Monthly Archives: May 2014

BBC 3 Barely Legal Drivers

sky_roadOne of my pupils on a driving lesson the other day mentioned “Barely Legal Drivers”, a series on BBC3 and started explaining some of the things she had seen in the last episode. Thinking that she must have been dramatizing her account of it, I took a look at the latest episode “Dom and David”.

In this episode a young lass by the name of Dominique is filmed displaying her complete disregard for road safety by reading texts while driving, swerving along a single carriageway road, and taking both hands of the steering wheel.

I see that the BBC has attracted some complaints by airing this series, and here is a reply from the BBC to defend their position.

It strikes me that there is a bit more to this than that reply deals with, and I’d be really interested to hear your views on this.

Firstly, what I saw Dominique doing on that episode is not “Barely legal driving”, it is illegal – illegal because it is by its very nature, dangerous driving. Since when do the Police ignore evidence that provides with such clarity, a known individual (in terms of being able to instantly identify) committing criminal offences?

But secondly, my main concern with this, is how this series might be perceived by new, young drivers. It seems to me to be glorifying that kind of driving. At the very least it is reinforcing that type of behaviour, either consciously or not, and by doing so, could well influence others who watch it, into believing “Oh right, if that’s what others are doing when driving, I guess it must be ok if I do the same”.

The influence of tv/videos on behaviour should not be under-estimated. This does not necessarily need to have a known, recognised effect on the mind. There is new evidence being discovered by the likes of Robert Cialdini that suggests, scientifically, that the effects of what we observe may actually be different to our initial predictions. He offers this ad about The Crying Indian which ran in the States decades ago, and generally regarded historically as a supremely effective ad to prevent citizens from littering. However, Cialdini who for those who do not know him, is highly regarded in the world of social psychology, is suggesting that actually, the scenes that you can see in the ad can have an entirely different effect on viewers. Where they see that litter is scattered everywhere, instead of deterring people from littering, can be perceived as reinforcing the behaviour as it is shown to be such a common occurrence – this is PRECISELY the opposite effect of the original intended message.

Personally, I think the BBC should pull this series with immediate effect on the grounds that not only are they recording individuals committing criminal offences in the name of “entertainment”, but also, the effects on some of the viewers who will watch this series, might unknowingly, reinforce that as being acceptable driving behaviour.

If you have a view on this, feel free to ping it down below.

EDIT: Have heard from Police today (21/05/2014) on my Twitter feed that Avon & Somerset Police Force is currently considering prosecuting any drivers from “Barely legal drivers” who have committed driving offences in their area. I will update this blog when I discover any new information.

Big Tom Parking Bay

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Bay Parking on Driving Lessons

How To Practise Bay Parking

Bay parking in car parks is very likely to be the most performed manoeuvre that you will need to do once you have passed your driving test. This video here, offers you some tips for different ways of doing bay parking, and how to practise them on your driving lessons.

This is a big subject, which many drivers (full licence holders included) have difficulties with. Please feel free to ask away with any questions.

Big Tom Parking Bay

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Reverse Parallel Park

Stages of the Reverse Parallel Park

This video shows you the stages of the Reverse Parallel Park. With practise this becomes more fluid and less mental effort is needed to identify the timing of each stage and to actually perform the necessary actions.

In general there are 3 key ingredients to this manoeuvre, and each one, is reliant on the other. If you were to miss out one of the following, it will affect the overall outcome:

• Speed – In order to give your hands (steering) and eyes (observations) any chance at all of doing their job while reversing, it is key that your left foot precisely sets the correct pace by fine adjustment of the clutch pedal.

• Observations – there are many places to look all around the vehicle, not only to assist you in accurately positioning your vehicle, but also to take account and be considerate to other road users including pedestrians.

• Accuracy – The accuracy of the end position of your vehicle, in relation to the parked car you are pulling in behind, as well as the kerb/verge that you are pulling up along is dependent on the speed and observations that you make.

As with the other manoeuvres, you can’t rely on simply staring at mirrors while reversing due to the “blindspots” in them that block your vision, as such, if your car is reversing, then physically turning your head to observe all around you is key for safety.

There are plenty of tips and techniques that can be used if necessary, so as to enable you to perform this manoeuvre consistently to a good standard.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to add them below.

Big Tom

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