Why should I choose to have Driving Lessons with LDC?
LDC are the third largest driving school in the UK. All our instructors are licensed by the DSA to give tuition. They have also been trained to deliver lessons using the unique LD System of Driving Tuition (nothing else even comes close) which uses modern, adult learning techniques to teach you to drive and get you through your Driving Test in a shorter time and with fewer lessons (and therefore at a lower overall cost). All Instructors are bound by LDC’s strict Code of Conduct, which will ensure your safety and peace of mind.

Why should I choose Richard Smith as my instructor?
Richard is a very experienced driver with a relaxed, friendly & patient manner; qualities you want in a Driving Instructor. Enthusiastic about driving and passionate about road safety, he has driven many thousands of miles in the UK and Europe. He will guide you through the learning process; teaching you, not only the technical skills required to pass the Driving Test, but also an awareness of road traffic and the ability to enjoy your driving.

Maybe you are new to driving - a Provisional Licence holder with the goal of passing your driving test and obtaining a Full Licence. On the other hand, maybe you have a licence but haven’t driven recently and would like a refresher to reinforce previously learned skills and regain confidence. Perhaps you have been driving for many years but a new career opportunity requires a driving assessment. (Driving Test Standards have changed a lot over the past 20/30 years. Are you familiar with the latest techniques? Can you Reverse Park? Can you Block Change?) In any of these situations, Richard will be happy to train you to the standard required.

In March 2007, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) introduced criminal record checks for all new and existing Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). They use the services of the Criminal Records Bureau and Disclosure Scotland to obtain criminal record disclosures for individuals resident in the UK. These exhaustive checks reveal even spent convictions in the distant past.
Driving Standards Agency’s Chief Executive Rosemary Thew said the introduction of criminal checks reinforced the rule that instructors should be ‘fit and proper’ people to spend time alone with teenagers. “Most driving instruction takes place on a one-to-one basis in a car. Often the driver is still a teenager. We feel it is appropriate that instructors undergo criminal history checks in the same way as other professionals who work with young people. This will give the public an assurance on safety, and further professionalize the driving instructor industry."
Richard has satisfied the DSA requirements with an enhanced disclosure report showing a completely unblemished record and that he is a “fit & proper person” to conduct driving lessons; giving his pupils (and their parents) an assurance of absolute safety and of a professional service.

Richard, in harmony with LDC’s strict Code of Conduct will ensure that the training vehicle will always be maintained in a roadworthy condition, fully insured and clean, inside & out. A "No Smoking" policy applies; therefore the vehicle will be a smoke free environment. You will receive training for the full lesson time allocated. Your instructor will not use your time for any other business (e.g. going shopping or taking phone calls).

What are the benefits of the unique LD System?
The unique LD System of Driving Tuition (nothing else even comes close) is a structured progression of Driving Lessons with each new lesson building on the skills learned in previous lessons. Progressing from “Basic Control skills” to “Road Skills” then “Traffic skills” and including specific “Manoeuvres” relevant to the level of skill and control the pupil has reached.
At the start of the lesson, specific goals are set. Each lesson will consolidate what has previously been learned, and then add a new skill. Each pupil will be able to monitor his/her progress using the “Pupil Progress Monitor” included in their personal copy of the “Driving Skills Workbook.” This will allow both the instructor and the pupil (and, if appropriate, the pupils’ parents) to see exactly what stage has been reached; what further practice is necessary and in what areas; and when the Driving Test standard has been achieved. The advantages are that pupils will progress quickly. The true level of progress will be apparent to all, so that no time and money will be wasted on a driving test “before the pupil is ready” or a driving instructor trying to “sell extra lessons” that are not required.

Do LDC have a code of conduct for their Instructors?
We want you to enjoy your lessons with LDC. Learner Driving Centres have a very strict Code of Conduct governing all the instructors. All are trained to deliver instruction using the unique LD System of Structured Driving Lessons (nothing else even comes close). The aims of each driving lesson will be specific and attainable. Each lesson will be reviewed and progress monitored. You can be sure that the training vehicle is roadworthy and maintained to a high standard. It will be kept clean inside and out. LDC also insist on a high standard of personal appearance and cleanliness from their instructors as well as the training vehicle. A copy of our standard TERMS AND CONDITIONS and a copy of the Instructors CODE of CONDUCT are available on request.

Why are driving lessons so expensive?
Driving lessons are expensive but so are most worthwhile things nowadays. You need to ask: “Are driving lessons good value for money?” Consider this: most driving instructors are self-employed. That means when they take a holiday or are off ill, there is no holiday-pay or sick-pay. The money you pay for a driving lesson isn’t their take-home pay. They are responsible for their own tax and national insurance contributions; they are responsible for all the running costs of a business, public liability insurance, book-keeping and accountancy expenses, office expenses, phone etc. In addition, there is the financing, running, insurance and maintenance costs of a training vehicle and, depending on the choice and age of the car, that might be considerable. Also, fuel costs have risen dramatically in the past few months.

Consider your instructor’s qualifications. TV adverts would suggest that if you have a driving licence, all you need to do is put L Plates on your car, turn up for a couple of hours’ training easily fitted around your current job and become a driving instructor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many hours and much money is invested in training. The DSA demand a very high standard for instructors. Three tests have to be passed successfully: a in-depth Theory Test; an enhanced Practical Driving Test and, the really exacting part, Part 3, a test of Instructional Ability. It is such a high standard required that for every twenty applicants who train to become a driving instructor, only one makes the grade and qualifies. To put it in perspective, 95% do not qualify. Even when qualified, the DSA continue to monitor instructors to ensure their tuition is still up to standard. Regular “Check Tests” are conducted and any not meeting the standard risk being removed from the register. In addition, professional driving instructors are obligated to follow a program of “Continued Personal Development” to maintain and improve their qualifications by further study and training. Whoever you choose to teach you to drive, you can be sure that the training will be to a high standard, as a lot of time and effort has gone into that training. In addition to the DSA strict requirements, LDC operate their own training program. Induction courses, regular monitoring ,information classes in association with driving examiners and the police all ensure LDC Driving Instructors are among the best qualified Driving Instructors today.

Driving instructors often work long, anti-social hours without any overtime pay. To fit in with pupils own work schedules, driving lessons could be at 6:30am or 10:30pm. Compare also the cost of a driving lesson to the service costs of other qualified professionals. E.g. a good hairdresser. Twenty minutes in the chair for a cut and blow dry and “That will be £30.00 please.” With Driving lessons, what are you getting for your money? You are learning a skill for life; it is an investment in your future. A car is not a luxury anymore; it is a necessity, a part of society. When I learned to drive (I passed my Driving Test in 1975) driving lessons were £2.20 per hour. If you paid for 5 you got that for £10.00. That may seem cheap compared to today’s prices, but 30 years ago it was a substantial part of a weeks’ wage. All things are relative. Learning to drive is an investment that I have never regretted making; it has been my livelihood for many years now. All things considered: Are driving Lessons expensive? No, not in the least. They are good value for money and a sound investment in your future.

Why are some driving lessons so cheap?
You can always find cheap driving lessons but consider these questions: Are cheap lessons good value for money? Is the car new and well maintained? Is the instructor fully qualified or a trainee? Does he have additional qualifications? Is he well recommended by his existing pupils? Will you get a full hour driving the car? I had a phone call from a young man interested in taking driving lessons with me. As he had previously done about 20 hours with his last instructor I assumed that he would be well on his way to preparing for his driving test. I picked him up and we drove to the industrial estate. After a licence and eyesight check I got him driving round the estate. As his driving was to a reasonably high standard I suggested we leave the estate and try the main roads. “I have never been on the main roads” he told me. For the next 45 minutes we drove all round Cumbernauld and finished with him driving home. He had a wonderful time and really enjoyed it. He had never driven home before. His previous instructor would pick him up; drive to the industrial estate where the pupil would drive for about 45 minute; then the instructor would drive home. He thought that I was the best instructor in the world yet, on that first lesson, I never taught him anything – I just let him drive. Yes, you can always get cheap lessons – but are they worth the money?

How can using the unique LD System save me money in the long run?
It is expensive to pay for driving lessons and spend much of that time sitting parked at the side of the road while the instructor explains the lesson. Although it is important the pupil fully understands what is involved with each lesson before starting, much of that preparation can be done by personal study at home. The LD system allows the pupil to do this: (1) The pupil watches the lesson on DVD / video at home, before the lesson. (2) He then reads the corresponding chapter in the Driving Skills Workbook. This will familiarize him with the main points of the lesson and also the lesson targets; i.e. what we want to achieve this lesson. (3) He can then answer the questions in the workbook quiz. This is not a test (the answers are at the back of the book) but it will ensure the main points of the lesson are clearly in mind. (4) When the lesson starts, the instructor will spend just a few brief minutes in preparation and then most of the valuable time can be used gaining vital experience on the road. (5) At the end of the lesson, the pupils progress in recorded in the Progress monitor, for reference and as the starting point for future lessons. As the lesson times are maximized to achieve the most amount of practical instruction, targets will be achieved quicker and fewer lessons will be needed to reach Driving Test Standard; therefore saving you money.

What is the real cost of learning to drive?
The real cost of learning to drive should not be confused with the price of a one-hour driving lesson. Generally, with driving lessons, you get what you pay for. Many “cheap” driving lessons may be required to get a pupil near to Driving Test standard. A failed driving test is unnecessary and expensive if the pupil is not ready. It is important to make prudent and wise decisions when choosing a driving instructor. Enquire about different driving schools in your area. Instead of using just an hourly rate for comparison, look at the overall cost and the quality of the tuition. By using the unique LD System of Driving Tuition (nothing else even comes close) with its colourful and clear workbooks and training materials and by maximizing your lesson times on the road, LDC are confident that we can teach you to drive to Driving Test Standard quickly, safely, with fewer lessons and therefore, at a lower overall cost.

Taking and paying for a one-hour Driving Lesson per week is the most expensive way of doing things. The cost of driving lessons are discounted for block bookings. By booking and paying in advance for 2, 5 or 10 lessons, the average cost of an hours’ lesson will be less. By taking 2 or more hours tuition per week progress will be quicker, and therefore, less expensive overall. Driving courses (15, 20, 30 or 40 hours) are initially expensive but represent very good value as the average cost of one hours’ tuition is much lower that paying for single hours. Also, the invaluable training materials (DVD & Workbook) are and included in the cost of the course. Also included is the cost of the DSA’s Practical Driving Test.

Are there discounts available for driving lessons?
Very often driving lesson prices are discounted for block bookings or intensive or semi-intensive driving courses. The more you pay and book in advance, the greater the discount. See the “Prices and Gift Vouchers” page. <link>

Why are Gift vouchers a good Idea?
Most teenagers have the ambition to learn to drive as soon as possible. What could be a better present than a gift of driving lessons to get them started when they reach seventeen? Those taking lessons already would also certainly appreciate additional lessons as a gift. Gift vouchers can be for any amount of lessons or a course of lessons and are personalised for the recipient. Gift Vouchers are attractively presented and training materials (if applicable) are gift-wrapped

Is it more expensive to have lessons evenings and weekends?
No. The cost of Driving Lessons are the same whether it is during the day, evenings or weekends. However, if you want to sit your Driving Test evenings or weekends, the DSA charge extra for these Tests when available. Driving Examiners get paid overtime :-) for working evenings and weekends - Driving Instructors do not :-(

How do I know my instructor is fully qualified?
It is an offence to accept payment for giving driving tuition unless an instructor is qualified and licensed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). Two types of licenses are available. For instructors who are not yet fully qualified, a Trainee Licence can be issued. This licence allows the instructor to give instruction for payment, while he/she gains experience toward becoming fully qualified. Trainee Licences are only valid for six months, are coloured Pink and include a photograph of the instructor, and must be displayed in the front windscreen of the training vehicle when instruction is being given.

Fully qualified instructors have the qualification “ DSA Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) car.” They are issued with a Licence coloured Green which also contains a photograph and must be displayed in the windscreen of the training vehicle. Approved Driving Instructors are monitored regularly by the DSA to verify their continued ability to give instruction to a high standard.

Richard Smith is a fully qualified “DSA Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) car.” Look out for the Green Badge.

What do I need before starting driving lessons?
Before you can take Driving Lessons, you need to hold a valid, signed provisional driving licence. Your eyesight needs to be above a certain standard; you must be able to read a car number plate from a distance of 20.5 m (aprox. 5 car lengths) with glasses if normally worn. The vehicle must be insured for you to drive. You must be supervised by a person over 21 years old who has held a full driving licence (EC or EEA) for over three years. The training vehicle must display “L” plates. You can apply for a licence before your 17th birthday so that you can start driving right away when you turn 17.

What are the advantages of getting professional tuition from a Driving Instructor?
It is unlikely that a friend or relative can train you to drive to Driving Test standard. Standards have changed over the years, but qualified Driving Instructors will always be able to teach you what is required. It is also much safer to have, at last the initial lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor in a suitable training vehicle fitted with dual controls. Two recent instances come to mind re learners learning with relatives or friends:- (1) A few weeks ago, at Westfield Industrial Estate, I saw a family car driven by a learner with his mother supervising. The back wheels were on the pavement; the front wheels were on the grass; the front of the car was about 3 feet away from a solid metal fence. (2) A young girl supervised by her father reversing out a parking bay. Her foot slipped off the clutch, the car shot back and crashed into the lock-up opposite. Unfortunately, the garage door was round the other side - she went through the brick wall. On both occasions, the supervising driver was powerless to avoid what could have been a serious, life threatening accident. Professional driving lessons might seem expensive, but considering the alternative, it is money well spent. (If you are reading this and it sounds familiar, phone up and arrange a lesson.)

How long do lessons last?
Generally, driving lessons last for a minimum of one hour and can be increased in half-hour increments. They are scheduled to fit in with your instructor’s other commitments, your own schedule, circumstances or budget. The timing can be arranged to suit the particular lesson being given. For example, one hour may be sufficient to learn and practice reversing around a corner, as it can be done locally. A two-hour lesson will be required to travel to Falkirk or Glasgow to practice busier traffic situations. If you live in an out-lying area (see map) <link>it will be necessary to book 2, 3 or 4 hour lessons to make it cost-effective for your instructor to travel to your area to pick you up.

What are the pros and cons of hourly/weekly lessons compared to intensive or semi-intensive courses?
1 hour lesson every week - One benefit is the low weekly lesson cost, although overall costs may be higher as you may not be benefiting from block-booking discounts and training materials. Most pupils, even with busy schedules, can find 1 hour a week for a driving lesson. (e.g. - it is possible to learn to drive during a lunch break.) One hour a week may be a comfortable pace for some pupils; learning one subject at a time and giving plenty of time for home study and preparation. For pupils who have never driven before and are learning the basics, local roads are adequate and many basic skills can be learned in just one hour increments. Disadvantages - It will take longer to learn to drive. With a week between lessons, information or skills may be forgotten or become rusty. It may take 5 or 10 minutes at the start of a lesson to get back into “driver” mode. That is a large percentage of a one-hour lesson. This lost time will be nil for a second and subsequent lesson taken together. Also, after you have mastered the basic control skills, you will need to move on to more challenging road and traffic situations. Local roads will not fill these needs but a one-hour lesson slot will not be flexible enough to move on to other areas. Two or more hours at a session will be needed to enable you to practice in roads that resemble or are actually Driving Test routes. It is possible to alternate one and two-hour lessons. e.g. Week 1. One-hour lesson; stay local and do manoeuvres and consolidate basic skills. Week 2. Two-hour lesson; travel further to practice Road and Traffic skills in Driving Test situations. Generally, the more lessons you have, the quicker you will learn to drive. However, everyone’s situation is different and lessons can be tailored for your individual circumstances.

Intensive courses give you the opportunity to learn to drive and pass your driving test in as short a time as possible. This can be ideal for those who have had previous driving experience or those who can drive to a basic standard and just need a refresher. It is also appealing for those with limited time. A new job opportunity may require a driving licence quickly. With an intensive course, it is possible to learn to drive and pass your test during a weeks’ vacation from work. Intensive courses of 30 or 40 hours are available for those with no previous driving experience. Included in the fixed cost of LDC’s intensive courses are the training materials, workbook & DVD, a pupil progress monitor report and the DSA Driving Test fee. Disadvantages are: Intensive courses can be very intensive. If you have never driven before, six or eight hours a day can be very tiring and mentally exhausting. Good forward planning is needed; intensive courses need to be planned and booked well in advance if you want specific dates that will fit in with your own and your instructors schedule. Taking an intensive course does not guarantee you will be at Driving Test standard by the end of the course. Various factors have to be taken into account including your own motivation, skill and the ability to learn and demonstrate newly acquired expertise quickly. A driving instructor will not allow you to sit your test if he has reservations about your ability to pass. Therefore, if an intensive driving course was booked to start on a Monday morning, with a Driving Test the following Friday afternoon, a decision would have to be made by the Monday afternoon whether to continue with the test, or cancel so that the test fee would not be lost. Not an easy call to make regarding a new driver with only a few hours driving experience. When you pass your test, although you now have a full UK Driving Licence, you will have very little experience of driving and may find it takes a bit longer before you are fully confident and happy on the roads. (For more information on this, see the page PASS PLUS)

Semi-intensive courses are for many, an ideal compromise: all the benefits of an intensive course (you will still learn very quickly) without the pressure of having a Test in a few days and wondering if you will be ready on time. The content of the course is exactly the same as the intensive courses, only spread over a few weeks. The time period can be tailored to your own circumstances and progress. For example: a 30 hour course could be 2 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks. Or 2½ hours a day, twice a week for 6 weeks. Hours are completely flexible and can even be adjusted as the course progresses.

As you can see, there are many different options when learning to drive. Whatever your circumstances, LDC will teach you to drive, whether in a week’s intensive course or with driving lessons spread over some months. If you are not sure what is the best option for you personally, why not let me take you out for an assessment lesson and we can discuss what would suit you best.

How many driving lessons will I need?
How long is a piece of string? According to DSA figures, the average pupil take about 60 hours of training (40 hours professional tuition + 20 additional hours practice) to reach driving test standard. As these are average figures, some will pass much quicker whereas others will take much longer. Different factors involved are: the standard of the tuition; your own aptitude for learning and demonstrating new skills; your motivation and the amount of time and effort you put into your studies, on and off the road. The unique LD System of Driving Instruction (nothing else even comes close) will maximize your driving potential and get you up to Driving Test Standard in the shortest time possible. (Government statistics released by HM Customs and Standards (2007) reveal that the average length of a piece of string in the UK is 23.6 inches.)

Can my lessons start and finish at different places?
Yes, but this must be arranged and agreed with your instructor beforehand. Very often it is convenient to start and end lessons in different places. For example, it may be helpful to get picked up at school or college and finish at home; or start at home and get dropped off at the train station or your place of work. If you need picked-up or dropped-off at a considerable distance from Cumbernauld, this is still possible, but you may need to book a longer lesson to make this cost-effective. Talk to your instructor about this.

Can I sit in on someone else's lesson?
No. Driving Lessons are delivered on a one-instructor-to-one-pupil basis. This will not be varied, as one-to-one instruction is the best established method for the learning process. The pupil is not under increased pressure and has no additional distractions. You will not be permitted to sit in on someone else’s lesson, but be assured, no one will be sitting in on your lesson when you are driving.

Sometimes a senior DSA Examiner will sit-in on a driving lesson. This is done periodically in order to monitor the level of the teaching given by your instructor to ensure a continued high standard of training. If applicable, your instructor will arrange this with you well in advance to make sure you are agreeable. You are not under any obligation to take part in this training session, but as you are doing your instructor a favour, he will probably give you the lesson for free!

Will the driving instructor use my lesson time for any other purpose?
Your driving lessons are very valuable so we want to make the most of the time you have behind the wheel. Before you can drive you need to know what you are doing; you must have this information. But you also do not want to sit parked at the side of the road listening to your instructor talking all the time. That is one benefit of the LD system of driving tuition. With the DVD and the workbook, you can do your own preparation so that when you come for the lesson the instructor’s remarks will be kept to a minimum – and you can spent the maximum time available driving and getting that vital practice and experience. You can also be sure that, with LDC, your instructor will not use your time for any other purpose: no phoning, texting, shopping or fuelling the car. I had a pupil many years ago whose previous instructor would regularly stop during a lesson to visit the shops. Things went from bad to worse when one lesson, after a shopping trip, the instructor drove to his own home and asked the pupil if he would help him carry his shopping up to the house. It was later on that same day the pupil phoned me to see if I had any space in my diary…

Is it useful to drive with a family member or a friend between lessons?
It is very useful to get additional practice, but caution must be exercised. When learning to drive, it is important that you get proper tuition so you learn how to drive to an acceptable and safe standard. Once you know what you must do, you must practice till you can drive to this standard consistently. Toward this goal, the more additional practice you get, the better. However, be careful when listening to well-meaning friends or relatives who will give advice based on how they were taught, possibly many years ago. Driving standards have changed a lot during the last few years. Much of the advice they give may have been correct years ago when they were learning but is now, at best, no longer valid or, even worse, completely wrong. I can often tell when a pupil has spent time driving with a friend or relative; I can see bad habits creeping in. Undoubtedly, it is a great help if pupils get the opportunity to drive at other times in addition to their regular lessons. But please, do not try to learn anything new. Remember what you have been taught and use the time to practice and consolidate previously learned skills, while gaining valuable experience on the roads. When driving in addition to your regular driving lessons, you must be (1) Safe and (2) Legal. To that end, make sure you are at least competent with basic control skills before venturing onto busier or unfamiliar roads as the friend’s car will unlikely be fitted with Dual Controls. Also make sure that the vehicle is properly insured for you to drive and “L“ plates fitted. Additional practice can be a great help if used properly.

Can I learn to drive if I am very nervous?
Everyone can learn to drive. If you are confident and love driving, you may find it easier to learn. If you are nervous and hate driving you may think you could never learn and hesitate to take the first step. However, everyone can learn to drive. The unique LD System of Driving Tuition (nothing else even comes close) can be tailored to your individual needs. Structured lessons will ensure that you learn at your own pace, in your own time. Each lesson builds on skills learned in previous lessons. You will not be expected to move on to more complicated subjects until you have mastered the basics. Initially you will be driving “off road” or on quiet roads with little or no traffic. Only when you feel confident and have mastered good car control will the lessons progress gradually to different/busier traffic situations. You will not be asked to “run before you can walk.” Your instructor, Richard Smith, has many years driving experience. He will guide you through the various steps slowly and patiently. Modern roads today are vital to everyday life; that is why most roads today are teeming with fast-moving traffic. It can be a daunting prospect dealing with miles and miles of non-stop traffic as far as you can see, hours upon hours of speeding drivers flashing past you or tons and tons of heavy goods vehicles towering above you. If that worries you, you can avoid it; it is in your own hands. Use the car to go to the supermarket, or drop the kids at school, or visit relatives at the other end of a quiet country road. Do not drive on roads you are not confident about. Very often, however, once you pass your test, you will start to enjoy your driving and may venture further afield. Who knows where you will end up: M8 over the Kingston Bridge to get to Ikea and the Braehead? M73/M74/M6 /M1 for London and the shops? The Channel Tunnel and Europe for a touring holiday of the continent? You may be nervous now but everyone can learn to drive. You may end up loving it. Phone Richard right now and book a lesson.

I have a driving licence but haven’t turned a wheel for years; can I book refresher lessons?
Of course you can. Driving lessons are flexible and designed to suit your needs. You may not need to be taught anything, yet simply having someone with you initially may give you the confidence to get back on the road. On the other hand, if you feel rusty, you may benefit from some remedial tuition to get you back to standard. These lessons are usually very relaxed as there is no pressure; no test at the end. Soon you will be driving confidently again.

I have an international driving licence; do I need to sit a test in this country?
It depends which country you are originally from. Sometimes you only need to apply for a new UK licence. If that does not apply to you (check this <link> to go to the DSA website for further information) you can drive in the UK for 1 year on an International Licence. After that time, you need a UK licence. Like any other new driver, you need to apply for a Provisional Licence and sit and pass both the Theory and Practical Driving Test to obtain a Full Licence. DO NOT WAIT until your international licence has expired before applying for a provisional. If you do, you will be subject to all the restrictions of a Provisional licence, including having to display “L” plates and having an accompanying driver supervising you at all times. Having a valid international licence gives you a unique opportunity to maximise your driving lessons and learning potential. Take driving lessons with a driving instructor and then practice what you are learning in your own car as you go about your daily business. This may look unusual, and sometimes can cause concern for those who do not know the true circumstances; e.g. a driver gets out of the Driving School Car after a lesson with his driving instructor, gets into his own car and drives away, unsupervised and displaying no “L” plates. Perfectly legal (as long as your international licence is still valid) but an excellent opportunity to get plenty of practice with what you are learning.

Do you only train New Drivers?
It is generally accepted that most experienced drivers on the road today would struggle to pass the basic “L” Test if they had to sit one again. While the majority of people taking lessons are Provisional Licence holders, there are times when Full Licence holders need additional practice. For example, if you have not driven for some time, you may feel nervous getting back on the road. (See question above). Maybe a new job opportunity requires a driving test or assessment and, as it is many years since you passed your test, you feel that you would benefit from some additional training. Standards have changed and the requirements of a driving test today differs from the one you passed years ago. Feel free to contact me and discuss your concerns. If you can drive already, usually only a few sessions will be needed to get you back up to a standard you are happy with.

What is the Theory Test?
The Theory Test is a test designed by the DSA to test your knowledge of the Highway Code and Hazard Perception awareness. You sit the test at a DSA (Pearson’s) Theory Test Centre using a computer workstation. The test is in two parts. Part One consists of 50 Multiple Choice format questions based on the Highway code. You must score at least 43* out of 50 to pass part one. For Part two, you will watch 14 video clips taken from real life situations on the road. You must click the mouse when you see a developing hazard. The quicker you see the hazard develop, the more you will score. You must score at least 44* out of a possible 75 to pass the Hazard perception part of the test. You must Pass both parts of the Theory Test at the same time. If you fail one, you must re-sit the whole test. You must pass the Theory Test before you can apply for a Practical Driving Test. You must pass the Practical Driving Test within Two Years of passing the Theory Test.
*These scores apply to the basic “L” test. For vocational licence tests, the standard is higher.

How can I prepare for the Theory & Hazard Perception Test?
As the Theory /Hazard Perception test is computer based, you will need access to a computer to practice. Learning in preparation for the multiple choice part of the test can be done by the more traditional method of reading the Highway Code and other related study material. This can be useful when access to a PC is not available, e.g. when travelling to work or college. Although written material can demonstrate how the Hazard Perception part of the test works, it cannot replicate the moving video clips, therefore a computer is essential for practice.

All the relevant study aids, Books, DVDs are available from LDC or from your local instructor.

Particularly recommended is the PC DVD-rom “DRIVING TEST COMPLETE.” This contains everything you need to PASS your Theory/ Hazard Perception Test. It also has much information about the practical Test. It consists of 7 separate modules:-
THEORY Test:- All the Official car & motorcycle questions.
HAZARD PERCEPTION Test:- 406 Hazard Perception test video clips.
PRACTICAL DRIVING Test:- Driving Test Video game; animated driving faultfinder and correction; interactive multi-media driving test tutorial.
LEARN TO DRIVE:- 20 lessons with over 50 animation, videos & quizzes.
SHOW ME / TELL ME:- 13 video clips of each of the Test questions.
HIGHWAY CODE:- Interactive talking version of the Highway Code to selectively view or print.
SIGNS & SIGNALS:- Correctly recognising Signs & Signals is a key to becoming a safe driver. These interactive notes and fun Learning games will help you fix these signs and their meaning firmly in mind.

To be sure of passing the multiple-choice part of the Theory Test, you will need to learn the answers to all the official DSA Theory Test questions based on the Highway Code. Once you have correctly answered all the Theory Test questions, it is time to test yourself using one of the six Pre-set Test Simulators. You can also use the randomly generated test simulator which will give you an unlimited number of mock tests. These tests realistically simulate, not only the actual test questions, but also exam conditions; ensuring you are fully prepared for the real Theory Test.

To be sure of passing the Hazard Perception part of the Theory Test, you will need to understand what the test involves; i.e. What is a hazard? What is a developing hazard? What are the most common types of hazards? And how can I spot them early to achieve a high score?

The (3-disk) LDC DRIVING TEST COMPLETE PC DVD-rom provides interactive tutorials with many practical examples of each hazard or potential hazard. A total of 406 realistic, high-quality video clips are included on the DVD. The practice video clips allow you to review your attempts and identifies where improvement can be made. You can continually re-test yourself until any weak areas have been overcome. Once you have completed the tutorials and practice sessions, you can further enhance your skill by taking a series of simulated tests in the “Mock Test” section. These hazard perception mock tests realistically replicate test conditions, ensuring you are more than ready for the real test.

***** Awarded 5 Stars *****
“BEST BUY” Auto Express magazine, November 2007.
Number 1 software product for 2007 out of the top 10 UK products reviewed.
“One product for a lifetime of Safe Driving!”
Available from your local LDC Instructor.

Where do I sit my Theory Test?
The nearest Theory Test Centres are: Glasgow (Sauchiehall Street), Stirling or Motherwell.

How do I book my Theory Test and how much will it cost?
You can contact the Theory Test booking office with a postal application form, make a booking over the phone or book a test online. Booking on-line <link> is the most common and convenient way for most. You are able to see all the available dates and times at the various test centres and book one that is suitable. The cost is £30.00

Do you need to have passed your theory test before taking driving lessons?
No. It can be helpful to study for the Theory Test and take Driving Lessons at the same time. Your instructor will be able to help you with your study and explain any questions you do not understand. (I have a laptop in the car so if you have any question about the Theory/Hazard Perception Test or how to use the Discs, just ask.) Also, you will see the practical application of the Theory questions and Hazard Perception skills in real-life situations on the road. However, it is possible to study for your Theory Test in advance. If you are well prepared, it is possible to apply for your provisional licence and arrange a Theory Test on or shortly after your 17th birthday.

What does the Practical Driving Test involve?
The examiner will check your Licence & Theory Pass certificate and then your eyesight. You will then be asked some questions on vehicle safety (Show me / Tell me). You will be directed round a test route consisting of various road and traffic situations and you will be asked to carry out some manoeuvres. When you arrive back at the Test Centre, you will be told whether you have Passed or Failed. You will Pass your Test if you commit less that Fifteen Driving Faults. If you commit an accumulation of the same Driving Fault or a Serious or Dangerous fault, you will Fail. After the Test, the examiner will offer an explanation of the result. You may ask your instructor to be present to hear the de-brief. You may also ask your instructor to accompany you on the test. If so, it will be as an observer only and he will take no part in the test. The total duration of the Test is about 40 minutes.

Are there any software programs that can help me prepare for the Practical Driving Test?
Particularly recommended is LDC’s PC DVD-rom “DRIVING TEST COMPLETE.” As well as containing everything you need to Pass your Theory/ Hazard Perception Test, this DVD also has much information about the practical Test. Modules 3-7 are:
PRACTICAL DRIVING Test:- Driving Test Video game; animated driving faultfinder and correction; interactive multi-media driving test tutorial.
LEARN TO DRIVE:- 20 lessons with over 50 animation, videos & quizzes.
SHOW ME / TELL ME:- 13 video clips of each of the Test questions.
HIGHWAY CODE:- Interactive talking version of the Highway Code to selectively view or print.
SIGNS & SIGNALS:- Correctly recognising Signs & Signals is a key to becoming a safe driver. These interactive notes and fun Learning games will help you fix these signs and their meaning firmly in mind.

***** Awarded 5 Stars *****
“BEST BUY” Auto Express magazine, November 2007.
Number 1 software product for 2007 out of the top 10 UK products reviewed.
“One product for a lifetime of Safe Driving!”
Available from your local LDC Instructor.

Where do I sit my Practical Driving Test?
When learning to drive, you do not learn on specific Test Routes. Once you can drive, the principles you learn can then be applied in all situations and you can drive anywhere. All Test Routes are designed to provide a similar variety of different road and traffic situations. In theory, it shouldn’t matter which Test Centre you apply to for your test; the Test Routes will be similar and all the examiners test pupils to the same standard. Wherever you choose to sit your test, if you drive to the acceptable standard, you will Pass. In practice though, it may be easier if you are familiar with the area. The Test Centre I use most is Falkirk. However, for a number of different reasons, you may prefer another Test Centre; therefore, I also cover Stirling, Springburn, Baillieston & Airdrie.

How do I book my Practical Driving Test and how much will it cost?
You can contact the Practical Driving Test Booking Office in three ways: fill in and post an application form; make a booking over the phone; or book a test online. Booking on-line <link> is the most common and convenient way for most. You are able to see all the available dates and times at the various test centres and book one that is suitable. By entering your Driving Instructor’s ADI number, this will ensure he has not got another Test booked at the same time. If booking the test yourself, be sure to confirm the time and date is suitable with your instructor and that the car will be available. Always follow your instructors advice as to when you are ready for the test. There is no advantage in sitting the test if you are not ready - you will fail. Your instructor will not allow you to sit the test in his car if he feels you are not ready. The cost of a Practical Driving Test is £56.50 (£67.00 for evenings and weekends, if evening or weekend tests are available). In addition there will be the cost of (at least) a two-hour driving lesson if you use the Driving School car. Two hours will cover the time taken to get to the Test Centre and back and the duration of the test. In addition, the majority of pupils book an extra hour to allow enough time for a lesson or practice before the test, in the test area.

What are the most common reasons for failing the driving Test?
You do not need to be a great driver to pass your driving test - but you must be a safe driver. The examiners are not looking for a perfect drive. If he/she can see you demonstrate that you are safe on the road, you will get your licence. You can then go on and become a great driver. However,  it is a very high standard they look for in the driving test.  Most people fail their test because they are not safe to be out on the roads on their own. Mostly, it is not the technical skills that are lacking, but poor observations. For example, you could be inch-perfect reversing around a corner, yet if you fail to look the way you are going, or are not aware of what is going on around you, you will fail. Most test failures are due to poor observations. Concentration is also important throughout the test: You recognise the road and you know the test is nearly over; you feel you have driven well and you can’t wait to get on the phone and tell your friends the good news; we can go out and celebrate… and the concentration goes. It is amazing how many serious faults occur during the last half-mile back to the Test Centre. Do not relax until the car is stopped, handbrake on, engine off. After the Examiner gives you the good news, then you can start phoning and think about celebrating.

Please explain the “Show Me, Tell Me” part of the Practical Driving Test.
The “Show Me, Tell Me” questions were introduced to the test to make sure you, the new driver, have some knowledge of what is involved in basic car safety. Some new drivers are very capable. However, maybe you do not have a car of your own yet or are not familiar with basic maintenance. Do you know how important it is to check your tyres regularly and would you know how to do it? Do you realise how much damage could be done to the engine if you fail to check the oil or coolant regularly? The “Show Me, Tell Me” questions are designed to give you some knowledge of basic car safety and maintenance. Listen carefully to the question. The first will be a “Show me.” For example, “Show me how you would check the lights on this vehicle are working.” You would then “Show” by demonstration. Switch on the lights and walk around the car, looking to make sure that all the lights are operating properly. The second will be a “Tell me.” For example, “Tell me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this vehicle.” As this is a “Tell me” question, you would answer by explanation. Explaining the procedure for checking the brake lights, you might answer, “I would press the brake pedal and ask a helper to look at the lights at the back to make sure they are working.” As this is a “Tell Me” an explanation is sufficient and there is no need to get out the vehicle. If you fail to answer one or both the questions satisfactorily, one Driving Fault will be recorded.

How can I prepare for the “Show Me, Tell Me” questions?
The “Show me, Tell me” questions are not rocket science. You will be provided with a list of all the possible questions you are likely to be asked, along with the answers. A little preparation will help you get the correct answers firmly in mind. Before the test I will show you the practical things you need to know for the “Show me” questions, e.g. how to open the bonnet and identify the components. This will be done well in advance of the test so you will be well prepared.

What is “Pass Plus?”
Pass Plus is a driving course aimed at giving new and inexperienced drivers experience and confidence on the roads after they have passed the driving test. In a similar format to normal driving lessons, six subjects will be covered. There is not a test at the end but the candidate will receive a certificate from the DSA on completion. For more details see the Pass Plus <link> page.

What are the benefits of “Pass Plus?”
Several benefits. Statistics show that pupils who have taken a Pass Plus course are less likely to be involved in a accident during their first few years driving. Pass Plus pupils are more confident on the roads as they already have some experience while being accompanied by their instructor. Insurance premiums, which can be very expensive for new and inexperienced drivers are discounted if you have a Pass Plus certificate. Check with your insurance company to see how much you can save. Very often the cost of the entire Pass Plus course can be recouped by the amount saved on insurance premiums. Although the financial benefits are there, they are secondary to the fact that you will be a safer driver: safer for yourself, your passengers and other road users.

What is “Advanced Driving” and how can I get involved?
Once you have passed your driving test, you have demonstrated that you have basic driving skills and you are safe on the road. Now you may want to build on that and improve these skills. There are a number of courses that promote Advanced driving. A good starting point would be the IAM - Institute of Advanced Motorists. Full licence holders of any age can join a local IAM group as a associate member. The training is done at your own pace and to suit your own circumstances. When you have reached the required standard and passed the exam, you will become a full member of the Institute and can participate in all the activities of the group and even move on to higher standards. As a full member myself, I can highly recommend the course. Contact me for further details.

When did you drive a Police car?
Last spring, LDC organised an (educational) night out for all the Driving Instructors in West Central Scotland. The venue was the Police Training College at Jackton, East Kilbride. (A big “Thank You” to all the Police Officers and staff who made this a very enjoyable and informative experience.) We learned about the training and standard of driving required for traffic police. As you can imagine, the drivers involved in high speed pursuits are trained to a very high standard. Public safety is of paramount importance and although they are trained to drive fast, there is never an excuse for careless, dangerous or reckless driving. After splitting into smaller groups we were taken on a trip down the M77 to see the patrol cars and drivers in action. When we returned to Jackton, we each had an opportunity to drive the car round the test area. We were timed over the course, around cones, in and out of garages, forward and reverse, as fast as we could go. Most of the driving instructors put in very creditable times but we were still a long way off the fastest times posted by the police drivers.

Do you have any other questions?
I hope you have found the answers to these questions useful. If you have any other questions not covered here, send an email to info@LDC-Cumbernauld.co.uk <link> If the question is one that would be of interest to others, I will update this page.