Monday, 22 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- Driving Test Pass- Margaret Pang of Gloucester- August 12th 2016

Congratulations to Margaret Pang, who has passed her driving test at the first attempt in Gloucester. Margaret's driving instructor was Jackie Kaur, who was actually on her well earned holiday when Margaret was able to get a driving test date, so another of our instructors, Nick Butters, stepped in and was able to cover Margaret's test. Nick set up some lessons for Margaret, to enable her to get used to his car, which was not too difficult, as Jackie had already got her up to a good driving standard, and off they went to the test centre. All went according to plan and Margaret passed first time. So well done all round, especially Margaret, who fully deserved her success. All of us at John Lowe Driving wish Margaret the best and thank her for using our driving school.
Kind Regards,
John Lowe.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- How To Pass Your Test, Part 4. Analysing the Driving Test Report. (DL25)

The next sections we can look at on the Driving Test Report Form, after the reverse manouevres are vehicle checks, precautions and control, which are numbered on the form as follows.

7. Vehicle Checks.

These checks take place at the driving test centre, before the driving begins, and are more commonly known as "show me / tell me." You will need to demonstrate to the examiner a basic level of knowledge and understanding of the vehicle you are to use. This could include opening the bonnet and pointing out the dipstick, oil top up, brake fluid reservoir etc., and having an understanding of the handbrake and footbrake and power steering, for example.There are about 20 different questions in all, and you will be asked 2 of them, so make sure you've done your homework! For the full list of questions go to our website at

8,9 &10 are not relevant.

11. Precautions.

Before you start the engine, make sure you are properly seated and able to operate all controls.

12. Control.

This section is pretty intense and will really judge whether or not you have mastered the basic skills required to be a safe driver. For car driving tests, it is broken down into the following sub sections:

  • Accelerator.
  • Clutch.
  • Gears.
  • Footbrake.
  • Parking Brake (handbrake.)
  • Steering.
Let's look at each in turn and some of the more common faults that can spoil your day. There are many more possibilities where things can go wrong, but we can't look at everything.

  • Accelerator: Too many revs on moving off, burns fuel and can cause a surge of speed. Not enough revs on moving off, can cause the car to stall. You must be able to " set the gas" accurately. If you are waiting at lights etc, only set the gas just before you are ready to go. Do not sit there with the engine racing. The gas pedal must always be used smoothly and accurately to keep within a safe speed.
  • Clutch: Moving away smoothly, quickly and under control is vital for success, so you must be able to use the clutch well. If you keep stalling, you're not ready, same if you roll back on hills. Make sure you fully depress the clutch on stopping. Clutch control is needed on manouevres and slow moving traffic, so you must be able to control the car at very low speeds, in any situation.
  • Gears: Make sure you are familiar with, and are able to use all of the gears on your car. Select the correct gear to match the road and traffic conditions. Change gear in good time but not too soon before a hazard. Do not allow the vehicle to coast by running on in neutral or with the clutch depressed. You should not need to look down when you make a gear change.
  • Footbrake: Use the footbrake smoothly and progressively when necessary. Brake in plenty of time before any hazard. You should be able to adjust the brake pressure easily as the hazard changes as you approach it.
  • Parking Brake. (handbrake.) Make proper use of the handbrake to keep your car still on hills and during manouevres when necessary, and when you park. Do not "click" the lever, press the button!
  • Steering: Accurate steering is crucial, as you obviously have to keep your car in the right place. Steer the vehicle as smoothly as possible, avoiding harsh or sudden steering. By this stage, you should be holding the wheel correctly at "ten to two" and be able to "push and pull" the wheel, avoiding crossing your hands. Keep both hands on the wheel as much as possible.

If you are having problems with any of these controls, or want to get started, our driving instructors at John Lowe Driving can really help you. They have some great techniques that will ease the heavy lifting that can go with mastering the controls. Call us on 01452 614226.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- Customer Review- Matthew Heath of Gloucester.

"I've only had four driving lessons with my instructor, Martyn Brewer and they are going really well. I am already a motorcycle rider, so I am at home on the road, but driving a car requires a different approach, which is what I am getting used to. Martyn has already taken me onto some main roads and I have also been getting used to roundabouts in a car. Martyn is also a motorcyclist, which helps a lot, as he understands the different requirements. I'm really pleased to be with John Lowe Driving and to have Martyn as my driving instructor."
Matthew Heath, Gloucester.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- How To Pass Your Test, Part 3. Analysing the Driving Test Report. (DL25)

We now come to the always popular part of the driving test, which are the reverse manouevres. This section of the test often fills candidates with dread, but it need not. The exercises are listed on the Driving Test Report as follows:

3. Reverse left. (Reversing around a corner to the left.)

4. Reverse right. (Reversing around a corner to the right.)

5.Reverse Park. (This can be either on the road, parallel parking, or in a car park, bay parking.)

6. Turn in Road.

You will usually only be asked to do one of these manouevres on your test, but make sure you can do them all with ease before attempting your test, as you will not know which one your examiner will choose.
A lot of test failures come from the reverse manouevres, so what is your examiner looking for?
In each section there are two sub sections entitled control and observation. Your examiner will also be checking for accuracy.
So can you control your car at the low speed required for a reverse exercise, or does the speed pick up as you go along? If your speed is not consistently under control, you have not mastered clutch control sufficiently, which will lead to a test fail. Is your control of the gas pedal good, or does the engine start to scream? If so, more practise please, as this will affect your control and Eco Safe Driving, leading to disappointment.
How is your steering? Miles from the kerb, mounting the pavement, on the bays white line?
If so, more practise needed. Does your car roll down the road camber when you do a turn in the road? If so, it's a no no and you need to practise clutch control and use of handbrake.
All of these faults are standard fare on everybodies driving lessons, but they must be a thing of the past before you take your driving test. Your driving instructor deals with similar problems every day and will be able to show you quite easily how to solve them.

OK so you've mastered the steering and control, but how is your observation?
You must be aware of, and act upon every event that occurs around you when you are manouevring, as you are doing the unusual, and it's your responsibility to give way and not to endanger or inconvenience any other road user, including cyclists and pedestrians.
The only way you will achieve this is by observation. Keep your eyes open through each step of any manouevre, expect the unexpected, listen as well, and act upon what you see, usually by stopping your car until the hazard has passed.
You will be doing this on your driving lessons, but make sure you take those skills into your driving test.

The driving instructors, here at John Lowe Driving, will be able to coach you in these manouevres to a level where they will be just routine exercises that hold no terrors. 
Call us on 01452 614226 to book your lessons.

Remember - Be careful out there!

Warm regards, John Lowe.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- How To Pass Your Test- Part 2. Analysing the Driving Test Report,(DL25)

In this post, we'll look at how your driving test is marked by your driving examiner, going gradually through the Driving Test Report that the examiner will use to record your performance on your test.
I will not attempt to cover everything in this post, just a couple of subjects per post, pointing out the most frequent errors that happen, using the numbering as featured on the DL25.

1a. Eyesight.
This is the very first hurdle that you must jump at the beginning of your test. The examiner will ask you to read a new style vehicle number plate from a distance of 20 metres, or an old style plate from 20.5 metres. If you wear glasses or contact lenses to achieve this, then you must keep them on for the test and any future driving.
If you are unable to read the number plate, the distance will be accurately measured out, but if you are still unable to read it, that is the end of your test. It is most uncommon, but I have seen tests terminated due to poor eyesight.
So, if you have eyesight worries, get them checked before your driving test.

1b. H/Code/Safety.
This section will not be used.

2. Controlled Stop.
Frequently called an emergency stop, but now officially referred to as a controlled stop. Only 1 in 3 tests will be asked to perform this, but make sure you know what to do! The examiner will ask you to pull over and will explain what he expects you to do, and what signal he will give you.
He wants to see that you can stop the car promptly, smoothly and under control (without stalling.) What can go wrong? Plenty! Students have been known to let go of the steering wheel, swerve to one side, hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, severley stall because of forgetting the clutch pedal, skid for yards, grab the handbrake,react about 5 seconds too late. Avoid any of these faults, and there are others too, by regular practise.

That will do for this post, next time we'll look at the reverse manouevres, how they are marked and what can go wrong.

If you need help with any of these subjects, our Driving Instructors are ready and waiting. Please call us on 01452 614226.

Remember- Be careful out there!
Warm Regards, John Lowe.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- Driving Test Pass- Tom Payne of Gloucester August 8th 2016

Our best wishes and congratulations to Tom Payne, who has passed his driving test at Gloucester Driving Test Centre on August 8th 2016, with only two minor driving faults. His driving instructor was Tom Lowe, who was impressed with Toms determination to put all his training and practise into his first time pass. Passing first time is never easy, but Tom took it in his stride, and we're all looking forward to seeing him on the road, and are sure that he will have a great time driving. Well done, from all of us at John Lowe Driving.
Warm Regards, John Lowe.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Driving Lessons Gloucester- How To Pass Your Driving Test.

I've spent this morning calculating our overall performance as a driving school, going straight to the statitistics that everybody is most interested in, the practical driving test pass rates for John Lowe Driving, for the last six months.

It has made pleasant reading, because as a driving school, we have far outshone the local and national averages. Our overall pass rate in Gloucester came in at 81%.
The average pass rate for all driving tests taken at Gloucester is around 48%, and the national pass rate is even less than that.

Why are the national pass rates so dismal?
There are literally hundreds of ways to fail a driving test, but firstly, let's have a look at who conducts your test and how it is marked.

Who conducts your test?
Driving tests are conducted by driving examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), an executive agency of the Department for Transport.
These driving examiners have qualified to conduct driving tests after rigorous training and they are without doubt the best in the world. They all work to the same high standard, so the same result will occur, whichever examiner you get.

How is it marked?
Your driving test is marked on a Driving Test Report, technically known as a DL25, which is currently divided into 33 sections, some of which are further broken into sub sections. Some sections on the form do not refer to "L" tests, so I will leave them out in my explanations.
The examiner will only use a negative marking system, with no awards for doing anything well. You begin the driving test with a "clean sheet" and as faults occur, your chances of success reduce.
The examiner will be looking for all driving faults, but will record them differently, as minor faults, serious faults and dangerous faults. You can have 15 minor driving faults recorded, and still pass, but 16 minor faults will result in a fail. However only 1 serious and/or 1 dangerous fault will also fail you.
A minor fault by itself is not enough to fail, but habitual minor faults will be viewed as below standard, that is, if you keep committing the same minor fault.
A serious fault is any fault that is potentially dangerous.
A dangerous fault is any fault that is actually dangerous.

I will be working my way through the driving test report over the next few weeks, in further posts, using my long experience of driving tests to bring to you how to avoid the most common ways of coming to grief on your test.
Watch this space!

If you need any help with your driving or test preparation, call us on 01452 614226.

As always, be careful out there!
Warm Regards, John Lowe.