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Instructors Tips

Mini Drive Instructors

We have a wealth of experience to share with all who are learning to drive. This blog has been setup to give information & advice to help with your lessons and any private practice. You can find more at

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Changes to the Theory Test

Theory Test Posted on Mon, February 06, 2012 22:25:46

You may have read in the press or heard rumours that the
theory test is changing. Here is clarification of what is changing.

From 23rd of January 2012 the DSA will no longer
be publishing the questions for the theory test. Therefore you will no longer
be able to practice the exact questions that appear in the test. This change is
designed to stop candidates learning the questions by heart.

The DSA will be publishing Mock test questions and many of these
will be available to practice with via training media and websites.

You can view the Mini Drive test questions here.

The test will still consist of 50 multiple choice questions
You are still required to get 43/50 to pass the question part
You will still have to get 44/75 to pass the hazard perception


get “Theory Test Success” from

Reverse Round a corner – The Fundamentals

Left Reverse Posted on Sat, January 28, 2012 20:36:43

Reversing around a corner is a manoeuvre that many people
find tricky at first. But just like any other manoeuvre there are some
fundamental rules to understand in order to become accomplished at it.

Firstly we need to understand that every corner is different,
so a method used on one corner may not work on another.

Secondly being spatially aware of your car and its
surroundings allows the manoeuvre to be more accurate.

So how do we reverse around something that is continually
changing and at the same time learn to be spatially aware of the car?

The first thing to do is to make sure you don’t rush the
manoeuvre. Take your time and use clutch control to keep the speed down to a
slow crawl. It is also worthwhile to stop from time to time to assess the road
around you and to assess your position. There is no time limit.

Keep in mind that you are trying to get the car to stay between the
white centre lines and the kerb just the same as when you turn into a side road
going forwards.

Start the manoeuvre about a drains width from the kerb and
no more than 2 car lengths from the turning. Select reverse, look around and
then use clutch control to edge the car back until you can see the curve of the
corner through the rear side window.

At this point stop and check for traffic over your right
shoulder as the front is about to swing out.

Edge the car back gently, turning the steering wheel as much
as needed to get the car to follow the curve of the corner. Be aware of the
position of both sides of the car in relation to the white lines and the kerb. It is worth stopping a few times
during the process to assess your position and keep a check on the road around.
As the car comes round and parallel to the kerb straighten the wheel and
reverse back a round 3 car lengths from the end of the road.


…It takes practice
and patience to perfect it.

Click here to watch a video

How to Turn-In-The_Road

Turn in The Road Posted on Thu, January 26, 2012 14:23:06

Turn-In-The-Road (or 3-point turn) is widely regarded as an
easy manoeuvre, however many people do struggle with it in the early stages.
This is because of the new skills needed to complete the manoeuvre safely.

Clutch control is the key. Being able to accurately control the speed of the
car during the manoeuvre will enable all other aspects of the manoeuvre to be
covered comfortably.

So it’s worth while practicing your clutch control before
attempting any manoeuvres.

The fundamentals are very simple. Turn-In-The-Road is made
up of “Forward” stages and “Reversing” stages. Each “Forward” stage follows the same
pattern and each “Reversing” stage
follows the same pattern. So all you have to do is combine as many “Forward” stages with “Reversing” stages until you have
turned the car around.

It is worth noting at this stage that although many still
refer to the manoeuvre as a 3-point turn, it is not essential that it is done
in 3 moves as the name suggests. If it takes a few more moves it doesn’t

Forward Stage…

First prepare the car – First gear, Set the Gas, Feel for a
small amount of clutch bite.

Then look around – All mirrors and blind spots.

When the road is clear, remove the handbrake and move gently
across the road. Apply all the turn to the Right. As you approach the kerb
remove the right turn and stop before hitting the kerb.

Handbrake on, select neutral.

Reversing Stage…

First prepare the car – Reverse gear, Set the Gas, Feel for
a small amount of clutch bite.

Then look around – All mirrors and blind spots.

When the road is clear, remove the handbrake and reverse
gently across the road, looking out the
rear window
. Apply all the turn to the Left. As you approach the kerb look
over your right shoulder to see how close you are and remove the left turn,
stopping before hitting the kerb.

You then do another “Forward” stage and the car should have
turned around. If not “Reverse” then
“Forward”… and so on…

Follow this pattern applying tight clutch control throughout
and you won’t go far wrong. Be patient at first taking your time and before you
know it you’ll have it cracked!

Watch a Video Here


Road Signs

Theory Test Posted on Tue, January 17, 2012 10:32:32

Get “Theory test success” from **** **** Get “Know your Road Signs” from

When I ask many students at the end of a lesson how the theory study is going the answer is usually “alright”. Drilling down a little further can reveal that the student is ok with most parts but finds some areas a challenge. 2 of the most popular are Road Signs and Motorways.

The theory test is made up of sections. For example road signs and motorways are 2 sections, but there are hazard perception questions, rules of the road questions, as well as vulnerable road users, first aid and vehicle documentation questions to name but a few. The theory test is made up of a number of questions drawn from each section so it only takes a weakness in 2 of those sections and you can find yourself struggling to pass.

Road Signs.

The first thing to learn with road signs is the shapes and their meaning.

*Triangular road signs are warning signs.

*Round road signs give orders and instructions – Round Blue signs give positive instructions i.e. things you must do. Round signs with a red ring around the edge are negative instructions i.e. things you must not do.

*Square road signs are for information.

When faced with a road sign question “what does this sign mean?” first ask yourself what type of sign it is. Warning, Order, Information. Then look at the answers and discount any answers that don’t match the shape.

For example the sign above is a warning sign for a Pedestrian Crossing Ahead. Looking at the answers you may have the following:

A: No Pedestrians
B: No Walking
C: Pedestrian Crossing
D: School Crossing ahead

Based on the shape theory, answers A and B are wrong because they are orders. So it’s a decision between C and D and because it is a large person between 2 dotted lines it makes more sense to be a pedestrian crossing than a school crossing. So through a process of elimination we find the answer.

There are many study guides out there to help with Theory practice and they don’t cost the earth.

Theory Test Success is the most popular and, in my professional opinion, the best value for money. It allows you to practice specific sections of the test and explains each answer.

For road signs get this book it has them all with explanations. Know Your road Signs

Learning to drive on a budget

General Advice Posted on Thu, January 05, 2012 23:02:25

Learning to drive has never been a cheap thing to do. So
here are some tips to learning to drive on a budget.

First of all make sure you pick a driving instructor that has a good
reputation. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. A good driving
instructor will generally save you money in the long run as you will require
fewer lessons. Cheap doesn’t always mean best. 50 hours at £15/hour is almost
£100 more expensive than 30 hours at £22/hour.

Second make sure you are prepared for each lesson. If you are too tired or
unwell this can affect your ability to learn the necessary skills.

Private practice with parents or relatives will help gain experience. Once you
get to a particular skill level with your instructor they will be able to
advise what to practice. It’s the same principle as learning a musical
instrument. Have a lesson then go home and practice. The more practice the
better you get.

Driving is a practical skill so by its very nature it takes practice to get it

Click here to see “what you need to learn to drive”

Insuring a car to practice in can be expensive.
here for cheap insurance designed specifically for learner drivers doing
private practice

When studying for your theory make sure you do enough. It’s not as straight
forward as some will have you believe, and at £31 (as of jan2012) its again not

The best way to study is with a CD-ROM or DVD where you can practice the test
and get guidance on driving theory. You may have a friend or relative that can
lend you one or you can buy one for as little as £5.

Learning to drive properly does cost money but if you’re careful and invest your
money properly you can significantly reduce the costs.

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