Chislehurst Driving School

light at the end of the tunnel?

Category -> driving tests

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

Last week the DVSA announced that they would be supplying an extra 150,000 driving test appointments over the next six months, in order to reduce the lengthy appointment backlog.

They are redeploying fully trained staff who are currently working in non-testing roles within the organisation. Hopefully this will make an immediate difference and help to significantly reduce current waiting times. According to the DSA new appointments should be fed into the booking system on a bi-weekly basis. For example, tests for the week starting November 27th will be added from Monday 13th November.

Posted by Neil - 1 month ago

charlton lido

Category -> South London

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

Before I moved to Chislehurst and started 'Chislehurst Driving School' I lived in Charlton, and was unsurprisingly known as 'Charlton Driving School'. One of the great things about living in the area is being close to Charlton Lido - a 50 metre heated outdoor swimming pool. I go 3 or 4 times a week It's easy to get to by car or bus (161 from Chislehurst, via Eltham). If you get the last swim of the day it can get quiet, which is nice if you don't like bumping into other swimmers. Highly recommended if you haven't been.

I teach in Kidbrooke, Blackheath and parts of Charlton, depending on timings, so if you're in that area please call for a chat.

Details here:

Posted by Neil - 4 months ago

learning to drive when you're older

Category -> general

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

Learning to drive when you're older can be life changing. If you are starting a family, a new job, or just want to drive to the beach at weekends, you can do it.

Working as a driving instructor in South East London you get to teach people of all ages. Many Londoners put off learning to drive when they're 17 because the public transport is so good. However, as you get older circumstances can change..

You can book lessons around work patterns. Drivng after work can be tiring, but many customers have told me that they found learning to drive an enjoyable distraction from the day's events. Early weekend lessons also work well for many. If you've had a particularly tiring day at work, and are doing lessons afterwards, it's ok to concentrate on the less demanding aspects of driving if necessary. There's always something useful to learn.

So if you're thinking of learning, and you're a bit older, don't put it off. This time next year you could be driving yourself to the beach.

Posted by Neil - 4 months ago

staggered crossroads

Category -> junctions

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

Chislehurst Commons has a bunch of junctions that seem to cause road users a world of pain.

At the staggered junction between Ashfield Lane and Heathfield Lane it's important to get your positioning correct so that you can see clearly in all directions. If you arrive at the junction at a less than 90 degree angle the pillars of the car can hinder visibility and cause you to have to stretch your neck in all sorts of uncomfortable positions. This can get harder as you get older.

As a pedestrian it annoys me that so many junctions in the area facilitate fast turns. For example, the left turn from Chislehurst High Street into Ashfield Lane is very shallow, and drivers don't really need to slow down in order to take it. Remember, recent changes to the highway code dictate that pedestrians have priority when waiting to cross at the mouth of a junction and drivers should be prepared to give way if safe to do so.

The mini roundabout in the middle of the commons also seems to cause problems, despite being so open. I wonder if some of the collisions here are caused by drivers not looking around the screen pillar blind spots, or looking left instead of right to give way. I hear there are plans to install a tabletop traffic calming measure here. Maybe it would be better to close the road and restore the commons as a continuous green space?

Posted by Neil - 4 months ago


Category -> vehicle maintenance

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

It's important to check your tyres regularly. I'm reminded of this when we have torrential summer rain. The minimum legal tread depth for a vehicle tyre is 1.6mm across the central 3/4 breadth of the tyre, and around the entire circumference.

You can check your tread depth easily by comparing the tread against the tread wear indicator which is embedded in the tyre groove. If the highest point of the tyre is at the same height as the tread wear indicator it's time to visit the tyre fitters.

Consider changing tyres when they get to around 3mm depth.

Tyre tread depth is important because it allows water to be displaced from beneath the tyre, preventing possible loss of traction. The more tread you have the more water your tyre is able to displace.

Posted by Neil - 4 months ago

how to stall the engine

Category -> tips

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

It's easy to stall the engine. Release the clutch quickly without any gas.

Why would you do that though? Probably because you want to move away quickly, for example, at a traffic light which has just turned green.

Try to release the clutch only as far as needed to make the vehicle start to move, and add gas. If the vehicle is starting to move at the speed you want, keep the clutch steady for a moment or two.

The point at which the engine starts to take the strain is known as the biting point, and you can feel it. When you feel the biting point try to keep the clutch still for a moment or two. It does take practice because the foot movements required can be surprisingly subtle. Keeping your left heel on the floor mat can often help to stabilise your foot on the clutch pedal.

Posted by Neil - 4 months ago

driving tests

Category -> driving tests

Chislehurst Driving School Blog

Read the Driving Instructors' Assocation article regarding driving test waiting lists:

Local Driving Instructors are working incredibly hard behind the scenes trying to organise tests for their students. Candidates often cannot find a test time/date at a time which is suitable. It could be that the candidate is ready for test but having to wait months, or vice versa, not quite ready and with a test too soon.

Instructors are working among themselves to swap test appointments which is very time consuming, but ultimately to the benefit of everyone concerned. Hopefully the DVSA will begin to reduce the waiting times for tests soon.

Posted by Neil - 4 months ago