New highway code rules

New highway code rules

New Highway Code Rules

At the beginning of the year the Highway Code was updated with new rules. These are to improve the safety of the most vulnerable road users, so we all need to be aware of them. Of course we have to be aware that drivers may not have caught up with the new rules, so caution is always a good idea. It’s not very useful to find yourself on the right side of the rules, but injured because someone else wasn’t aware of the change.

Biggest Changes

The biggest changes have been:

 

  1. Creation of a new ‘hierarchy of road users’ that ensures those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
  2. Clarify existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements and crossing the road.
  3. Provide guidance on safe passing distances and ensuring cyclists and horse riders have priority when travelling straight ahead at junctions.
highway code rules

Hierarchy of road users

This concept has a system to order road users depending on their level of risk. The groups are:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse drawn vehicles
  • Drivers

Rule H1 applies to all road users. This states that it’s important that everyone is aware of the Highway Code, and their responsibility for the safety of others. The rule reminds us that it may not be obvious that other road users may have impaired sight, hearing or mobility.

Rule H2 applies to everyone except pedestrians. It reads “At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.” Previously drivers were told to give way to pedestrians if they “have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road”. It is not a big change, it only applies to junctions, and means you have to be aware that a pedestrian may step out into the road to be able to cross. A good driver should be aware of pedestrians and should be extra vigilant when turning into a junction. Pedestrians need to be aware that they can’t just step out into any road and expect the traffic to stop. A new addition also makes it clear to pedestrians that they should “cross at a place where drivers can see you.”.

new rules for cyclists
new rules for overtaking horses

Staying Safe

Rule H2 also advises on priorities at zebra crossings. This tells drivers they:

  • MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing
  • SHOULD give way when a pedestrian is waiting to cross

Rule H3 applies to drivers and motorcyclists:

“You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.”

Cyclists also have advice about their position on the road.

Cyclists should ride in the centre of their lane:

  • on quiet roads and streets
  • in slower-moving traffic
  • when approaching junctions or narrow roads

If these conditions have not been met, and it is safe to do so, cyclists should allow vehicles moving faster than them to overtake, while keeping at least 0.5 metres – or further – from the kerb themselves.

Basically drivers should give way to cyclists, and cyclists should try to ensure they are not holding traffic up when it is safe to do so.

 

Overtaking Safely

Another change has clarified overtaking cyclists, horses and pedestrians walking in the road. Before the rules said not to be ‘too close’ when overtaking, this has been quantified now. The new advice is:

  • When overtaking a cyclist: Drivers should leave 1.5 metres distance when overtaking at speeds of up to 30mph. Drivers should leave at least 2 metres’ of space at higher speeds.
  • When overtaking horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles: Reduce your speed under 10mph and allow 2 metres of space.
  • When overtaking a pedestrian walking in the road (where there is no pavement): Allow 2 metres of space.

Obviously the conditions need to be taken into account, and larger distances would need to be left in adverse weather. If you can’t leave enough space you should wait behind them until it is safe to overtake.

new highway code rules

It can feel difficult to keep up with new rules, but these new Highway Code rules are keeping everyone safe on the road.

If you want to learn to be a safe driver why not learn to drive with us!

Get in Touch

Highest petrol prices

Highest petrol prices

High petrol costs

It now costs over £100 to fill the average cars petrol tank, which is a painful fact for most motorists that need to drive to get to work. Fuel prices have been rising sharply since 2020, over the last two years they have risen around 50 pence per litre. The rise in petrol prices is due to a number of factors. The main one is the war in Ukraine, and moves to reduce our dependence on Russian oil. The cut in fuel duty has not had much of an effect on prices as they have been rising so quickly. A full report about the rise in petrol prices can be found on the BBC, that you can read here.

Concern for learners

This has to be a concern for learner drivers, as unfortunately if driving instructors have to pay a lot more for fuel they will be forced to put the cost of lessons up. We have not increased our lesson prices yet, as we’re trying to keep the cost of our lessons very competitive. If petrol prices keep rising the price of everything will rise. It obviously means it is harder for learners that have just passed to be able to afford to run their first car. The cost of living crisis hits all parts of our society.

high petrol prices
learn in an electric car

The Solution

With petrol prices rising to this all time high, and the climate crisis requiring us all to use fewer fossil fuels, now is a good time to invest in electric vehicles. These are only greener if your electricity is generated by renewable sources, but it is possible to have carbon free motoring in the future. We recognise that learning to drive is going to change dramatically in the future, with more people wanting to learn in an electric vehicle.

Todays learners will spend most of the rest of their lives driving electric cars rather than the petrol vehicles that most people learn to drive. This is why we have invested in a fully electric car. This makes sense not just in economic terms, with no more expensive trips to the petrol station, but in terms of the future for our learners.

Interested? Learn in an electric car.

If you’re interested in being one of the first people to learn and pass your test in a fully electric car why not get in touch and book some lessons with us.

Learner Drivers: Things you need to know

Learner Drivers: Things you need to know

Learner Drivers

If you’re thinking of learning to drive, or teaching someone else to drive there are things you need to know before you get behind the wheel of a car. We know rules are not the most interesting topic, but without them you could get yourself into serious trouble. It’s worth spending a few minutes getting to grips with what you need to know.

Paperwork

First things first learner drivers need a provisional licence before you learn to drive. It doesn’t matter if your being taught by a friend, member of your family or a professional driving instructor you must have a licence before you start. It’s quite easy to apply, the cheapest and simplest way to get your provisional licence is to apply online. It costs £34 to apply and you will need an identity document such as a passport. Once you have applied you should receive your new licence within a week. It is really not worth trying to learn to drive without a licence, if caught you could face a serious punishment such as a fine, penalty points and a driving ban. Being a learner or claiming you didn’t know the rules is no excuse, and for the small £34 cost to be legal it’s not worth trying.

provisional driving licence
Learner driver car

Legal Car and L Plates

Once you’ve got the paperwork sorted you’ll need a car to drive and some L plates. The car doesn’t have to have dual controls for you to learn to drive. If you learn with a professional driving school, such as Always Pass, all of the cars have dual controls. This means that if you make a mistake your driving instructor can help you out and ensure that you don’t do anything dangerous. If you’re learning with a friend or member of your family you will have sole control of the car. This can be daunting for a new learner.

The car that you learn to drive in has to be legal (obviously!). This means it has an MOT and the correct insurance to allow you to drive it. You also have to display L plates on the front and rear of the car. This lets other road users know that you don’t have as much experience behind the wheel, so they can give you extra room and be patient if you stall the car at a junction.

Supervision

Until you pass your driving test you cannot drive unsupervised. The person supervising you must be at least 21 years old and have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years. The type of licence they hold has to be correct to drive the car you are learning in, so if it’s a manual car they’ll need a manual licence. You cannot pay someone that is not a professional driving instructor to teach you to drive. If you are paying for lessons you should be sure that the person teaching you has passed their ADI and is fully qualified.

All of our driving instructors are fully trained, and have plenty of experience in teaching people to drive. If you choose to learn with a member of your family or a friend you should try to choose someone that is calm and won’t stress you out.

Passangers

You are allowed to carry passengers, but you should check your insurance as some learner policies may have restrictions about who else is allowed to be in the car. If you are learning with a professional driving school you won’t have other people in the car. This is to cut down on distractions and to ensure that no-one is stressing you out when you’re trying to learn. If you’re learning with a friend or family it’s up to you if you want to carry passengers. Just bear in mind you don’t want to be distracted or over stressed by others in the car.

Driving instructor
L plates

Learn Your Theory

Before you start it is a very good idea to learn your driving theory. Traffic laws don’t discriminate, so if you do something illegal you can still be prosecuted even if you’re a learner. Some things are very obvious, such as you can’t have a diving lesson if you’ve been drinking. The traffic laws also apply to the person supervising you, so they must be sober and not using their phone during your lesson. They are there to keep you safe, so it’s important they are trustworthy.

It’s worth reading the highway code and trying out a few practice theory tests before you start, so you know the rules. This makes the practical driving easier and you are more likely to pass your theory test.

Variety is Good

Whoever you choose to learn with you should try to have some lessons in the day and some at night. Driving in the dark can take some getting used to and you will have to adjust your driving to compensate for reduced vision. Similarly you should drive on a variety of roads. From dual carriageways or motorways to small residential roads you will need to learn the skills to drive safely on all types of road. They all have their challenges and practice will help.

We ensure all of our learners get to drive on a variety of roads and at different times of the day, to ensure they are confident drivers when they pass. If you feel you need more practice on faster roads such as motorways your can do pass plus lessons when you have passed. Always Pass can help you at every stage of your learner journey.

 

learner drivers in rain

We can Help!

Whether you’ve never had a single lesson, or have had lessons with someone else, or passed some time ago but need a refresher course we can help you. If you’d like to learn to drive or would like Pass Pluss lessons please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

Just Passed? Take care of your car

Just Passed? Take care of your car

You Passed Your Test!

So you’ve worked hard and listened to your instructor, and you’ve passed your driving test first time! Well done, but of course this isn’t the end of anything it’s the beginning. The start of owning your own car and going wherever you want to go. The freedom of the road awaits!

During the driving test you will have touched on the idea of car maintenance, with the ‘show me tell me’ questions. These are designed to make sure you know how to keep your car in safe working order by checking things like the oil, water and tyres. They are a good start, and shouldn’t be disregarded as an easy part of the test. If you have just bought your own car it is likely to be a second hand car, which will benefit from regular maintenance. If you can do this yourself you will save money and time. It is far better to keep everything working well than break down half way to your destination.

These are our top tips to simple vehicle maintenance, some are covered in the ‘show me tell me’ questions, others will just help you to keep on the road safely.

 

Look after your battery.

A flat battery is more of a nuisance that a safety hazard, which is why it doesn’t get mentioned on the driving test. It is however one of the most frequent causes of breakdowns, and is easily avoided. If you use you car frequently you shouldn’t have any problems with your battery unless you have accidently drained it. If your car hasn’t moved for a while it could go flat.

A common cause of a flat battery is leaving your lights on when parked. Most cars have a warning alarm if you open the drivers door and still have your lights on, it is worth checking if this is a feature of your car. The radio can also drain the battery, so if you are washing your car don’t put the car radio on as entertainment whilst you wash, you might regret it later! Use a portable speaker or your mobile instead and you won’t have a problem.

If your battery is getting a bit old you can always consider getting a replacement – nothing lasts forever. They are an inexpensive an easy part to replace, most batteries come with a 3 to 5 year guarantee.

check oil

Check your tyres

Tyre condition and pressure is part of the driving test, as this is a safety issue as well as a common cause of break downs. It is worth checking your tyres regularly, if you have tyres at a low pressure you will use more fuel, so your journeys will cost you more. Tyres at low pressure will affect your cars handling and ability to stop, so you are more likely to have an accident as well.

It’s worth having a tyre pressure gauge – your car may have a monitoring system so a light will come on if they are at low pressure. A tyre pressure gauge will be more accurate, and you will be able to catch problems before the light would be triggered. Whilst you’re checking the tyre pressure you should also check the condition of the tyres. It’s important that your tyres have no defects and the tread is well within the legal limits. Worn tyres are more likely to get a puncture, so keeping them in good condition will keep you on the road.

Check oil, coolant and break fluid

These are all part of the test, but it’s important to keep your engine running smoothly to ensure you have the right amount of oil and coolant. To avoid accidents you should always ensure you have the right amount of break fluid. It’s a good idea to check these once a month, and keep a supply of oil, coolant and break fluid so if you need to top it up you can without a trip to the shops.

That’s our brief guide to car maintenance, there are plenty more tips that you can learn. If you join a car club or take a course in vehicle maintenance you will be amazed at how easy it is to keep your car in a good condition. This will save you time and money in the long run.

Need Driving Lessons?

If you haven’t passed your test yet, but would like to get on the road why not contact us for some lessons.

We will onlly use your details to get in touch about providing driving lessons. We will never share them with anyone else.

Automatic driving lessons

Automatic driving lessons

New automatic driving instructor available

Is learning automatic the way forward for you? Will it help you pass? What is the difference?
Whether you learn automatic or manual, it does not really matter. Obviously the only difference is not having to change gear. So if you find it hard to multi task, or English is not your first language and you are finding it hard to understand, automatic driving lessons will help you. You still need to do everything, like planning your driving by thinking ahead, tackling roundabouts, reversing, mirror checks and more, including passing your theory and practical test.
Driving Lessons with automatic cars is like clutch free motoring – no problem! Automatics, by making the physical job of driving much easier, give you more time to concentrate on what’s happening on the road.

Make your life easier

Automatic cars have drive, park, reverse and neutral. Just select the right one and you are off. Make your life easier. Get going with lessons, learning how to drive the way you want to.

Taking lessons and your driving test is no different no matter which type of gear box you use. If you have struggled with gears in the past, or are worried about multi-tasking during learning to drive then automatic lessons are the answer. Get yourself some lessons with Always Pass, let’s get you on the road.

Would a quiet time of the day be more preferable for you to learn to drive? Have a weekday lesson, when it is not so busy on the roads. Learn at your pace, and build your confidence.

pass today

Here at Always Pass Driving School, we can help you to pass your theory and practical driving tests. Learn to drive with one of our great male or female driving instructors. We offer automatic driving lessons in Lower Earley, Woodley, Henley and Twyford areas of Reading.

Get in touch

If you’d like more information please get in touch.

How many driving lessons will I need to pass?

How many driving lessons will I need to pass?

How many driving lessons will I need to pass?

This is a question a lot of people ask, but it can be difficult to answer as it varies from one person to another. The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have conducted research which states learners need about 44 hours of professional lessons to pass their driving test. But of course everyone is different and this figure can vary wildly. This depends on how naturally driving comes to you, your age and experience, how often you have lessons and whether you have any practice outside of your lessons. It isn’t helpful to compare yourself to others if you are learning any new skill, as this is likely to hold you back. Instead you should try to relax so you can listen to your instructor, and get as much practice as you can.

 

Professional lessons

It is a good idea to use a professional driving instructor for your first lessons. All of our driving instructors are experienced, and their cars have dual controls, so you know you’re in safe hands. Using a professional ensures that you don’t pick up any bad habits from anyone else, and they will know the best way to teach you everything that you will need to pass.

Theory test

Passing you theory test is easier once you’ve had some practical lessons. Your instructor will help to teach you about the rules of the road, so you will become more proficient at the theory questions. We also have practice questions for you to try out – give them a go! The more practice on the road that you have the better you will become at the hazard element of the test.

When you’ve had enough practice with your instructor, and feel safe on the road, it is a good idea to get driving practice with a friend or member of your family. They will have to be over 21, and have held a driving licence for at least 3 years, and of course have a fully insured car for you to use. You can get flexible insurance to insure a learner for just a few hours each week to allow you to practice.

 

pass today
pass your driving test

Is it best to learn when I’m young?

On average it’s easier to pass your driving test when you’re young. The official stats say you need an extra 2 hours of lessons for every year you get older. This doesn’t take your individual circumstances into account, so it may not be true for everyone. If you are not in a position to afford driving lessons every week you may be better off waiting until you can afford it. Taking lessons consistently every week will be the fastest way to learn, having large gaps between lessons will mean that you will forget things. Everyone learns differently, regardless of age, and a good instructor will be able to get the best from their learners.

 

Get in Touch

Whatever your circumstances, we have talented, professional instructors that will be able to guide you through the process of learning to drive. Please get in touch if you’d like to book a lesson.