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Road speed limits….

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 @ 08:08 AM
posted by ABL

 You should always keep your speed below the maximum speed limit for the road you are driving on. Although you are not legally obliged to drive at the maximum speed limit, if it is safe to do, you should try and drive at a speed that at least approaches it, for instance, in a 40mph zone your speed should be between 35 and 40mph.

Driving too slowly can be as dangerous as driving too fast. The driver who toddles along a 60mph road at 40mph causes tailbacks and frustration. This can lead to dangerous overtaking manoeuvres and other road safety issues.

Speed in itself is not that dangerous, inappropriate speed is. Always take into account the weather and road conditions. Driving at 60mph, even though you are legally entitled to do so, when there is ice on the road is dangerous and inappropriate, as is driving at 40mph on a dual carriageway when the weather is fine.

The general speed limit rules for cars are:

  • For built-up urban roads with street lighting the speed limit is 30 mph.

  • For single carriageway roads the national speed limit is 60mph.

  • For dual carriageways and motorways the speed limit is 70mph.

These speed limits apply at all times, whether during the rush hour or the dead of night and are overridden only if a road sign indicates a different speed limit for instance it is not uncommon to have a speed limit of 40mph on a road with street lighting.

Minimum Speed Limits

You won’t often encounter a minimum speed limit however they are sometimes put in place where it is important to keep traffic moving smoothly.


The table below shows the national speed limits for different vehicles on different types of road.

Uk Speed Limits

The Correct Gears You Should Use

Different gears are used to reach and maintain different speeds. The general guideline is as follows:


  • 1st gear – for speeds between 0 and 10mph

  • 2nd gear – for speeds between 10 and 20mph

  • 3rd gear – for speeds between 20 and 30mph

  • 4th gear – for speeds between 30 and 40mph

  • 5th gear – for speeds over 40mph

Stopping Distances

The distance, over which you can bring a car to a stop, the stopping distance, depends on four factors.



The cock pit drill…..

Monday, June 30, 2014 @ 08:06 AM
posted by ABL


This is the name given to the set of checks that you need to complete when you first get into your vehicle and before you drive off. Your Driving Instructor will teach you this drill but on your Driving test the Examiner will carefully watch you to ensure that all the checks are completed properly. 


make sure that they are all closed. Clues that they may not be closed: listen for the doors closing properly instead of just 1 click; some cars have an audible warning or light when the ignition is turned on; the interior light may stay on; you can also check your door mirrors to check that the doors are all flush with the cars bodywork.


First check: make sure that this applied properly and the car is secure. You dont want the car to run away when other passengers are getting in or you are securing children in the rear seat!

Seat and Head Restraint

You should be seated comfortably and able to reach all of the vehicles controls. Sit as far back in the seat as possible. Make sure that you can operate the foot controls (a slightly bent knee for the clutch when it is fully depressed is ideal) and your knees are not touching the steering wheel.

Steering Wheel

You should be able to reach the top of the steering wheel with your fingers curled over the top when your arms are slightly bent at the elbow. Adjust the rake of your seat back to get an ideal position.


Put on your seatbelt. Click into to lock into position. It should not be twisted and fit tightly over your tummy and over your right shoulder. Make sure that all other passengers fit their seatbelt before you move off. It is your legal responsibility to ensure that anyone in the car under 14 years wears their seatbelt.


This is the final adjustment when all the other checks have been completed. You should have a clear view in the interior mirror and both door mirrors. If not, adjust them accordingly. Your Driving Instructor will tell what you should be able to see. A useful tip: when seated correctly in the driving seat, you should be able to alter the interior mirror to gain a clear view by using your left hand only. This means that your head wont move (it will if you use both hands). Also, keep your fingers off the glass, otherwise you may smudge the mirror and obscure your view.

An easy way to remember all these checks is to call it the DHSSSM Routine.

Learning to drive!

Sunday, June 22, 2014 @ 09:06 PM
posted by ABL

In Car Safety – The Cockpit Drill

This is the name given to the set of checks you need to perform when you first get into a car. Both your driving instructor and examiner will both be watching you to make sure you follow the drill, so it’s worth doing every time you get in the car. For more information on The Cockpit Drill – Click here

Make sure all the doors are closed

Most cars have either a warning light on the dashboard, or an audible alert if any of the car doors are open when the engine is running. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the doors are closed.

Ensure your seat and head restraint are properly adjusted

To properly operate the foot pedals and ensure your own safety and comfort when driving, you must check the height and position of the seat and head rests. 

Check your mirrors are properly adjusted

To drive safely requires that you can see all around your car. You need to make sure that your mirrors are properly angled to give you the maximum field of view without craning your neck. There are three mirrors, one on each front door and one on the windscreen. All of them must be checked and aligned correctly.

Fasten your seatbelt

You’re breaking the law if you don’t fasten your seatbelt before setting off and you certainly wont pass your test!

Driving Skills – Mirrors, Signal Manoeuvre

Before you perform any manoeuvre, your driving instructor and examiner will expect you to perform the MSM routine. This is short for ‘mirrors, signal manoeuvre’ and it is as simple as it sounds.

Whether you are pulling away from a parked position onto the road, or about to perform a manoeuvre such as a turn in the road (three point turn) you must be sure that the way is clear and that you have alerted other road users of your intentions before beginning. This makes it safer for both yourself and other drivers – and is a lesson you should carry with you as long as you drive. Dont forget to check your blind spots (those places not covered by the mirrors) before moving off or reversing.


Check your mirrors to make sure that the road is clear enough for you to perform your manoeuvre.


Signal which way you are going to turn your car using the indicators to advise other road users and pedestrians that you are about to perform a manoeuvre.


Carry out the manoeuvre, checking all the time for hazards and obstructions using your mirrors as well as looking forward and to the sides.


Defensive driving!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014 @ 06:06 PM
posted by ABL

 If while your learning to drive, you learn how to drive defensively at the same time, this skill will serve you well, throughout your long driving life ahead! So, what exactly is this talent or skill known as defensive driving?

In a nutshell driving safely and defensively is about being prepared to respond, anticipating what your fellow motorists around you are about to move to next and thinking ahead. Your instructor will these skills and you must become conscious, all the time, of what’s happening around you, that is particularly important to learn how to become the best driver. You should consistently attempt to predict the other driver’s their next activity, being prepared to respond if it impacts you, even though you do not know what the other motorist is thinking about.

This is just a skill that you may have learnt within the risk awareness portion of your learner driving lessons. You ought to be always anticipating the sudden movement, keeping your eye on any changes in the traffic and looking forward, to your next space of road your driving into.

There are, of course going to be many more dangers to watch out for if you’re on a busy road. People crossing the street, cyclists and joggers to overtake and parked up cars blocking your clear view ahead.

Driving on picturesque country lanes normally present fewer dangers but, you ought to expect the worst thing possible at every corner, because there are normally plenty of twists turns and tractors pulling out of fields. Picture there is a cyclist only around the next bend, for instance, and ensure you’ll have sufficient time to stop or go around them safely.

Drive slowly in arctic, wet or slippery conditions, leave loads of space between your car and the vehicle in front, always prepare yourself for different changes in car speeds or some others car drivers who may become a danger.

Driving in the dark brings up an entire new list of dangers to watch out for, driving safely or defensively is equally as important, especially when there are fewer cars being driven on the street and less pedestrians.

As when you’re driving in full daylight when you’re driving in the dark, you will not not have as good light and therefore able to see as far or as much. Although all these situations are improbable, you must be driving as safely and at a suitable speed in case you do run into a danger.

Many good driving instructors may be in a position to give you a bit of night-time driving to assist you adjust to the changes in conditions.

You cannot control other motorists’ actions, and that’s why being defensive and safely is such a significant component of turning into a good motorist, once you’ve passed the test. You will become better at this ‘safe style of driving’, as you continue driving more and more miles, especially on your own.


Your first driving lesson….

Saturday, June 7, 2014 @ 05:06 PM
posted by ABL

 The first driving lesson is usually the one that makes most new drivers very nervous, simply because they do not know what to expect. This nervousness is usually unfounded though, because in most cases, their first time behind the wheel goes remarkably well, and both they and their instructor, are satisfied with the results.

The following information is to let you know what to expect from your first driving lessen, which should help to reduce your anxiety quite significantly. This of course, is assuming that you have already booked a driving instructor, and are going to have your first driving lesson soon.

When making your initial booking with the driving school or instructor, arrangements should have been made to pick you up at your location, like college, at home, or your place of work. You might have also been asked to bring your provisional driving license with you on your first lesson, as proof that you are indeed legal to drive.

When your instructor picks you up for your first driving lesson, he or she will first ask to see your provisional driving license. How you begin this initial lesson, and how long it takes, depends entirely on where you have been picked up. In other words, if it is in an area where there is a lot of traffic, you will sit in the passenger seat, and your instructor will drive you to somewhere where there is less traffic. This would normally be a quiet street in a residential area, which is more suitable for someone that is driving a car for the first time.

This will be a routine exercise, until you are more comfortable and capable of driving, to begin your lessons from your pick-up point. While driving you to the starting area, your instructor will more than likely give you a brief description of what you will be doing for your first session.

Upon arrival at the quiet area, you will switch places with the instructor, and get behind the wheel. The cockpit drill, which takes about thirty minutes, will then be explained to you in detail. This involves safety procedures, what the various pedals and levers are, as well as their functions, and of course, how to operate them. A book with diagrams might also be used at this time, to help you to better understand the whole procedure.

Your first driving lesson should be no less than 2 hours, to allow for enough time to get you to the quiet location, explain the cockpit drill to you, and also to give you your first lesson in actually driving the car.

Your instructor will explain the starting and stopping procedures to you before making you drive the car, which might again include the use of diagrams. He or she will explain how you should use the various pedals and other equipment in the car to get it to move forward, and how to do it safely too, by using the various mirrors on the vehicle. You will learn all about the blind spot, and how to use the car’s equipment to park safely on the left. Only when you and your instructor are quite sure that you understand the procedure, will you be made to actually drive the car.

You will be nervous at this stage, but remember, it is the first time you will be driving a car, and you will only be moving the vehicle a short way down the road, before your instructor tells you to stop. You should also bear in mind that the car has dual controls, so, in the event of something going wrong, your instructor will be able to take over immediately, to prevent you from having an accident. You will do this starting and stopping procedure a few times in your first lesson and, if you stall the car, then don’t worry about it, because it happens to most first-time drivers. If you want to have a better understanding about this, and build your confidence, then do some research on how to prevent stalling a car.

When your session is over, your instructor will take you back to wherever you wish to be dropped off, which need not be the same place where you were picked up. He or she will then give you a summary as to how your first lesson went, and what you might be doing when you have your next lesson. Your instructor might also give you a progress report booklet, to allow you to keep your driving progress up-to-date. This booklet should accompany you for each lesson.

When discussing future bookings with your instructor, you might want to consider taking block bookings if you are comfortable working with him or her, as you could very well qualify for a significant discount.


Motorway driving!

Thursday, May 29, 2014 @ 08:05 AM
posted by ABL

Motorway Tuition ~ Learn to Drive on a Motorway

Novice and newly-passed drivers are completely unable to experience the pressures that come from motorway driving ~ namely because you’re not able to legally drive on a motorway utnil you’re a full licence holder! The sheer volume and speed of traffic on a motorway can be daunting for any driver. And for one who hasn’t mastered the skills involved in driving on these sometimes challenging roads, the experience can be terrifying.

Driving on motorways is a completely different environment from where you will have learned to drive ~ which is what helps make it such a scary prospect! However, as with learning to drive, all you need are the right skills and the rules of the road.

We recommend that you seriously consider taking up somemotorway tuition after you first pass your test ~ because you never know when you may need to use a motorway! That said, ourmotorway driving lessons are designed that you can take them at any stage of your driving life. We often receive enquiries from people who have happily driven for some time ~ and then realise they’ll have to undertake a long journey; most of it by motorway! A couple of hours with one of our friendly, fully-qualified, experienced instructors usually makes them feel much more confident about facing their journey ~ safely.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014 @ 12:05 PM
posted by ABL

 Do you often feel intimidated, uncomfortable or panicked when driving? Whether it’s commuting to work, popping to the shops, or taking the kids out, driving is an essential part of life for millions of us. And that’s part of the problem! With so many drivers on the road today, what should be a useful quick journey, or a leisurely drive on quieter roads, can too often feel more like a stressful chore. Our Refresher Driving Lessons will, quite simply, help you become a better, safer and more confident driver.

Re-learning safe driving principles reduces the risk to yourself and your passengers ~ and to other road users. Our Refresher Driving Tuition is a quick, easy and useful way to update your driving skills. You should immediately feel the benefits of increased confidence in your own abilities after one of our Refresher Courses ~ which will better allow you to deal with other road users (and learn how to avoid the bad ones!) You should begin to enjoy driving ~ most of the time at least!

Refresher Lessons

Many accidents are caused by indecisiveness, which often stems from inexperience or fear of the unknown. It’s important that you are confident and secure behind the wheel ~ and lots of things can wear away and ‘dent’ your confidence over time. You might be driving a completely different vehicle to the one in which you took your test. You may have moved to a new area and be driving on completely different types of roads; you may have had a ‘near miss’ which has given you a fright; you may not have driven for an extended period of time for some reason and be nervous about getting back in the car ~ the reasons customers come to us for refresher lessons are numerous and wide-ranging ~ and our fully qualified, impartial, professional driving instructors can usually find a way to help.

Refresher Lessons

It could be said that every driver would benefit from a Refresher Driving Course!Over time, we all develop our own driving style and these can often lead to bad habits! Many of us would fail our Driving Test if we re-took it today!



Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 12:05 PM
posted by ABL

 Drivers who travel at higher speeds have less time to identify and react to what is happening around them. It takes them longer to stop. And if there is a crash, it is more severe, causing greater injury to the occupants and any pedestrian or rider they hit.

Excessive speed contributes to 14% of collisions in which someone is killed, 7% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 4% of all injury collisions. In 2010, 241 people were killed in crashes involving someone exceeding the speed limit and a further 180 people died when someone was travelling too fast for the conditions. 1

Approximately two-thirds of all crashes in which people are killed or injured happen on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less. At 35 mph a driver is twice as likely to kill someone as they are at 30 mph.

At 30 mph, vehicles travel 44 feet (about 3 car lengths) every second.

Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet, more than 2 car lengths.

For pedestrians struck by cars, the risk of being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30 mph, but above this speed, the risk increases rapidly. A pedestrian hit by a car travelling at between 30 mph and 40 mph is 3.5 to 5.5 times more likely to be killed than one struck by a car travelling at less than 30 mph. Elderly pedestrians have a much greater risk of suffering fatal injuries than other age groups. 2

For car occupants, the risk of being in a collision with another vehicle also increases with speed. The risk is much higher in a side impact than in a frontal impact. 2

Even a small amount above the limit makes a big difference.


Seat belt safety

Sunday, April 27, 2014 @ 11:04 AM
posted by ABL


Click here to go back to the top of the page.Ensuring You Use A Seat Belt Correctly

Ensuring You Use A Seat Belt Correctly

In order to wear a seat belt safely, the following points should be adhered to:

  • The belt should be worn as tight as possible, with no slack
  • The lap belt should go over the pelvic region, not the stomach
  • The diagonal strap should rest over the shoulder, not the neck
  • Nothing should obstruct the smooth movement of the belt by trapping it

In most modern vehicles, the height of the top of the seat belt can be adjusted on the B-pillar. If you cannot get the seat belt to fit over you correctly, as described above, you should try adjusting the height.

Damaged Seat Belts

Seat belts should be regularly checked for damage. Common forms of damage to the seat belt that will reduce its effectiveness in an accident, and also lead to the vehicle failing an MOT test, are:

  • Fraying or fluffing around the edges of the seat belt
  • A cut which causes the fabric to split
  • A hole in the seat belt
  • Damage to the buckle

In an accident, the webbing of a seat belt stretches, which absorbs some of the energy in an impact. This helps prevent any injury from the contact between the seat belt and occupant. A seat belt that has restrained an occupant in an accident would be more likely to cause an occupant injury if it were involved in another accident, and must always be replaced.

If any forces are applied to a seat belt, which are larger than would be expected during its usual operational life, it may also be worth having it checked to see if the webbing of the belt has been strained.

If in doubt, take your car to a garage to have the belt inspected by an expert.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Pregnant Occupants and Seat Belts

Pregnant Occupants and Seat Belts

All pregnant women must wear seat belts by law when travelling in cars. This applies to both front and back seats and pregnancy does not in itself automatically provide exemption from the law. The safest way for pregnant women to wear a seat belt is:

  • Place the diagonal strap between the breasts (over the breastbone) with the strap resting over the shoulder, not the neck.
  • Place the lap belt flat on the thighs, fitting comfortably beneath the enlarged abdomen, and over the pelvis not the bump.
  • The belt should be worn as tight as possible.

In this way the forces applied in a sudden impact can be absorbed by the body’s frame. 

Pregnant women should not wear ‘Lap-only-Belts’ as they have been shown to cause grave injuries to unborn children in the event of sudden deceleration. Mother and unborn child are both safer in a collision if a lap and diagonal seat belt is being worn correctly.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Lap Belts

Although lap belts are not recommended for pregnant women, they are safe and suitable for other adult passengers. Three-point seat belts are safer, but wearing a lap belt is far better than wearing no seat belt at all, because the greatest risk of injury to car occupants in an accident comes from being thrown about inside the vehicle or being ejected from it. 

The lap belt should go over the pelvis (not the soft stomach area) and fit as tightly as possible. Most car manufacturers now fit at least some of their range with a three-point seat belt in the centre of the rear seat.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Seat Belt Adjustment

Several devices exist which are designed to attach to the seat belts in order to pull them into a different position or change the way in which they rest on an occupant. 

A common form of seat belt adjuster changes the path of the adult belt over the shoulder of a younger occupant. RoSPA do not recommend the use of these devices, as no standards currently exist ensuring a basic crashworthiness. It is much safer to purchase an appropriate child restraint, as they are crash tested to a European wide standard.

Other devices, which pad the seat belt, may also degrade its performance in a crash and put an occupant at greater risk.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.Child Car Seats

Children must use a child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old. For more information on Child Car Seats, RoSPA has a website ( which provides advice on choosing, fitting and using child car restraints, details of legal requirements for using child restraints in other countries, links to manufacturers, retailers, and other organisations that can provide help or advice about child car restraints and a search facility to find local sources of help and information in your area.



Monday, April 21, 2014 @ 08:04 PM
posted by ABL

 Beyond regular servicing the the following simple checks will help you to enjoy safe, worry-free motoring.


  • Know the correct tyre pressures for your car and check them at least every two weeks using a good-quality gauge or garage air line.
  • Check tyre tread and condition – look for cuts on sidewalls. If any one tyre needs regular top-ups, it may have a slow puncture.
  • Don’t forget to check the spare as well.


  • Check the handbook for the location of the basic toolkit for the car that should contain at least a jack and wheel removal tools.
  • Familiarise yourself with the jacking points used to lift the car safely.
  • If locking wheel nuts are fitted make sure that the toolkit includes the key or removal tool.

Engine oil

  • Check the dipstick at least every fortnight and before any long journey.
  • Have the oil and filter changed at recommended service intervals using oil of the correct specification.
  • High oil consumption can indicate engine problems.


  • Check the coolant level regularly and top up as necessary – but only when the engine is cold.
  • Have the antifreeze concentration checked before winter.
  • Antifreeze prevents the build-up of corrosion within the cooling system as well as stopping the coolant freezing so is important all year round.


  • Wiper blades wear down over time and smear the windscreen if they become worn.
  • Replace them at least once a year for best performance.


  • Check and top up regularly – it’s a legal requirement that the system works.
  • Use a good screenwash additive through summer and winter – water alone won’t clear oily road grime and freezes more readily in winter.


  • Check regularly for stone damage as this can impair vision or distract attention.
  • Minor chips can grow and crack the glass but many can be repaired by a windscreen specialist.

Our expert windscreen technicians can come to you wherever you are


  • Check all lights weekly. Don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights.
  • Clean lights regularly. In bad weather wipe them over with a damp cloth during driving breaks.

Power steering

  • Ensure that the fluid reservoir is checked at every service, and check it yourself once a month.
  • Top up only using the correct hydraulic fluid as advised in the car handbook.


  • Deal promptly with damage to bodywork to prevent rust setting in.
  • Many cars have extended bodywork warranty schemes, which may require annual inspection at the dealer. Check that any previous owner has kept records up to date.

(1 November 2011)