Category Archives: Latest Driving News

Update on the latest driving related news stories

What’s the difference between a pint of Peroni and a driving instructor?

It’s been said many times that if you were to line up 5 driving instructors and ask a learner to choose, how would they know the difference between them? In the end, we all do the same job. We take a nervous 17 year old who has limited driving knowledge and experience, and we train/instruct/coach them to be a competent driver who we hope will be safe on our roads. How the heck are they supposed to choose and know the difference between us?

What’s normally the first question you get when you answer the phone with an enquiry about driving lessons? – How much are the lessons? – If you’re charging above the average rate, I can hear your sighs now. For those who are charging the industry bottom prices (I heard of someone recently charging £14 for a driving lesson!) you’ll be rubbing your hands together when the price question rears its head – yeah well done, you got them. You won them over by being cheaper than everybody else – well done you – how many hundred hours a week do you work?

For those of us that charge a higher rate, you know the phone call is generally only going one way.

So how do you go about justifying charging more for driving lessons?

Now, this might sound like an odd analogy, but it came to me one night whilst in a hotel, the night before going on holiday. A driving instructor is like a pint of beer – told you it was an odd analogy! I enjoy a beer, a lager to be more precise, and I’m quite picky, I like a nice quality lager. At my local pub I often enjoy a nice cold pint of Peroni, it’s pricey at £4.20 a pint, but I enjoy it, and I enjoy the atmosphere of the pub. I’m sure I could get it cheaper at the local Weatherspoons, but it doesn’t have the ambience I’m looking for, and certainly isn’t a place I’d go to for a nice drink with my family. Last night, in the hotel bar, I was pleased to see they served Peroni, so I went ahead and ordered one. The Peroni there cost £5.10, roughly 20% more than I’d pay in my local pub.

So why does it cost more?

It’s still the same amber liquid I could purchase from many establishments across the UK. The difference is the package. At my local, my Peroni would sometimes come in the custom glass the brewery made for the drink. Sometimes, if all the good ones had been stolen, I’d get it served in a generic glass, which although it still tastes the same, it’s just nicer in a proper glass. Sometimes I’d be served by the landlord who’s quite chatty, other times it might be the new girl who couldn’t care less. At the hotel, the barmaid was professional and courteous, the hotel bar was spotless, there were free nuts poured fresh if you wanted them (not the same pot everyone’s had their dirty hands in), and the furnishing was comfortable and modern as you’d expect from a nice hotel.

So what’s my point? If you put a pint of Peroni from Weatherspoons, my local, and a nice hotel all side by side, they’d all look and taste the same. The reason the prices are different is because of the service that is offered around the pint. As a driving instructor you are the pint of beer, to the untrained eye you’re no different from the rest of us. The potential learner generally doesn’t know about the ADI grading system. Your driving school is the establishment – your package – and this is the key to unlocking your earning potential. Do you want to be Weatherspoon’s School of Motoring charging £14 an hour, or do you want to be the Nice Hotel School of Motoring charging £30+ an hour?

I know which one I’d prefer to be, and I’m working hard to achieve it so that I, and the other instructors that are with my franchise can earn a decent living. How you go about becoming the top class school is entirely up to you, but think outside the box, think about how you can add value to your lessons, and about how you can exceed your learners expectations – give them an experience they can’t forget!

I wish you all the best with your business, but I challenge you to be the best!

Dave Shannon

Changes to police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for driving offences

The government have announced today, 5th June 2013, that they are to give police officers the power to issue fixed penalty notices for driving offences. These proposals mean officers will be able to give on the spot fines without having to go through lengthy court proceedings. Continue reading

The New DSA’s driving theory test

On the 23rd January 2012 the DSA (Driver standards Agency) made some changes to the U.K driving theory test.  There has been loads of rumours flying around as to what has changed and most are very far from the truth.

The format of the theory test is exactly the same as it has been for the last couple of years which is:

50 multi-choice questions, to pass this section you must get 43 correct

13 hazard perception clips, 11 with 1 hazard and 2 with 2 hazards, giving a total of 75 available points, and to pass you must score 45 or more.

The New DSA’s Driving Theory Test

The only change to the theory test is that the DSA is no longer publishing the questions that will be asked during the test.  Previously, you could buy a book, CD, or go online and see every single question that would be asked on your test.  The problem with that is many people would just learn which answers matched the questions, without getting an understanding of what was being asked.


Download the Driving Theory Test App

The questions that will be asked will be very similar to those asked before, but it’s important now that you understand what you are learning, and not just memorising the questions and answers.  The DSA has published a new set of learning aids including books, CD’s, and even an iPhone app.  More information on these publications can be found at or by going the App Store and searching DSA theory

Police to issue fixed penalty notices to dangerous drivers

Yesterday it was announced, that as from next year, police will be given the power to issue fixed penalty notices to dangerous drivers.  There are 2 areas that they are targeting:

Fixed Penalty Notices

Tailgating –
This is when you follow the car in front much too closely.  The reason this is dangerous is because when following too closely, you are greatly reducing the time you have to react if the driver in front has to brake suddenly.  You will also be a distraction to the car in front, as the driver will be constantly checking their mirrors, concerned about how close you are.  This will mean they are spending less time concentrating on the road ahead, making it more likely they will be late to respond to incidents ahead, making them brake late and hard, making it even more likely that you’ll run into the back of them.

How Close to the car in front should you be?

In dry weather you should keep a minimum distance of 2 seconds between you and the vehicle in front.  The way we judge this is using the 2 second rule – when the car in front passes a static object e.g. a signpost/lamppost/bridge/road marking, say to yourself “only a fool breaks to the 2 second rule”.  If you’ve reached the static object before you’ve finished saying the phrase then you’re too close, so ease back and try again until you can complete the phrase.  It’s also important to remember that in wet weather you should double the distance, and icy weather you should multiply the distance by 10!  Why not check out this video from the 70’s, it might look a bit dated but the principles are still exactly the same –

Overtaking on the left

 If you overtake somebody on the left hand side you are creating a dangerous situation.  The highway code states that you should only overtake on the right.  This means that drivers can be constantly aware of the cars around them, and know that when they move back over to the left lane they need to look out for the vehicles they have just overtaken, and not drivers who are hopping between lanes.

What should you be doing?

It’s important to keep your normal driving position in the left lane, unless you are overtaking or turning right.  When you do overtake, only do so to vehicles on your left, then make sure as soon as you’re a safe distance past the vehicle, move back over to the left lane.  If the traffic in the right lane is going slower than you are, then you need to reduce your speed to ensure you don’t overtake them.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule.  You may overtake vehicles which are signalling to turn right, IF it is safe to pass on the left.  Also if traffic is moving slowly in queues, and vehicles in the right lane are moving more slowly than you are, then you may pass on the left.

Hopefully these new rules will encourage drivers to drive more safely and follow the rules of the road.  The fixed penalty notice is a fine, usually £60 although this may rise to £80 or maybe more in the near future.