Learning to drive 2022 with Your Driving Test Expert
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Latest News Update.
From January 29th 2022, a number of new Highway Code rules will come into force that will affect learner drivers and, full licence holders. Read more.
UK 2021 theory test pass rate is 55.7% and the UK 2021 practical driving test pass rate is 51.6%.
Updated 29th March 2022
DVLA licence changes you need to know!
Is your driving licence about to expire?
UK drivers have been warned that as many as 2.5 million driving licences are due to expire soon! Your driving licence normally lasts for 10 years before it needs to be renewed and the expiration date is shown on the licence. So check now! Driving licences can be renewed online, by post or at most post offices.
Changes to driving licences (cars towing a trailer).
Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 can already tow a car and trailer without taking a car and trailer test.
As a result of these changes, all car drivers will be able to tow a trailer weighing up to 3,500kg without the need for an additional test when the law is changed, which will be as soon as possible.
Until then, car drivers who gained their licence after 1 January 1997 will only be able to tow a trailer weighing up to 3,500kg if they display L plates and are supervised by a driver aged over 21 who has had a car and trailer licence for 3 years or more or passed their car test before 1 January 1997.
We’ve published detailed guidance about the new rules for towing a trailer or caravan with a car that will apply until the law changes and what you’ll be able to do when the law has changed.
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The top ten cheapest cars to insure 2021.
If you are looking for a cheaper car to insure you’ll want to look at cars in the ‘Group 1’ and ‘Group 2’ insurance categories. With that in mind, here are 10 cars you could consider:
1. Ford Fiesta
Ford Fiesta is one of the most popular cars with models with smaller engines a good option for cheaper insurance costs.
2. Nissan Micra
The Nissan Micra remains a good option for cheaper insurance, with engine sizes of 900cc and 1.0 litres helping keep costs down.
3. Fiat Panda
Fiat Pandas The third generation of the so-called ‘city car’ might take you by surprise. This quirky urban run-around comes in 900cc or 1.2L.
4. Dacia Logan
The Logan is a great value choice if you’re looking to save on your insurance costs with a 900cc and 1.0L option.
5. Skoda Citigo
Slightly cheaper than the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii, the colourful Citigo has plenty of added options for anyone looking for a slick city drive.
6. Kia Rio
The Kia Rio is an excellent option if you’re looking for a run-around that won’t break the bank.
7. Seat Ibiza
The Ibiza is Seat’s best-selling car and a great supermini option.
8. Volkswagen up
Comes with that trademark Volkswagen durability.
9. Hyundai i10
Another Korean car to make the list. The i10 is going through a revamp for 2020.
10. Vauxhall Corsa
The list would not be complete without the Vauxhall Corsa, it’s been around for more years than we care to remember but still going strong.
Learning to drive 2022, should I learn to drive now or later?
As a DVSA ADI, I am often asked by parents and potential learners (17-18-year-olds) whether they are best to learn to drive now or should they wait until they are older, often when they have returned from college or university.
There are numerous questions for the potential learner to consider before deciding what is best for them, learn now or later?
The main questions in my experience are:
(1) Does the potential learner need their driving licence now? Or can the learner wait to learn to drive until they actually need their driving licence?
(2) The costs involved in learning to drive and whether or not these can be afforded at the moment?
(3) Will the learner be able to afford the car insurance when they pass their driving test?
There is no simple answer to the above, as everyone’s situation is different.
The following are my own observations and experiences (20 years of experience as an ADI), which will hopefully help you make the right decision.
(1) Firstly does the potential learner actually need a full driving licence now?
It is tempting to think of leaving learning to drive until the driving licence is actually needed, however, is this really the best option? Let me give you a couple of examples that I experienced in the autumn of 2012.
(a) I received a phone call inquiring about driving lessons from someone who had finished their university course. They had now returned home and were now looking for a job in their chosen profession. Unfortunately, after applying for numerous jobs they had been unable to even get any interviews.
When they enquired with some of the potential employers about why they weren’t getting an interview. They were told that during the course of their work they would need to make their own way to different locations at short notice. This would not be practical for someone without a full driving licence and transport. The employers, therefore, would not even consider an application from someone without a full driving licence!
(b) Another pupil contacted me to arrange driving lessons. They had also finished university and had managed to find work on a management training program with a national company. Although the location of their work was very close to their home they were told that they would not be considered for promotion until they had their full driving licence. This was because they would need to be able to visit other branches at short notice and without their own transport, this would be very difficult?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Both of the above pupils passed their driving tests. However, both really wished they had learned earlier, i.e. before going to university.
When looking at the costs involved in learning to drive I cannot see that in the short or medium-term these costs are going to do anything other than rising. We currently have a very competitive market for driving tuition (2021) with the costs of driving lessons hardly haven risen in the last few years. My belief is that the relative cost of driving lessons will rise noticeably over the next few years due to increasing costs.
Therefore if you learn to drive now, it is likely to cost you a lot less than leaving learning to drive in a few years’ time.
(3) Finally the cost of car insurance.
As we all know this is a major problem for many young drivers. There are however things that you can do to minimise these costs. Adding a parent as a named driver to the policy. Agreeing to a mileage limit or times of day the vehicle can be driven to keep the premiums down.
Even if the young driver does not have a car when they first pass, the longer they have their licence before they insure a car the cheaper the insurance becomes. This is because most insurers add an amount to the cost of the insurance policy for inexperienced drivers. This loading is usually based only on the length of time the driving licence has been held!
My own view derived from all of the above is where possible it is better to learn now, rather than postponing learning to drive until later.
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From January 29th, a number of new Highway Code rules will come into force that will affect learner drivers and, full licence holders).
The major change for learner drivers to consider is the new ‘Hierarchy of Users’ regulations. These are split into three rules: H1, H2 and H3, everyone from learners, car drivers, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists are affected. The government’s policy states that the new ‘H’ rules will ‘tackle some of the safety issues pedestrians encounter or perceive when walking.’
Hierarchy of Road Users: Rule H1
So the first new rule (H1) places more responsibility on drivers of larger vehicles to take greater care of vulnerable road users.
Within the proposal, motorists whose vehicles have the potential to cause more harm in the event of a collision ‘bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.’ Whether you drive a lorry, taxi, car, van or motorcycle, the new rule applies to whoever sits behind the wheel.
But this rule encompasses more than just motorists, as cyclists and horse riders have a responsibility to take care of pedestrians too. Essentially, if you are a road user, you are responsible for your own safety and others on the road.
Hierarchy of Road Users: Rule H2
Rule H2 is also for drivers, cyclists, motorbike riders and horse riders alike to pay more attention to pedestrians at junctions. If you see someone wishing to cross, ‘you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which you are turning or emerging.’
While you might be tempted to keep going, if you spot a pedestrian waiting to cross, you are now expected to give way to them. Likewise, cyclists must give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks to ensure the safety of both you and your fellow road users.
Don’t forget! Unless pedestrians are prohibited from the area you are driving in; they are entitled to use any part of the road or track to walk on.
Hierarchy of Road Users: Rule H3
Rule H3 concerns drivers and motorcyclists when you are manoeuvering a ‘junction or changing direction or lane.’ In short, motorists should not cut across ‘cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead’ so that you don’t cause them to swerve or be forced to stop.
Patience is the key here. Before you proceed, you should wait until there is a safe gap before making your turn.
So if the cyclist is travelling around a roundabout, is approaching or moving off of a junction or moving or waiting alongside slow-moving or stationary traffic, they have the priority.
Further restrictions to mobile phone users are now in place beyond making a phone call or texting. If you are found using your device to film, take a photo, scroll through a playlist or play a game, you could land yourself a fixed £200 fine and six points on your license.
We may also see new parking restrictions on pavements with a proposed £70 fine. While this has been a finable offence in the capital for years, the rest of England and Wales do not currently face a fine. However, the Scottish government are enacting a bill to outlaw all parking on pavements from 2023 – it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country follows suit.
Finally, the other significant change is how motorists use lights to signal other road users. Now you can ‘only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there.’
Remember to pass all pedestrians, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles safely at the lowest speed possible, and always leave enough room as you pass by.
Cyclists are advised to make themselves more visible to other road users.
With the upcoming changes, cyclists are being advised to ride in the centre of their lane to make themselves more visible in slow-moving traffic and quieter roads.
Likewise, if a cyclist is approaching a junction (rule 72), they should position themselves in the middle of their carriageway so that other road users can take appropriate action safely.
However, cyclists also hold similar responsibilities when it comes to overtaking traffic and should leave enough space for motorists to overtake when it is safe to do so.
Other updates in the Highway Code include:
Rule 75: Two Stage Turns.
At some signal-controlled junctions, there are markings on the road directing cyclists to turn in two stages.
Stage 1: As soon as the traffic lights turn green, cyclists planning to turn should head to the location marked by the cycle symbol and turn arrow painted on the carriageway. Stop, and wait before proceeding
Stage 2: Now, there are a set of traffic lights facing the cyclist on the far side of the junction. As they turn green, the cyclist should complete their manoeuvre.
Rule 76: Going Straight Ahead.
If a cyclist is going straight ahead at a junction, it is their priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of the nearby side road. (See Rule H3 for further information.) Like fellow road users, the cyclist needs to ensure they can proceed safely, particularly if they are approaching a junction on the left from slow-moving or stationary traffic.
Stop flashing your lights at other motorists
The new highway code states that you can ‘only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there.’
Finally, councils will have new motoring related fining powers.
Councils across England and Wales will be granted new powers early this year to fine motorists up to £70 for some minor traffic offences. These include illegal turns, stopping in yellow box junctions and driving in prohibited cycle lanes.
The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 95: Alcohol
Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.
Give a false sense of confidence.
Reduce coordination and slow down reactions.
Effect judgement of speed, distance and risk.
Reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit.
Take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.
The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. So if you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.