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Do Driving Instructors Use too Many Words ?

It is a proven fact that less is sometimes more, and recently I conducted a study on use of words when instructing people. Why did I do this I hear you ask ? the reason is to help students react to short wordings whilst reacting to what they are seeing and thinking about what they are doing, to see if it improves concentration and reaction rates.

My wife is a professional scuba diving instructor, and I’m an advanced diver. How is this relevant ? well underwater you cannot have a conversation, however you use hand signals to give information. For example a thumbs up means “I’m going up” a fist states “I have only 50 bar of air left” so as you can see from one movement of the hand a sentence is made in the mind. This got me thinking.

In driving instruction we use a lot of words to get pupils to do what we require, however I have found of recent that some people just hear noise and not words, as they are concentrating so much on what they are doing, and then ask you to repeat what you have said.

 

Example:

“I would like you to take the next road on the left” or “At the roundabout I would like you to take the third exit to the right” this is a lot of words to translate as well as thinking about the Mirrors they need, the signal they need, the position they need, the gear and then the observations.

 

I started my study with a lady called Ann. I did not tell her what I was doing and started with the usual driving instruction comments, and found she was reacting late and seemed flustered, generally causing her to signal before mirrors, and then stop unnecessarily at open junctions or roundabouts when it was clear to go.

The second part of the lesson I used the same junctions but changed the wording. For example approaching a junction, I said “Take the Road on the LEFT” or “Roundabout 3rd exit to the RIGHT” or “At the END of the road LEFT” each short sentence with a pause half way.

Ann’s performance improved she was doing her mirrors at the correct time, she was then slowing and getting her gear and looking earlier without stopping unless necessary, at the end of the road remembering to go back into first gear where she had been staying in 2nd or 3rd and then stalling. I was quite amazed at the change.

We stopped by the kerbside to discuss, and I asked her if she had noticed any difference in her driving from first 20 minutes, to the second 20 minutes, and she said she felt more relaxed in the second half. We discussed if she had noticed any change in my instructions, and she said “I noticed you were saying less words and pausing half way through a sentence, and being more precise with certain words” She said she found by hearing less words and key words only, she was able to process easier and felt more flowing.

 

This inspired me to try this exercise on 10 other students throughout the week, who were at varying levels in their learning. I was amazed at the results; everyone drove better using less words, but accentuating Key words with a pause in the sentence.

From this short study, it does prove that less is more, and will continue to look at ways in using shorter terms and see the effects.

Our aim as instructors is to make the teaching of pupils as easy as possible and this seems to be the way forwards.

 

 

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Why do people struggle at crossroads ?

As part of my job I spend a lot of time observing what people do on the road, and have come to the conclusion there is a lot of misunderstanding or lack of knowledge in peoples driving, and this inspired me to blog about certain driving rules to help educate people

Do you know the rules of a crossroads ?

Its an interesting question and when people are faced with dealing with cross roads with traffic lights, there are few errors and the correct procedure is adopted, however remove the traffic lights and approach a crossroads and there is some confusion.

Who has Priority and When can i Go ?

When approaching a crossroads, priority always lies with the traffic on the main road. Traffic on the opposite side of the crossroads is where confusion begins

If you are turning left or continuing ahead you have priority over the oncoming vehicle once the main road is clear. If you are turning right at a crossroads then you must give way and allow them to go first.in a situation where you wish to turn right and the oncoming traffic wish to turn to their right then there is no priority as you are both heading towards each other. In this situation, the vehicle which arrived at the crossroads first should take preference, and this reduces the risk of potential collisions. Never wave a vehicle to go, as this may cause a driver to not check the main road correctly, and lead to an incident.

What do I do at a Yellow Box JunctionA yellow box junction is put in place to help keep the flow of traffic moving freely, without any traffic jams. You must keep the box junction clear at all times, and you are not allowed to stop in the junction. A lot of junctions now have cameras with ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), which will lead to a fixed penalty if you stop inside this junction.

The only time you can stop in the yellow box junction, is when turning right, however before you proceed into the yellow box you must ensure the road you are turning into is clear or flowing, or you could get stuck in the junction when the traffic lights change, which could lead to traffic jams and bad feeling amongst other road users.

click on the link by Gov.uk to see the images which go along with this blog.

https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/road-junctions-170-to-183

Disclaimer; this blog is to assist people in compliance with use of the Highway Code to help understand use of crossroads, if unsure we recommend reading the Highway Code or driving the essential skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you aware of changes to your driving licence ?

Did you know you need to renew your photo card driving licence every 10 years ? if not then take a look at your photo card and check the expiry date, and if it is near expiration then you can renew it online very easily, but if you fail to do so and your licence becomes out of date, you could face a hefty fine and also could affect your insurance validity.

As from the 8th of June 2015, the paper counterpart of your driving licence will no longer be valid, as the DVLA will no longer be issuing, however you MUST still keep your photo card licence, all entitlements and the status of your licence will remain the same. All details from the counterpart will be held online and be available to be viewed.

What do I do with my Counterpart after 8th June 2015 ?

After the 8th of June 2015 you can destroy the paper counterpart, please ensure it is shredded and disposed of to avoid any fraud.

If you are a holder of a Paper driving licence and have not updated to the new photo licence this will remain valid. If you have any changes of details which require a change of licence you will automatically have to apply for the new licence, and will receive a photo licence instead of the paper licence.

What about any endorsements I may have on my counterpart ?

As of the 8th of June 2015 any endorsements or points will no longer be shown on a driving licence, however do not think that these have disappeared or you don’t have to declare these,  as they are held on the DVLA database which will be available for businesses, employers or hire companies to view, as will be explained. These can be viewed online, by post or by calling the DVLA, so if you have endorsements you will be required under law to declare.

How will people find out if I have points ?

 

The DVLA are currently putting together a new database for businesses and organisations so they can put in your licence number and find out if you have any endorsements or points. Such businesses could be driving schools, employers or hire companies.

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Why Are There So Many Potholes ?

Have you watched how the roads around you have gradually got worse and wondered why ? or driven to work and almost cried when driven into a pothole.

A pothole is caused when a small gap, crack, crease or dent in the road has water seep into it, and then when it rains or freezes, the water in the hole will freeze and this causes an expanse in the space causing small pieces of the hole underground to become loose. As we drive over these spaces daily the area underneath becomes unstable and collapses in small parts, and if not repaired quickly will mean the hole will get bigger and deeper causing more and more damage and danger on our roads.

Think of the last time you saw a pothole, what did you do ? swerve or steer around it, did you think what could happen ? I doubt it as we react sometimes to quickly and this could lead to an accident.

Think of the damage this does to your vehicle, damage to the wheel tracking, damage to tyres, damage to suspension amongst many other things, but what do you do about it ? we go and get it repaired and think nothing of it, except cry when the bill is presented to us.

Have you heard of Mr Pothole in UK  ? we should follow the example of  Mr Pothole who you will see in the interview on this page. He has started the UK biggest campaign to combat the bad roads, and everyone should get behind him in his quest. Mr Pothole has taken on the councils across the UK to get funding to repair our roads, and he is winning the battle.

In defence to the local councils, they are money strapped, and don’t have hundreds of staff members to constantly tour the roads for damage, however this does not make it right. Drivers can help in advising councils of damage to the roads, and this is discussed below.

Many companies have started mobile phone applications to help record and report dangerous or damaged roads, and this is so easy to do. Stop take a photo, record the road name and report on the website or App, and the company does the reporting to the correct council, which is quicker than councils giving you the run around.

Try this Website and download the free app to report holes, http://streetrepairs.co.uk/ I have used this company and a lot of what has been reported has been repaired, so it does work, also by informing the council of the danger they can do something about it.

Can I claim for damage to my car ?

 

The simple answer is YES you can.  November 2014 I got a cracked windscreen due to a road that had been resurfaced not being cleaned up properly leaving debris, debris that when a car passed me flicked up and smashed my screen, leading to a bill of £85 of my insurance excess. I put a complaint to the council, filled out the forms and sent photo, they tried to not pay but I did not give up until they agreed to pay after I said I would goto small claims court. If you get damage to your car due to bad roads ie potholes, you should name take a photo of the hole, take a photo of the damage and take the name of the road, and report it, and CLAIM for it.

New Drugs tests at the Roadside Introduced

During 2015 there will be new drugs tests introduced for tests at the roadside in England and Wales, to try and combat the ever growing Drug Driving habits. When a vehicle is pulled over by the Police from now on a driver will not know whether they will be tested for drugs, breathalysed or maybe even both.

The new “Drugalyser” which is also known as a “Drugwipe” has been approved by the government, which will mean a sample of saliva taken immediately for cannabis or cocaine. The so called Legal Highs are not detectable as yet, but equipment still being developed to take these checks.

Under the current law the Police have to arrest suspects before taking a blood test which is both costly and time consuming, keeping officers away from their duties, and this has also got to be taken by a medical professional.

The Drugalyser will mean quicker and easier testing and less red tape to cut through. The equipment will support the offence of driving whilst under influence of drugs and rolled out in March 2015. If test positive will be similar to the drink driving ban with a minimum of a 12 month ban, a fine of upto £5000 and 6 months in prison.

Eight illegal drugs set at low limits hope to set a bar over people and tackle the ever increasing drugs use on the roads.