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Summer driving

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 @ 08:04 AM
posted by ABL

 While reports and research differ on the benefits of this change, few realize the added dangers – especially when behind the wheel. The short-term dangers in the few days after the time change involve an increase in drowsy driving due to a change in your sleep pattern and losing one hour of sleep.

The long term dangers involve a change in driving conditions.  It is darker later into the morning and many drivers will now drive to the office before sunrise. Slow down and use extra caution especially while driving through school zones.

Just after sunrise and before sunset the sun will shine directly into drivers’ eyes, leaving many motorists driving with a glare. Driving into the sun can make it much harder to see ahead and is an added risk to drivers.

So how can you protect yourself? AAA offers these tips for motorists when driving into the sun:

  • Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help reduce glare.
  • Utilize your sun visor – it can help to block out the sun.
  • Leave more following room – when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. This is one more time when it pays to leave more room between you and the next vehicle.
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other drivers

Additional tips:

  • Keep your windshield clean, inside and out
  • Check your windshield for pitting and cracks
  • Avoid storing papers or other items on the dashboard
  • If having a difficult time seeing the road, use lane markings to help guide you.

Rarely will visibility be absolutely perfect while driving, but if motorists know this and make the proper adjustments, you can minimize any additional risks that come with less-than-optimal visual conditions.

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Special needs for your test….

Saturday, March 22, 2014 @ 08:03 AM
posted by ABL

 When you book your practical driving test you should say if you have any special needs or disabilities.

There are a number of facilities to help. You still take the same driving test as everyone else, no matter how serious your disability is.

You won’t be able to take a foreign language interpreter with you on your driving test from 7 April 2014. You’ll have to take the test in English, Welsh or British sign language.

Booking your practical driving test

When you book your test you’ll be asked if you’ll be bringing an interpreter with you.

You’ll also be asked if you have:

  • any condition which affects your movement
  • any missing limbs
  • any special learning needs
  • arthritis
  • dyslexia
  • epilepsy
  • paraplegia
  • any other special needs

You’ll also be asked if you’re:

  • deaf – either profoundly or not
  • heavily pregnant

Getting more time to take your test

More time might be allowed for your test if you have certain special needs. It will give the examiner time to talk to you about your disability and any adaptations fitted to your vehicle.

If English isn’t your first language

You can bring an interpreter if you’re taking the practical driving test before 7 April 2014. They must be at least 16 years old. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.

You’ll need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge.

Hearing difficulties

The examiner will tell you what will happen by using written notes at the start of the test if you are deaf or have hearing difficulties. They will also look at you to help you lip read what they are saying if you find that helpful.

The examiner will usually give directions to you as hand signals. These will be explained and shown to you using written cards before your test starts.

Using a sign language interpreter

You can bring your own interpreter for your practical driving test if you use sign language.

They must be at least 16 years old. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.

You will need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge.

If you’re pregnant

You can take a driving test at any stage of your pregnancy. However, you must be able and willing to do an emergency stop.

Taking the eyesight test if you have reading difficulties

At the start of the practical driving test, you will have an eyesight test. The examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle.

You can write down what you see on the number plate if you have learning difficulties or do not speak English.

The independent driving section of the test

Your examiner will know what kinds of reasonable adjustments to make for the independent driving part of your test if you said you have special needs when you booked your test.

They might ask if you would prefer to follow traffic signs.

You might be able to choose to follow a set of directions, supported by a diagram. In this case there will normally be a maximum of 3 directions, although in some cases this can be just 2.

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Your driving test result

Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 04:03 PM
posted by ABL

 Your driving test result




You’ll pass your test if you make:

15 or fewer driving faults
no serious or dangerous faults
When the driving test has ended, you can call your instructor over if they didn’t go with you on your test. This is so they can listen to the result and help you with any feedback afterwards.

The examiner will:

tell you if you passed or not
explain how you did during the test
The different types of faults
There are 3 types of faults that can be marked:

a dangerous fault – involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
a serious fault – could potentially be dangerous
a driving fault – not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault
If you pass your test
The examiner will give you a pass certificate if you pass the test. They will also ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically.

Once you have passed your test you can start driving straight away – you don’t need to wait for your full licence to arrive.

If you don’t pass
You have to wait another 10 working days before you can take another test if you don’t pass. Working days don’t include Sundays and public holidays.

Feedback on how eco-efficient your driving is
The examiner will also give you feedback about how eco-efficient your driving is.
 
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What happens during your driving test….

Sunday, March 2, 2014 @ 06:03 PM
posted by ABL

 

Before you start the driving ability part of your test, you’ll have an eyesight check and be asked 2 vehicle safety questions.

Eyesight check

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

You can write down what you see if you can’t speak English or have difficulty reading.

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, eg AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your driving test and the test won’t continue if you can’t pass the eyesight test.

Vehicle safety questions: ‘show me, tell me’

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions. These are also known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you’ll have to show them how you’d carry out a vehicle safety check.

You’ll also be asked one ‘tell me’ question, where you’ll have to explain to the examiner how you’d carry out the check.

The driving ability part

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

If you’re taking an extended test pass because of a driving disqualification, the test will last 70 minutes.

Your general driving ability

During your test the examiner will give you directions that you should follow. You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive in the way your instructor has trained you.

It should include:

  • normal stops
  • an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle)
  • a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing your vehicle safely

You’ll have to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

  • reversing around a corner
  • turning in the road
  • reverse parking – either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

Independent driving section

Your driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving. It’s designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own.

If you make mistakes

Carry on if you make a mistake, because if it’s not a serious mistake it might not affect your result.

Your examiner will stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Taking someone with you

Your examiner will ask if you want your instructor, or another person, to:

  • sit in the back of your car during your driving test
  • be with you after the test for the result and feedback

This person will usually be your driving instructor, but it could also be a relative or friend.

They must be over 16 and can’t take any part in the test.

The examiner’s supervisor

The examiner’s supervisor may come along as well. They will be watching the examiner’s performance, not yours. The supervisor won’t have any say in how you’re tested or in your result.

Your test might be cancelled and you could lose your fee if you don’t let the examiner’s supervisor go with you.

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Rules for cars used for taking a driving test! :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 09:02 PM
posted by ABL

 

7. Rules for cars used for driving tests

 

You must bring a suitable vehicle to your driving test.

Your test will be cancelled and you could lose your fee if your car doesn’t meet the rules.

Your vehicle must:

  • be properly insured and have a valid tax disc
  • be roadworthy and have a current MOT if it needs one
  • be checked and fixed if it has a known safety fault
  • have a seatbelt for the examiner
  • have an interior rear-view mirror for the examiner (these are available from most motor stores)
  • have a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on type)
  • be a smoke-free environment (you can’t smoke in the vehicle just before or during the test)
  • have 4 wheels
  • be able to reach at least 62mph
  • have a speedometer measuring speed in mph
  • have no warning lights showing – for example, the airbag warning light
  • have L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
  • have a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kilograms

MAM is the maximum weight of the vehicle including the maximum load that can be carried safely while used on the road. This is also known as ‘gross vehicle weight’.

Using a hire car

Hire cars can only be used in tests if they’re fitted with dual controls and meet all the other driving test vehicle rules.

Space-saver tyres

In some cars the spare tyre is a space-saver and only supposed to be for temporary use. Vehicles with space-saver tyres in use can’t be used for a test.

Electronic parking brakes

Vehicles fitted with an electronic parking brake can be used for a test.

Vehicles with ‘hill-start assist’

Vehicles with hill-start assist can be used for a test. Hill-start assist is a feature that stops vehicles rolling back when they start on steep slopes.

Vehicles you can’t use

Some models of vehicle can’t be used for the test. This is because they don’t give the examiner all-round vision. They are generally convertible cars and panel vans.

You can’t use these cars for a driving test:

  • BMW Mini convertible
  • Ford KA convertible
  • Toyota iQ
  • VW Beetle convertible

Other types of convertible car or panel van may also be unsuitable. Check with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) before booking your test.

DSA practical test enquiries 
Telephone: 0300 200 1122 (English), 0300 200 1133 (Welsh)
Textphone: 0300 200 1144
Monday to Friday, 8am to midday
Find out about call charges

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The driving test…..

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 08:02 PM
posted by ABL

 

3. What happens during the test

 

Before you start the driving ability part of your test, you’ll have an eyesight check and be asked 2 vehicle safety questions.

Eyesight check

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

You can write down what you see if you can’t speak English or have difficulty reading.

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, eg AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your driving test and the test won’t continue if you can’t pass the eyesight test.

Vehicle safety questions: ‘show me, tell me’

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions. These are also known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you’ll have to show them how you’d carry out a vehicle safety check.

You’ll also be asked one ‘tell me’ question, where you’ll have to explain to the examiner how you’d carry out the check.

The driving ability part

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

If you’re taking an extended test pass because of a driving disqualification, the test will last 70 minutes.

Your general driving ability

During your test the examiner will give you directions that you should follow. You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive in the way your instructor has trained you.

It should include:

  • normal stops
  • an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle)
  • a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing your vehicle safely

You’ll have to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

  • reversing around a corner
  • turning in the road
  • reverse parking – either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

Independent driving section

Your driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving. It’s designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own.

If you make mistakes

Carry on if you make a mistake, because if it’s not a serious mistake it might not affect your result.

Your examiner will stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Taking someone with you

Your examiner will ask if you want your instructor, or another person, to:

  • sit in the back of your car during your driving test
  • be with you after the test for the result and feedback

This person will usually be your driving instructor, but it could also be a relative or friend.

They must be over 16 and can’t take any part in the test.

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Winter driving! :))

Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 01:12 PM
posted by ABL

 As Britain battles with the extreme cold snap, the weather forecast isn’t looking good with the freezing conditions set to last for a few more days yet.


For motorists this is extremely hazardous. But the RAC has sprung to the rescue with tips and advice for driving on icy roads.

Prakesh Patel, RAC Patrol Ambassador of the Year, advises: "Remember that stopping distances are ten times longer in ice and snow than in normal driving conditions. Only drive as fast as the conditions allow and never let other speeding drivers lull you into a false sense of security."

His top tips to stay safe on the road this winter include:

  • Check local weather and traffic conditions before setting off and if you can avoid the trip do so
  • Give yourself extra time and stick to the main roads where possible as they’re the most likely to have been treated
  • If you’re travelling any distance, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive
  • Make sure your car windows and lights are clear from ice and snow
  • Take extra clothing in the car, food and drink, scraper and de-icer, a charged up mobile phone, torch and potentially a shovel
  • Black ice can just appear to be wet patches on the road surface and tends to form on bridges and overpasses where the cold air can pass above and beneath the road surface
  • If the noise from your tyres on the road suddenly becomes quiet, it may well be you are driving on ice
  • Gentle manoeuvres are key to safe driving in ice and snow – use your accelerator, brakes, steering and clutch as gently as possible
  • If you’re unfortunate enough to skid, steer into the skid and avoid the temptation to slam on the brakes.
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End of the road for tax discs

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 03:12 PM
posted by ABL

 Tax discs are to be axed, chancellor George Osborne has announced in his 2013 Autumn Statement. But motorists will still pay an annual Vehicle Excise Duty (VED / road tax) fee.

The round paper certificates we all currently display in our car windows have served as proof of this road tax payment since 1921. But now the rise of technology means they are increasingly unnecessary in our constantly connected world – the police can simply look up electronic records instead.

On Bing: see pictures of tax discs
Where does your road tax go?

The question is, will you miss the tax disc after its gone – or have you wasted too much of your life queuing in the Post Office every time it comes to the renewal?
 

What is the history of the tax disc?

The tax disc was first introduced in 1921, following the Road and Finance Act of 1920 – which first defined them as proof of payment of the Road Fund Licence.
That said, vehicular taxation in general dates back to about 1637 in Great Britain, so it’s a long-standing tradition and is by no means about to go away.

There’s simply no longer any need for a physical proof of road tax payment

The first coloured tax disc appeared in 1923, and original tax discs expired within the year of issue, rather than after six or 12 months as it is today – though you could also purchase a ‘quarterly’ disc.

The first perforated design appeared in 1938 – and thus began the traditional ritual of cursing every time you accidentally tear the disc itself when trying ever so carefully to remove it.

The 12-month system of payment first appeared in 1961, alongside a design that was intended to be more difficult to forge and a four-month fee in place of the quarterly disc.

The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea (originally known as the DVLC – the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Centre) got involved from 1974, with the next design big change coming in 1977.

Shortly after this the four-month disc was replaced by the six-month disc, there were further design changes in 1987 and finally 2003 – by which point variable rate taxation based on engine size had been introduced. Nowadays road tax is based on this and CO2 emissions, depending on when your car was made.
 

Why is the tax disc being abolished?

Progress has seen to the end of the tax disc.

Digital records are now so accurate that the police can simply use number plate recognition cameras and the DVLA’s electronic database to see whether a vehicle is taxed or not. And although you can currently still be fined for ‘failure to display’, visual checks for road tax evaders have become far less common.

With so many people now taxing their car online as well – dodging those Post Office queues in the process – there’s simply no longer any need for a physical proof of road tax payment. This will lower administration and postage costs, and put the forgers out of business for good.

The tax disc is to be abolished from next year (© Andrew Brady | Motoring Research)


Does the end of the tax disc mean the end of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or car tax?

Just because the tax disc has reached the end of the road, that doesn’t mean we won’t still be paying Vehicle Excise Duty – the official name for car tax.

The end of the tax disc will save businesses £7 million in admin costs every year

However, it does mean more modern methods of payment will be offered. Just like the TV licence, you will now be able pay for your road tax in monthly instalments via direct debit, rather than one lump sum once or twice a year.

This should make the payment easier to manage for most people, and less easy to ‘forget’ – which these days results in an automatic fine.

You will still be able to pay a six or 12 month fee if you prefer – and this too can be done by direct debit – but it seems these changes could well spell the end to the old ‘taxed and tested’ Auto Trader used car search.

Anyone wishing to still pay for their car tax at the Post Office or over the telephone will still be able to so do.


When will the tax disc disappear?

The tax disc is set to be abolished on 1 October 2014 – so it’s staying with us until well into next year.

In the meantime you will still need to display the disc on your windscreen, or you will still risk being fined.


Will the end of the tax disc save money?

The government reckons the end of the tax disc will save businesses £7 million in admin costs every year.

The cost of taxing your car may also be reduced, with the six-month fee slashed to just 5% more than half of the annual amount. At the moment it’s 10% more.

The monthly payment option will also incur a 5% penalty over the 12-month amount, but this is presumably something many people will be prepared to put up with for the added convenience of spreading the cost.

As is currently the case, the amount you actually pay will depend on either the amount of CO2 your car produces or, if it was registered before 1 March 2001, the size of its engine.


Do people still avoid paying road tax?

The latest figures from the Department of Transport suggest that ‘VED evaders’ – those who drive on the road without car tax – will cost the treasury around £35 million over the 2013/2014 period.

However, this is not only a slight decrease since 2011 – meaning that not much has changed in this area since 2008 – it also represents only around 0.6% of the traffic travelling on the roads of Great Britain over this time.


What do the police and the Post Office think about the end of the tax disc?

According to a Treasury spokesperson:

“These changes mean it will be easier to tax your car, and cheaper than before to do it by instalment.”

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @ 10:11 AM
posted by ABL

 

 


The law’s the law and that means that YOU are responsible for your actions as a road user and driver. To drive, you need a driving licence and motor insurance cover. Your car ( and any one you drive) will need a valid MOT.

Once you’ve got your driving licence you’ll want to keep it. It gets harder to get back if you lose it – so the last thing you’ll want to do is lose your licence.

If you own a car that’s driven on the public road then you have to have Road Tax and display a valid tax disc correctly on your vehicle. Revenue raised by the government through road tax and fuel duty isn’t all used for road building or maintainance — of the £38billion collected in 2006 only £9billion was. The rest goes into the government’s coffers and could be spent on anything — public transport or the health service, for example.

You also must have motor insurance to cover the cost of injury or damage if you are involved in an accident. Statistically you will be involved in an accident at some stage of your driving career but you are at much greatest risk while you are young.

Court Report image

If your car is over 3 years old it must have valid MOT certificate. This shows that on the day that the certificate was issued the car was roadworthy. But having an MOT certificate doesn’t guarantee that your car is roadworthy today — tyres wear out, exhausts start to leak, bulbs blow and worse. It is your responsibility to keep your car roadworthy and the Police do take an interest…

Driving without a driving licence, road tax, insurance or an MOT certificate is illegal and can have very serious consequences which may result in the loss of your licence or your car.

 

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Car tax :(

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 @ 11:11 AM
posted by ABL

 

 


Somebody famous said "There are 2 things in life that are certain — death and taxes". If you own a car in the UK you’ll have to pay road tax unless your car is exempt. It is a political issue with the tax being increased significantly to persuade drivers to chose lower emissions vehicles.

Road tax discRoad Tax — or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) — is a government tax on car ownership, it may not be ‘fair’ but that’s life. The government have been collecting Road Tax in one form or another for most of the life of the motor car but funnily enough only a small proportion of it actually gets spent on roads. It is administered by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea.

You can pay for your Road Tax on-line (which is dead easy), at a post office (usually only big ones do it) or via the telephone (0870 850 4444). You receive a tax disc that you must display in the bottom nearside corner of your windscreen. Failure to display a valid tax disc , or worse not to have your car taxed, is likely to get you fined and points on your licence.

You have to pay Road Tax on each car you own every year — the only cars that don’t pay Road Tax are those that are ‘off the road’ and not being used, a ‘classic’ car registered before 1973, or a low emissions vehicle in VED tax band A, like a Toyota Prius or a VW Polo Bluemotion, but you still have to have your car registered . To officially register your car as ‘off the road’ you have to use the DVLA’sStatutory Off Road Notification (SORN) process.

You only have the choice of buying 6 months- or 12 months – road tax. There is no such thing as ‘pay as you go’ road tax yet. If you are unfortunate enough to write your car off or something breaks that’s not worth repairing, you can ‘cash-in’ a tax disc with time left on it at a post office or via the DVLA but you get less than the proportion of time left on it.

If your car was registered before 1st March 2001 then car tax is based on the size of the engine — up to and including 1549cc is £125 and 1550cc and over is £190. This will increase in years to come but it is not currently linked to the cars emissions.

The cost of Road Tax for cars registered after 1st March 2001 is now based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of individual models and is ridiculously complicated. It will range between nothing for the most economical models and £435 for the least, although most 1st cars will fall in the range of £20 — 180. You can work out the cost of your road tax with the DVLA’s road tax calculator or the one at Parkers and good luck!

The tax is being increased in each of the next few years but with the increasing being greater for the higher emissions vehicles that are not the best 1st cars. It’s an increasingly important part part of your cars overall running costs.

If you are disabled you should be able to claim exemption from road tax The vehicle must be registered in your name or registered in the name of someone you nominate to drive for and it must must only be used for your purposes, not theirs or anybody else’s. More information on disabled car tax exemptions on the DirectGov website.

Many used car dealers will do this with cars on their forecourt, as it adds up if you’ve got several cars so be prepared and know what you are buying — has it got tax or not? Don’t get caught out and perhaps use this to get the price down a bit.

If you get caught with valid road tax or without the tax disc being correctly displayed the authorities have the power to fine you, tow your car away and even crush your car!

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