Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Instructor quotes; BOB and TOM

OK we all have them!! It helps you remember
For checking the mirrors remember to look out for BOB and TOM

Left mirror BOB - boy on bike
Right mirror TOM - twit (or worse) on motorbike

a daft we thing - but remember it and you may just save a life

Thursday, 5 November 2009

DSA on you tube

The DSA is now on You tube

Here is part 1 of their 'are you ready'

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Apply online for your provisonal license

You can now apply online here for your provisional driving license

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The 'sorry button'

I was taking a pupil through the 'show me, tell me' questions the other day and I asked if she knew another way to put the indicators on to check they were working.
She told me 'you could use the sorry button'
'The sorry button?' says I
'Oh yes, I was out with my friend on the motorway the other day, I was watching her drive and I noticed she pressed that button lots, I asked her what it was and she told me it was for when you had done something dum and wanted to say sorry to the other drivers.

She was pressing it a LOT!'

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

MotoskooL's latest newspaper article

4 Lessons for £20 from motoskool.net
(conditions apply)

This unique offer will get you of to the right start in learning to drive; give Pam, Bill or Raymond a call or check out our website for more details of our offer. Our contact details are in the advert on this page.

Our Instructors have a wealth of experience and ask you to do your homework before deciding on who you should train with.

At motoskooL we are committed to improving driver safety in the West of Scotland. If you have any questions or concerns about learning to drive please give one of our instructors a call for free advice – we are here to help even if you already have a Driving Instructor.

Please keep an eye out for our monthly driving features in this paper, and if there is any aspect of learning to drive you would like covered please contact motoskooL

Tips on choosing your instructor

• Use a local instructor, this should save you money. They don’t have high advertising costs which reflect on lesson prices. (Guess who’s paying for the adverts with the national driving schools “YOU”)

• Your instructor should be on time, patient and friendly.

• You should be encouraged to pass your theory A.S.A.P.

• You should if you can have 2 x 1 hour lessons per week which will help reduce the time in learning to drive.

• Always ask the length of time of the lesson (not all instructors offer 1 hour)

• Most of all you should enjoy your lesson.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Motoskool in Paisley

Here is the team in their motoskooL sponsered kit.

motoskooL has also agreed to write a monthly driver eduacation feature for the Paisely daily Express and the Renfrewshire World so please keep an eye out for us there and if there is any advice you would like covered in a feature then please let us know

Friday, 15 May 2009

The POM routine

There are lots of acronyms in learning to drive, they are supposed to make it easier to remember what you are doing.
We have already covered MSM - Mirror, Signal, Maneuver
another important one is the POM routine.
You need to do this every time the car pulls away.

You usually prepare the car by selecting first gear, setting the gas and finding the bite point. On hills there are different ways you can do this - but we will cover that later.

Then the tricky bit - hold your feet still

Good all round observations are needed here starting from the left looking out all windows and mirrors and finishing up looking out the blind spot just before you move.
At this point you can consider if a signal is needed, in most situations it isnt.

The easy bit (although it can sound scary) Just release the hand break and the car may already start moving slowly (depends on how high on the bite point the clutch is) Then slowly raise the clutch all the way off, giving more gas if the car needs it (you will hear the change in the engine noise if the car needs gas)

Thats you driving.

As you become more experienced P and O merge together as you are preparing the car as you are observing - just remember not to Move until you have Observed that it is safe to go.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Motoskool and the community

As motoskooL is currently based in Paisely we like to support the local community

Motoskool.net are proud to be support Gleniffer Thistle boys club

Also, as well as our website and all the helpful hints and tips in this blog motoskooL is also just about to launch a monthly advice article in the local newspaper.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Clutch control / Break control

Before you can start any manouvers you first have to be able to control the car at slow speeds.

If the car is pointing downhill this is very easy.
You still have to select the gear you want - 1st or reverse (very important reverse if you are reversing so you are giving the signal of your reverse lights to other road users) but keep the clutch all the way down. (if you are moving off remember your POM routine)
Controling the speed of the car now is just a case of gentle pressuer on the footbreak, more pressure to slow the car down, less to let it go faster.
At slow speeds it is NOT considered coasting to have the clutch down.

For clutch control - if you are uphil or on the flat.
As the clutch at bite point controls how much the engine is conected to the wheels, tiny movments of the clutch will effect the speed of the car.
So you keep the clutch at the bite point and just move it very tiny amounts as you need to.
If you bring the clutch up a tiny bit then the engine is more connected to the wheels and the car goes slightly faster. If you dip the clutch slightly then the engine is less connected to the wheels and the car slows slightly.
Remember the momentum of the car will mean it will take longer to slow down the faster you go.

You are looking for a slow walking pace

It is good to practise this uphil as gravity will help slow the car more and you get a better feel for the clutch. You can also get to the point where the power of the engine pulling the car forwards is balanced by gravity pulling the car back and the car stops moving. It is useful to practise this as many junctions are on a hill so you could use the clutch to creep out past obstructions, pause with the clutch to make sure it is safe and then move out - or even creep further forwards.

Remember with clutch control

Up to go (faster) down to slow

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Practise makes perfect

It is a common mistake for new instructors to try and rush their pupils into doing too much at once. Although they then feel that they are giving their pupils good value for money as they are covering lots of topics they are actually setting their pupil up to fail.

Firstly, you need to practise things, this builds up muscle memory.

But worse still if you are going to fast for your pupil then they will be making mistakes, and the more you let them make the mistakes then the better the pupil will be at making the mistake.
Practasing the wrong thing also makes you perfect at doing the wrong thing, and as we all know from our part 2 test, well practised bad habbits can take a while to relearn.

So remember when teaching your pupil to drive take it one step at a time and give them lots of chances to practise the right things, rather than pushing them faster than they can cope with and letting them practise bad habits.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Mirror, signal, manover

Mirror, signal, maneuver, MSM or the hazard routine is one of the best known term in driving.

Most people will have heard of it but they don't always know when to use it or really HOW to use it.

You use the hazard routine every time you see a potential hazard

A hazard is anything that could cause you to change speed or direction, so that is just about anything, junctions, parked cars, lights, bends, anything.

How to use it


Mirrors are always checked at least in pair, always starting with the drivers mirror (for more info on mirrors see later) and then the mirror in the direction you are heading in or where danger might be from

Examples of when a left mirror check is needed

Turning left, pulling in after parked cars, road bends sharply to the left, coming in after overtaking, pulling in to park.

Examples of when a right mirror check is needed.

Turning right, before speeding up or changing gear, before slowing down, pedestrian crossings, passing parked cars, overtaking, road bends sharply to the left.

It is also a good idea to check all mirrors before moving away at lights.


You only need to signal if it would benefit another road user (this includes pedestrians)

As you cannot see what is coming to junctions then you always need to signal for a junction.

For all other maneuvers think if it would benefit or confuse someone if you put on a signal

For example

If you are pulling out round parked cars and there is also a junction on the right a car may mistake a right signal to mean you are turning to the right when you only meant you were pulling out to pass the parked cars.


Whatever needs to be done to avoid the hazard should only be done after the first two steps, that way you know the positions of all the other traffic around you and they know what you are planning to do.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Reference points (learner driver)

Reference points are a really useful tool to help you learn to drive.

All it is is finding something for you to see that helps you line the car up.
Looking at the foto on the left (ignoring me taking the foto in the mirror)
This is an example of a parking reference point.
I have parked the car on the side of the road.
Looking out the front windscreen you can see the kirb running down the left hand side of the road, then you cannot see it anymore, it dissapears behind the dashboard. Looking at the point where the kirb seems to cut into the dash it seems about in the middle, just to the left of the drivers wiper blade.
If I then drove to another location and attempted to park if I aimed the car so the kirb looked like it was cutting into the exact same place then I would be again parked at a nice distance from the kirb.
Reference points are also useful for reversing and doing manovers.
Your instructor should help you find the reference points that work for you - as everyone is different heights.

Reference points (instructors)

Reference points are a really useful tool to help your pupil learn to drive.

All it is is finding something for you to see that helps you line the car up.

Looking at the foto on the left (ignoring me taking the foto in the mirror)

This is an example of a parking reference point.

At the begining of your first lesson you will be driving your pupil to a suitable area. Make sure you are parked well and then you will be able to give them a good reference point.

Looking out the front windscreen you can see the kirb running down the left hand side of the road, then you cannot see it anymore, it dissapears behind the dashboard. Looking at the point where the kirb seems to cut into the dash it seems about in the middle, just to the left of the drivers wiper blade.

Then when your pupil is looking to park again if they aim to have the kirb in the same position as they saw it before then the car will be at the same distance from the kirb.

Reference points are also useful for reversing and doing manovers.
It is important that you let the pupil find their own reference points rather than tell them yours as everyone is a different height.

It is also important as an instructor to have reference points from the passinger seat too. This is really helpful in parking to help prevent kirbed tyres, it also means you can prompt the pupil when they are only slightly off position rather than wait till it is too late to correct.
It is really easy to find these reference points, just (when the car is in a safe position) change seats and see what everything looks like from that seat.
Or when you are out with your trainer take the time to really notice good reference points.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Positive driver training

As those of you know who follow my other blog as well as being a driving instructor and training instructors I also love training dogs.
I was having a think about how the two things are linked and I have seen a really good link

Dogs who find working with you rewarding want to work with you and learn things. If mistakes are made it is because YOU have not trained it as well as you should.
Either the dog does not understand what you want, or you have rushed them too fast into a situation they cannot cope with.

Same with pupils
In general the people in your car are there because they really want to learn to drive and they are paying you good money for the lessons
- of course there are a few who want to mess about, but even some of them might be doing it cos of nerves or bravado.
So if they are making a mistake you should be IAR'ing yourself as well as the pupil

Sure, sometimes people have bad days and things just go wrong - or they can forget something once - no big deal
But, have you pushed them too quickly into busy traffic?
Have you progressed to quickly from prompting to independent??

Far too often I hear of instructors who yell at pupils or worse still hit them
But in reality it is more likely the instructors fault.

For example I was speaking to a trainee who was telling me his pupil was often forgetting her mirrors before changing gear on busy roads.
They were both getting frustrated with the situation and feeling they were not making progress.
He was constantly pulling her up AFTER the event and saying something along the lines of
'Again you forgot to check your mirrors, why?, what could happen? what are we going to do next time?' So she had a whole lesson where she felt she was constantly doing things wrong

Now I know it sounds like and easy solution, prompt, prompt, prompt, before she is going to change gear 'what you checking?' then she wouldnt get it wrong and would start practasing the correct thing.
Digging deeper there was even more too it. She had only had 3 lessons and was not confident at all. All that scary traffic around she just didnt want to take her eyes off the road.

So the solution is 2 fold, get back to the quiet roads so she has a chance to build her confidence and practise the right things in comfort and prompt.

Remember practise makes perfect, so practise the wrong things - like forgetting a mirror and then you have a bad habit to reteach.

In summary
Mistakes are more often the instructors fault and not the pupils, try and figure out why.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

motoskool quick tip: Driving instructors on their mobile phones

A driving instructor on a hand held mobile phone is breaking the law!
On a hands free phone - you are paying for their time, you should be getting their 100% attention!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Crash courses

This is something I will come back to again, but it is something I feel is so important that I though I would make a quick mention of it right now.

People often ask me if I will do a crash course for them.

This means they start learning on the monday and sit their test on the friday.

The short answer I give to this is 'NO'

The longer answer

What is the point??

Everyone who has ever contacted me has not yet passed their theory test.

So they have to study for this test and sit it which depending on the area you are in will probaly take about a week - often more.

Then you have to book your test.

In Paisely and Glasgow the waiting lists are at least 6 weeks.

So roughly you have at least 2 months before you can really take your test.

Why sit about twiddling your fingers for 7 weeks only to then cram everything into 1 week.

That is very hard for you and it is very hard for your instructor (actually I just heard about a pupil on the monday of her intensive course was happy because she had been 'let off early' at 1pm, She had paid for the instructors time for the full day!!)

It is very tempting to rush into learning, but this is a skill for life.

You are building up the same types of pathways in your head as you did when you learnt to walk.

Your mind needs time to rest and process the information between lessons.

If you have an urgent need to pass your test quickly then 2 or 3 2 hour lessons a week over the course of a couple of months will give you the best chance.

Before you can learn to drive

Thankyou all for checking in and your messages of encoragement.
I am planning adding some comprehensive advice on driving including some step by step examples of how to do the manovers so please keep on dropping in.

The first step for learner drivers

Before you can learn to drive

You must

  1. Be 17 years old or over (check differnet regulations if you have a disability)
  2. Have a provisional driving licence (you can apply for this up to 3 months before you turn 17)
  3. Have good eyesight (If you need glasses WEAR them and if in doubt get your eyes checked)

Your instructor should check these things when you first get in the car, but remember

YOU are legaly responsible the second you sit behind the wheel of the car so make sure you are LEGALY entitled to drive.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Introduction to motoskooL

I am a driving instructor working in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Glasgow and the west of Scotland. I train pupils to drive, do refresher courses for nervous drivers, take pass plus courses and also train people to become driving instructors.

I am also the co-owner of motoskooL

I have decided to keep this blog as a place for people to come for tips on learning to drive, and learning to be an instructor.

I aim to cover everything from the basics of choosing your instructor and what you need to learn to drive, to tips of driving and cracking the manovers, to what to expect on your test - and beyond into driving on your own.

I hope you find this useful, please leave comments on what you would be interested in me blogging about - and check back often.