Instructors Tips

Instructors Tips

Mini Drive Instructors

We have a wealth of experience to share with all who are learning to drive. This blog has been setup to give information & advice to help with your lessons and any private practice. You can find more at minidrive.co.uk.

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Benefit from the British weather

General AdvicePosted by Gareth Price Sun, October 14, 2012 20:59:41
Learning to drive during the winter months is probably not the first choice for most people. Dark nights, cold frosty mornings, snow, rain, sleet, hail, wind and low bright sunshine. It's hard enough getting enough enthusiasm to go to work or college let alone learn how to drive. However, it is probably the best time to start learning.

The U.K. weather never changes. By this I mean it is and will always be, unpredictable. Therefore at some point you are going to have to drive in many, if not all the conditions listed above. So why not get professional instruction in the art of driving in the varying weather conditions this country dishes up every year. That way when you're driving to work or college on a cold frosty winters morning you can have the confidence to deal with the road conditions safely.

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Judging Traffic without any Risk

RoundaboutsPosted by Gareth Price Sun, March 11, 2012 21:30:44
Once you have learnt how to approach roundabouts safely, the next challenge you will face is being able to judge when you can move into the traffic flow.

Don't be worried if you find this difficult at first, most people do. However there is a way you can teach yourself the technique without any risk.

LOOKING EARLY FOR SPACE...
The first thing to realise is that you are not really looking for cars at a roundabout you are looking for space. If as you approach you see a vehicle coming from the right, don't immediately think "I've got to stop" look beyond the car to see if there is space behind it. This way you can adjust your speed so that the vehicle passes as you get to the roundabout and you can move in to the space after it. If there is a line of traffic then you will know that you have to stop. The key though is to start looking early at the traffic flow at a roundabout. If you leave it to the last few metres it's more likely to go wrong.

TRY IT FROM THE PASSENGER SEAT...
When you are in the passenger seat with parents or friends, practice looking at the traffic and trying to judge where each vehicle is going. But because you are in the passenger seat while someone else is driving there is no risk if you get it wrong. As you practice more you will get more confident that you can spot spaces in the traffic and identify opportunities to move into traffic. You should then be able to take this confidence into your own approaches into roundabouts.

So to recap,

Look early as you approach the roundabout looking for spaces in the traffic.
If possible adjust your speed to be able to use those spaces.
If there is no space then stop, and look for other spaces to move into.

Practice by sitting with parents and looking at the traffic flows.

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How much is your life worth? £155 could save your life...

General AdvicePosted by Gareth Price Sun, February 26, 2012 09:27:15

I recently posted a facebook comment regarding the merits of pass plus, and in response to those people who didn't see the point of it when it didn't reduce their insurance premiums.

"When are people gonna realise that the public road is a very dangerous and life threatening place to be if you are not properly prepared! Passing the test is only a way of showing you have a basic competence behind the wheel. It takes Practice to become a competent driver and that costs money!! Far too many people make cost a higher priority than their own lives! The uk road network, especially the motorways, are some of the busiest and most dangerous roads in europe! You think you can pass a test and then drive the M6 through Brimingham, or M25 round Heathrow at 8:00am the following morning? Think again! Whether insurance comes down or not courses like pass plus, motorway lessons, IAM courses are all priceless when compared to your own lives! This is 2012 people not 1912!!!"

It's a valid point. I mean how much is your life really worth? We see time and time again in local and national press, news stories of road accidents involving young drivers. The statistics are frightening. 2 out of every 3 new drivers will have a road accident in the first 2 years of driving! many of them involving serious injury. Yet we still see teenagers and parents alike pushing to get through their test so they don't have to pay for more lessons.

We appear to live in a society that still believes that 10 hours of lessons should be enough. That you are some kind of freak if it takes more than than this to pass your test. As mentioned above this is 2012 not 1912! Modern day roads are busier than ever. When new roads are built they are wider and have more lanes to cope with the ever increasing traffic levels. The driving test is as hard to pass as it's ever been so again it needs practice to gain the proficiency needed.

So here are the facts...

The roads can Kill....FACT

The roads do kill....FACT

Quality training prevents the roads from Killing....FACT

Quality training cost money...FACT

£155 for a pass plus course from MINI DRIVE could save your life....FACT

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Roundabouts - It's all in the approach

RoundaboutsPosted by Gareth Price Sat, February 18, 2012 16:00:17
Does this sound familliar...

"I hate roundabouts! I never know whether to go or stop. I'm so confused I just stop and rely on my instructor to tell me when to go..."

If this does sound familiar or if you have other issues with roundabouts then you can take some comfort in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Many new drivers struggle with roundabouts, but hopefully I can help shed some light on things. This post deals with the approach.

Understanding Roundabouts.

First of all you must understand why we have roundabouts in the first place. Why use them when a set of traffic lights do a similar job? Well the main difference between a roundabout and a set of traffic lights is that roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing where two or more roads intersect. (With traffic lights if yours is on red you can't move until it goes green, even if there is no traffic flowing from any other direction).

So the First point is that your approach should reflect the fact that we need to keep traffic moving where possible.

Use a structured approach.

You need to follow a structured approach. Use the Mirror-Signal-Position-Speed-Look routine religiously when approaching any roundabout.

1: Check all mirrors

2: If you're taking the first exit signal Left, if you're turning right signal right. Any other exits no signal

3: Position your car to the appropriate lane

4:Slow down! This is a very critical stage. Many people underestimate how much to slow down. You will also need to change gear (usually to 2nd) once you have reduced speed.

5:Look. After you have completed this routine you should be 10-20 meters from the roundabout with your left foot covering the clutch pedal and your right foot covering your brakes. Your speed will be around 10-15MPH Once you have the car under control it will be easier to look for space to enter the roundabout.

If space is there then a gentle press of the gas pedal will get you into the roundabout. If it is not clear then a push of the clutch and brakes will bring the car to a halt at the line smoothly and under control.

You can then move the car away when there is a space to move into.

Click here to see a video


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The Hazard Perception Test

Theory TestPosted by Gareth Price Sat, February 18, 2012 15:05:19
The Hazard Perception Test (HPT) is the second part to the theory test and is just as important to practice as the theory questions.

Here's how it works...

You will be presented with 14 video clips of real driving situations. Each clip will last for 30 seconds and during that time a number of hazards will appear on the screen. When you observe a hazard you need to register the observation by clicking the mouse button. This will tell the computer that you have seen the hazard. The sooner you click the mouse button the better your score will be. Scoring starts at 5 then 4... 3... 2... 1... & finally 0 for those hazards you respond too late to or miss completely.

13 of the clips will score you on a single hazard and in 1 of the clips you will be scored on 2 hazards. Therefore you will be scored on a total of 15 hazards each with a maximum score of 5.

15x5=75 points maximum score

The pass mark is 44 out of 75.

Thinking of cheating..... Think again!

If you were thinking that you could just sit there clicking the mouse button and hope that you click at the right moment, then think again. The software used to register your clicks is clever and will detect you clicking too often or in a rythmic pattern and score you a 0 for that clip! So be warned you can't cheat the system.

Practice is always the best way. There are a number of training tools available at very reasonable prices.

"driving test success" from amazon.co.uk

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