The Self-Drive Car and Why It Could Spell Disaster

Self-driving vehicles have made their way from science fiction novels and films to real-life roads. The most popular self-drive or driverless vehicles in the world today are from tech giant Google, but many automakers have also begun the process of developing them and making them fit for the world’s busy roads. Imagine being able to read the newspaper or your favourite magazine, or sipping a cup of coffee or cocoa while you’re on your way to work, without having to do anything else in the car but programme in your destination. The car will do everything else, from backing out of your garage, to finding the quickest route, and parking in parallel.


Self-drive cars are covered with sensors and are capable of spotting lane markings and road edges. They are also equipped with cameras, ultrasonic detectors, accelerometers, and a host of other devices that technology has to offer. Google has claimed that self-driving cars will decrease the incidents of road traffic-related accidents by more than ninety percent, resulting in fewer injuries and deaths. The use of driverless cars will also save billions in accident-related expenses, and eventually auto insurance will be a thing of the past.


Are vehicles capable of driving themselves totally safe for its passengers? As with any developing technology, the road to creating the perfect self-drive car wasn’t without its share of bumps. One of the glaring issues observed in driverless cars is its very nature—being without a capable human driver. Google’s self-drive cars have no controls for humans, and the issue here is that what would happen if the vehicle malfunctions? If the automated vehicle needs assistance, how will its human passengers be able to operate it?

Another problem highlights the fact that the cars’ automated systems may have difficulty in understanding hand signals, such as when traffic enforcers are the one directing the traffic, and that the systems may not be able to detect lane markers when the roads are covered with snow. These are just a few of the issues; more are being observed as driverless vehicles gain more attention from motoring experts.

Self-drive cars in the UK

Driverless car research and testing have been given the go signal in the UK. The undertaking has been allotted a £10m fund by the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The project includes road law changes, which means that the Road Safety Act and the Highway Code will be modified to permit the testing of self-drive cars on public roads.

There will be two types of testing to be conducted: one for self-drive cars with qualified drivers who can take control over the vehicle, and one for fully autonomous cars without a driver. The testing period will last between 18 and 36 months from January 2015, and the tests will be conducted in three major cities in the UK.

Let’s hope that the results of the tests are favourable, especially in terms of vehicle reliability and road safety. From what we have seen so far, it is clear that self-drive cars have a long way to go in terms of safety. There is a need to address the issue of how to give human drivers control over the car in case of emergencies or system malfunction. Without these features in place, having self-drive cars on our roads may be a foolhardy thing to do, which can ultimately end in disaster.

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Young drivers should avoid the following when choosing a car!

TIFF NEEDELL, PRESENTER OF CHANNEL 5’S FIFTH GEAR, recommends all young drivers avoid the following when choosing a car:

* Engine sizes over 1.4 litres, especially if you’re a teenager.
* Cars with more than five seats.
* Dark tinted windows.
* Non-standard modifications including over-sized alloys, or modifications to the engine or bodywork.
* Hot hatches or sport editions, convertibles or cabriolets, or cars more than 20 years old.

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Driving with dyspraxia

Learner drivers with conditions such as dyspraxia, which affects hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and short-term memory can find it even more challenging than most to get their licence.

Dyspraxia affects hand-eye co-ordination, spatial awareness and short-term memory. It is a hidden disability present from birth, affects between six and 10 per cent of the population and is part of the umbrella of specific learning difficulties, which also includes dyslexia, ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome.

Most published information on dyspraxia relates to schooling – it is sometimes called “clumsy child syndrome” – with little support or recognition available for adults. Yet driving is a key area of dyspraxic adult difficulty. It can cause problems with handling and manoeuvring the car as well as the ability to judge speed and distance. A poor sense of direction is also common.

Our driving instructors’ understand these medical conditions and have techniques to help improve these areas… Book your driving lesson with us today on 0808 198 8060 or visit

Tips for overcoming driving test nerves

Exams are nerve-wracking at the best of times, and driving tests can feel particularly harrowing.

After all, with written exams if you get something wrong you can always go back and cross it out, whereas if you reverse into a bollard on your practical test then your fate is sealed. Knowing that someone is watching and judging your every move can be pretty bizarre as well.

It would be enough to make most people feel self-conscious if they were just carrying out an everyday task such as opening their post, let alone demonstrating a complex skill like driving. So if you’ve got your test coming up and you’re feeling anxious about it, then remember you’re not alone.

Most people suffer from nerves to some extent and they can in fact be beneficial by raising your adrenaline levels and making you more alert. The challenge is keeping them under control. And getting it right first time is more expensive: the practical test now costs £62 and the theory is now £31. Here are the top 8 tips for overcoming your driving test nerves and passing your practical test.

1: Confidence

Remind yourself that instructor wouldn’t be putting you in for your test if he or she didn’t think you were good enough. During your lessons you’re already driving at a standard where they consider you’re safe and responsible enough to be on your own. Now all you’ve got to do is to show the examiner what you’re capable of and that driving licence is all yours!

2: Visualise

Tap into the power of visualisation and positive thinking – sports stars use it regularly to help them attain their peak performance. Spend time imagining yourself successfully carrying out difficult manoeuvres and dealing confidently with heavy traffic. This will reinforce the message to your subconscious mind that you can do these things and lessen the likelihood of you falling apart on your test.

3: Support

Get support. Talking through any anxieties with friends, family and your instructor will help you feel more positive, and many of them will be able to give you useful advice and encouragement. Herbal remedies for nerves such as Kalms can be helpful – but you do have to start taking them a couple of weeks in advance to reap the full benefits.

4: Breathe

Breathing exercises can be very useful – practicing them doesn’t have to involve sitting cross-legged in a room surrounded by burning incense. Just focusing on your in and out breaths will have a soothing effect – you might like to try counting the breaths, or focusing on a mantra such as ‘I feel calm’.

5: Flower power

Many ex-learners put their success down to Bach Rescue Remedy. This is a new-age concoction of ‘flower essences’ developed by Dr Edward Bach, a Harley Street doctor and homeopath. It’s available from most health food shops and has a reputation for being very effective in stressful situations.

6: Eat a banana

Shortly before your test, eat a banana. It’s well-known among instructors as the driving test superfood, for the following reasons – bananas are full of B vitamins, which help calm the nerves. They contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into seratonin, the ‘happy hormone’ – which will keep your mood upbeat. And they’re also high in potassium. When we are stressed our metabolic rate rises and potassium levels decrease. Eating a high-potassium snack like a banana will help rebalance the levels of this important mineral, normalise your heartbeat and send extra oxygen to the brain.

7: Distract yourself

Sitting in the waiting room before your test is often the situation where people feel the most anxious. It’s a good idea to bring a book or magazine to distract yourself. If you’ve been practicing breathing exercises, this is an excellent time to get them going. And remind yourself that this is the worst bit – once you’re actually on your test you’ll be so busy concentrating on the road that your nerves will ease off.

8: Pretend to be a taxi

If the thought of being tested freaks you out, stop thinking of it as a test – instead imagine that you’re taking someone home and as you don’t know where they live they have to give you directions. If you’ve failed your test through nerves several times, then the answer is to ask your instructor to get your driving above the standard required by the test. That way you can underperform due to anxiety on the day, but still be of a high enough standard to get that vital pass.

Book your £9.99 driving lesson today with our DSA approved driving instructors.

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There are a few things that you need to know about after passing your practical driving test!

For the first two years after passing your practical driving test you are on probation and six points is enough to lose your driving licence.

The penalty for speeding alone is three points. If there are any other factors to take into account the magistrate can add more. Two speeding offences within two years of the date that you pass your driving test will cost you your driving licence.

If you do lose your driving licence you will have to reapply for a provisional driving licence and work your way through the whole procedure again.
Your theory and hazard perception tests will have to be repeated even if you did pass within the last two years. Your theory test pass certificate is only valid for one driving licence.
The penalties for breaking the motoring laws are not only measured in points on your driving licence. There are some rather severe financial penalties available for different offences. These penalties have been beefed up in recent years and will certainly make a dent in your lifestyle.
If you wish to know more about the laws then this is not a comprehensive list but it does give you some idea of the amount, and complexity, of the laws that surround motoring. You may also be interested in the New Drivers Act.

For your first journey after passing your practical driving test I strongly recommend that you drive alone. You need time to get used to two things: firstly the freedom can be a little dizzying.
Elation is quite normal and a large dopey smile is absolutely par for the course. The second thing that you need to get used to is the responsibility that comes with holding a steering wheel.
You are used to having someone else there taking the responsibility for you. Not anymore!
The responsibility for the vehicle, yourself, anyone else in it and any damage to anyone else or their property at your hand is down to you.

Peer pressure

This can be a killer. The time will come after passing your practical driving test when you are driving with your friends in the car. Do not be tempted to do anything that you are not used to doing. Do not be tempted to:

• Speed
• Drive in an incorrect position
• Sound the horn
• Rev the engine unnecessarily
• Dazzle other road users or generally drive in an unsafely manner. If you do cave in to peer pressure, remember this: The people who applied the pressure to you will face no charges.

The Pass Plus Course

The Pass Plus scheme is a series of 6 hours course and at the end you are awarded a certificate.
There is no test as such when you take a Pass Plus course but the instructor who supplies the lessons will have to be happy that you have fulfilled the necessary criteria before they will sign your form to say that you have completed each lesson to the required standard.
Certain insurance companies do offer discounts for those of you who take the Pass Plus course but it still pay to shop around.
It is quite possible that the insurance company with the cheapest quote does not deduct anything for having a pass plus certificate. Their quote may be lower than the lowest quote that takes your pass plus certificate into account. It pays to shop around.
The correct reason to take a Pass Plus course is to make yourself a better driver. The extra experience and tuition will achieve that.

These tips were brought to you by DSL Tuition Driving School.

Why is Eco Safe Driving Beneficial?

With fuel prices going up weekly, in order to save money and the planet, we need to look more closely at our driving and what we do. By making some changes to our driving style some considerable savings to the running of a fleet can be made.

With fuel prices over £1.20 per litre, and forever going up, changing the way your employees drive will save your company money. A recent Driving Standards Agency (DSA) trial showed that an eco-driver used 1.5 litres less fuel over a 100km (approximately 62 miles) journey. So assuming the cost is £1.20 per litre this will make a saving of £1.80. For an average motorist whose annual mileage is 12,000 miles that is a saving of £348.00 per year.

These tips were brought to you by DSL Tuition Driving School.

Safe Driving Skills for Life!

Tips on how to be a safe & responsible driver:

1. Do not drive tired. Get plenty of sleep before you drive.

2. Do not drive impaired. Don’t drink alcohol, take drugs, or drive when you’re sick.

3. Do not drive distracted. Turn off your mobile phone, make sure your makeup is okay before you leave, read your newspaper before you leave, set your radio dial before you leave. In other words, don’t let go of the steering wheel to eat, drink, or mess with anything and concentrate on the road ahead.

4. Do drive in a space cushion. The space cushion leaves you a lot of space in front, a lot of space behind you, and plenty of space on each side. If you do have to manoeuvre suddenly, there will be plenty of space to do so.

5. Keep your eyes moving. Don’t fix your gaze dead ahead and stay with it… check your mirrors often, check your space cushion often. You need to get and maintain a picture of everything that’s developing outside the car.

6. Make a habit of using your turning indicators. If other drivers understand what you’re doing, they’re less likely to get in your way.

7. Know your vehicle intimately. How far is the the front bumper from that post or telephone pole? How far does the right mirror stick out? Are the tires aired up properly? When you expect certain performance from your car (a sudden move should happen just like you intend it to) make sure you’re familiar enough with the car to get the performance you expect. Make sure the car is serviced properly. Tyres, engine, lights, etc.

8. The difficult part: self control. Let people who want to drive faster pass you. Don’t worry about showing off. Who cares how fast your car can go? So what if you have to wait an extra light to get through the intersection. If someone blows their horn why not just let them pass? So what if you decide to let the bicycle cross the street? It’s no big deal if the truck merges in first. In other words, relax. Driving is not at all about competition

Enjoy your driving. These tips were brought to you by DSL Tuition Driving School.

Don’t risk drink driving over the festive period

*** DSL Quick Tip ***

Don't drink & drive, use a hire scooter company. Advise by DSL Tuition Driving School

Don’t risk drink driving over the festive period… Hire a Scooter Chauffeur company to take you and your car home after your night out.

Your personal designated driver will arrive on a folding scooter and drive you home safely!

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What do I need to know about UK tyre law?

Tyre Tread Depth

Tyre Tread Depth

What do I need to know about UK tyre law? UK law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre for the vehicle type you are driving and for the purpose it is being used. This means fitting the right tyres and for safety ensuring that they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.

For safety reasons it is recommended that you replace your tyres before the legal limit is reached. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing at 3 millimetres. At 1.6 millimetres in wet weather it takes an extra car length (8 metres) to stop at 50 mph than if your tread was 3 millimetres.

A regular check of your tyres can help you to avoid 3 penalty points and £2,500 in fines (per tyre) for having tyres worn beyond the legal minimum limit on your vehicle.

Here at DSL Tuition Driving School we promote Safe Driving for Life skills.

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Guidance for Driving in Snow

First and foremost – Listen to the advice given. If the advice is “Don’t drive unless essential”, then “Don’t drive unless essential.”

If you must drive it is important you are suitably prepared:

broken down in the snow

Lady and child broken down in the snow

• Allow plenty of extra time for your journey.

• If necessary plan an alternative route.

• Remember – you will change what you wear and put on your feet – most of us do not have the luxury of doing this with our cars – Do not make unreasonable demands on your car – you cannot expect the car to drive the same in adverse weather.

• Ensure you clear all windows (inside and out), mirrors, headlights and taillights (it is no use using lights/indicators if they cannot be seen by others.

• Dress/carry warm clothing – gloves, hat, boots etc.

• Carry a blanket, hot flask and something to eat.

• Carry a shovel, grit/salt, an old piece of carpet to put under the tyres should you get stuck.

• Carry an ice scraper/de-icer.

• Carry a FULLY CHARGED mobile phone.

• If possible carry a first aid kit.

• Ensure your spare tyre is inflated to the max pressure for your car and you have the necessary tools to change a wheel should you need to.

• Ensure tyres are correctly inflated in accordance with those set out in the car handbook. Do NOT deflate tyres for better grip – this can have an adverse affect and could lead to loss of control.

• Ensure tyres have sufficient tread depth – 1.6mm is the legal minimum, however below 3mm you really start to lose grip in wet and adverse weather.

• If you are lucky enough – fit winter tyres – these are made of softer rubber and have a different tread/pattern. These perform better in all conditions below 7’C.

• Check you have enough fuel for the journey – allow more than you need for delays or getting stuck.

• Check all the levels under the bonnet – do not rely on electronic systems for this. Check Oil, Coolant, Brake Fluid and keep washer fluid topped up (carry extra in the boot just in case).

• Don’t operate wipers on a frozen windscreen – you can damage the motor and the rubber wiper blades.

• Use appropriate lighting – usually dipped headlights. If visibility is seriously reduced (below 100 metres) use front and rear fog lights – remember to switch these off when conditions improve.

• Increase your following distance – in good weather a minimum gap of 2 seconds is required. This is doubled to 4 seconds in wet weather and stopping distances can be up to ten times the normal in snow and ice. Extend your following distance further if the vehicle behind you is not leaving sufficient space.

• Virgin snow provides better grip but can mask hidden problems such as potholes or ice.

• The majority of skids occur as a result of driver error and are avoidable. REMEMBER: Skid avoidance is the best approach so that you do not have to try to recover from/control a skid.

• Avoid any sudden acceleration, harsh braking or steering as these can lead to a loss of control.

• Avoid steering and braking at the same time.

• Use engine braking (off gas) but remember this will take you longer to stop so allow more space.

• ABS (anti-lock brakes) can actually be counter productive in snow and ice.

• Do not spin your wheels – you are likely to dig yourself in deeper.

• Be careful if one wheel grips and the other does not as this can cause the car to move sideways.

• If you are struggling to move off in snow – try starting in 2nd gear – NO GAS – just very gentle and slowly with the clutch – add a little gas as the car starts to move and continue very slowly with the clutch to allow the wheels to slowly turn and reduce the risk of a stall.

• If you become stuck, you may need to dig yourself out and/or use grit to help. If you have an old piece of carpet this can be used to place under the tyres.

• If you do skid, steer into the skid – e.g. if the rear of the car skids to the right, steer right to help recover the skid.

• Remember, however safe you are, you are still at the mercy of other drivers. Anticipate and allow for other drivers’ mistakes.

Pre-driver checks:

Try to remember POWERS.

P – Petrol or diesel
O – Oil
W – Water. Screen wash & coolant
E – Electrics. All bulbs
R – Rubber. Tyres & wipers
S – Self tired ,drink ,drugs etc.

Here at DSL Tuition Driving School we promote Safe Driving for Life skills.

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