to reduce the amount of accidents involving drivers and cyclists. Last year the number of cyclists killed on British roads was at its highest in five years, with 122 killed in 2012- 14 of which were in London alone.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, has spoken of the new plans, saying: “I am personally committed to breaking down the ‘two-tribes’ attitude displayed between some drivers and cyclists. I am convinced that this initiative will change attitudes and save lives.”

Mark Peacock, the head of BSM, added to this with: “It can be intimidating and confusing for learners the first few times they come across a cyclist. Understanding why cyclists behave in certain ways, such as avoiding potholes or how they are affected in strong winds, is key to being safe around them.”

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond welcomed the initiative, saying Anything that improves the safety of cyclists is to be welcomed, and it is great to see driving schools taking the initiative to build on what is already in the driving syllabus.”

One of the main issues highlighted by those in charge is the tribal attitude tantamount to rivalry in terms of the relationship between drivers and cyclists, which the move intends to eliminate. To this end, Scottish government agency Transport Scotland launches its “mutual respect” campaign later to this year, to encourage positive relationships between users of both transport forms.

The CEO of Cycling Scotland (a charity funded by Transport Scotland) Ian Aitken has said of the plans: “Research carried out for our campaign revealed that many drivers are simply unsure of the correct way to pass cyclists.”

The problems highlighted here seem to be much more prominent north of the border. The number of cyclists injured or killed in Scotland has risen in recent years, with recent figures suggesting that the average number of victims was 143 per annum between 2004-2008, with this number rising to 156 on average between 2007-2011.

Scotland has been a pro-cycling nation for some time, even launching a government-backed Action Plan for cyclists three years ago, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that 10% of journeys will be undertaken on a bicycle by the year 2020.

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May 27, 2013

With some learners failing their driving test the first time or even the second, third or fourth time, it can become very expensive coming face to face with an examiner.

Research has found that failed driving tests are costing learners in the region of £52m a year.

Tests cost £62 to book and many pupils after failing don’t want to or can’t afford to take lessons in-between, so simply book another test. The problem with this is they then find themselves not quite ready and often fail again costing them even more.

Our advice to pupils that fail, keep having a few lessons in-between test dates to keep the consistency there. Working on the minor points that lead to failing the last test, will hopefully see you pass next time with flying colours.

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May 24, 2013

The British have always thought themselves to be polite, not complain and wait patiently for things. Although this might not be true when we take to the roads!

Research found that UK commuters are none of these things, with a third of respondents admitting to speeding, 14% travelling too fast for the road conditions and 13% changing lanes without looking.

Perhaps even more interestingly of all those questioned, a fifth of them were not regretful and blamed their habits on other road users.

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May 23, 2013
Millions of Motorists Guilty of Doze-Driving

Do you think you’re safe whilst driving? Think again! New research has provided shocking figures that reveal that over 3 million Britons have fallen asleep whilst driving… and this is only in the last year!

A survey for the car insurance firm LV suggests that out of 38 million UK drivers, 3.4 million of these have admitted to doze-driving. This equates to almost one in every ten drivers.

One in five of those surveyed owned up to struggling to stay awake behind the wheel, and almost one in three was guilty of driving whilst drowsy!

Many of these drivers attributed their weariness to long monotonous roads, sleep deprivation, long hauls on the way to a holiday, or leaving work late.

The survey also suggests that at an average speed of 50mph, and an average distance of driving whilst dozing of 26 metres (or 85 feet), this equates to over 55, 000 miles covered by drivers who weren’t even fully awake at the wheel in the last year!

Whilst this may sound like an amusing statistic, over the last 5 years at least 3,357 accidents have been caused on UK roads related to motorists driving whilst tired.

John O’ Roarke, The Managing Director of LV Car Insurance has said: Falling asleep while driving, even momentarily, is extremely dangerous but taking regular breaks from driving can help prevent it.

“If you know you are going to be driving long distance, plan ahead and make sure you have sufficient time to rest.”

So if you’re taking a long journey, or driving after a long day, make sure you don’t feel too tired, or simply delay your journey if you do.  If you start to feel tired in the middle of a journey, pull over into a service station and drink a cup of strong coffee and take a short nap while you wait for the caffeine to kick in. This may cost you a little time in your day and make the long journey even longer, but if you risk driving whilst tired, it could end up costing you much more.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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May 22, 2013

A driver lied to a nurse about his blood sugar levels, never informed the DVLA about having diabetes and then lost control of his car hitting a pedestrian.

Darren Lock, 41 drove his car in Bedford last June despite knowing his blood sugar levels were low and caused destruction along the way.

He caused drivers to swerve, clipped a wing mirror and drove with his front bumper hanging off before he finally stopped, only after hitting a pedestrian.

Mr Dawkins, who was hit, suffered two broken neck vertebrae, a broken arm, broken leg, a punctured lung and a burst artery. He had to spend a week in intensive care due to the injuries.

Prosecutor Kevin Barry issued Mr Lock with a three year driving ban and jailed him for six months.

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May 21, 2013
Driving Instructor Trainee Escapes Exam Car Blaze

A trainee driving instructor was forced to flee from his car when it suddenly burst into flames during an exam.

The fire service rushed to the scene on Johnston Avenue, Hebburn, South Tyneside, early Saturday morning, to tackle the blaze in the Peugeot 307.

The vehicles driver was in the middle of a lesson during his training to be a driving instructor. He was currently in the car with his own driving examiner, who had requested he pull over so that he could ask him a few routine questions.

Whilst in the midst of the questioning, the pair noticed some smoke coming from under the dashboard. Despite heavy rainfall outside of the car, the two men decided to exit the vehicle, and not a moment too soon, as within a few minutes the car had erupted completely into flames.

Tony Brew, the Watch Manager from South Shields Fire Station said that the two had made the right decision to leave the car for their own personal safety, because: “The fire spread very rapidly. There’s a lot of plastic and electrical wiring in the dashboard and it’s very flammable.

“We can’t be 100 per cent how the fire started, but we think it was an electrical fault.”

He added: “It was raining very heavily but the car was well alight by the time we got there. The car was a write-off but nobody was injured.”

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May 20, 2013

Motorists in South Wales are being stopped at random and asked to read a number plate of a vehicle parked 20m (65ft) away.

During the crackdown held earlier this year, police stopped more than 800 drivers, handing out 29 cautions and seeing 9 drivers lose their licence due to bad eyesight.

Of the drivers found to have bad eyesight, as expected many were older drivers however, the police want to urge younger drivers to be responsible and get their eyes tested regularly.

South Wales Police’s road safety manager, Insp Wayne Tucker said: “We find these days young people aren’t having eyesight tests in schools like they used to and as they get older they’re not going to the optician and don’t realise the danger they are putting themselves and others in by driving.”

The random checks are thought to be continued and extended to the M4.

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