Dealing with Driving Hazards

Driving is a problem-solving activity where we must coordinate both our mental and physical skills in order to be able to accomplish our task.  A good driver has learned how to concentrate, observe, think ahead and react, and handle their vehicle all within the space of a few seconds.  This is enough to make any new driver nervous.  We are taught many of these skills by our driving instructor who points out hazards, how to perceive things, and how to assess risk to ourselves and our vehicles in an effort to avoid driving hazards.\r\n\r\nOnce we start to drive alone we become more relaxed and gain confidence, and experience.  We discover our strengths and weaknesses and try to remember everything we are taught.  We need to make sure we are prepared for every potential problem and we need to remember that a road is never really empty.  In order to do that we must make sure that we can see the road clearly, be alert and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and keep our concentration on our driving.\r\n\r\nWhen trying to watch out for hazards, there are some questions we may subconsciously ask ourselves as we drive.  Is the hazard a curve in the road that we cannot see beyond?  Could it be a pedestrian or another vehicle?  How fast are others driving?  How fast am I driving?  What if you come to a combination of hazards?  You must always be on the watch for potential hazards in the road when you are driving.  To miss one may be a fatal mistake that could’ve been avoided.

Avoid getting points from using your mobile phone

Using your mobile phone whilst driving is an offence which collects a fine and three penalty points; at the Bill Plant Driving School we believe that doing so makes the user more dangerous than those who might collect points for being caught by camera a few MPH over the speed limit. The major insurer Allianz wholehearted agrees with us, describing the act as a dangerous and needless act, that they as an insurer intend to penalise, by increasing their premiums.\r\n\r\nIt is now more than a year since the tougher penalties for hand-held mobile phone use were introduced, but amazingly the Department for Transport report that 185,000 drivers were caught using hand held phones in 2007. Hands free or Bluetooth systems have to be the way forward, when you can tell the caller that you are driving and will find a safe place to pull over and call back without putting yourself and other road users at risk.

Advanced Driving Lessons

A new driver feels successful and confident upon getting their driver’s license.  They have passed many tests and have learned practical driving lessons.  This is just the first step.  Driving is a very large responsibility and one that must been taken seriously.  Taking unnecessary risks while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle could result in property damage, injury, and maybe even death.  By understanding what some of these mistakes can be, driving schools are able to offer many of their students advanced driving lessons once they have received their license.\r\n\r\nYoung drivers who have just got their licenses need to understand that peer pressure will cause them to make costly mistakes.  Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, being distracted by those around them or by other things such as cell phones and the radio, and simply being a show-off are all things that will make a young driver less responsible.  Advanced driving lessons will help young drivers understand that these are situations they can avoid while driving and will teach them how to overcome these obstacles.\r\n\r\nBill Plant’s qualified instructors have the patience and expertise to help out new drivers, our Pass Plus programs are structured and in a relaxed atmosphere that helps the student feel comfortable.

Beware of CCTV

Whether your view on parking restrictions that are evident in every town and city is that they help the flow of traffic, or that they are revenue raisers for government, they are here to stay and they are becoming more restrictive in the way that there administered.\r\n\r\nAs of now, tickets for parking illegally can be issued in an entirely new way. No longer has the parking attendant to hand you the ticket, or fix this to the windscreen of your car. CCTV cameras are now being used to spot those drivers who stop on a yellow line, and this could be for literally just a few minutes. Photographs are taken and a ticket is sent in the post to the registered owner of the vehicle. Obviously you should avoid illegally parking your car, your Qualified Driving Instructor will have fully briefed you about this, and checking the online Highway Code will give guidance also. Avoid that ticket!

The Corporate Manslaughter Bill

It is worth reminding anyone who is connected with a company, which has vehicles and drivers, that they are now subject to the Corporate Manslaughter Bill which became law on the 6th April 2008. Fleet operators and others, if they have not already done so, should familiarise themselves will the risks associated when operating vehicles as part of their business.\r\n\r\nBill Plant, which is one of the UK’s leading Occupational Road Risk Management and Driver Training specialists, can provide up to the minute training and advice on the risks that are involved, not only in the field of Occupational Road Risk Management and Consultancy but also driver training to a very high standard. By taking part in this Fleetcraft Training, your company will see lower fleet operating costs, a reduction in accident rates as well as improved fuel economy. Reduce your costs and road risk by contacting us now, for your Corporate Driver Training.

Complaint swiftly dealt with by Bill Plant

In common with the Major Driving Schools in the United Kingdom, the Bill Plant School of Motoring is a business which is run on franchised lines, in other words following full driving instructor training to become a DSA approved driving instructor, individuals can then become a franchisee and work under the umbrella of the Bill Plant organisation. The advantages to those who are taking driving lessons are that they learn to drive at major centres throughout the UK in new vehicles changed at frequent intervals, following laid down procedures, safe in the knowledge that there is a major operation behind them.\r\n\r\nHaving this back up has proved to be helpful in the recent problem that was brought to the attention of Bill Plant following a complaint that was made to The Birmingham Mail on the 17th April 2008. From the article in The Mail, it appears that a franchised driving instructor made off with money that the pupils had paid for driving lessons. Head office at the Bill Plant School of Motoring immediately reimbursed all affected pupils with their money, in addition offered them a free driving lesson. Further, Bill Plant contacted the Driving Standards Agency to ask them to investigate the complaints and to see if the individual was still registered with the DSA, the Birmingham Trading Standards office was also informed and Bill Plant is taking legal action on behalf of the pupils affected.

Risks on roundabouts

The danger at a roundabout is traffic coming from the right, or is it? Is there a car ahead of you that can see something that you can’t? When you were at the Bill Plant School of Driving you will have been told by your qualified instructor to collect as much information about the road conditions as you approach the roundabout. You will scan the road ahead, both to the right and the left, not forgetting your mirrors. Keep a good gap between you and the car ahead and keep your eye on him, he may not go when you think he should and this is the cause of more classic rear end shunts than anything else.\r\n\r\nMany drivers approach roundabouts planning to stop if they have to, this is not a good idea as often they have to speed up if another vehicle turns on to the roundabout. A far better way to drive and mental outlook is approach the roundabout thinking “plan to stop but look to go”.

Skid Control Training

Skidding happens when the road surface is wet from rain, ice or snow.  Sometimes stopping can be very difficult and the most common crash is what is called a rear-end shunt.  As you probably can guess, this is when you rear-end the car in front of you because the road conditions caused you to skid.  This is a good reason to make sure that you have at least two car lengths between you and the car in front of you. \r\n\r\nOccasionally you will need to make a quick stop that has nothing to do with bad road conditions.  You may have to stop quickly to avoid hitting a small child or animal that may run out in front you.  When this happens you must react extremely quickly in an attempt to avoid a fatal accident.  The method of skid control that you may have been taught when learning how to drive may help you in this situation.\r\n\r\nIf you want to learn how to control your vehicle through a skid you can take a Skidpan driving course that teaches you how to handle your car during these times.  By using a specially built car or driving range, you can feel what under-steering, over-steering, aquaplaning, and slippery conditions feel like.  The special equipment used will teach you how to handle the automobile when this happens.  Anyone can take this course, from beginner to learned driver to instructors.  This education is for practical driving skills that everyone should know in case they find themselves suddenly in the position of needing to control a skid when driving.

Driving Instructor franchise

Being in business on your own is something that most people would like to happen at some time in their lives, so why not make it become a reality? Achieving this is not as difficult as it might be if you take up the outstanding offer of becoming a franchised driving instructor with The Bill Plant School of Motoring.\r\n\r\nFirstly you would receive full instruction from the Bill Plant Driving Instructor Training College, tailored around you so you do not lose valuable income, completing parts 1, 2 & 3 of the Driving Standards Agency tests to become a fully Approved Driving Instructor. After qualification you can take up a franchise with Bill Plant Ltd., and be part of national driving school with over 300 cars on the road. Full support is part of your franchise and the stress is taken out of running your business. What are you waiting for?

Signage overload

It is a sad truth that following on from our successful driving test, the longer we drive the more inclined we are to ignore all but the most basic of road signs. Even a “Stop” in large capitals painted on the road is often ignored; at the very best it will be treated as a give way sign.\r\n\r\nMany believe that we are suffering from “signage overload” as there are an increasing number of instructions, many of which are unofficial, appearing on our roads. This often means that because of all the signs at eye level, we often ignore, or are unaware of the relevance of road markings, even when we see them.\r\n\r\nWe cannot stress enough the value of continuing to re-read the Highway Code, which can also be accessed online at Bill Plant School of Motoring. Road signs are there for a purposed and for our and others safety, simply put, the more paint that is on the road surface, the greater the potential danger.

Fleet Driving for a Living

Materials need to be shipped from place to place and sometimes the only way to ensure that this happens is to ship via commercial truck.  By taking approved training lessons through our Fleetcraft course you can be on your way to driving safely and efficiently for the company you work for.  These fleet driving courses have helped reduce the amount of accidents their drivers have been involved in and many of them have seen their commercial automobile insurance policies reduced.\r\n\r\nCompany representatives who take these classes have afterwards found that they are more comfortable, more relaxed, and more composed behind the wheel of their vehicle.  They do not feel the nervousness associated with meeting a new or existing client, and they are able to concentrate on the meeting at hand without worry.  They are more productive and efficient.  Many businesses encourage fleet drivers to take these classes to help reduce costs due to accident repairs, insurance premiums and compensation claims, injuries, litigation, fuel consumption, and other company financial concerns.\r\n\r\nMost companies have policies that cover the management aspect of driving and then the actual driving itself.  Procedures should be put in place for your safety as a fleet driver and it is up to you to follow them to the best of your ability.  A zero-accident atmosphere at a company is the best there can be and by being proactive, your career as a fleet driver will be a long and safe one.  If you are a fleet driver, we are currently recruiting qualified fleet trainers. Click here for more information.

Driving Lessons: Horn Usage

When was the last time you sounded your horn? Many drivers rarely sound their horn at all, because they feel that it can be interpreted as being aggressive. We don’t mean blasting someone for pulling out in front of you or reminding the driver in front that the traffic lights have turned to green!\r\n\r\nAs you will find from the guide in the Highway Code the whole purpose of the horn is to warn other road users of your presence, they may not have noticed you or simply cannot see that you are an approaching hazard, your horn is a warning instrument. Remember that the overall principle is that the other road user should have time to hear the horn, recognise the risk and have time to react. Your horn should be used as you would your own voice, by doing this you won”t go too far wrong.

Motorway Driving and Advanced Driving

Love them or hate them, motorway service stations are an important part of travel on these major roads. Following on from your successful driving test, it is very likely that you will have enrolled with a Pass Plus course at the Bill Plant School of Motoring, particularly if motorway driving is to form daily driving to and from work.\r\n\r\nOn longer journeys we are aware that tiredness is a major cause of accidents and we are advised to take a break when the first effects of tiredness become apparent. In the future when we stop at a motorway service area it is likely that there will be overnight parking for caravans and motorhomes. Service areas are to be awarded rating similar to those used by the hotel industry so soon we can look forward to an improvement in the standards. Remember it is important to take a break, 20% of accidents are caused through tiredness.

Becoming a Driving Instructor

If you looking for a new career and you enjoy helping younger people learn how to drive, you may want to consider a career in driving instruction.  The Bill Plant School of Motoring offers individuals the opportunity to franchise their own driving school business or work with an established business to teach anyone interested in learning how to drive.\r\n\r\nThe driving instructor course is designed for each individual to learn at his or her own pace.  You will be assigned a regional trainer who will support your progress and all the materials you will need to complete your assignments will be provided.\r\n\r\nBy becoming a driving instructor, you get the opportunity to not only develop your own driving skills more, but you get to get help younger people learn how to drive as well.  You can use your wealth of practical experience to teach and pass on a positive driving attitude.

The ultimate distraction

When we where learning to drive our driving instructor emphasised the need for 100% concentration on our driving and in those halcyon days we had few if any distractions. Since we left the driving school behind many things have happened to us, one of which is the possibility of children coming along.\r\n\r\nDriving to a holiday destination with young children on board is possibly the number one distraction that drivers have to deal with, driving experts acknowledge that internal distractions can be every bit as dangerous as the external distractions. To prevent the driver going on to “auto pilot” how is the best way to deal with this? Plan your journey, take on plenty of food and drink, and if it is a long journey allow more stops than you would allow for adult passengers. Electronic games are ideal along with books to help keep the children amused.  “I spy” games with another adult also help to pass away the journey time and allow the driver to give the road the attention it deserves.