The areas we covered for driving instruction are Northwood, Pinner, Ruislip, Eastcote, Ickenham, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, West Drayton, Hayes, Southall, Greenford, Slough, Gerrards Cross, Denham, Harrow, Watford, Bushey, Berks, Bucks.

Driving Instructing

A Great Pass!

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Very well done Mark on passing with 4 minors with only one lesson before the test. Remarkable!

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 120 weeks ago

The Right Driving Attitude (Part 2)

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Anticipation

Anticipation in driving is about planning ahead. To do this you need to look in the far, middle and near distance so you have early warning of any potential hazards. Looking well ahead gives you time to think about the correct speed, position and gear on your approach to the hazard. It also gives you time to check your mirrors behind and to the sides in case you have to slow down or change direction.

If you plan ahead and anticipate the actions of others, you can:

  • avoid being taken by surprise
  • prevent hazards developing into dangers
  • save fuel by anticipating the situation, plan your approach speed and avoid stopping and starting when you don’t need to.
  • take early evasive action when hazards do develop.

Anticipation is at the heart of defensive driving techniques.


Patience

Sadly, incompetence, bad manners and aggression are commonplace on our roads, but there is no excuse for this type of behaviour.

Be prepared to make allowances for other’s mistakes.

Don’t:

  • drive with the spirit of retaliation or competition
  • use aggressive language or gestures
  • try to teach another road user a lesson, even if they have caused you inconvenience.

Do:

  • keep calm
  • show restraint
  • use sound judgement.

Be patient if the vehicle ahead is a leaner driver. They may be slower or may sometimes stall, especially at junctions. Beeping them does not help, it just unsettles them.

Don’t:

  • drive up close behind them
  • rev the engine
  • be impatient if they are slow to move off, or stall in doing so.
  • overtake, only to cut in again sharply

Don’t forget we were all learners once, so have some consideration.

Make allowances for older drivers. Their reactions may be slower than other drivers.

Confidence

Confidence comes with increased:

  • skill
  • judgement
  • experience.

New drivers are often unsure of themselves, but confidence will grow with experience.

A good driver will never be over-confident as this leads to carelessness.

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 124 weeks ago

The Right Driving Attitude(Part 1)

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Attitude towards driving is probably more relevant today than ever.  There are more cars on the road and definitely more traffic jams. This can affect drivers’ patience. We therefore need to adopt a conscious approach in our attitude

Some key factors help good driving :

  • responsibility
  • concentration
  • anticipation
  • patience
  • confidence

All the above factors make up what is known as the ‘driver’s attitude’.


Responsibility

As a responsible driver you must always be concerned for the safety of:

  • Yourself and your passengers
  • Of all other road users such as children, the elderly, people with disabilities, cyclists, motorcyclists, people in charge of animals.

Sometimes you have to be tolerant and remember that all road users are entitled to use the road. Look around you and plan your actions in advance to avoid danger or inconvenience to others.


Concentration

To drive well, you must have 100% concentration on driving without allowing other things to distract you. 

Avoid driving if you’re:

  • Tired or unwell
  • Thinking about something else
  • Upset or annoyed
  • Suffering stress of any kind.

If you do find yourself having to drive under any of these conditions, give yourself more time to react. This could mean holding back from cars in front of you more, to allow more thinking time.

Concentration is key to anticipation. It is helped by having:

  • Good vision
  • Good hearing
  • Good health
  • Self discipline

Distractions such as satellite navigation, mobile phones, conversation(especially arguments), loud music, eating or drinking, looking at road maps are all hazardous and can very easily cause accidents.

When using sat navs, position them in a place which does not block your windscreen vision. Glance at them for only half a second and return you vision to the road. The same applies to anything on the dashboard: turning on the radio, demisters, hazard warning lights etc. 

The best advice is to avoid: loud music completely, do not eat or drink, do not use your mobile phone and do not look at a road map whilst driving.  Even using a hands-free headset can distract your attention from the road.

Another distraction is hanging objects from your interior mirror like air fresheners. They can really distract you If they move around a lot whilst you drive.

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 128 weeks ago

A Great Pass!

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Well done Askin on passing your test with only one minor. Well deserved after all the preparation.

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 129 weeks ago

How to Drive Uphill?

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Driving uphill is one of the trickiest skills to master as a learner driver in a manual vehicle.

When driving uphill, the engine has to use more power to drive the vehicle up the hill. 

When driving uphill:

  • You’ll find it more difficult to maintain or increase your speed. The engine has to work harder to make the vehicle go faster.
  • Your brakes or coming off the gas will slow the vehicle more quickly.
  • Often, you’ll need to change to a lower gear to keep the revs up and maintain the speed. When changing gear, the vehicle decelerates more quickly, making the revs drop quickly; so you need higher revs to allow for a quicker gear change. This is what can take learners time to understand.
  • Apply the parking brake when stopping on a hill. You can then release the footbrake without falling back, allowing you to find the bite point and have the gas ready to do the uphill start.

Check the Gradient

Look out for road signs telling you the steepness of the hill,  e.g. 20% or 1:5. This means for every 5 feet along, the road rises 1 foot. The higher the percentage, the steeper the hill.

When approaching a hill, check in advance to see how steep it is. You can then plan  your speed and choice of gear before you are on the hill. The key to good uphill driving is to listen to the revs of the engine. When you start to hear the engine note dip, it is a sure sign the engine wants to go to a lower gear. The steeper the hill, the lower the gear.

Would you overtake on a hill?

Never park or overtake on the brow of a hill. It is one of the most dangerous moves to make. Parking there means vehicles have to overtake blindly, not knowing if there is oncoming traffic from the other side of the hill. For the same reason, you wouldn’t overtake on the brow of a hill.

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 131 weeks ago

How to Position Approaching Roundabouts?

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One of the most difficult parts of the test is positioning approaching roundabouts.

Typically, standard roundabouts mean the left lane is to go left or ahead. It would be easy if all roundabouts were like this. However, the difficulty for many pupils is when the road markings or signs tell you to position in another lane. 

The diagram above shows a roundabout with a variety of arrow markings and positions to approach the roundabout.

As a learner, what you need to do is:

1.  Listen carefully to the instruction for the direction and number of exit to turn off the roundabout.

2.  Position in the correct lane on the approach to the roundabout. 

To position safely, look in the far distance for the arrow markings. If you need to change lane, check your interior, door mirror and front window blind spot before indicating to move over. Always make sure there is a gap of three car lengths in front and behind in the lane you are moving over to. Getting into the correct lane early is key to dealing with the roundabout safely. 

Sometimes there are vehicles blocking the lane you want to move into. The roundabout is fast approaching and you don’t want to approach in the wrong lane. What can you do?

The examiner will give you the direction for the roundabout in good time. What you need to do is look well ahead for road markings and road signs. Then, check the lane you want to move over to. If the lane is blocked, look at the vehicles speed in that lane. If they are slow, maybe you could accelerate to create a safe gap to move over. If they are approaching faster, slow down, let them pass you, and then move over. The secret is to assess the situation early; decide and act in good time to position in the correct lane, well before your mirrors and signal for the roundabout. You need to be in position at least ten car lengths from the roundabout, so you have time to mirror, signal and manoeuvre.

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 139 weeks ago

How to Overtake Safely?

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Overtaking requires great skill, experience and confidence.

If you think that there is an opportunity to overtake, the first question must be ‘Is it safe?’ You need to consider a few potential hazards:

  • Is there any oncoming traffic (if so, can you overtake without making them slow down)?
  • Is there a bend coming up which can block your vision?
  • How wide is the road; is there room to overtake with oncoming traffic ahead?
  • Are there any side roads alongside where you are thinking of overtaking. Never overtake as you pass a side road; a car could be emerging left as you overtake.

 Here is the step-by-step procedure, once you are certain it is safe to overtake:

  • Change down a gear (by doing so, you are in a better accelerating gear and are ready to overtake).
  • Check your interior and then right door mirror to make sure no one is overtaking you.
  • Indicate right 
  • Move out and accelerate, at least three car lengths back from the vehicle in front.
  • Allow a 1.5 meter gap as you pass the vehicle.
  • As you pass the vehicle, check interior, left door mirrors and indicate left.
  • Allow 3 car lengths past the vehicle before steering back to the left lane.

The distance to move out and back when overtaking varies according to your speed. At 70 mph., for example, you would need a 5 car length gap before and after overtaking.

Rick Hardcaslte (ADI)

Posted 140 weeks ago

Licensed to Drive!

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Very well done Michel. Now you can drive to work. No more worrying about missing the last train!

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 146 weeks ago

A New Pass!

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Very well done Megan. A first time pass with only four minors.

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 149 weeks ago

First Time Pass!

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Well done Jack. A great first time pass with only 5 lessons in preparation.

A fantastic achievement!

Rick Hardcastle (ADI)

Posted 154 weeks ago