Safe Driving Articles

 

Pass first time with fit2drive

Pass first time with fit2drive

Below is a collection of articles from my book How To pass Your P Plate test First Time” I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave a comment at our Contact us section.

“If you do your test today you will blow all your money.” I said. Meaning the $62 for the Vic roads cost plus the $155 I charge for a “lesson and test” package.

I took a $100 hit and my student forfeited her Vic roads money. It was the right thing to do and here’s why.

My student is a mature mum from another country, a professional lady who I had done two other lessons with several months ago, I said “please get in lots of practice” and PLEASE do some more lessons with me BEFORE you go for your test”

As it happened she booked me for her test today and I showed up. My student is not a “bad driver” however she did not exhibit the necessary confidence to pass her test and could not reverse park her car. A number of “critical errors” where committed during our 1 hour pre test drive.

I arranged for a “return to kerb” and said politely but firmly (students name) If I had known that you had not the sufficient practice that you needed I would not have agreed to let you use my car.

Now my heart goes out to this lady. She has a young child it takes forever to get to her work on public transport and a whole host of other issues that happen when you do not have your license.

So I let her know that the chances of her passing where remote I mean VERY remote.

In 6 years as an instructor and hundreds of tests I have been wrong less than a handful of times about who would definitely pass and who wouldn’t.

For those that would not I suggested that they have more practice or use another instructor, there are plenty that will take your money knowing full well that you’ve got buckleys chance of passing. They chose not to and to continue with me.

So I said I would only charge her for a 1 hour lesson, yes she would lose her Vic roads test money but it would still save her losing the extra $100 for my lesson and test.

I need money as much as anyone else and bills do not pay themselves so until I win Powerball Thursday night I still need to work😊

You don’t “save” money by not using an instructor, of course many people only need 1 or 2 lessons (they fall into about the top 10-15% many others need more, and I have done 42 lessons with one of my more mature ladies but she passed and she was VERY happy to finally get her license.

Whatever it takes then that’s what it takes!

In the past 18 months I have spent in the vicinity of $4000 on professional development and as of writing this spent $900 (included in the above sum) to do a HR course (heavy rigid truck) I have always wanted to learn to drive a big truck and I believe it will give me another element to my teaching, folks school is NEVER out for the student.

Remember good practice builds confidence and confidence builds on competence, there are short cuts sure, but there is not a lot that will replace a professional who enjoys their job showing you how to do things correctly.

AND To go on and ‘Nail Those Red Ps First Time”

Pax Vobiscum.

Pass first time with fit2drive“Lane Changes” or safe decision making at www.fit2driveschool.com under the “How Not To fail” tab Enjoy and share.

Ideas on how to change lanes in medium to high density traffic.

Be assertive! Practice in quieter areas initially.

Do left and right hand lane changes when there is no traffic on the road or traffic is a long way back, this will help to build confidence.

Ideas on how to change lanes in medium to high density traffic.

Be assertive! Practice in quieter areas initially.

Do left and right hand lane changes when there is no traffic on the road or traffic is a long way back, this will help to build confidence.

As your driving lets say we are driving in the left hand lane and we want to move to the right hand lane:

Indicate early giving the driver behind you several seconds’ notice of your intention to move across the front of him/her.

Check your centre mirror to see what is behind you! ALWAYS remember if the road is busy with lots of traffic you CAN indicate and leave your indicator on while checking your rear view mirror to see if the person behind you is willing to be nice and let you in.

They may “flash” their lights at you this means “get across” I’m willing to let you in.

Once you’ve comitted(Indicated and seen that the person behind you is NOT speeding up) -follow through, meaning move across the lane quickly and smoothly returning your head to the forward position so you know exactly what’s happening in front of your vehicle.

Do not brake or slow down-unless moving in BEHIND another car!

Remember the car behind you really only has two choices if you’ve given them plenty of notice, they can:

Speed up and smash into the back of your car or:

Let you in!

If you’ve been a bit short on your indicator notice and you’ve “cut in” front of the vehicle you can most likely expect a “toot” or the “bird” so remember give plenty of notice, make sure you have a safe gap and move across pronto!

Indicate early giving the driver behind you several seconds’ notice of your intention to move across the front of him/her.

Check your centre mirror to see what is behind you! ALWAYS remember if the road is busy with lots of traffic you CAN indicate and leave your indicator on while checking your rear view mirror to see if the person behind you is willing to be nice and let you in. They may “flash” their lights at you this means “get across” I’m willing to let you in.

Once you’ve omitted(Indicated and seen that the person behind you is NOT speeding up) -follow through, meaning move across the lane quickly and smoothly returning your head to the forward position so you know exactly what’s happening in front of your vehicle.

Remember the car behind you really only has two choices if you’ve given them plenty of notice, they can:

Speed up and smash into the back of your car or:

Let you in!

If you’ve been a bit short on your indicator notice and you’ve “cut in” front of the vehicle you can most likely expect a “toot” or the “bird” so remember give plenty of notice, make sure you have a safe gap and move across pronto!

Lots more free tips and videos as well as a free lesson at www.fit2driveschool.co

More Ideas On What To Look For When Entering And Leaving Multi Lane Roundabouts

Be assertive!- If it’s safe to enter don’t dawdle get moving! Practice in quieter areas initially.

You must indicate OFF when exiting multi lane roundabouts.

This means when:
1. Going straight through
2. Turning right and exiting OFF at the point of exit.

On approach to roundabout look for:

Oncoming traffic indicating right meaning they are going to enter roundabout and turn right
Check for traffic from the LEFT-traffic ENTERING roundabout

Make sure that roundabout is safe to enter remember any traffic IN the roundabout has right of way.

STAY in the same lane you enter in and make sure that it is the same lane you exit in. Immediate fail item not doing this.

On occasion you may fin that you want to enter the roundabout and it is very busy it is just a case of judging that traffic going through the roundabout from your right is going STRAIGHT through and not turning and getting across swiftly.

The Flushcombe road roundabout in Blacktown is a good example of this!

Remember too that people fail to:

  1. Don’t indicate when they should-turning right or doing a “U” turn without indicating
    2. And indicate when they shouldn’t meaning that they leave their indicators ON when the should be exiting off this causes no amount of confusion and is one of my pet peeves.

 

Pass first time with fit2driveTrue Story about the young lady I took for a lesson recently (no name) who had done a lot of lessons at 35.00 per hour with another driving instructor,( she was referred to me by another of Fit2drives loyal clients  for a lesson prior to her test) again no names and she got what she paid for which sadly was NOT good instruction.

But firstly…

I am very grateful that I have some pretty amazing students who send me the testimonials you see here (all real, verifiable and on file and NOT solicited!)

That brings me to this.

You get what you pay for.

Depending on where you live my max rate is 70.00 per hour my min rate is 55.00 per hour.

My max rate is still 10.00 cheaper than one of the larger driving schools and I have ALL the same and more qualifications:

  •  Working with children check
  • Full public liability and personal indemnity with Fenton Green insurance
  • Full comprehensive insurance
  • Late model car 2016 Hyundai Accent always clean, maintained and serviced
  • Gold accreditation k2d Instructor-I can give you a FREE lesson paid for by the government
  • Latest Certificate 1V in road transport and logistics-driving Instructor
  • Cert 4 in ‘Training and Assesment- I teach people to teach people!
  • Author of “Pass your P Plate Test First Time” book DVD and www.passyourdrivingtestfirsttime.com

And I’m Committed on ongoing personal development and learning

Anyhow this lovely young lady had booked her test and was ready to go for her red Ps.

Within 15 minutes I knew something was wrong so I asked her about her experience with the other Instructor and found that:

He had been taking someone with over 70 plus hours of driving experience around “quite areas”

He had not asked OR taken her around the general vicinity of the test areas.

At 5-10 hours or depending on how your are doing that’s what I do. Make you familiar with the area that you will eventually be taking your test around(not the exact route!)

Blindspot checks were not performed to the level required to satisfy the assessing officer.I practice ALL the test manoeuvres every lesson. I have done many students with a 100 or more hours up who are unable to reverse park a car correctly to pass their test.

 Cutting a long story short a “few” other little things as well…… She told me she felt “ripped off” I let her down gently with “I’ve heard and seen it all before”

Folks you do not need to pay mega dollars to get a good service or the “best” insert whatever, car, house, boat, phone etc BUT you will always remember the:

You’ll remember the value you got LONG after the price is forgotten!

I am not afraid to ask for what I’m worth. If someone is charging you $35 per hour how are they surviving off that? A 1 hour lesson is never 1 hour, allowing for travel time, petrol etc etc I’ll leave what I really want to say alone.

For now. With Fit2drive you will enjoy your lesson, learn what you need to do to be safe AS well as pass your test hopefully on the first time as well as get a swag of other goodies like a nice bottle of water to drink on every lesson if your thirsty (personally speaking screaming at all the other imbeciles on the road can give you a dry mouth. only kidding!)

Get my book FREE!

Get a driving lesson FREE

Get my “Safe Driving Certificate Of Merit”-You’ll need to earn that!

And you’ll get written feedback after  EVERY lesson about what you need to do when practicing with your supervising driver, until I feel confident that you do not need it any more.

But most importantly you’ll get value for your money by someone that likes what he does.

Take care and drive safely.

 

Pass first time with fit2driveI have had loads of success stories with students passing many times on the first go however while I share those success stories, I’d also like to tell you about the ones who didn’t go so well first time around and what you need to be aware of so the below doesn’t happen to you.

It’s on more than one occasion that I have a student fail who has 5 or 6 lessons with me and sometimes more. Where on EVERY lesson I sound like the proverbial broken record with my “HEADCHECKS, BLIND SPOT CHECKS AND KEEP SCANNING” mantra.  And I add another grey hair to my collection!

 “Failure To Do Observation Checks” is the most COMMON cause of failure and yet one so easily avoided. So here’s what each term means in the way I teach it.

Yes you DO need to keep your eyes on the road straight ahead however you MUST and when I say you MUST (and I don’t mean just for the 35 minutes of the test I mean whenever you’re driving a car because what I’m about to tell you is the core of being a “Low Risk Driver” but you already knew that right?….) regularly check your:

  • Center
  • Left
  • And Right mirrors (around every 7 seconds or so is what I believe they teach you in the safer drivers course run by the RTA), which is a very good course to do. I have information about this is my book on how to pass your ps on the first attempt.
  • This is known as SCANNING you must know what is around your car at all times. There has been more than one occasion when someone on my left has decided to move the right, right where I am travelling that is and has failed to observe that I have been travelling in the next lane parallel to him or her.
  • And while knowing what is around you at all times you must also be aware that when moving into another lane from the left or right side you MUST turn your head 80-90% this is known as BLINDPOT checks.

 

If you change lanes and simply look into your SIDE mirrors (meaning you are only turning your head 40% or so) without turning your head 80-90% you will get a OBSERVATION error! Two more of those and you will be paying $52 for another test!

You as the driver of the vehicle must look straight out of the passenger side window OR the drivers side window when doing your blindspot checks. In other words look LEFT and RIGHT.

 Whilst I try to avoid travelling beside any vehicle sometimes it happens to be unavoidable and the side of my car has been saved from a collision only because I have been observant as to the behaviour of the driver next to me.

The other observation checks that I do are whenever I pass an adjacent street to turn my head in the direction of that street that I am approaching. I call this HEADCHECKING to make sure that a car is simply not going to cut straight in front of, again something that has happened to me on several occasions. The driver simply failed to do his or her BLINDPOT checks  and simply drove onto the road blissfully unaware of the vehicle( me) already travelling in the same space that the driver leaving the adjoining road was about to enter.

A headcheck is a turn of the head around 40-45% either looking into your side mirrors or looking over the mirrors onto the road.

When you are the first car to leave the lights or a stop sign you must do BLINDPOT checks.

When you change lanes or turn into a street you must do BLINDSPOT checks.

When going THROUGH an intersection you must do BLINDSPOT checks.

When stopping to do your reverse park and 3 point turns you must NOT move the car until you have looked ALL AROUND. This is scanning all around your vehicle.

You must know WHAT is around your vehicles CAS (crash avoidance space) at all times this is known as SCANNING

You need to keep your eyes busy to the front, to the sides and checking your rear vision mirrors of your vehicle on a regular basis. You must also be aware of what is on the road surface. It takes just seconds for an accident to happen, an accident that may well have been avoided by you having spotted something about to enter your CAS.

The last 2 things I say to my students if they are using my car on the test is to: Keep your head and eyes MOVING exaggerate your scanning, blindspot and headchecking gestures and TAKE YOUR TIME! You do not get extra points for rushing and you will make mistakes .

 

Pass first time with fit2driveSo what does an ORANGE  light mean? I know you’re NOT  one of those drivers that think it means “accelerate like hell and try to beat the RED light” if your one of my students no way would you be that *dumb*!

 

If your NOT one of my students then there’s LOTS of reasons including a FREE lesson to become one  J but enough of that you came here to learn what to do at an orange light so you wouldn’t get the dreaded INSTANT FAIL on your test.

So an orange light means STOP if you can do safely without:

 Having the guy or girl behind you who’s most likely following you too closely anyway and not observing his/hers 3 second following distance go straight up your rear end and cause havoc for all concerned.

It also means not stopping so suddenly that the testing officers last meal decorates your windscreen!

If you do happen to get one of those situations where you’re thinking should I or shouldn’t I go through, then I hope for your sake that you don’t stop with your vehicle obstructing the pedestrian walkway or end up in the middle of the roads-nasty stuff! And guess what?

You’ll be paying for another test!

However if your tyres are slightly over the line then you will not (should not) get penalised.

Now Here’s A Way Of Hopefully Avoiding That Situation.

Always monitor your speed on approach to an intersection. If you’ve seen that the lights have been green and you are a fair distance back ( from the intersection) then you can bet that very shortly that those lights will turn orange.

This is another reason why you should be constantly checking your rear vision mirror to observe that if the occasion arise and you do need to stop in a hurry then you’re not going to get a nasty surprise from the back!

And if you DO go through an intersection I hope your remembering your “left right headchecks”!

 Pass first time with fit2driveFailure Sucks!

“ Hi Kim It’s Stefan. You’ll be happy to know that I have passed with a score of 96%-Third time lucky! Thank you so much for your help, couldn’t have done it without you!”

Stefan had 2 lessons with me and used his own vehicle for the test. He was an intelligent young man who took his driving seriously and sent me the above text. Thanks Stefan actually all I did was to help you with your headchecks and how to avoid getting the dreaded “Observation errors fail”

But his attitude is what this article is about. While he did not pass his test on two occasions.  He did not “Fail” failure implies that you give up and stop trying. Stefan did not give up!

Yes failure does suck! While I love to get my students through “first time” unfortunately that does not always happen.

And sometimes some of them take it very hard. So here are a few tips about what you need to do to pass your driving test-or anything else for that matter.

You need to PRACTICE ! This is a problem I have with many of my students especially older mature drivers with an overseas license who have years of driving behind them BUT bad driving habits, by that I mean the things that they do NOT do that will result in them not getting a pass on test day.

You must try to get in some driving and practice what you have learnt in between your lessons. And you must practice CORRECTLY!

EXAMPLE: Correct practice when changing lanes is to do a “blindspot” check by looking directly out of either your left or right hand windows depending on what lane you are changing into.

You will have firstly indicated in the direction you are about to move into giving a few seconds notice to the driver behind you (who is most likely following you too closely!) and checked:

Your centre mirror

Your (either) Left hand or Right hand mirrors

The incorrect way to change lanes is to simply use your left (or right) hand mirror.

IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ONLY USE YOUR MIRRORS WHEN DOING BLINDPSOT CHECKS!!

I go into great details in that in 2 other articles I have written, nuff said.

How else are you going to improve if you don’t actually do the activity that you want to get better at? Okay if all that you can do is a lesson with your Instructor once a week then it’s better than nothing but far from the optimal situation.

Some of my students and I can tell this easily come into their lesson with something on their mind. It could be HSC it could be work or domestic situations ( and I feel for you I would never ever want to go back to my teenage or early adult years but that’s another story) however I need your undivided focus!

When I get into the car with you no matter what else is happening in my life it does not exist for the 1 or 2 hours you are with me. For you are the sole focus of my attention and making sure that we both have a SAFE! Enjoyable, productive time together is what I am soley focused on.

I also like it when you acknowledge your mistakes without me asking you what you have done wrong it shows that you are “self assessing” and “self supervising”

No need to be sorry! We all make mistakes the fact that you know what you’ve done incorrectly or could have done better is great. Shows that you are “in the moment” and focused on your driving.

I’ll also let you know when you’ve done something right or exceptionally well.

Okay enough for now, I could write volumes on this but to finish off here is my rather long winded way of summing up what your best approach to your lesson should be.

Understand learning becomes a little easier when it’s approached from the perspective of: I really want to understand how to do ( insert whatever it is that the new skill is)

I’m going to have a little fun, I know I’m going to make mistakes but I will do my best not to stress and get upset because I know that this will only impede my learning process.

It takes time and effort to acquire ANY new skill set, the key is to PRACTICE as much as possible and to practice correctly. And enjoy the learning process!

Try and develop other skills that can make learning easier. Regular exercise and meditation are two wonderful things to do on a regular basis that will enhance the quality of your life –in ANY areas. There is always time for you find some “Me Time”!

 So what if you don’t get “get through” first time? Most do not!  It isn’t the end of the world, truly! They don’t take you out the back and shoot you( well they might in North Korea …) And if the mates GF got through first time after telling everyone she ran 3 red lights and went through a stop sign? Again maybe the assessor liked the look of that dress she was wearing. Who knows. Take what you’ve learnt, suck it up and go and practice what your fail items were. It hurts I know but the sun will sun again!

While learning to drive safely is serious it’s essential that you have some fun and enjoy what you’re doing along the way. And NO I do not scream or yell or get upset if you make mistakes as I have been told that some of my students previous instructors do!

Rest assured I will make your lesson both fun and enjoyable as well as teaching you how to drive safely

Pass first time with fit2driveKims “Top Tips” For The Day(s) BEFORE Your P Plate Test.

On many occasions, I have found that little errors present through not being totally prepared in my students log books as well as other seemingly small items that can cause you stress, worry and embarrassment at the RTA on test day. These could have been easily avoided. So without anymore talk lets go see how you can be totally prepared for your P Plate test and NAIL those Red Ps first time!

Read Kims Remember To” Sheet!

This goes into all the details that your assessor will be looking for you to do on the day. If you have never gone out with a driving Instructor (and have not read a “guide to the driving test” cover to cover) then this sheet will give you all the information that you will assessed against on the day. This is FREE to anyone that does a lesson with me.

AND Don’t forget you can have a FREE lesson with me!

Your Log Book and TRY to keep it neat and clean appearances do count!

When you do each driving session. (If log book requirements are needed!)

That way you won’t have to “bodgie” the hours 2 days before your test and you’ve only written up 20 hours. YES it happens!

Do NOT use pencil /red pen/whiteout when you enter your hours!

Make sure that EACH of the 20 lessons in the “learner driver logbook is signed off by your supervising driver!

Make sure that your “supervising driver SIGNS the BACK of the log book stating that you have completed all your necessary hours as well as the list of completed lessons!

Your Instructor should give you 3 for 1. ( NSW Not in Victoria) Meaning a ONE hour lesson should be entered as THREE in your log book. Not happening? Then ask him/her WHY! And if you’re not happy with the answer then feel free to email me go to my website at www.fit2driveschool.com and use the “contact button”

Make sure your instructor (if you use one) puts the lessons in the BACK of the book as well as writes them in the area where YOU write your hours up.
Tally the total up on each page so when your assessor on the day of your test checks your book he or she finds EVERYTHING correctly filled out, neatly written and easy to understand. 

The last thing you want is to be sent home before you have even taken your test because your logbook lacks the required amount of hours or your supervising drivers signature is not in the back of the book.

Your Car

Make sure everything works! The assessor will do a “walk around” of your vehicle prior to you leaving the carpark.

Check that:

Your tyres have plenty of tread.Your brake lights work, especially if you have on that sits above the inside of your rear window. Check all indicator lights are functioning, horn etc.

If your car is missing wheel nuts or has sharp pieces of metal protruding you will not be allowed to do the test and you will LOSE your money it will NOT be refunded OR credited against another test. This applies to any other reason that the assessor deems fit not to commence your test!

Make sure that BEFORE you leave for the RTA you have everything checked and laid out that you’ll need. Your L plates on, your L license ready, your license application filled out, DON’T wait to get to the RTA and then start doing it! Ensure that you have money for your P license if you pass etc.

Make sure that your car is clean and tidy on the inside and its clean on the outside, it reflects on you and first impressions DO count! Oh and arrive 15 minutes or so early at the RTA so you’ll feel more relaxed, and speaking of relaxing, the very worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have to take the test again so chill, and besides you’ll have done all your homework and lots of practise, read the “Road Users Guide” and listened to the “Guide to The Driving Test”-you HAVE done that haven’t youJ

Test Day Understand that it’s okay to be nervous!

The idea is not to fight against your nerves but to try to stay fully “in the moment” and realise that all your really doing is “going out for a drive” That’s it! Naturally it’s much better if you can pass your Ps first time because you’ll save some money however many don’t, that’s okay too!

On your test Drive at 5KMPH UNDER the speed limit that way you won’t have to worry about your speed. Use exaggerated movement when doing your “head checks” your assessor will be very much on the ball to see that your looking left and right taking off from an intersection. Make SURE you doing your scanning regularly!

I go into much greater detail about “headchecks” and “scanning” in my article “The Most Common Cause Of Failure and What You Can Do To Avoid It”  This is included in any lessons done with me or will be posted to you with “Kims Tips” if required.

Your assessor may or may not make conversation with you, your job is to concentrate on what YOU’RE doing remember that, just because they’re being nice to you doesn’t mean that they won’t fail you if you’re not doing the correct thing!

If you make a mistake during your test and miss a turn while driving keep calm and carry on! You will not fail for simply that. They’ll give you instruction about what to do next. However don’t make that mistake more than once!

Whether you pass or fail (and I FULLY expect you to pass if you’ve followed what’s in this guide) have your supervising driver drive you back home, that’s in the guide to the driving test and it explains why.