Welcome to our News Page. We’ll be using this Page to report on recent test passes and success stories, and also to post topical articles.
There’s more than one way to learn how to drive. What works for one person might not work for another, and the best driving instructors are flexible enough to spot how to get the best out of each pupil. Some of us respond well to a variety of teaching styles, but for many, there’s one method that works best.
Which learning style is best for you ? Of the three methods below, focus on the one that does it for you, so you can learn as effectively as possible. However, for the most effective learning, you’ll probably have to use elements of more than one method.
Learning to drive in Cardiff ? Frustrated with the difficulties caused by congestion ? Well, you should be ! The conditions are not exactly optimal for learning to drive. Nowhere to park. Nowhere to hold back to meet oncoming traffic. Having to constantly dodge around parked cars. Having to move onto roundabouts with miniscule gaps requiring perfect timing. And just being stuck in traffic for ages. Not exactly the best way to learn, is it ? I'm not saying that you don't need to learn to deal with these difficulties - you do, just not in the early stages of learning to drive.
One solution I’ve found recently with Cardiff pupils is to switch to Barry. This happened more or less by accident but since things worked out so well I'm now doing this more and more. None of the problems above and far easier to learn. Also the test is easier in Barry because of the reduced volume of traffic and the lack of badly sign-posted junctions and traffic systems, and the routes can be covered more easily than in Cardiff where they span a much larger area. Further advantages are that I charge substantially less for driving lessons in Barry compared to Cardiff, plus the waiting time for tests is less in Barry.
It’s a bit of a treck, but then again if you’re in South or West Cardiff it’s no further than the Cardiff test centre in Llanishen. Plus you could always take the train for about £5 return (15 mins from Cardiff Central, trains every 20 mins) cutting out all of the wasted down time driving to and from Barry each time, and meet me in Barry. You could always put in several hours at a time training so cutting down on the travel time relative to the useful training time.
Something to think about perhaps, particularly for those living in South or West Cardiff. Overall, I think you’ll find you get a better experience and will learn and pass your test a lot more efficiently. If you’d like to chat about this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
This article just about sums up our approach to driving lessons at Miles Ahead, Barry:
LISTEN: Carefully listen to the SatNav instruction.
LOOK AT SATNAV: Check the SatNav screen and gather the information, checking it against the verbal instruction (sometimes this differs). Also check the top box which gives forward planning information eg where you're going next say 250 yards away. The bottom box gives information like speed limit and name of road.
LOOK AT ROAD: Collect other relevant information eg. road layout, lane dedications, signs and surrounding traffic flow and other road users eg. pedestrians and/or cyclists.
PLAN: Having collected all available and relevant information, plan/decide what you have to do and carry out any lane changes carefully and safely using mirrors/signal/manoeuvre.
Hope this helps and good luck!
A question I'm often asked ........
Ask yourself instead, 'Am I ready to drive on my OWN ?", without the extra experience, eyes, reactions, opinions, guidance, PEDALS and safety net of an accompanying driver be it your instructor, parent, friend or partner!! THAT’S when you go for your test, when all the decisions are YOURS.
You go to test purely to get a rubber stamp from an examiner that says you and your instructor made the right decision. A good standard of driving is something you should be doing naturally well ALL the time not just for a day to get through a test. The test itself, in comparison to reality, is nothing like the pressure of being out on the road on your own. If you can't handle the test pressure then how will you cope on your own? It's as simple as that. Naturally there will be extra ‘butterflies’ but if you feel swamped and can't feel that test as just being another lesson or drive, THEN DONT GO IN FOR IT TILL YOU DO.
If you suffer from nervousness and anxiety in relation to driving and it's affecting you personally, or making training/tests more of an obstacle, it may be worth having a look at the Confident Drivers site. I've had a look at the resources available on this site in the past, and they have proven useful on several occasions. The site is predominantly aimed at driving instructors, but it's also possible to get personal subscriptions as a student, and I'd highly recommend doing so - these are available for £18 for 3 months.
Miles Ahead can also help directly with these issues. Over the last 12 years as an ADI I have developed an in depth understanding of driving and driver behaviour, and used a combination of coaching and complementary methods to help drivers overcome phobias, anxiety and stress. Please don't hesitate to call up for a chat if you feel that I could be of assistance here.
Many congratulations to our wonderful students who have recently aced their driving test with Miles Ahead, pictured below, from left to right: Hollie Madeley (Cathays, Cardiff), Heather Lewis (Cadoxton, Barry), Lyndsay James (Cardiff Bay), Connor Milford (Penarth) and Baicheng Yang (Roath, Cardiff).
The reversing manouevres are seen as a major hurdle by many learners. Many schools rely heavily on reference points in their teaching, by which I mean using stickers and lining them up with objects visible through the windows. Our view is that reference points have their use but that there are other ways to develop skills in this area.
The Goals for Driver Education (GDE) are set of research-based goals that help us address our responsibilities as ADIs by giving us a framework through which to structure our coaching. These goals can be set out as a matrix of four levels and three competencies (the GDE matrix):
This is a question I often get asked. The short answer is as quickly as it takes you to learn to drive safely. If you can demonstrate a “safe drive”, you should pass first time. So, how long does it take to get to that point ? Probably longer than you’d like, but it need not take as long as you’re commonly led to believe. Essentially, it depends who you train with and how you schedule your training.
Struggling to choose a driving school ? Well, I’m not surprised, because they all seem to lay claim to pretty much the same thing with little or nothing to distinguish between them (except perhaps the price). Google certainly seems to struggle to choose between them, with the number 1 spot frequently being given over to the driving school with the worst reputation in the area. Perhaps you’ve already started to learn to drive but don’t seem to be making much progress. You may be beginning to worry that learning to drive may end up costing you more than you first thought, or, worse still, that you may never succeed at all. And you may well be right!
Gavin had some driving experience but had taken quite a long a break from driving and was a bit rusty. We got him up to test standard in 10 hours and secured a pass with only 2 minor faults. We know that this will be a life-changing achievement for Gavin as with his driving licence in the bag he is now in a position to become a full-time carer for his ex-partner which is going to be of huge benefit to the whole family. It’s always nice to be a part of people’s success but all the more so when so much is gained.
We’re often asked about the in-car technology we use as part of our lesson tool-kit. Many people see the tablet, but aren’t sure what we actually do with it. Well, apart from having transferred all our old colourful diagrams onto the I-Pad, there are 3 different tools that we’re now using routinely: Robosoul Driver Training Apps: These are interactive apps which we use to help our students visualise various routines and procedures.
Stuart was too shy to have a photograph taken. But what a massive achievement as Stuart had been quite an apprehensive driver having previously lost a close relative in a tragic car accident some years ago. Well done Stuart on overcoming your anxiety and finding a way forward to a lifetime of safe driving.
Zoe Passed with Paul some time ago now, she wanted to drive because she was working in the TV and film industry as a costume designer and needed the flexibility to get to a range of far-flung locations when working on set. The reliance of public transport seemed to be limiting her opportunities, so I’m delighted to report that since getting her licence she's secured a top job on the set of Dr Who. I was so pleased when I saw her name appear in the closing credits. Many congratulations Zoe, and glad to have done my bit to help.
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