10 Things Your Instructor Didn't Teach You
You'd be forgiven for thinking that once you pass your test, you've stopped learning and you know all you need to know...
You'd be forgiven for thinking that once you pass your test, you've stopped learning and you know all you need to know - after all, you're licensed to drive!
However, there are certain things about the motoring world in general, that your instructor simply doesn't teach you. This just proves that as a motorist of any level of experience, you really should never stop learning!
We've identified 10 areas we know you don't get taught about by your instructor, but you really do need to know!
How To Clear Ice From Your Windscreen
Everyone has their own methods - some are well-prepared and have multiple cases of 'de-icer' in the boot, some come out the door in a rush already, realise they have to clear the ice, scrape as little as they can off with a CD case and be on their way. That's a practice known as 'portholing', where you clear just enough to see - usually down to time-restraints rather than laziness.
If you fail to properly clear ALL windows rather than just the windscreen, a police offer could deem your vehicle to be in dangerous condition, which can land you with a £60 fine & 3 penalty points. Ouch.
Even if you're running late, be sure to properly clear ALL your windows before setting off - you're better off late, than even later AND a fine.
Also, it goes without saying because you know why, but throwing hot water on your frozen windscreen... don't even think about it.
How To Use Full Beam Headlights
A very useful tool if you're driving at night on rural roads with virtually no lighting, but if you're going to use them, make sure you use them correctly & safely!
As soon as you get the hint of another car approaching, turn them back down immediately. It's not only to avoid dazzling them, but quite simply it's courtesy! Another driver losing control of their vehicle because you dazzled them isn't really something you want to happen... let's be fair.
This one really goes without saying, but your instructor will very rarely cover this!
READ MORE: Driving In The Dark - Staying Safe!
How To Check Tire Pressures
Tires don't have to look under-inflated to the naked eye to be in a bad condition. Poorly inflated tyres will not only considerably damper your vehicle's performance, it will cause your mpg to drop and it can also lead to a blowout.
If you're going to check your tyres, it's good practice to make it the first thing your doing if you're driving to the garage, or before you set off if you're doing it privately. The colder the tyres are, the more accurate the reading will be.
Our advice? Every time you fill up, it's well worth the extra 5-10 minutes to give your tyres a quick check and a top up if necessary - it could prove to be a pretty decent money-saver!
How To Navigate Box Junctions
Yellow hatched box junctions are important for keeping traffic flowing and anyone caught breaking box junction rules faces fines.
As the Highway Code states, you’re not allowed to stop in a box junction unless you’re turning right and waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, which means you shouldn’t enter the box unless your exit is clear. If you do, you could be fined.
It’s not usually a good idea to try and guess whether or not the vehicle ahead will leave enough space for you to pass over the box junction fully, especially since you can’t always see far enough ahead to be sure.
It’s good practice to only move off when you can see that there is already enough road exposed on the other side of the junction for your vehicle.
How To Pass Other Cars On Busy Streets
We’ve all been there. You’re driving down a road with a lot of parked cars on either side of the road and another car is coming towards you, which means you have to start assessing where you can safely pull in as neither of you has right of way.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a rule about this and best practice depends largely on the road in question and where the passing places are. However, if you’re driving on a gradient then the right of way should always go to the motorist driving uphill, as it’s harder to pull away safely when driving up an incline.
How To Use Your Horn Correctly
The primary function of your horn is to warn other drivers of your presence. In this country we tend to be quite reserved about the use of our horns.
Unnecessary use of the horn or being overly aggressive with it can be seen as hostile to other drivers, so it's good practice to only use your horn when you really have to!
Finally, don't forget the guidelines of the highway code when it comes to horn usage - it is not to be used between 11.30pm - 07.00am.
Why You Should Stay Hydrated
Believe it or not, driving whilst dehydrated isn't too different from driving whilst hovering around the legal drink-drive limit. It can induce feelings of drowsiness, dizziness and can significantly lower your reaction times.
Realistically it should be common sense, but take precautions to make sure you're not in a state of dehydration before you get behind the wheel. By all means have water with you in the car, but don't overdo it or you could be making a few extra unplanned stops!
Aside from being just plain mean, splashing pedestrians, accidental or not can actually lead to prosecution.
This action is deemed to fall under 'driving without reasonable consideration for other persons', and can actually land you with a £100 fine and 3 penalty points if you're caught.
If you're approaching a puddle that looks like it could do some (splash) damage, if it's not safe to drive around it, just make sure you considerably lower your speed as not to cause a splash.
Effective Use Of The Middle Lane
It might seem like just an annoying driving habit, but drivers hogging the middle lane on the motorway are actually in breach of the Highway Code and, since new laws were introduced in 2013, face a fine and penalty points if caught.
Middle lane hogging is classified as a careless driving offence as it makes overtaking on the motorway harder and can see cars dangerously funnelled into the outside lane to overtake you.
If the left lane is empty, stick to it. A good rule of thumb is to remember, that left, is literally, right!
Effective Air-Con Use In The Winter
On cold days, condensation can appear but if you turn on the air conditioning it will act like a dehumidifier and quickly clear your windows.
Using your air-con during the winter can also be good for the unit itself, as it keeps the oil in the system moving and the important air conditioning components inside well-lubricated.