Two out of two this week :)

Well done to Jo, from Wallasey.

Jo drove an assured and confident drive along roads she wasn’t all that familiar with this morning to get a comfortable pass. I sat in on this one, and I felt things were going well. I couldn’t identify anything she did that would have merited a serious fault. So it proved.

Sam conquers the nerves!

Congratulations to Sam from Wallasey, who couldn’t believe it when the examiner told her she’d passed!

Sam got off to a bit of a shaky start, running over the kerb as she turned left out of the test centre, and went around the rest of her test convinced that she’d already failed. The examiiner though, took account of the fact that she was nervous, that it had happened right at the start, and that the rest of her driving was of a high standard. In a strange way, that early mishap allowed her to relax and get on with doing what she clearly knew how to do.

Never give up!

Thinking of doing it in your own car?

I don’t have a picture of Archie clutching his test pass certificate. I wasn’t there.

I taught him to drive, but after getting the basics, Archie started supplementing his lessons with me with private practice in his parents’ car. In the end, he was driving that car a lot more than he was driving mine.

I got a text from him, asking if I was available for a particular date, and I had to say no, because it conflicted with another driving test. Thing is though, Archie was well up to standard. He didn’t need me any more. I texted back advising him to book the test, and to do it in his own car. This he did, and in due course, I got another text from him letting me know he’d passed, with only two driving faults.

So here’s what you need if you plan to do your test in your own car:

  • L Plates! Stick on or full magnetic are best, as the type with narrow magnetic strips on the side are prone to being blown off, and there have been times when tests have had to be abandoned. Test centres usually have sets of L plates, so if you present yourself for a test, and you’ve forgotten to bring them, the examiner may be able to supply some for you. This is not something you should rely on though.
  • An interior mirror on the passenger side. These can be picked up, usually for about £5-6 from places like Halfords. Again, the examiner will often be able to bring a mirror if you turn up without one, but this is really a last resort. Arrive prepared. You’ll be more confident.
  • Valid insurance. You must be insured to drive your car on a driving test. Check the small print in your policy, and if it excludes use for a test, you will need to get an inclusion added to your policy.
  • A roadworthy vehicle. Make sure your tyres aren’t bald, that there is fluid in your screenwash bottle, that all your lights, seatbelts, etc all function properly, and that your car is taxed and MOT’d. The examiner will make visual checks at the beginning of the test, before you start your drive, and if your vehicle isn’t up to scratch, your test will not go ahead, and you will lose your test fee. The car you use mst also be fitted with head restraints, and must be able to accommodate at least two passengers in the rear seats.
  • Until you’ve passed, you are not allowed to drive unaccompanied. You must have someone with you when you drive to the test centre. That person must be at least 21 years old, and must have held a full UK driving license for at least three years.

You should aim to arrive at the test centre about 8-10 minutes before the test is due to start. Much earlier, and you will be getting in the way of people coming back from previous tests. Much later, and you will be pushing against the clock, and going into your test feeling unprepared and flustered.

Paying with something other than money…

This website was built and is hosted by the husband of one of my ex-pupils. He gave me his time, and I gave his wife lessons to something like an equivalent value. It was a straightforward arrangement that didn’t need the intermediary of money.

So if you, dear wannabe driver, have something that I might want or need, perhaps a similar arrangement can be made.

Jenny smashes it!

Jenny was a joint effort between Paul and Helen. She wasn’t the most confident of students, especially when it came to roundabouts, or squirrels! She passed with Helen at Upton with just two minor faults.

Congratulations to Ian!

The The happy chap above is Ian Richardson. He passed his test in rush hour traffic in Wallasey this morning.

“A capable and confident drive” is how the examiner put it as he handed Ian his pass certificate.

Ian will be straight in at the deep end, as he is being driven to Watford to pick up a car, before driving himself home. That time we spent on the M53 might just come in handy!

Helen does the business!

Helen Richards has proven to be a real asset to Paul Sharp School of Motoring. She’s brilliant with nervous pupils, and is getting results on test day. Over the last week or so, she’s had two first time passes. If you want to contact her directly, her number is 07964 387279.

Beth and Rupika…

I’ve been putting learners on motorways for the last 13 years!

 

Well OK. That’s not strictly true. But by taking people out to the fast dual carriageways around Deeside Industrial areas and up onto the A55 between Flint and Queensferry, I’v been able to get my pupils onto something that’s a motorway in all but name.

Still, getting pupils from North Wirral to these places required a 2 hour session, most of which was driving on fast single carriageway roads.

The skills required to join a 70mph dual carriageway from a sliproad are the same as those needed to join a motorway. The same methods and concepts in forward planning, overtaking, lane discipline etc apply to both types of road.

So for me, the change in the law on the 4th of June that allowed qualified instructors to take learners onto motorways was not a quantum leap. It just made it easier and more convenient to get them to this type of road. I’ve always done motorway lessons for people that have already passed their test, and as long as I use a bit of common sense, and don’t take people that are far from ready, it’s not been a problem at all.

The biggest issue people tend to have is joining this sort of road. Some tips:

  • Get moving! Use the space on the slip road to get your speed up to.something like the traffic you’re trying to merge into.
  • Glance in your right hand mirror, not just once but several times, and also have a quick look over your shoulder before you move into lane one of the motorway. Using a signal is useful particularly if there’s other traffic around, but a signal doesn’t give you the right to go. It just tells other people what you want to do.
  • Be comfortable with using the full length of the sliproad to join. This gives you more time to find a safe space to move into, and also gives people already on the motorway time to see you and to help create that space.
  • If it really isn’t safe to join, but isn’t safe to stop, use the hard shoulder to give yourself more space and time. If you can neither stop nor go safely, that’s an emergency, and that’s what the hard shoulder is for.

If you’re interested in taking motorway lessons, whether you’ve passed your test or not, please do get in touch. They’re charged at the same rate as our ordinary lessons.

Hi Paul,
Really appreciate the driving session this afternoon. It certainly is more than 10 years since I’ve overtaken a lorry on the motorway so for me at least and thanks to your help a real sense of achievement.
Thanks again for your help
Tom

You’d think only women were nervous…

So  many of my recent posts have been about people who were a) female, b) nervous

We do get males too! And yes, some of those are nervous as well, but it seems that our reputation is built upon giving people with little self belief what they need to become confident and competent drivers.

So congratulations to Dean, from Wallasey. I did something simple with Dean. I drew a line with “0” (never driven before) on one end and “100” (able to drive properly on your own) on the other. Then I wrote down a number (my honest appraisal of his ability) without letting him see it, and asked him where he thought he was on the scale. He put himself at somewhere around 35-40. I’d written 85. That vote of confidence made a big difference to him, and gave me an insight into his thoughts. Dean went on to get a first time pass, with only two minor faults.