Monthly Archives: April 2014

April 30, 2014
Diesel Blamed For Health Crisis

Professor Frank Kelly, chairman of the Department of Health’s committee on air pollution, has stated that ministers have created a public health crisis by ‘blindly’ promoting diesel cars. He argues that diesel engines are potentially responsible for more than 7000 deaths a year in Britain.

More than half of UK-registered cars are diesel which had been promoted in the 1970s since they generate far less carbon dioxide than petrol vehicles. However, scientists have realised that diesel produces more particles and nitrogen oxides that can cause a variety of long-term health problems.

While catalytic converters have rapidly improved in petrol cars, advances have been slower in diesel until very recently. The toxic fumes pumped out by diesel cars were behind the smog which blanketed Britain at the beginning of April.

According to health experts, air pollution can cause strokes, asthma and heart failure.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


April 29, 2014
Automatic Vs Manual – The Great Debate

Since the dawn of time (it seems) the debate has raged on which is better – manual or automatic cars?

This argument seems to split driving lovers straight down the middle, with both sides taking a firm stance. And so they should – each point has its own advantages, but each also comes with problems too.

When it comes to learning to drive, an automatic is often suggested as the easier option – which is true. There is no clutch, therefore no clutch control, no gears, no stalling. However this does come with the limitation that passing your test in an automatic will only allow you to drive an automatic later in life (until finally passing in a manual car). For some, that is a fine choice.

Others will argue, vetoing this option in favour of the Manual counterpart. This may say, is “real driving”. Learning to control the clutch and gears like a pro takes time, effort and dedication, and so the reward is greater, giving a strong sense of satisfaction upon mastering the skill, as well as advantage of being able to drive both manual or geared cars in the future.

However long we debate this, we may never come to a conclusion. Both manual and automatic cars are driving after all, and everyone has their own personal tastes.

Safe driving from Britannia!

What are your thoughts on this article? Sound off in the comments below!


April 28, 2014
Awareness And Planning When Driving

A fundamental part of driving is forward planning and awareness. It is also what is assessed during the hazard perception section of the theory test. You should follow these steps:

– Scan along the road, looking out for all road users, checking rear-view and door mirrors for signs of vehicles. Get into the habit of doing this constantly when you’re driving, after some time it will become second nature and you won’t even need to make a conscious effort to do this. When you do this, you will need to take into account right turning traffic, road signs/markings, prohibited areas such as bus lanes, and all road users in both directions; junctions; intersections; crossings and other hazards.

– When changing direction or negotiating an obstruction, always apply the MSPSL routine. Do this in good time. If you are overtaking, is there a need? Is it legal? Is it safe? Is it necessary? Is it possible? If you can answer yes to all these questions, then you can commence the manoeuvre.

– When changing lanes, you should pay particular attention to vehicles in your destination lane. Are they holding back?

– Anticipate other road users, giving them adequate clearance. Also display a tolerant attitude to other road users.

– Make allowances for the weather, use the wipers, demisters and lights if applicable. Where it is sunny, make use of the sun visor and wear sunglasses.

Safe Driving from Britannia!

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April 25, 2014
Driving In Rain

Although we are all expecting Spring-time to appear at any moment, it is best to accept that even in the middle of the year, the rain is still likely to appear (this is Britain after all.)

Here are our top tips for driving in the rain:

– Drive slowly. In wet weather, you are much more likely to lose control of your vehicle, but driving even up to 5 mph slower reduces the risk of this greatly.

– Plan your journey. try to avoid roads that are likely to become waterlogged or flooded, as this will delay your journey time hugely, not to mention placing you in danger.

– Watch out for puddles. Britannia has reported in the past about drivers being penalised for driving through puddles. Drive as far from the pavement as possible.

– Check your windscreen wipers before setting off. Although it sounds obvious, a lot of accidents are caused by faulty or non-functioning windscreen wipers. Without these working fully, your vision is likely to become obscured, placing yourself and others in immediate danger.

Safe driving this wet summer from Britannia!

What are your thoughts on this article? Sound off in the comments section below!


April 24, 2014
I passed my test! Now what?

Anyone who has learnt to drive, knows the joy once you pass your practical test. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, as a new driver you now need to learn to become an experienced driver:

Of course, you need to keep driving. There is no point in obtaining a full licence if you are not going to drive. The Safety Code for New Drivers issued by the government will help you drive safely in your first year. The guidance includes warning you not to drive between midnight and 6am as this is the most dangerous time to drive and not speeding or driving under the influence of drink and drugs. As a new driver, you will want to drive around with friends but you must make sure that you don’t let passengers distract you especially as a new driver.

Importantly, you must make sure you are insured to drive. Although insurance is expensive as a new driver, it is an offence to drive without it. If you accumulate more than six penalty points within two years of passing your test, you will lose your licence and will have to go through the whole process of passing both test again. And as a new driver, you would not want to risk that after all the effort you have put in!

It is also a good idea to take some lessons on the motorway and in difficult conditions. Driving on the motorway can be a daunting experience and so going on the motorway for the first time in an instructor car is the safest and easiest way to do so. The Pass Plus course would give you the chance to have motorway lessons and practice driving in difficult conditions such as in the evening. It could also save you money on your car insurance!

So, congratulations on passing your driving test but make sure you remember these points to start you off as a new driver! Let us know your thoughts by using the comments link below:

Safe driving from Britannia!


April 23, 2014
Half Of Motorists Use Phone Whilst Driving

Almost half of all motorists have admitted to using their phone whilst behind the wheel, despite mobile use while driving being banned for 10 years.

A survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line found three in 10 drivers send or read texts while driving, and one in eight use apps. The charity believes that the current ban on using hand-held devices behind the wheels has left many drivers unaware that using a hands-free mobile at the wheel is just as risky. However, studies have shown the risk of being in a crash that causes injury is increased four times for drivers on both hand-held and hands-free phones, with reactions 50% slower than under normal conditions.

It has been shown that the effect of using a phone whilst driving is greater than drinking certain levels of alcohol. Reaction times have been found to be 30% slower while using a hands-free phone than driving with a blood alcohol level of 80mg/100ml blood (the current UK limit).

A recent survey has found that phone use whilst driving is the UK’s most hated habit, with it appearing as more of a nuisance to older motorists.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


April 22, 2014
Apple to Save Texters from Driving Disasters

An innovative solution from tech giants Apple could soon put a stop to motorists who drive whilst texting.

The Apple patent, titled “Driver Handheld Computing Device lock-Out” was published on Tuesday, and suggests a variety of ways to limit those behind the wheel from using their phones.

One of the ways it would work is by using the phone’s in-built sensors to detect movement above a certain speed that would suggest the user is driving, or by using the phone’s camera to detect if the phone is being held by the driver.

If the phone recognises that its owner is indeed behind a wheel, it would automatically disable any other functions such as texting or calling.

Another concept proposed was that the phone would be silenced by the car itself – in that once the ignition is started, a signal would be sent to jam the phone until the engine has been shut off once more.

Whilst both ideas sound feasible, this technology may be a long way off hitting the market.

What are your thoughts on this article? Sound off in the comments section below!

Safe driving from Britannia!


April 21, 2014
10,000 New Licences Revoked

10,797 drivers with fewer than two years’ experience lost their licences in 2012 a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA has found. Drivers who receive six or more points within the first two years of driving automatically have their licence revoked.

More than half of the licences revoked were found without insurance, with speeding being the second most common cause. Approximately 0.6% of licences were revoked as a result of driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Scott Pendry of the Association of British Insurers said that uninsured drivers are much easier to catch hence being the reason for most of the licences being revoked. Road Safety charity Brake has expressed concern in these figures stating that it seeks to protect new drivers by educating them in the risks of driving uninsured.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


April 18, 2014
Bank Holiday Driving

As we edge into the longed-for Easter Bank Holiday weekend, whilst many of us will be looking forward to taking countryside drives, family days out or even a long weekend away, it is necessary to bear in mind that the roads will become much busier at this time of year, and therefore much more dangerous.

Here are Britannia’s top tips to avoid the Bank Holiday Mayhem:

Plan your journey. If you are going for a drive, try to avoid roads with heavy congestion, such as motorways at rush hour or main roads into town and city centres.

Prepare well. Whilst this is a vital precaution for all journeys, this goes double for Bank Holidays. Perform your pre-flight checks before any long journey – this includes oil, petrol, water, electrics, lights, brakes, the works.

Drive respectfully. While other drivers may be driving erratically in the summer sun or ignoring any sense of road etiquette, drive respectfully to other drivers and they will be much more likely to drive respectfully to you.

Safe driving this Bank Holiday Weekend from Britannia!

What are your thoughts on this article? Sound off in the comments section below!


April 17, 2014
The New Standards Check

The Check Test has been updated into the new Standards Check on 7th April, which with it brings a new grading system.

The standards check involves the driving examiner accompanying and observing the ADI on a normal one hour lesson. It is purely a practical in-car assessment and no off-road or classroom alternatives will be offered.

The typical scenarios that you might be assessed for include: inexperienced learner, experienced learner, new full licence holder and experienced full licence holder.

The assessment looks at 3 broad areas: lesson planning, risk management, teaching and learning strategies.

To pass the ADI must:

– Actively recognise the need to understand the pupil’s experience and background
– Ask suitable questions
– Encourage the pupil to talk about their goals, concerns etc. and actively listen to what the pupil has to say
– Understand the significant of what they say
– Recognise other indications, e.g. body language, that the pupil is trying to express something but perhaps cannot find the right words

You have the opportunity to gain up to 51 marks which will dictate your final grade.

What are your thoughts on the replacement of the Check Test with the Standards Check? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below: