Lost Your Driving Confidence?





defensive driving

Many drivers have at some point in their life experienced a loss of confidence of the road.

The list of potential causes is long varied and may not of course be connected directly to a driving incident.

However those that are show on the list more than others are:

  • collisions, own fault or otherwise
  • near misses
  • road rage incidents

The good news is that if you have lost confidence on the road due to one of the events above, it should be possible to rectify the situation with some targeted “Defensive Driver Training”.

Defensive Driver Training teaches the driver to look beyond fault or blame and take control of driving risk. It is not an Advanced Driving course which is very much focused on “making progress”, which is not very helpful here.

Defensive Driver Training is best delivered by an Approved Driving Instructor(ADI) that has been appropriately trained, and has suitably upgraded qualifications.

Mark Lanario from our sister company is the Defensive Driver Trainer.

Distraction and Young Novice Drivers


There is much talk on television, in schools and in the popular press regarding the effect of driver distraction. This article focuses on the effect of distraction on young novice drivers; that’s the 17 to 24 year old age group in particular. The article covers:

  • What is Distraction?
  • Different types of Distraction
  • The Effects of Distraction

What Is Distraction

Drivers become distracted when they attempt to concentrate on a secondary activity whilst driving. Driving is a multi task activity of course, however much of the in car control work becomes “autonomous”, requiring very little cognition. Come back to this point later on.

Distractions are either driver initiated, where the driver decides to carry out a secondary activity or non-driver initiated, such as a loud noise from a low flying aircraft.

Types of Driver Distraction

There are four basic types of driver distraction:

  • Biomechanical
  • Visual
  • Cognitive
  • Auditory

Visual distraction occurs when a driver sees events or objects. A text coming in and lighting up a Smartphone would be a good example.

Biomechanical distraction can occur when a driver becomes involved in a physical task, such as reaching for a folder on a backseat or changing a CD.

An Auditory Distraction is a sound which prevents a driver from concentrating on the driving job at hand. Trying to hear someone talking on a hands free mobile phone system is an example.

A Cognitive Distraction occurs when a driver decides to apply deep thinking skills to another task unrelated to driving. This is probably the most dangerous form of distraction and of course using a hand free mobile telephone does little to reduce the risk associated with this form of distraction.

It has been found that drivers in a state of cognitive impairment tend to fixate and develop a type of tunnel vision. This is of course highly dangerous as peripheral vision is markedly reduced which can have tragic consequences.

The Effect of Distraction

Some activities can create multiple types of distraction; a critical storm.

Using a hand-held mobile phone is a good example.

The effect of a distraction is to prevent the driver from giving full attention/concentration to risk managing the driving task.

Experienced drivers are more able to cope with distractions than young novice drivers.

Novice drivers aren’t as automated as an experienced driver so they have to concentrate more on in car activity and therefore have less concentration available to deal with road and traffic conditions at the best of times. Young novice drivers can’t afford to concentrate on anything that prevents them from applying concentration to the road.

Collisions involving young drivers frequently occur on rural roads at night, with multiple vehicle occupancy and involving a single vehicle. It’s likely that the combination of inexperience, fatigue, combined with inability to manage distraction’s plays a major role in accident cases involving young new drivers.

Male Vs Female- Exploding the Myth

Girl-learner-driverYou don’t have to look far, in order to find an article about learning to drive, which looks into the subject of whether gender in any way affects the way we learn. It seems to us that “someone” is making a lot of money out of this old chestnut!

You will regularly see such comments like, men are more co-coordinated and have natural driving ability, whilst the girls are said to be more patient and be better listeners.

Stereotypical nonsense?

People are people, with different start points. Yes, boys do tend to have a little more mechanical knowledge, it’s just a male thing. However, learning to drive does not require the learner driver, to be able to change a track rod end!

Learning to drive is the same as learning anything else.

Firstly, the student taking the driving lessons must want to learn! The old saying “ you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”, deals with this point very nicely.

Secondly, teaching methods need to be suitable for the learner driver. This means, focusing on their individual learning style. Again, here there has been much research into the field, and we often hear such statement like, they are a “ visual learner”, or such like. I heard someone on a course once say to the trainer, “Oh I see what you mean”, and the trainer came back with “Ah, you are a visual learner”. Yeah, right! Most of these theories have never been proven, however it is known that if a driver instructor focuses to heavily in one area, it can hamper learning, whereas a combination therapy approach; possibly weighted yes, has a more beneficial effect on learning.

Lastly, the importance of learning in the right learning environment.

This has many facets, and includes learning on the right routes, at the right time, and not being undermined by the Driving Instructor abusing the dual controls.

On the human side, this means, for some, using a Female Driving Instructor.

Again, lots of myths and stereotypes here as well.

A driving article recently said that female Driving Instructors tend to be more gentle and patient in their approach to students, whereas the male driving instructors, were straight in! This, once more is too stereotypical, to be of any use; people are people.

When we questioned, some soon to be 17, potential female learner drivers, about their preference for a driving instructor, 81% said that they would choose a female, over a male instructor, if they could find one.

On asking why, some different reasons were given, however the overwhelming response was that they felt more comfortable, being taught by a female driving instructor, and as such might enjoy the process more.

To book or discuss our driving school lessons please
call us on 0800 619 0093

Winter is here again, so expect the worst!

Car-on-snowy-roadHere are this years top ten winter motoring tips, to help you get through it unscathed.

  1. When you get up in the morning, give yourself an extra 15 minutes, so that you can check road conditions on the news
  2. Ensure that your screen wash bottle has a strong solution, in order to prevent icing
  3. If you wake up, and your car is covered by snow, take the time to clear off the snow, from all glass; that’s windows, lights, indicators etc. SEE and be SEEN
  4. Prevention is better than cure, when it comes skidding, so keep your speed down in icy conditions, particularly on bends. Avoid doubling up the forces created by steering, and braking, as this creates imbalance in the vehicle, which can lead to skidding. Try and stay in the highest gear for the speed, to help prevent wheel spin
  5. If you do get yourself into a skid, ease back on the accelerator. If you need to steer, in order to get yourself out of trouble, where you steer depends on the type of vehicle that you are driving. Consult your manufacturer’s handbook, under Electronic Stability Programme, or Dynamic Traction Control. If your vehicle is not equipped with such active safety features, then you should steer gently into the skid
  6. Check that your windscreen wiper blades are in good condition, the rubber perishes after 12-18 months
  7. Keep an Emergency Kit onboard. Boots, a warm coat, blankets, food, torch, reflective jacket, spare mobile phone, water, an ice scraper, and a little shovel; are all essential items
  8. Check where you think that the spare wheel will be……. as it may not be! Many modern cars do not have a spare tyre these days, as the manufacturer’s state that the extra weight is not fuel efficient! The cars come equipped with an emergency, foam inflation system, which can only cope with very small punctures. If your car has a spare tyre well, we recommend the purchase of an appropriate spare tyre. Don’t forget to buy a jack, and wheel brace. Carry your locking wheel nuts keys in the car
  9. Remember that the committed space in front of your vehicle, increases with speed, and on ice can be ten times further. This means that anything within that committed space, that is not moving…..gets hit
  10. Finally, in conditions of snow and ice; best advice is don’t drive unless you absolutely have too, and leave it until after rush hour. If you are a newly qualified driver, you may only have between 20-50 hours driving experience, under your belt

If you wake up, and there is snow on the ground, please don’t drive; it’s simply not worth the risk. Wait until you have at least 500-600 hours, as a full licence holder, before you attempt to tackle snow.

Motorway driving at night

Statistically Britain’s Motorways are some of the safest roads that we drive on. However, when things do go wrong, the higher speeds involved often result in serious injury or death, without any signs of braking.

Kings Hill Driving School have put together some top tips for driving on the Motorway at night:

  • Driving in the dark can cause fatigue – avoid it if you can. Plan your journey well, allowing a 15 minutes break at least every two hours. Planning your journey includes sharing the driving task, if possible
  • If you suffer a break down on a Motorway, pull over on to the hard shoulder, as far left as you can, with your wheels pointing towards the kerb. Leave the vehicle by the nearside door as quickly as possible. Leave your hazard and parking lights on. Get yourself the other side of the barrier or up the bank if possible. Telephone the emergency services, using the location marker posts to establish your exact location.
  • Plan ahead, look as far up the Motorway as possible, watching for brake lights in the distance. This should reduce the chance of you having to react to slowing traffic and braking late; never a good thing at high speeds. Make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear.
  • Large stretches of the Motorways are not lit during hours of darkness – This can cause strain on the eyes, which can lead to tiredness. Tiredness can lead to micro sleeps or worse; potentially lethal at high motorway speeds. To improve the position as far as possible, keep all of your glass clean, particularly the front screen. Get your eyes tested regularly.



To book or discuss our driving school lessons please
call us on 0800 619 0093