Differences between new and old driving tests

A Handy Q&A Guide to the Changes in the New Practical Driving Test (4/12/2017)

Q.  Is it going to be harder to pass?

A. No. There are no changes to the pass rates between the 2 tests; about 60% of people generally pass first time, 25% second time and 15% third time.  This is in line with the existing driving test pass rates.

Q. Why has it been introduced then?

A. It is known that the contents of the driving test have an influence on the training people undertake to prepare for it and the DVSA have recognised that the current test is practically difficult to include some of the faster moving roads and rural roads.  The changes enable the test routes to include these types of roads.

Q. Ok, will it make any difference to how quickly I can pass?

A.  When the revised test was researched* they used learners who had not had any previous attempts at the test and discovered that it takes about 40 hours of training with a driving instructor over 7 months and an additional 19 hours with a supervisor driver (friend or family) doing private practise.  These figures are very similar to the existing driving test stats.  When they compared these with the national comparison figures which did not only include first timers, they were at a slightly higher average of about 48 hours with a driving instructor.  So you can reasonably deduce from this that it takes on average between 40 – 50 hours with a driving instructor and a further 15-20 hours private practise.

Q.  Does that have any impact on your intensive driving courses?

A. Not in the slightest.  We have always made it very clear to anyone who contacts us that we happily work with customers from a range of starting points from absolutely no previous experience to those who have had several unsuccessful attempts at the test but just cannot pass it.

Q.  Was there any difference discovered in how well people drove after passing the test?

A.  They did keep in touch with them up to 6 months after passing.  In terms of accident rates, it was unchanged between the 2 driving tests at about 1 in 11.

Q.  I always thought that the accident rate for new drivers was 1 in 5 within 6 months of passing?

A.  That figure is from a study in the 2000’s and recognised as being out of date. The accident rate of about 10% within 6 months of passing the test is consistent between the old and new driving test.

Q.  What has changed since then?

A.  The analysis of collision or accident risk is quite interesting.  There are some things that will increase the risk of having a collision such as driving in busy town areas, driving for business purposes, driving with a telematics based insurance policy.  And there are other things that reduce risk of having a collision such as access to a vehicle owned by parents/relatives/friends post-test, time spent on rural roads and driving independently when training with a driving instructor.

Q.  Why does driving with a telematics based insurance policy increase the risk?  Do you mean the ‘black box’?

A.  Yes and that is a good question and well worth asking as it is in the order of 50% increased risk according to the research which cannot offer any further light on the subject.

Q.  Are there any other surprise findings like that?

A.  The data showed that being younger at test pass and driving more (post-test) increased crash risk – I think that would come as no surprise to many. But the pass rates are similar, even the number of driving faults recorded between the 2 different driving tests is very similar at around 5 on average.  The reason for the manoeuvre changes is simply to provide the examiners with more flexibility within the test so that they can accommodate routes that involve the faster moving roads and rural roads.  These types of roads have always featured large on the BIG TOM intensive driving course quite simply because there is more time in the session to go further afield – it really is that simple.

Q.  Does this have any effect on driving instructors?

A.  Well I certainly hope it does! The DVSA have been making it clear for a long time in their Driving Standards that they expect driving instructors to train their pupils on a variety of different type or class of roads to build up their experience.  As the driving tests previously have tended to be contained within town/residential areas (to enable the manoeuvre to be done), this has affected how much time some instructors have allowed their pupils to gain experience on faster moving roads and country roads.

Q.  Do you think the new driving test is a positive change?

A.  The impact it will have on BIG TOM customers is minimal because we have always given our pupils the opportunity to drive between towns and cities picking up vital driving experience, using sat nav, negotiating rural road bends etc.  My advice still remains the same that I say to all my pupils: forget about the driving test and just concentrate on building up enough driving experience of differing driving conditions so that you are feeling confident and competent to drive completely independently in rain, sun, daylight or dark, busy or quiet roads.  If a pupil gets distracted just thinking about going to test it tends to prevent them from accurately assessing their driving skills and strengths/weaknesses.

Q. Ok so if I’m a new learner what would be your advice given the above information?

A. I always advise that the best results come when a learner takes on the responsibility of learning in an effective way for them – this is a personal learning experience.  So, my advice is to reflect on how you like to learn, the timescales involved, and quite literally what different training providers are offering in terms of resources.  You really do need to recognise that as in all walks of life, not all driving instructors are the same, and if you can identify HOW you like to learn, then you can then go about finding a provider who will be able to accommodate your needs.  This bit of advice will potentially save you time, money and misery.

*TRL The Future of Transport Published Project Report PPR828 “Transforming the practical driving test” – Helman S, Wallbank C, Chowdhury S, Hammond J, Kinnear N, Buttress S, Jenkins R, Grayson G

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Driving Instructor Conference 2017

News from the very latest Driving Instructor Conference held by DIA on 17/11/2017

One of the assurances that BIG TOM can provide to customers is that we continue to stay in touch with all that is going on in the industry; the latest research, technology being used on driving lessons, quality driving instructor training that is available and important people and organisations involved in road safety in the UK.  There are actually approximately 39,000 driving instructors in the industry however, only in the region of 200 actually attend these types of national events, reinforcing the fact that not all driving instructors are the same. BIG TOM attendance further demonstrates our commitment to ensure that the service being provided is aligned with ‘best practice’ in the industry.

Dr Fiona Fylan is a Health Psychologist and presented on her latest work within Brainbox Research regarding what should be included in a resource to help qualified driving instructors teach young people to drive on motorways.  Her research involved 546 driving instructors, 93 novice drivers and 6 focus groups.  Her presentation raised awareness of some of the feelings and challenges being felt about conducting driving training on motorways when it becomes legal (believed to be Spring of 2018).

Samantha Jackson from Highways England (formerly Highways Agency) presented regarding the latest initiative her organisation are working on towards their mission of “No-one is hurt on roads”.

Gareth Llewellyn (Chief Executive of DVSA) spoke about the very latest news from the governing body and this was followed up with Q&A which included Lesley Young (Chief Driving Examiner DVSA), Mark Magee (Head of Central Policy Team DVSA) and Mark Winn (Head of Motor Cycling Policy DVSA).

Mark Jaffe who is a motorcycle trainer then presented regarding the challenges of spotting motorcyclists on the roads and why this actually occurs.

Dr Damian Poulter and Professor Richard Rowe from the Medical Research Council presented regarding the crash risk of novice drivers.  A very informative piece of work involving the thoughts and feelings of 13 newly qualified drivers looking at driving skills and driving style.  Information was given regarding a further survey of 1614 participants, between 17-21 years of age and driving experience between 0-6 months.

Carly Brookfield (CEO of DIA) then presented regarding the very latest training available on Safeguarding.

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BIG TOM Resources

In this blog to customers Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) explains the range of resources provided to customers.

“BIG TOM customers are provided with a range of resources that are exclusively available to them and it is up to our customers to make use of the ones that they want to.  For example look at our driving videos.  Not only are there a bank of them available to customers and the public with 1000+ subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views, but exclusive to BIG TOM customers is another bank of driving videos that ONLY they can see. Those videos are specifically designed to aid their learning on the BIG TOM intensive driving course. 

Another resource that was offered to half a dozen customers only last week was access to free driving training on 4 of the 5 weekday mornings last week.  This training was made available for customers who had completed their intensive driving course and were waiting to go to test.  It involved “peer assessment” whereby a group of pupils in the same category of ability get to take turns in driving in a very relaxed environment – this is known to be extremely beneficial in a learning environment to motivate, reinforce, inspire and increase confidence.

Another resource includes our in-car video recording where a pupil can have any amount of their training recorded so they can watch it in the privacy of their home – this can be very beneficial.

We also make available to customers their pupil books which enable them to make notes, reflect on sessions, set goals, identify strategies to overcome obstacles to learning.  

Also, BIG TOM provides customers with formative and summative assessment options whereby they can get direct and instant feedback of good, positive aspects of their driving and also areas that can be improved.  The feedback is categorised so that customers can easily recognise matters that are safety related or others that might relate to driving tests or eco driving for example.

Customers are also given the opportunity to contextualize their training for their given needs.  So Maisie shown here with her Dad in the back seat wanted him to see her driving; likewise we have had pupils who want to drive with their partner or friends present in the car.   Or if they know they will be doing a certain journey and want to practise it that would be another example.  Or perhaps they recognise they want to practise multi-storey car parks, using a petrol pump, checking tyres.  These are needs that are very specific to the pupil.

Ultimately though, customers at BIG TOM can pick and choose how much of these resources they engage in.  It is a personal journey that they go in to and BIG TOM makes no judgement on how a pupil decides they want to learn.  Key skills like self-evaluation are encouraged because ultimately, BIG TOM has an incredible record for safety since it has been trading, and the assessment of risk when undertaking driving training and driving tests is a top priority.”

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How to gain most from the BIG TOM course

In this blog to customers Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) discusses the advantages of the BIG TOM intensive driving course compared to the historical “pay as you go” driving lessons.

“Yesterday a customer on his BIG TOM course who lives at Holbeach Drove, drove up to Boston via the Spalding bypass. Experience of driving on roads like that is vital because it teaches pupils that although these faster moving roads might on the face of it, appear hazard free, there are in fact very hazardous sections where vehicles are joining it from the left and right. He drove around Boston doing manoeuvres at random places and then across to Grantham on the A52. He spent time driving on more hilly roads than Boston could ever offer therefore refining clutch control skills. Then he drove down to Corby Glen and practised reading the severity of rural road bends – another vital skill to have in your armoury as it is those kinds of roads that cause accidents with serious injury or even fatality. And then he made his way over to Holbeach Drove on a series of “class B” roads which brought up the importance of looking out for potholes, uneven road surface and agricultural vehicles. He stopped when and where he wanted and as part of the course fee had drinks bought for him to relax and reflect on what he had just been doing.

Whilst it would not be impossible to arrange driving sessions on a “pay as you go” basis to cover these objectives, you can imagine, it would take some organising and the fact is, most people simply don’t. As a consequence, you begin to see how customers on the BIG TOM course are being given the opportunity to gain vital experience that would otherwise not be available. From a practical point of view, the essential point to recognise is that once you get to these locations further afield, you then have time to practise driving in those different conditions for as long as you need to, without having the time pressure to be turning back home again. This is why pupils get so much out of their experience on the course and we receive as much positive feedback as we do.
Having said the above, it is also reassuring to customers to know that should they require any further sessions after their course, they are given a full 30 day period in which they are given priority access to more training time. It is an accelerated learning programme and the responsibility rests with pupils who need more training to make full use of that prioritised period. Customers often tell me, it can be powerfully beneficial to reinforce or increase learning in that 30 day period.

One of the other benefits of the course is the flexibility it has within it to be able to respond with driving test dates according to the need of the customer. The blogs here show plenty of examples where customers pass their driving test either within their 5 day course or very soon after. But equally, if a customer does our course and then wants to have the freedom to choose how to finish off their training they can simply request a driving test booking for some date in the future which they can then manage independently. In this way, customers are not in any way “pressured” by the thought of timescales relating to driving tests. In my experience, it really does pay dividends when a pupil engages in the responsibility to ensure they feel safe, confident and competent on the roads.  By enabling a pupil to manage their driving test booking which has been provided to them, it really complements the self-evaluation skills that are introduced to them on their BIG TOM course.  Pupils are able to recognise first hand, that there is a direct relationship between the extent of their training they choose to receive and how the managing of test bookings encourages development of the responsibility for safety on the public roads.  Especially for the younger pupils this kind of responsibility and accountability may not be skills they are overly familiar with prior to starting their driving training, but it is precisely awareness of these strengths and weaknesses that creates safe drivers for the future.”

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Driving Test Examiner Work To Rule Nov 2017

Following up on the blog precisely 2 months ago about imminent driving examiner strike action, Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM) provides the latest information for BIG TOM customers.

One of the major driving instructor associations in the UK, the MSA has recently released information indicating that driving examiners are beginning a “work to rule” from the 23/11/2017 and a 2 day strike on the 4th and 5th December 2017.  The 4/12/2107 being the date of the new format driving test – the very latest on that new driving test was reported here on this blog just 3 days ago.

Back in September when I first reported on the examiners’ threat of action, there was every chance that an agreement would be reached thus avoiding any union action of this type but unfortunately it seems this is not the case.  I should point out to customers that the news the MSA brings is as yet uncorroborated by the DVSA and does not feature at the time of writing on www.GOV.uk but nevertheless, one would assume they have good cause to release this latest update and it does appear to be very specific in nature.

What are the practical implications of this action?  When strike action has happened previously, not all examiners within a given driving test centre will either be a member of the affected union or for personal reasons may not enforce the action.  As such, it is impossible to say with certainty what affect this will have on you from the 23/11/2017.  One aspect that I can reassure customers is that as has happened previously the policy here at BIG TOM will be that any cancelled test due to this action will not have any financial implications on our customers by way of lost test fee or use of the driving school car.  When pupils are getting to the end phase of the learning to drive process, the very last thing they need is stress or anxiety caused by the possibility of being financially out of pocket.  However, it is not lost on me, that the effects of a last minute cancelled driving test can still play havoc with customers’ work and daily schedules and for that, I can only empathise with you. In previous years when this crops up, the DVSA have given clear guidance on whether there is any process in place by way of any compensation so I will keep a look out for that for you all.

This is of course a very unfortunate development because the taking of driving tests is in itself a high stress situation, I know from experience that some pupils will not sleep well the night before and of course, depending on their circumstances, the taking of a driving test often involves loss of pay or using up holiday entitlement.

The precise implications of this work to rule are unclear.  I know from using a handful of test centres there is a fair degree of movement of examiners between test centres presumably in order to make their service work so it is possible that should examiners refuse to switch test centres for example, that might have an impact on test availability.  But this is of course conjecture at this stage.  Regarding the 2 strike days, if the examiners enforce this and physically make themselves ‘unavailable’ for driving tests on those days, then unfortunately, there is the possibility of us turning up for test only to be disappointed as it does not go ahead.

I appreciate that this situation is far from ideal, but do please keep monitoring this blog as I will update with any new information that comes to light.

[Update:  We have had clarification of the reason for the action by the union concerned which does involve issues relating to work practice as well as concerns regarding safety with the new driving test.  Full account is given HERE] [UPDATE:  This is the formal response from the DVSA which as you can read only appears to address the issue relating to safety of the new driving test – read it HERE ]


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Driving Test 4th December 2017

Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM) provides some further clarification for BIG TOM customers about the new driving test changes.

A series of 6 videos have been created by the DVSA regarding the changes they have made to the driving test.  The whole point behind these changes is to enable the examiners to see you driving on the faster moving and rural roads which statistically is where the serious accidents are occurring.  Two of the manoeuvres have been removed (turn in the road and left reverse) and use of sat nav introduced in order to allow the examiners to drive on these higher risk roads.  The section of the test called “independent drive” has been extended to 20 minutes from the previous 10 minutes.  Show me, tell me questions have been very slightly modified.

So regarding manoeuvres, previously, there was either reverse parallel park, left reverse, turn in the road or reverse bay parking.  The new test will not include either a left reverse or the turn in the road (both remain perfectly legal and useful manoeuvres).  In place of them, there have been 2 other manoeuvres introduced. One of the new manoeuvres is where you will be asked to pull over on the right side of the road, reverse a short length in a straight line and then move off to join the road and traffic again.  This can be asked of you on up to a 40 mph road.  The other new manoeuvre is to forward park into a bay, then reverse out and carry on driving.

You could still be asked to do the reverse bay park at the Test Centre, or the reverse parallel park.   The new bay parking manoeuvre is being referred to as “forward park”; this is mainly going to be carried out in other car parks outside of the test centre.  In both cases, it still remains your choice as to which bay you park in to.  As with all bay parking driving forwards or reversing, there is a great deal of reduced risk and stress with some care taken on which bay to park into.  You are entirely in control of that choice and my advice as ever would be to pause and think before acting (we have always covered this subject extensively on the BIG TOM intensive driving course).

The manoeuvre involving pulling up on the right side of the road is expected to be done without any undue effect on other road users.  The precise place you pull over is up to you, it need not be where there is other parked vehicles directly in front of you…. it makes a good deal of sense to choose a location where there is NOT going to be parked traffic in front of you.  The normal condition regarding not pulling up next to dropped kerbs/driveways does not apply here as you are not parking.  You will be expected to reverse in a straight line 2 car lengths and then re-join the road in the same direction you were originally travelling.  You will be asked to perform this manoeuvre whilst on the move driving, so it will be a skill in itself to choose the place you pull over wisely as well as the timing of moving over to the right and re-joining the traffic.

One of the consequences of this change is that it is perfectly possible for you to take an entire driving test with no reversing that goes beyond straight reversing for up to 2 car lengths.

Regarding the “show me, tell me” questions.  Rather than doing both at the start before setting off, only the “tell me” will be completed at the start (it could still involve opening of the bonnet).  The “show me” question is going to be asked on the move while you are driving.  If you literally don’t know the answer, rather than fumbling around pressing buttons, you would be better off explaining you don’t know, in which case the examiner will ask you to pull over, and will show YOU how to do it.  Then, you will be asked to move off and demonstrate it again while you are driving.  Control and safety must remain at all times.  Previously getting answers wrong when the car was still parked at the test centre resulted in one “driving fault” being recorded.  With this new change, due to you driving at the time of doing the “show me” it is now possible that should safety be compromised, you could actually fail the test on the consequence of what happens on the “show me” section.

On a general note, the examiners will now bring along with them a sat nav they want to use on the test.  You are expected to do absolutely nothing regarding the setting up or managing of this sat nav.  Examiners will continue to only use the vehicle speedo in order to monitor the speed you drive at (not the speed displayed on the sat nav).  As is covered on your BIG TOM course when you practise using sat navs, do not over rely on the speed limit displayed on sat navs, and this will be especially so regarding the sat nav’s provided by the examiners.  Their sat navs whilst being brand new for December 2017 are remaining exactly as they are (in terms of programming of routes/speeds) for a further 2 years, so with the passing of time, it will become increasingly likely that the maximum speed limits displayed on their sat navs could well be out of date.  This is a point that is highlighted on your course – you should always be able to tell what the maximum speed limit is when driving without reliance on technology.  (By the way, any error that a driver makes regarding speed can never be mitigated by suggesting a sat nav was displaying the wrong speed or maximum speed limit in a court of law – which is why this point remains on the driving test).  The examiner will provide a mat to place the sat nav on the dash, or alternatively stick it on the windscreen.  The BIG TOM sat nav (which is the same model as that used on the driving test) will be removed prior to test so as to accommodate the examiners sat nav.  20% of driving tests will not make use of sat nav for the independent drive, instead the examiner will provide guidance of what signs to follow or directions to take.  Unlike the previous 10 minute “independent drive” for practical reasons, the manoeuvre you get asked to do could possibly be within the new 20 minute “independent drive” section.

In summary, the thrust of the reason of this new driving test will complement the BIG TOM intensive driving course perfectly.  If you care to look at previous blogs to see where customers have driven in their course, these kinds of roads (rural and fast moving) have always featured large on the course.  You will cover some ground because you will drive between major towns giving you the opportunity to drive on different class roads.  BIG TOM has always devised their intensive courses in this way because this is one of the stipulations set in the DVSA Driving Standard. This is one of the MAJOR advantages of this training compared to hourly pay as you go driving lessons which have much more restriction of how far can be driven in a session.  Also, customers have always been asked to pull over on the right side of the road (because this happens in real life driving) and customers get very accustomed to parking forwards and in reverse.

There really is no need whatsoever to feel any negativity or additional nerves regarding this new test.  Bear in mind that when this was piloted by the DVSA it was explained that the new test is no more technically difficult than the previous format and there were no adverse changes to the overall pass rates.  There is no need at all to attempt to take a driving test before 4/12/2017 just because of the new format.  Stay calm everyone, it really is not a big deal.


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So fa so good for Spalding resident

Ryan Sismey from Pinchbeck in Spalding (seen here) gets his full driving licence within 4 weeks of contacting BIG TOM.

Over the moon Ryan who works for sofa company DFS in Kings Lynn is now able to do the daily commute for himself thanks to the BIG TOM 5 day intensive driving course.  He contacted Tara on 20/9/17 and 4 weeks later to the day, found himself passing his driving test at Peterborough driving test centre.  Ryan was keen to drive in Peterborough too because he may well be transferring to their branch shortly.  This is what Ryan says about his experience:

“I was a bit hesitant going into the intensive course, 4 hours of driving for 5 days straight seemed like a big ask but from the first 5 minutes I was put at ease by Tom.  My second attempt at my driving test, using the intensive course as a refresher, and what a great decision it was.  Nothing was a problem for Tom or Tara and everything made as stressless as possible.  I would recommend to first time drivers and those looking to retake their driving test.  Professional, considerate, thorough”

Tom Ingram who was Ryan’s instructor said:

“I’m so pleased for Ryan and full credit goes to him for switching his driving instructor so that he could get his driving licence quicker via BIG TOM.  He drove to Boston, Sleaford, Grantham, Corby Glen, Spalding and Peterborough on his BIG TOM intensive driving course, including up and down the A1 at different points.  It was a real pleasure helping him out, and I’m delighted that he passed his test first time with us on Day 5 of his course”.


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How to drive around country road bends

James Smart from Boston has just completed the BIG TOM weekend intensive driving course. This blog emphasises the importance of the thoroughness of training he received.

Whilst James was practising the use of “limit points” to judge the severity of a country road bend, he came across the following at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire.  If you look at the image to the right, it looks like a fairly ordinary right bend with a road leading off to the left.  However if you look carefully you will see a vehicle has driven straight over the bend.  This is why the training is offered to BIG TOM customers.  The vehicle concerned mis-judged the severity of the bend and fortunately managed to just miss the large tree that was straight ahead.  Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM) says:

“Here at BIG TOM we carefully manage the training provided to give the best experiences to our customers.  Although James was driving some 30 miles away from where he will eventually be taking his driving test at Boston driving test centre, the point is that he is being given the opportunity to experience and learn vital driving training techniques.  I have to say that the driver of this vehicle in the field was so lucky on this occasion.  Too many times we see on these country road bends that the vehicle slides off the road very often hitting a tree head on, and the consequences are very often fatal for the occupants of the vehicle.”

The images below demonstrate just how sharp the bend actually is, it is near on a right angle at 90 degrees.  The use of looking at limit points on rural roads is an invaluable technique for being able to recognise if the vehicle is approaching the bend at too high a speed.  Tom Ingram continues:

“The key to this technique is vehicle stability and traction to the road.  If a vehicle approaches a bend too quickly and the driver brakes sharply whilst steering into the bend, then it places forces between the vehicle and road surface that place great strain on traction.  The contact surface area of tyre to road is only about the size of an adult hand for a small vehicle, so it really does pay to think about how you can manage effective handling that is able to accommodate the driving conditions at the time.”

Other considerations that affect the traction include the tyre tread depth and tyre pressures, the weight (mass) of the vehicle which includes the number of occupants and the quality of the road surface.  The vehicle seen in the farmers field just to the left of the tree, just managed to squeeze through that gap to the left of the tree and then continued for a good 50 metres into the farmers field.  This is a very clear indication that speed was the contributing factor that caused the loss of traction.  Tom concludes:

“I very much doubt that the driver had much control or say in precisely where the vehicle came off the road, so this to me looks like a very lucky break for this driver who hopefully will learn from the experience.  We should remember that we don’t know if this happened at night in the dark (there are no street lights) and we don’t know if the driver was distracted in any way, or under the influence of drink/drugs or unfamiliar with the road and has not been trained to read the severity of rural road bends.  It is impossible to say.”

James who also got to drive on his BIG TOM weekend intensive course to Spalding, Belton House, Grantham, Sleaford and north and southbound on stretches of the A1 said the following of his experience:

“I really liked the way BIG TOM teaches, he tailors the lessons to exactly what you need.  I had 4 lots of 5 hour weekend lessons and they were incredibly helpful.  Everything was explained well and I was given specific advice for each topic we covered”.






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Tara (seen here) runs BIG TOM Admin, and knows all there is to know about how BIG TOM intensive courses work for customers.  Here in this blog she gives answers to some of the more common questions that customers ask her:

“Do I have to come to your classrooms”

No, here at BIG TOM we run a pupil pick up/drop off service from home for the in-car training.  You will be provided with a very reliable and comprehensive online theory study resource which the vast majority of our customers tell us works out just fine for them. I have known for us to provide more 1:1 support should it be needed though.


 “Do I have to be up to a certain driving standard before I can come on your course?

We do not place any conditions at all on who can come on our courses. Far from it.  I have known pupils from all kinds of backgrounds regarding lack of previous experience still get a great deal from the course.


“I hear from friends that we would just drive on test routes.  Isn’t that boring?”

It may be true of others, but at BIG TOM it certainly isn’t true.  I’ve seen on the blog here, that pupils travel all over the place to different towns and even counties, so being bored isn’t a problem on a BIG TOM intensive driving course.


“Can you tell me why others are so much more expensive than BIG TOM?”

It’s not for me to comment on other intensive driving course providers. All I know is that BIG TOM customers recognise the value and quality they receive from the training offered.


“Is there a height restriction to fit in your cars?”

We have had pupils as tall as 6’8″ sit comfortably in the seat.  The seat adjusts up and down, and the steering wheel adjusts in and out as well as up and down.


“Does the cost of the course cover all the test fees?”

Yes, we are currently taking £23 off the price of our course fee which is normally £797.  So right now you can pick up our course for £774.  By the way, it makes no difference to us if our customers want a weekday or weekend driving test.  Although the fee from the DVSA differs, we handle all that side of things for our customers and you pay not a penny more.


“I am aware of problems booking driving tests, can you help at all?”

This is one of the services that we provide in the package.  You concentrate on the driving, let me worry about the booking of driving tests.


“My friends say that you buy drinks when you are driving around, is that right?”

Yes that is true. Tom goes to a lot of effort in providing a relaxing and positive learning environment.  That includes giving you resources to help you learn, as well as making sure you get the chance for loo breaks and yes, drinks are provided free of charge.


“Do you guarantee a pass?”

Our customers come to us from a wide range of previous driving experience, learning difficulties and sometimes even past anxieties – so therefore it would not only be misleading to talk of guarantees but it would also place a great deal of unnecessary pressure on our customers if they felt that they were not achieving what they should be at any given time in the course.  At BIG TOM the emphasis is on providing the resources and quality training that helps people to pass the driving test much quicker than the historical “pay as you go” method.  But no, talk of guarantees is very unrealistic and unhelpful.


“If I need more help after my course, can you provide it?”

Certainly. Customers who have attended the intensive course are given priority. We are very much aware that it is all about successful outcomes for our customers – that is why we are so popular


Tara can be contacted direct on 0775 607 1464 with any other questions that you might have about your BIG TOM 5 day intensive driving course.

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Distance travelled for 1 second at 30 miles per hour

Stanley was the star student at this morning’s road safety talk at Bourne Grammar School.  Here are his workings out to discover how far a car will travel for 1 second at 30 miles per hour.  Students were asked by Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) how long it takes to read a text message, then to write a reply so that they could begin to recognise how far a vehicle travels when the driver takes their eyes off the road to look at a mobile.

Tom Ingram said “The students never let me down.  They engage wonderfully in the topic of road safety and it is great because it really gets them thinking.”

Students were introduced to the idea of intended and unintended driving behaviours, and external influencers to attitudes and beliefs regarding road safety.  Pupils were encouraged to consider how important it is to ensure their driving training is meaningful and personal to them.

Tom Ingram continued “My thanks go to Mrs Shales from the grammar school; her contributions before and after my yearly presentations really do reinforce the message that I am giving these students at such a key age.”

Tom Ingram would be very happy to assist other schools by providing presentations on road safety, please email info@BIGTOM.org.uk     



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