Driving tests

As driving instructors we can only advise people about their readiness to take a test!
You may think you are driving well when the instructor is:
Telling you when to change gear!
Asking you what the speed limit is!
Talking you through every manoeuvre!
Telling you which lane to be in!
Reminding you which exit to come off of on a roundabout because you forget!
Helping you when you can’t workout if there is enough space for you to get your car through!
If all or any of the above apply to you, then you are not test ready!
When the door shuts and it’s just you and the examiner, the car is the loneliest place to be, when you make a mistake and your brain goes to mush it’s the worst feeling ever!
Remember those family and friends who urge you to just have a go for the experience, aren’t the ones having to go through it, people have very selective memory’s when it comes to driving and tests!
Ask anyone who has failed a test if it was a nice experience!
Remember it’s YOU doing the test, no one else, no phone to google answers, no help from anyone else just YOU!
If you are up to standard, you will still be nervous, but you won’t be doubtful of your ability!
Go look in the mirror and have a straight talk with yourself!
Would you take an A level if you hadn’t studied enough and then expect to pass it?

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Vertical Gardens pollution solutions

MEXICO CITY — “We must cultivate our garden,” Voltaire famously wrote at the end of “Candide,” but even he could not have imagined this: a towering arch of 50,000 plants rising over a traffic-clogged avenue in a metropolis once called “Mexsicko City” because of its pollution.

The vertical garden aims to scrub away both the filth and the image. One of three eco-sculptures installed across the city by a nonprofit called VerdMX, the arch is both art and oxygenator. It catches the eye. And it also helps clean the air.

“The main priority for vertical gardens is to transform the city,” said Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, 30, the architect who designed the sculptures. “It’s a way to intervene in the environment.”

Many cities have green reputations — Portland, Ore., even has its own vertical gardens. But in the developing world, where middle classes are growing along with consumption, waste and energy use, Mexico City is a brave new world. The laughingstock has become the leader as the air has gone from legendarily bad to much improved. Ozone levels and other pollution measures now place it on roughly the same level as the (also cleaner) air above Los Angeles.

“Both L.A. and Mexico City have improved but in Mexico City, the change has been a lot more,” said Luisa Molina, a research scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has done extensive pollution comparisons. Mexico “is very advanced not just in terms of Latin America, but around the world. When I go to China, they all want to hear the story of Mexico.”


A vertical garden at the Restaurant Padrinos in Mexico City is part of a wider effort to improve the city’s notoriously bad air. Credit Rodrigo Cruz for The New York Times
Partly, it is policy. Starting in the 1980s, Mexico’s government created mandates that reformulated gasoline, closed or moved toxic factories, and banned most drivers from using their cars one day a week. More recently, Mexico City added a popular free bicycle loan program and expanded public transportation systems.

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Jose April 11, 2012
Mr Jeff H. from Portland Oregon:I desagree with most of your points of view, however, who does not desagree with people who take...
Sam April 11, 2012
Looks nice. Anybody have any DIY, low-budget, ideas for doing something similar? You could just put a bunch of plants in pots and hang them...
Rootwalker April 11, 2012
This art is splendid. Consider the fact that it has raised awareness immensely- whether you ponder it while driving by, walking by, biking...

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Environmentalists are far less impressed with double-decker highways still under construction. But even the most optimistic Mexicans have never expected government to create “the best of all possible worlds,” to quote the character Pangloss in “Candide,” so many here prefer to rave about citizen-driven, cooperative efforts like VerdMX.

Mexico City has become an incubator for these kinds of groups, which mix corporate financing with new ideas. Some say the activity stems from the tangible nature of the problem; bad pollution is felt in the scratchy throats of all. But regardless, among the young, hip and educated — those opening new boutiques for modern Mexican design, and partying at the Vive Latino music festival — there is a growing civic consciousness.

Part of this can be seen in the capital’s vibrant art scene, where environmental concerns often overlap with creative expression. Indeed, a version of the about-to-burst potential that once characterized Paris or New York in, say, the 1920s, seems to have arrived in “new world” megacities like this one, but with a twist. The Machine Age of the early 20th century has given way, for some, to the Green Age of the early 21st.

There are young architects here looking to tear up roads and revive ancient rivers. There are young women teaching old women how to plant tomatoes in the grass between high-rises; artists turning ocean trash into gorgeous, consumer criticism; and even a crowd-sourced multimedia campaign with visions for “Mexico of the Future” — which includes submissions such as “a solar panel on every house” and “respect for flora and fauna.”

VerdMX’s giant green sculptures — which are part of a broader vertical and roof garden movement — fit right in. In the normal day-to-day commute, however, the gardens show how far Mexico City still has to go.


The eco-sculptures were installed across Mexico City by a nonprofit called VerdMX. Credit Rodrigo Cruz for The New York Times
The most stunning vertical garden so far hovers over Chapultepec Avenue at an intersection typically chocked with buses, cars and taxis. On a recent morning, drivers appeared to speed through the installation without noticing the plants, which looked downright crippled. Their leaves were as limp as a dead rose’s petals. Only the lucky ones facing south, toward a quieter street, away from idling buses, seemed to be growing at a normal rate.

“The plants are distressed by all the traffic,” said Gabriela Rodríguez, director of VerdMX. Still, she said, they were chosen for their hardiness, and they were going to survive, at least for the year the sculpture is scheduled to remain.

The project’s main challenge seems to have been cultural. Ms. Rodríguez, a graphic designer with ink-black hair, a deep voice and a taste for shades of pink, said finding the resources and getting the government permissions took years. She said Nissan, a corporate sponsor, needed to be convinced that it would get the credit it deserved. (The company introduced its Leaf electric car here last year.) And the government needed to be convinced that the garden would work as a living monument.

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“Mexico is still a place with a very conservative culture,” said Mr. Ortiz, the architect. “When I would tell people about this, they’d always say: ‘It’s impossible. You’re crazy.’ ”

That pretty much captured one strain of thought among those who pass the sculpture every day. “Sure, it looks nice but what good does it do?” said Rosendo Hernández, 58, a newspaper salesman at the intersection.

Others dismissed the garden as a waste of money. One man walking by said that while Mexicans love art, an upside-down U full of plants cannot compare with a Diego Rivera mural.

Maybe it does not need to, though. Mr. Hernández said many residents like the sculpture enough to take pictures of it, and Riberto Pineda, 17, who washes car windows at the stop light beside it, said he has grown to love the tall garden for two simple reasons: “It’s pretty,” he said. “And it’s great for shade.”

Correction: April 19, 2012
The Mexico City Journal article on April 10, about a towering vertical garden, one of three eco-sculptures installed across the city to be both art and oxygenator, misstated the role of carbon dioxide in urban pollution. Ground-level ozone forms from the interaction, in the presence of sunlight, of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds; it does not form from carbon dioxide.

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New drivers could do 2 driving tests...

The Government is exploring a potential Graduated Driving Licence, which would see new drivers under the age of 24 facing serious restrictions. For two years after passing the driving test, they would:

• Not be able to drive after dark or drive cars with larger engines

• Not be able to drink alcohol before driving because of a lowered drink drive limit

• Have to take another test at the end of the two-year probation period.

The proposals are part of a push to tackle the number of deaths that occur on UK roads each year with 17-24 year-olds responsible for a quarter of all accidents that lead to death or serious injury.

The Prime Minister has stated that, “there are too many people who suffer a loss and tragedy at the hands of learner drivers and we will look at that”. While we suspect she means new drivers, not learner drivers who are supervised by a professional instructor or suitable adult, the Graduated Driving Licence still has serious ramifications for drivers who have just qualified.

But could there be a silver lining if the Graduated Driver Licensing proposal is given the green light? New drivers currently spend up to 10% of their earnings keeping their car insured but experts believe that the new style license could drive down insurance costs.

The idea behind these new plans is clear, and these measures should result in safer roads for all. While it may initially feel like a harsh restriction for new drivers, it’s worth considering that these limitations on their licenses should reduce their insurance risk profiles, which could ultimately see the cost of their insurance reduce significantly.”
– Simon McCulloch, comparethemarket.com

The idea of a Graduated Driving Licensing system isn’t as outlandish as it might first seem either and would actually bring the UK in line with other countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand where drivers are unable to drive at night or drive with passengers who are under the age 25 unless there is someone older supervising. And according to Brake, the road safety charity, the changes can’t come soon enough.

“Young and novice drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes and the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system is critical to reverse this trend,” said a spokesperson for the charity. “Brake is calling upon the Government to bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, requiring a minimum of 10 hours professional tuition for learner drivers and introducing a novice license, with restrictions in place for two years after passing the practical driving test.”

With the new driving test plus stricter penalties for mobile use when driving, it’s clear that the Government is determined to cut road deaths on UK roads – the question is are the new proposals going too far?

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Well done to Fergus..

Well done Fergus Morgan on passing your manual driving test, 4 years after your automatic one. Enjoy your new Polo!

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Another test pass with Uplands..

A huge big congratulations to Anum who passed this morning with Nehar at Uplands. At Swansea MPTC.

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Normal day , teaching drivers..

Driving instructors are facing a daily battle with impatient drivers who see learners like “a red rag to a bull”.

New dashcam footage from one instructor’s car shows a driver overtaking a learner car in Swansea , before being faced with another in the oncoming direction which he also had to avoid.

The risky manoeuvre took place along Port Tennant Road in Port Tennant .

Both learner driver cars were from Red, which is one of the largest driving schools in the UK.

Red chief executive, Ian McIntosh, said: “At Red Driving School our mission is teach safe driving for life and it is disappointing to see examples where our customers are placed in dangerous situations.

“All motorists were learner drivers once and we would encourage those involved to be a little more patient and respect all users of the road.”

A driver overtakes a learner car along Port Tennant Road, Swansea before being faced with another in the oncoming direction which he also had to avoid.
Inconsiderate drivers are a cause for concern for many learner drivers.

Driving instructors in Swansea say it is something they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Peter Jones, of Pass with Pete driving school, said: “We see it all day. It does not make a difference which way the learner is driving, the learner car is like red rag to a bull, some drivers just have to get past.

“Foxhole Road in St Thomas for instance is a 30mph road, and feels it should be faster, but that is the speed limit.

“You always see cars revving up wanting to get past but you can’t go any faster.

“It’s not good for the confidence of the learners but unfortunately it’s an every day occurrence.”

What you can and can't do when you're 16
Another driving instructor, Michael Nixon, said it happens every day, and not just when learner drivers are in the car, even when he is driving the vehicle alone.

“It even happened today,” Mr Nixon said.

“We were travelling along Fabian Way and this car was travelling behind us. The learner was doing the speed limit and he went out in front and shot in front of us. It was so close I reached over and sounded the horn myself.

“It’s not just a case of the older generation doing it. You see teenagers who have only been driving for a year or two and were only recently in the same situation being inconsiderate. They are quick to forget.”

Driving Test Success has offered advice on its website to learner drivers who may find themselves in similar situation in its Learner Driver’s Guide To Dealing With Inconsiderate Drivers.

Pontypridd driving test centre is to close and an instructor is angry about the move
It reads: “The most important rule to follow, when encountering inconsiderate drivers is to listen to your driving instructor. They will guide you through a stressful situation and it is them, not anybody else that can help you become a better driver.

“Do not be scared to tell your driving instructor if you are struggling to cope in any situation. It benefits them if they know which situations you struggle with and they know above anything, safety is paramount.

“Remember. Safety first. Keep calm. Communicate with your driving instructor. That is the key to handling even the most inconsiderate of drivers.”

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Self employed instructors

Next time you’re complaining about the price driving instructors charge, remember this:-
We are teaching you a life skill, one that could possibly help you get a better Job and more independence. Life changing to many. How much do you pay to go to university to achieve this kind of skill?
How much do you think running a car costs? Probably much more than the cost of your weekly lesson. You’ll be paying more once you pass your test and get your own car.
Your instructor is self employed. They don’t get paid if they don’t work. They don’t get paid if their car is off the road. They don’t get paid sickness or holidays. They don’t get paid if there’s adverse weather.
You’ll probably see how busy your instructor is. You are just ONE pupil. Even after work they still have new pupil enquiries, current pupil enquiries and several other “behind the scene” things to do which they don’t get paid for.
You’ll probably see on lessons how much abuse learners can receive on the roads from other members of the public. That’s Just on ONE lesson!
As with any skilled profession, you pay for what you get. If “Joe down the road” is charging less, go with “Joe” and see for yourself why. We wont be offended when we are so busy ourselves.
Compare how much we charge & do compared to other professions. How much do you pay for your gym or personal trainer/carpenter/decorator/builder/solicitor/dentist/Vet/Chiropractor/beauty treatments etc etc?
We also keep local drive thru’s in business, need a bladder like a camel or know where all the public toilets are (and pray they are open!) And don’t even get me started on the cost of wine, when we are off, to keep us sane 😂
With all this in mind, we still absolutely love our jobs and are dedicated to instructing YOU and getting YOU that licence. We even pay £300 every 4 years, for our licence, just so we have the privilege to do a job we love.
If anything, we are not charging enough!

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