Driving and other General Tips

  • Younger drivers in Essex are involved in 25% of fatalities.

    Younger male drivers have a three times greater crash rate than young females.  For 'at fault' crashes this rises to four times greater. 

    More young females die as passengers than as drivers.

  • Car Insurance. ALWAYS Shop around.  Most Insurance companies work on the fact that most people will re-insure the following year.  The internet tends to offer slightly cheaper prices.  Get at least 5 quotes EVERY YEAR.  The difference between the Best and Worst quote will be well worth the effort.

  • The Essential oils ginger, chamomile and lemon can help prevent car sickness.

  • Make sure you clear all the windows for all round visibility, as well as the snow from the roof of your car to avoid slipping on to the windscreen when you move off or change speed.

  • Turn off the air con; Air conditioning also uses an incredible amount of fuel, so make sure it's turned off unless you really need it.  However, if it's really hot, it can become a more effective proposition, as driving with the windows closed is more economical than having them all open, due to the extra drag it causes.

  • Use high gears when moving off on snow or ice set off, avoiding high revs.  to improve control and help to avoid wheel spin.

  • You should change your wiper blades every six months, even if they have not been used very often, because the rubber corrodes with exposure to the atmosphere

  • Driving in snow is challenging particularly getting going so keep moving, even if it is only at walking pace.

  • How do you know your ready for the driving test? Easy, when you can drive consistantly well, with confidence & without help from your instructor.  Our instructors cover all local areas, including, Basildon, Tilbury, Hornchurch & Romford.

  • Beware of bogus driving instructors offering cheap driving lessons as they may not be licenced.  Check their licence is valid.

  • Personal safety; Keep your doors locked by central locking or manually & stay well back from the vehicle ahead.

  • In 2008, 18% of AA breakdown calls were due to faulty batteries, making it the top reason for call outs

  • If you lock your keys inside your car and you have a spare set at home.  Call home on your mobile, get the person to place the spare set next to the receiver and to press the 'open' button...and if you point your mobile directly at the lock of your car, it will open.

  • Be especially careful late at night
    Younger driver accidents in Essex peak between 6.00pm and midnight.  Try to avoid driving late at night if you can - but if you have to drive at this time be especially careful.

  • Declutter your car.  Efficiency Improvement: Up to 2%

    The lighter your car is, the less effort it needs to make to accelerate.  Therefore, by decluttering, clearing out junk from the boot, and not carrying unnecessary weight, you can make extra savings

  • When buying a used vehicle, make sure you:

    ·are careful of adverts quoting mobile phone numbers - owners are hard to trace

    ·watch out for adverts giving a landline number with specific times to call - it could be a phone box

    ·find out the market value of the vehicle - if it's being offered much cheaper, ask yourself why

    Buying a vehicle advice

  • Even if you don't know anything about how a car works, there are things that you can look out for before you buy your car, to check that it is safe, legal and in a reasonable condition.  Use this used car buying checklist to make sure that the car is worth buying - and if not, don't be afraid to walk away.

  • The stopping distance when travelling at 50mph in the wet increases if your tyres are in poor condition.  You would need: 43 metres with new tyres, 53 metres if your tyres had 3mm tread depth and 73 metres if your tyres fell below the 1.6mm legal tread depth limit.

  • Avoid short journeys; It takes two miles for an engine to warm up and uses 100% more fuel, so walk short distances

  • Feeling hungry when driving? If you stop off for food on your journey and you're the driver, avoid eating too much.  Your body's energy goes to digesting your food, not keeping you awake and alert.

  • If you fail a test, it's for a reason.  Even when you think that you may have made a mistake, don't fret as it might not have been that bad.  Mistakes happen and not all will cause you to fail! Make sure your instructor sits on the driving test with you to give you a full explanation afterwards.

  • Use headlights Don't be afraid to turn your dipped headlights on before other drivers, especially drivers of lighter coloured cars.  It's safer to be seen!

  • Don't use air conditioning unless you really need it.

    Using your air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption so keep usage to a minimum to save on fuel and CO2 emissions.  At speeds above 50-60mph it is generally more efficient to keep windows closed, even if this means using the aircon, as open windows will increase drag. 

    Avoid leaving your engine running. 

    When the engine is idling you're wasting fuel and adding to CO2 emissions.  If you're likely to be at a standstill for more than three minutes, simply switch off the engine

    Pump up your tyres

    Under-inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving.  That means your engine has to work harder, so more fuel is used and more CO2 emissions are produced.  Check and adjust your tyre pressures regularly and also before long journeys.  This will also help to increase the life of your tyres. 

    Under-inflated tyres increase CO2 but over inflated tyres can be unsafe, so check your car manual for the correct tyre pressure.  Remember, a car with a heavier load may need different air pressure in the tyres.

  • In a car park, do you reverse into a parking space and drive out. 

    Reversing into the space provides you with several advantages.  The first of these is that it is safer to reverse into somewhere you can see into (the parking space), rather than reverse out, into somewhere you can't (the line of moving traffic).  It is also easier to control a car going forwards, rather than backwards when the car is first started and the automatic choke is activated. 

    From a security point of view, reversing close to an object such as a wall can make it more difficult for thieves to access your boot.  If you need to exit a parking space quickly for personal security, driving out provides you with better acceleration and improved vision.

  • Tyres: check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys; under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel (check the handbook and increase pressures for heavier loads as recommended)

  • The best way to clear a misted window is warm dry air.  It's cheapest and plentiful.

  • You can chop up to 60% OFF your fuel costs; It's possible to drive the same distance in the same time, yet use considerably less fuel without cutting your top speed.  It's simply about driving more smoothly to boost your fuel efficiency.