How careful are you with regards to your own health and safety? Do you genuinely drive as safely as you can or do you allow other factors to distract you?
I know from driving in Nuneaton daily that there are a number od drivers who will benefit from this message.
Please watch the clip linked to below and you may find that you concentrate a little more from now on:
Whereas speed bumps are nobody’s favourite traffic management tool neither should they be considered a toy.
The intention of speed bumps is to reduce the average speed for the road. It is strongly suggested that you maintain the same speed between the bumps as you do when crossing them.
Driving otherwise may not only be uncomfortable for those in the car it may well cause suspension damage over time.
At the moment I am sitting in a waiting room while my tuition vehicle is having the brake discs, break pads, and new tyres fitted to both sides on the front.
Driving instructors will recognise this as just part of the grind whereby as well as potentially losing income from pupils who are not able to take other available times a large bill will have to be settled.
If you have ever queried the lesson price charged by an instructor then these are just some of the hidden costs that you may not have considered to be included with that price.
An obvious question you may think but my answer will hopefully offer food for thought.
Pupils instinctively worry to some extent about their driving test once the date is booked. To mitigate this pressure, which they do not need to deal with, I offer the following thought:
One day you and I shall be walking side by side towards the driving test centre. We will have made certain that you know within yourself that you are above the standard required for the complete syllabus, and further to that you will have a complete understanding of the test that you are about to take!
To gain a full driving licence in the UK it is a legal formality that you have to pass a practical driving test. Fair enough; but you have already been tested on every aspect of driving and gained the experience and confidence required to drive consistently above the required standard. It is fair to say then that for a properly trained candidate the test can be viewed as more of a legal formality. I would be lying if I said that this approach takes away the nerves for every pupil.
It certainly helps to offer them a different way of looking at that date on their calendar.
A few days later than most quite possibly but I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2019. If you can manage healthy and prosperous then happiness will be a lot easier to achieve.
Have a great 2019!
Or at least those of us who have any sense are…
Being self employed, which all driving instructors are, has it’s advantages. A regular dependable income is not one of them.
Christmas is the time of celebration, presents, dressing nicely and merriment. All of which costs money! From early December driving instructors will hear a steady stream of, “I won’t be able to book any more lessons now until January i’m afraid. You do understand don’t you?” We understand perfectly. Pupils don’t always understand quite so much when I respond with, “Totally understandable! However should anyone ring for lessons I will have to sell them this timeslot. You do understand don’t you?”
In business as with driving forward planning is the key to a successful journey. The wise instructors are squirrelling away a few pounds now to see them through. It would be nice if pupils did too but, ah well; that is life.
Bit melodramatic for you this morning perhaps?
Think about the different circumstances that life throws at us though and it is easy to see the possibilities and many of them are normal life stuff.
A change of shift at work can take a while for the body and mind to adjust to. A bout of illness can have exactly the same effect. Something as expected as a night out can leave you driving tired just a few hours later than you normally would be.
It is so easy to roll off the old, ‘avoid driving tired’ routine when in real life all of the above are unavoidable.
So some practical advice:
- Allow larger gaps between your vehicle and everything else because tiredness impairs judgement.
- If you have to drive for more than half an hour take breaks.
- Swap drivers at the half hour point if possible.
- Open the drivers window – others may complain but having a driver refreshed by cooler air is better than experiencing a car crash.
- When you take a break at least get out and walk about.
- If possible when you take a break run cold water across your wrists and keep them there for a while.
If you find that your driving is impaired within your half hour driving time then you only have one further option:
Park safely and SLEEP!
During my day to day life as a driving instructor I see a few arrogant drivers who clearly love themselves more than anyone else possibly could and I also see the odd idiot. We all do!
I am constantly thankful to the majority of the Great British public for their ability to keep calm, allow others a little time and space, and offer a gentle wave of thanks when the same kindness is offered to them.
I am delighted that the kindness outweighs the arrogance, ignorance and idiocy by quite a factor. Let’s face it: the road system would be a hell of a lot more dangerous were this balance to reverse.
I leave you with a question to ponder:
Are you doing your bit?
In my years as an instructor I have never heard anyone say that they would like to take more than one driving test. Who would? For some people though this is the reality.
Whereas I sympathise with anyone who fails a driving test it has to be recognised that this is what happened. On the day you did not perform well enough so the examiner had no choice but to fail you and provide a full explanation as to why.
The most successful strategy for maintaining and improving your driving standards between driving tests has to be to maintain the frequency of your driving lessons. No driving instructor is going to disagree with this statement but many pupils do.
All too frequently lessons are cancelled by a formerly reliable pupil for a myriad of reasons. Would you believe that they are not available at any other time on any other day either? Neither do I!
Your instructors are not just trying to make a living (which they have to by the way, being self-employed right now is no fairy tale existence) they genuinely have your best interests at heart. I know from experience that pupils who do maintain the frequency of their driving lessons between attempts at their practical driving test are more likely to pass at the second attempt.
The issue of working weekends can be contentious amongst driving instructors. Well some of us anyway. Most are laid back enough to live and let live. Franchised or not we are all individual self-employed bods who do our own thing.
The issue for me is that I have never wanted to work weekends but because of necessity I was in a position of needing to for years. I used to work seven days a week. Not full days at the weekend but I regularly had folk booked in seven days. Then I dropped to six and for over twelve months now I have been rejoicing in merely working a five day week. To be honest, I worked seven days for so long I am still not accustomed to having weekends off.
As you can see from the Availability page on my website I hardly work standard office hours. I feel like I definitely do my bit, but not at the weekends.
Having said that you may see me out at the weekend with the roof sign on. It can happen. Whereas I will not answer the telephone to a new pupil and book them in for weekend lessons; there is the odd case of an existing pupil who can no longer make their regular time due for example to a change in working circumstances. Sometimes I let them go. “Sorry, don’t work weekends”. This has happened. I am not without sympathy though for the pupil who has attended quite a few lessons regularly and suffers a change in circumstance. It has happened, and probably will again, where I will offer the option of a weekend lesson to help them out.
The secret is that I have to offer the option. Asking is pointless!