Monthly Archives: July 2015

Emergency vehicle on a call

Whether it be police, fire or ambulance, that feeling you get when you are waiting on a red traffic light, and you can see, and/or hear the emergency vehicle on a call approaching from behind – what to do? Are you ALLOWED to go over the STOP line in this situation? This blog will give some practical advice.

 

This situation can potentially affect ALL drivers, not just learners – it is very handy to know NOW what your actual rights are regarding this situation, so that you do not take an action that might either cause serious injury to another, or be illegal.

Lucy who passed with BIG TOM Driving School a few months ago, texted us recently to say that she had driven over 3000 miles in various locations of the UK and thanked us for preparing her properly for real-life driving rather than just for the driving test. But she had a question to do with what to do when an emergency vehicle on a call approaches from behind when you are stationary at a red traffic light. She recently had this situation happen to her, she decided to NOT drive over the stop line at the traffic lights when an ambulance approached from behind, and many people (including some experienced drivers) have since criticised her for not getting out the way. She contacted us, as we did cover EXACTLY this situation in her driving training, and she was now wanting some assurance that, what she was told in her training, was actually correct. It was, and let us now explain why for the benefit of all reading with interest.

This situation is something that crops up regularly, there is a natural, instinctive reaction to quite simply do anything that is required to “get out of the way” of the emergency vehicle. However, you need to take care. The danger created if legislation were to give motorists the impression that it would be acceptable to go through red lights on the sight or sound of an emergency vehicle would be potentially catastrophic. It poses so many questions and points of law, that it would be very difficult to legislate eg how close was the emergency vehicle at the time, did you see that it was behind you, were you aware that it needed to proceed in the direction that you were obstructing and so on. It would be very difficult to the point of impossible in making this a cast iron “defence” in a court of law. Often in these types of situations in law when there is a great degree of subjectivity, the question is asked “Are these the actions of a reasonable person”. But as it stands, there is no legislation in existence that asks this question specifically in regard to a defence for someone driving through a red traffic light.

As such, it still remains to this day, that legally, the only time you are allowed to drive through a STOP line on a red traffic light, is when a Police Officer in uniform actually directs you to do so.

But there is of course more to this dilemma than that. A driver often only feels compelled to drive over a STOP line when at a red light, because s/he feels intimidated, threatened, pressured to do so by other motorists behind, and the noise and lights of the emergency vehicle. Take Lucy’s case of an ambulance for example. That ambulance might well be responding to a life and death situation, and seconds delay could be crucial. We are all brought up to acknowledge and respect that fact, and not to unduly delay or interfere with an ambulance on a call. However, the fact is you have no legal right to go through the red light, not by one inch, one foot, one metre.

When this exact situation happened on a recent driving test in Grantham that I observed from the back seat of a BIG TOM Driving School car, it was interesting to note that the Examiner, without saying a single word, just pointed to the left to the candidate on test. He did not point forwards, but to the left. We were however, the lead car at the traffic lights, the candidate did shuffle the car to the left, but NOT over the STOP line, it would have been illegal to have done so. The driver of the emergency vehicle in this particular example chose to re-position away from the red lights, and no further action was expected from my pupil on the driving test (and no mention was made of it by the examiner in the de-brief of the test). ‘Knowledge is power’ as the saying goes. If you are aware of an emergency vehicle on a call approaching you from behind, remain calm, do not erratically position your vehicle by making sudden swerves eg mounting a kerb or swerving over on to the oncoming lane. Make effective observations around your vehicle, signal to confirm you are pulling aside, and reduce your speed and/or reposition your vehicle in a controlled and calm manner.

So it could be argued instead, why does this situation at red traffic lights even arise then? Why do the drivers of emergency vehicles pressure/bully/intimidate drivers in front to break the law and drive through the red light in order for them to make progress?

Drivers of emergency vehicles are entitled to ‘make progress’ in ways that the public are not. When on a call, they are exempt from laws regarding speed limits, traffic lights, keep left/right bollards, and even sirens in the night time hours. But crucially, they are not permitted to USE the lights and sirens of the vehicle to intimidate other road users to break the law, or endanger other road users. They are not even supposed to drive on an emergency call in a manner that causes a collision. For example, if an ambulance were to approach a red traffic light at such a speed or intensity of progress that results in one vehicle hitting another simply in an attempt to get out the way of the ambulance, (no question of even being near the STOP line), the ambulance driver is in fact, responsible for that collision. The presence of an emergency vehicle at the time and location of a collision has long been a notable and sometimes contributory factor to the situation. The “blame” in these situations is shouldered by the relevant authority representing the emergency vehicle at the time. How they then apportion blame with regards to the driver of the emergency vehicle, is a matter for them (and the Police).

A qualified ERDT Instructor (Emergency Response Driver Training Instructor) confirms to BIG TOM Driving School that whilst being trained approaching red traffic lights, emergency vehicle drivers are taught to consider the viable option of safely positioning the vehicle in the oncoming lane(s) to therefore prevent any drivers who are held on the red light in front from being tempted to drive over the STOP line. On occasion, due to the layout of the road/junction, this option is not always available or chosen. If the situation arises, where the emergency vehicle driver approaches heavy traffic being held at a red traffic light which is unable to assist the emergency vehicle driver in any way other than going through the red light, then the sirens are to be turned off, and the emergency vehicle is to be held 4-6 car lengths BACK from the stationary traffic, wait for the traffic lights to turn green before then attempting to make progress again. This is how they are trained to deal with the scenario given by Lucy in her question.

No matter what the emergency is, even with knowledge of what the emergency is that a driver on a call is responding to, they STILL have to take into account the (possible) actions of other drivers and limitations by law of other road users around them. They are NOT permitted to use the tones and lights of an emergency vehicle to force other road users to drive in a manner that would endanger the life of others.   Not only are members of the public not permitted to drive through red lights in these circumstances, emergency vehicle drivers are not permitted to encourage them to either.

When looked upon in those terms, the law is quite simple, straight forward and logical…. as is often the way, it is only when human emotions get involved, that judgement can sometimes affect the behaviours of all drivers.

If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please add them below.

BIG TOM Driving School     Bookings: 0800 689 4174

 

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Driving School in Bourne – Weekly Update – 25/7/15

Your local Driving School in Bourne gives you all the motoring info around your area…

  • Instant easing of traffic congestion in Peterborough as Bourges Boulevard improvements come to an end. Some very positive feedback of the new design and appearance.
  • Heavy traffic is expected for the Huntingdon Secret Garden Party… ends July 27th
  • Resident from Thurlby (39 yrs) is disqualified from driving for 6 months after admitting to driving without a licence and insurance with fees of £592
  • Lollipop lady at Bourne Westfield Primary School saluted for 15 years of loyal service.
  • A 23 yr old van driver from Hampton in Peterborough died between Guyhirn and Rings End on the A47 after a head on collision with a lorry. This is sadly now the 2nd fatality on the A47 in less than a month.
  • A resident of Bath Close in Bourne was stopped by Police in The Pollards, Elsea Park, Bourne after the boot of his car opened. Arrested, charged and convicted for drink driving with a 20 month ban and fees of £620.
  • Low Rd and Halmergate in Spalding will be closed on 28/07/15
  • Parish Council for Tallington are looking at possibility of speed awareness signage i.e. passive and interactive speed signs for the village
  • A car overturned on Monday (20/7/25) at junction of Nene and Fletton Parkways in Peterborough.
  • Road closure: A1175 nr Brazenose Lane in Stamford 27/7/15 6pm to midnight.
  • Ex-BIG TOM Driving School learner Georgina Ivens from Peterborough wins snr women’s 400m race at E Anglian League meeting.
  • A meeting on Wednesday (22/7/15) at Morton raised the possibility of a traffic light controlled junction at the crossroads with the facility to allow pedestrians to cross. The overwhelming positive response was directed to be fed back to the next parish council meeting.
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When do I use my handbrake?

This blog from BIG TOM Driving School (0800 689 4174 ) explains when is a good time to use the handbrake while driving and why. There is a BIG TOM video to accompany it (for those who want to watch rather than read).

 

 

Not knowing if you should be using the handbrake or when is the correct time to is potentially a big deal when learning to drive. It uses up brain space and most importantly TIME to think it through. Sometimes, in certain situations of driving, time is very precious, you might have a lot of actions to do in a short period of time eg steering to get in the correct position at a junction, looking effectively to see if it is safe to proceed, putting a signal on, selecting the correct gear, assessing what other road users around you are communicating to you. These are not small tasks, and if your brain is taking up time to consider whether you need to apply the handbrake, or not, that is delaying you from doing all those other jobs. Is that a big deal? Certainly can be! Incorrect position might cause another road user hassle, attempting to move off in the wrong gear might create a stall and on it goes, these are not small problems – and all because you didn’t know if setting the handbrake was needed.

The braking system for the handbrake is different to when you put your foot on the footbrake. They are different because they are there for different reasons. We do not use the handbrake to stop the car, we use it to ‘secure’ the car (prevent it from moving once stopped). I wouldn’t recommend you experiment with this, but if you were to abruptly put your handbrake on while driving, there will be a variety of consequences depending on the driving conditions at the time. But it is certainly not advisable to test this out, not only is the stability of the car in jeopardy but it physically would not do the components of the car any good either.

We have 2 correct means of slowing the vehicle and another 2 means that should NOT be used to slow the vehicle:

  1. Come off the gas pedal whilst still in gear (clutch up), known as “engine braking”
  2. Using the middle brake pedal with the right foot – the intensity of the slowing will depend on the degree and speed the foot is pressed downwards on the pedal3 and 4 will very likely damage your car, maybe not immediately, but certainly over time if repeatedly done.
  3. Engaging a gear that is not suited to the speed the vehicle is travelling that makes it abruptly slow eg selecting 2nd gear at 45mph – NOT RECOMMENDED
  4. Applying the handbrake while the vehicle is still rolling – NOT RECOMMENDED

When you are beginning to learn to drive, it pays to ‘become friends’ with the handbrake. You will pretty quickly notice that immediately after a stop/pause, if you put the handbrake on, it will enable you to take the right foot off the brake pedal in order to set the gas, with no possibility of the car rolling in any direction. The reason why that is such a big deal is that with the gas being set, you are making a stall more unlikely to happen (more on “stalling” later in the BIG TOM blog).

As confidence increases, and your ability to recognise when you are paused on a flat road without a hill/gradient of any kind, then the dependence on continually, repeatedly applying the handbrake at every pause will decrease. But to begin with, in the early days, get used to setting the handbrake on a pause, it enables you to “set” your feet and that will prevent the car from rolling, stalling, bunny hopping, wheels screeching, and from you making fast (and inaccurate) gear changes to what you THINK is 1st gear.

One other thing to consider when you apply the handbrake is the mechanics of how it is set and reset. On a traditional “lever” system, when you apply the handbrake (secure the car), you raise the lever until it is tight. The amount of travel will depend on the particular wear and tear on the braking mechanism at the time. Whether you press the ratchet in with your thumb to apply the handbrake is really of little consequence, but ensuring it is raised enough most certainly is. If you do not raise it high enough then the brakes will not grip, and the car will not be held/locked secure in that position. When releasing the handbrake (lowering it), you lift the lever ever so slightly to enable your thumb to press the ratchet, and then you release the lever FULLY downwards (whilst keeping your thumb pressed on the ratchet). Only when the lever is at the very bottom (it cannot go any lower) should you depress the ratchet with your thumb. Take your time with this operation. Rushing it, will inevitably lead to the handbrake not being completely released, which might mean that there is still some level of braking being applied, it may mean that an audible alarm from the dashboard is set off to remind you to lower the lever completely. Beware of these niggly habits forming, because they can be hard to iron out; take your time, remember, if you have correctly set your feet, then there is no need to rush taking the handbrake off, the car will not roll backward on release of the handbrake as the clutch position (left foot) is on “the bite” and preventing the car from going backwards. Technology is rapidly coming to our aid again here, car manufacturers are increasingly using a feature that sets the handbrake by the click of a switch and does not need to be switched off before you move off again.

The frequency with which drivers need to use the handbrake in order to keep control of the vehicle reduces as the driver gets more competent with the necessary foot controls so that the vehicle only moves when they want it to, and in the direction they want it to. However, do try to prevent being stationary with the left foot on the bite, and the right foot setting gas for extended periods of time (whether handbrake is on or not), as eventually you will smell the clutch heating up under the strain. Try to time your actions to anticipate when you need that full control – again this is being kind to your car, a new clutch will cost about £800 to replace.

One other thing, the old rule about “if a pause becomes a wait” still stands as a rough guide to whether you should put the handbrake on. Being paused for a long time at a junction or in a queue with the right foot securing the vehicle via the footbrake is not only giving you, the driver, work for the foot, but also is glaring very bright brake lights into the eyes of the driver behind. Try to get into the habit of anticipating how long you think you will be paused for, any more than 5-10 seconds wait, stick the handbrake on, relax the feet.   It’s surprising how quickly this skill of anticipation develops once you start paying attention to it.

BIG TOM Driving School   Bookings: 0800 689 4174

My thanks go to Nigel Petler from NP Auto’s Bourne Ltd (01778 422 865) for his assistance in the creation of this blog.

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Points on Licence

It can be surprising for some drivers how easy it is to collect points on your driving licence.

The amount of points and length of time that they stay on your licence depend on the type of offence that has been committed.

PenaltyPointsIt is also worth noting that for newly qualified drivers, there is a ‘probationary’ period of 2 years, whereby collecting just 6 points (not 12 points as it is for other more experienced drivers) will mean you have to start the qualification process all over again. Take a look here for some driving offences, the points they attract and how long they stay on your licence.

https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements/endorsement-codes-and-penalty-points

The consequences of getting points on your licence can be far reaching. Car insurance providers will want to know if you have them, and premiums are significantly increased due to the presence of points. Employers will ask to check your licence before allowing you to drive company cars, as will car hire companies, even if you are being offered a courtesy car while your car is being repaired – your licence will be checked. Gone are the days when you hand over the paper part of your licence, everything is done digitally now. This link here will describe how access to information regarding points on your licence is gained for such purposes for 21 days https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

Let’s look at a random group of driving offences and give typical examples of how the points are distributed. It is worth pointing out from the start that in terms of enforcement, on the spot fines with points endorsed can be handed out to you in the form of a Fixed Penalty Notice by the Police, in much the same way that notice for parking fines are slapped on your windscreen. Here are details of the types of offences and vehicles that Police may issue these notices https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/road-traffic-offences-for-which-police-officers-may-issue-a-fixed-penalty-notice  In an effort to unclog our Magistrate Courts with driving offence cases, the number of offences for which these instant notices can be issued is increasing. Police have more scope to issue them instantly, however, that does NOT, in itself mean that “justice” has to be instantly, there and then, meted out – you are entitled to have your case heard in a court, and allow a court to hear all the evidence before deciding on the outcome (it’s just that if found guilty of the offence(s), court costs will also be added to the final outcome).

What does this mean in practical terms? Picture the scene. You are a driving on a dual-carraigeway restricted by national speed signs (70mph for cars), there is a car being driven in the furthest right lane at 50mph. The car has a foreign number plate – perhaps the driver is thinking that is the correct lane to be driving in? Who knows? Anyhow, there are a string of 12 vehicles behind that car, the drivers all itching to get to where they want, busy busy busy.   The driver of a rather powerful BMW takes it upon himself to overtake using the left lane(s). But in order to do this, he first of all has to overtake about 8 of the 12 vehicles being held up. He does good observations to his left, he puts on a left signal, and he slowly but surely passes each and every vehicle. Due to the number of vehicles, and the fact that he is taking care, this manoeuvre takes some time to complete and as such, nearing the end of the overtakes, there was an oncoming slip road on to the dual-carraigeway, but as there were no vehicles entering the dual-carraigeway at that precise time, “no harm was done”. Now, whatever your own opinion of the rights and wrongs of that situation, in the eyes of the law, whilst the foreign driver was most certainly committing an offence in itself, every driver that decided to then overtake the foreign driver using the inside lane(s) was “driving without due care and attention” aka careless driving. The licence is endorsed with points (typically 3) and whilst you could go to Court and tell anyone prepared to listen to you about the foreign driver, and your heavy schedule, and how many other drivers were affected, and your previous good record, the outcome will not alter. The code for this offence comes under the “CDxx” umbrella eg CD10 which stands for “Careless Driving” – this will most certainly raise the eyebrows of any insurance provider, and premiums will be increased as a result.

Other practical offences that attract points include failing to accord precedence at a zebra crossing – not stopping for someone crossing in other words (more on this particular offence in a future BIG TOM blog), tailgating (driving too close to the vehicle in front of you), leaving your vehicle in a dangerous position, and some of you might be pleased to hear this one too…. picture this scene.

Driving on a motorway with 3 lanes, Mrs Blissful, who likes to stay just under the speed limits (just in case…. she is after all a very careful driver), whilst driving at 65 mph, chooses to drive in lane 2 of the 3 lanes (lane 1 being furthest left). She’s not driving a lorry, so doesn’t want to act like one in lane 1, and although there is not a lorry or any kind of vehicle in lane 1 for as far as she can see up the motorway, she wants to save herself the trouble of having to overtake a lorry by switching lanes, so she will stay put in lane 2. Why make life hard for yourself she thinks. This can’t be doing any harm in her mind, because if anyone does want to do the maximum speed limit of 70 mph, they can happily do so by using lane 3. Everyone’s happy. Or so she thought until she was pulled over by the police and was also given points for the offence of lane-hogging. The Police pointed out to her that drivers are expected to use the left most lane in these circumstances where there is no good reason NOT to use the vacant lane to her left. “The complications and congestion that can be caused by lane-hoggers might be quite surprising to the blissfully unaware, Mrs Blissful”, said the Officer.

This blog outlines the driving offences that can cause your driving licence to be endorsed with penalty points, and the effects when that happens. How does this make you feel? Does this anger you, make you feel assured and safer on the roads, do let me know below!

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Driving School in Bourne – Weekly Update – 18/7/15

 

Your local Driving School in Bourne gives you all the motoring info around your area…

 

  • Councillor from Spalding receives parking ticket while busily helping on flower beds for Spalding in Bloom
  • A15 pedestrian safety options at Morton to be discussed in Morton Village Hall 22/7/15 7.30pm. County Councillor will attend to raise awareness of options for crossing plans and safety at the crossroads.
  • First class service from NP Auto’s Bourne Ltd, 5A Hereward Ind Estate 01778 422 865 offers superb service to local resident.
  • Young farmer from Norfolk on charge for causing death by dangerous driving, does not dispute expert evidence regarding position of his tractor at time of fatality, but denies he had set speed limiter to illegal setting of 40mph. Driver of the car involved in the collision with the tractor died as a result. He also denied being under the influence of drugs, having admitted to use of cocaine. (Case continues).
  • Local residents near South Road, Bourne continue to voice concerns over speeding vehicles between Tesco and Sugarmill Roundabout.
  • Grantham MP suggests positive benefits to retailers if local council were to allow 2 hour free parking. However in 2015 alone, Council has received over £500,000 from parking fees in Grantham.
  • Rippingale High Street closures expected from works started 20/7/14 (18 month est completion)

 

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Help I failed my driving test

 

What to do if you have just failed your driving test.

Whilst no-one likes to plan to fail the driving test, if it were to happen it’s nice to know what to do. This blog from BIG TOM Driving School (0800 689 4174 ) gives you some practical advice of the do’s and don’ts if you do fail your driving test.

Here is a very handy BIG TOM video on the subject Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to see more helpful videos like this one.

But let’s consider some practical advice:

  • Unless you really don’t want them there, always ask your driving instructor to observe your driving test. Let them see with their own eyes what actually happens – they will be in a better position to then assist.
  • Always allow your driving instructor to be present at the de-brief with the examiner after the driving test – sometimes very helpful little snippets of information come from examiners that you might not pick up.
  • As the BIG TOM video suggests, attempt to “root-cause” why a ‘serious or dangerous’ driving fault occurred. THIS IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE EXAMINER, and may not always be quite so apparent which is another reason why it’s good to have your driving instructor observe the test.
  • Avoid just booking up another driving test without any professional assistance at all. Whilst it might be instinctive to simply put it down to nerves, if you were to fail again, you are beginning to dig yourself into a deep hole. It is often surprising how confidence can be so affected after failing the driving test a few times.
  • Make use of mock tests, and consider asking a different instructor to see your driving and give their opinion. Test day is costly, it can be wise to invest before automatically booking another test.

We hope this blog and BIG TOM video helps you if you have failed your driving test, and sets you on a path to obtaining your full driving licence. If you have any questions or simply want to tell us that it is helpful, please add it down below – this feedback is important to us.

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Driving Test in Grantham on a Saturday

Book your driving test for the weekend.

Harry (shown here with the big smile), passed his driving test in Grantham last Saturday with BIG TOM Driving School (0800 689 4174 ). It was his first attempt at the driving test and he comfortably passed with just 3 driving faults. He managed to bag himself the test slot by making use of the cancellation service that is freely available to everyone.

To access any cancellations, you first of all need to initially book your driving test https://www.gov.uk/book-driving-test and you will then get a booking reference number. Depending on how busy the Driving Test Centre is at the time you book will determine how far in advance the test slot is that you have been given (this varies across the UK but can be over 4 months). If you then want to search for a different date, you simply use this link  https://www.gov.uk/change-driving-test.

The frequency at which you check for cancellations will greatly affect your chances of finding a new date/time that you like. I have known dozens of BIG TOM Driving School pupils in the past who have used this feature to great effect. It is entirely free and open to all the public – in fact, no organisation has any more access to these slots than the public do, so my advice is…. USE IT!

It’s a little bit like jumping the queues at Alton Towers but the key difference is, you do not need to pay a single extra penny for getting an express test slot – you can literally jump the queue by months, it really is that good.

BIG TOM Driving School (Bookings: 0800 689 4174 ) wishes Harry all the very best with safe driving for years to come, and congratulates him for passing his driving test in Grantham on a Saturday.

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Driving School in Bourne – Weekly Update

 

Your local Driving School in Bourne gives you all the motoring info around your area….

 

  • More Twyford Woods “illegal rave” convictions continue to go through the courts. The latest involves a 20 yr old female convicted for dangerous driving and received an interim driving ban.
  • Boston Car and Bike Show took place on Sunday 5/7/15 attracting record high crowds, all helping to raise £40,000 of donations for local village causes.
    http://www.bastoncarshow.com/#!about/c1wk9
  • An inquest has discovered that a road traffic collision that occurred on Christmas Day on the A606 Oakham Road near Langham was possibly as a result of one of the drivers phoning his Mother and wishing her merry Christmas. Lynda Wade and Mark Price were the drivers involved in the double fatality. The mother of Mark Price heard him wish her merry Christmas, then there was a pause and then he said “Oh no” and then she thought she heard an impact before the line cut off. A set of headphones were found in the drivers footwell and the mobile had been placed on the dashboard.
  • As reported on the BIG TOM Driving School Twitter  https://twitter.com/tukkr  on the 27/6/15, a recent Morton & Hanthorpe Parish Council meeting is arranging for a Lincolnshire Highways Officer to attend a forthcoming meeting to discuss the options available regarding a pedestrian crossing or mini-roundabout near the crossroads at Morton on the A15.
  • A female driver from Stamford was convicted of having no insurance, insufficient tyre tread and faulty rear lights. She was ordered to pay £1745 in total and she received an endorsement of 8 penalty points on her licence.
  • A male driver from Stamford was convicted of having no insurance, failing to stop for Police, and possession of cocaine. He was ordered to pay £695 in total and he was banned from driving for 6 months.
  • A male from Bourne was convicted of failing to identify a driver alleged to have been guilty of an offence, and was fined £745 and received an endorsement of 6 points on his licence.
  • A business in Cherry Holt Road, Bourne pleaded guilty to failing to give information relating to the driver of a vehicle which was alleged to have been guilty of an offence and ordered to pay a fine of £910.
  • A male from Morton pleaded guilty to drink driving and was fined £829 and disqualified from driving for 17 months.
  • A member of Barleythorpe Road Residents’ Group in Oakham is taking issue with his local council after a speed survey suggests an average speed of 30 mph in their 30 mph zone. The apparent lack of response from the Council to give details of how many vehicles were actually speeding over the 30 mph is resulting in him leaving Rutland. Here in Bourne, a Police speed survey from last year indicated an average speed of motorists in Bourne of 36 mph in a 30 mph zone. Despite being approached by Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership in 2014 with suggestions of Reactive Speed signs, Bourne Council refused to make any contact to the Police Officer concerned.

 

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Reverse Park In A Bay

 

Does the car need to be inside the white lines when parking in a bay?

One of the manoeuvres that you might currently be asked to do on the UK driving test is called “The reverse park” exercise. The examiner might ask you to reverse park within a parking bay at the test centre (either at the start or at the end of the driving test) OR you might be asked to reverse park behind or between parked cars on the left side of the road.

This blog is going to concentrate on one positional aspect of the reverse park, within a bay at the test centre. It will look at the accuracy required for the final position of the vehicle once the manoeuvre is completed. If you would like to see a very handy summary of the options available to you to reverse into the bay, feel free to check out our Bay Parking on Driving Lessons video. The options available to you will be dictated by the situation at your driving test centre – they do vary quite considerably.

 

 

On a driving test today I saw a vehicle being reversed into a bay at the test centre and the driver finished the manoeuvre in this position… As can be seen, the rear and front wheel are literally only just on that white line of the bay. There is an inch possibly two inches of black tyre (if we are being generous) on the very outside edge of the white line. The driver stopped the car, and did not make any attempt to adjust the position at all. The examiner may well have asked the driver something along the lines of “Are you finished?”. If this is asked, it is always wise to take stock of the situation, check out your position, and if necessary, make any adjustments. What I did see however, was the car being turned off, and the examiner got out the car, walked to the rear of the car, and took about 5 seconds to properly look at the position of the wheels in this photo. I then saw the examiner return to the car, and a driving test pass was awarded.

To discover that leaving the car in this position on a driving test and still pass might come as a surprise to you – it certainly did to me, and two other driving instructors in the test centre, one of whom was the instructor for the pupil driving in the bay. How can this be?

In all matters to do with the conduct and parameters of a driving test in the UK, we need to refer to a document known as DT1 which is the DVSA standard operating procedure and is freely available for the public to view

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/436783/dvsa-dt1-standard-operating-procedure.pdf

 

Here is a relevant snippet of that document (saves you the trouble of downloading and looking up the page):

 

 

The sentence underlined and in bold is very relevant to the final position: Parking outside the bay is unacceptable. So we can safely assume that the position shown in my image above is NOT outside the bay. If that was deemed outside the bay, it would have resulted in a driving test fail. But the next couple of sentences are also very relevant:

There is no fault if you cross the white lines while entering the bay. Interestingly though, if there were vehicles parked either side of the bay being reversed into, and the white line was crossed, that might come very close to a collision!

Examiners should consider whether the car could reasonably be left, in that car park, in the prevailing conditions, in that position. Now this is the sentence that is crucial. In real life driving, if you were to leave your vehicle in a busy supermarket car park in the position as shown in the above image, then it might be questionable whether that is a good idea. Firstly, anyone wanting to park next to you is going to have a very hard job of it. Secondly, even if they did manage to park next to you, it is going to be potentially very difficult to open doors (from either of the vehicles). But we are not in a busy supermarket car park. We are in a driving test centre car park, and depending on the test centre, there may be several other bays that are empty and available for others, or there may be far fewer. The test centre that I was in this morning when I saw the bay park must have had approximately 20 other empty bays for others to park in.

So there you have it! Personally, I would advise my customers not to leave things to chance like this. Whilst it was assessed as acceptable, I think it is always a very good idea to be aware of the accuracy in your parking, and if a forward shunt or two is needed on these manoeuvres, do it, it is showing an attention to detail and will hold you in good stead for a life of parking after the driving test!

I hope this blog has helped to raise the awareness of what is acceptable for the final position of the vehicle having done a reverse bay park on the UK driving test. If you have any queries or comments, please feel free to add them below.

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