Tyre Safety

Tyre Safety
During one of my most recent, all too frequent trips to a reliable tyre fitting company, I found myself looking at several large stacks of used, damaged and worn tyres.

I found myself drawn to the condition of some tyres, some of which had clearly been used well beyond the legal 1.6mm limit when they should have been replaced. Others were worn through the rubber compound and the base canvas was exposed and frayed.

Both of these examples had clearly been used well beyond their safe use on the public roads – the same roads you and I use every day.

So why is this a problem?

If you are driving with tyres with diminished tread you will find it harder to stop, you will have less grip to the road so if you need to stop abruptly you’ll be crossing your fingers as well as breaking.

Tyres that are too worn or structurally compromised will, at some point, fail.  This is commonly referred to as a blow out, and this will lead to an accident with little to no warning.

Consider this case study  – John see’s that it’s a nice day and decides to go for a drive. He puts the roof down, the stereo up, chair back, one hand on the wheel , the other arm resting on the door and sets off for a relaxing drive. On his journey he joins a dual carriageway which is a 40 MPH road, at this speed he is covering 17.88 metres per second (That is just under 60ft in old money) Another car is passing him in the other lane when suddenly he hears a bang coming from the front corner of his car, he spends the next 2 thirds of a second thinking about what has happened, during those precious moments he travels 12 metres and his car veers uncontrollably towards the passing car and collides with the back corner of it causing it to spin out of control.

You can make up the rest of that story yourself or simply open a random news paper and it may well be a contributory factor to one of the many “Driver loses control” stories.

So what good habits and practices could John have done to prevent this incident from happening?

  • Regularly  check the condition of your tyres – at least once a week
  • Ensure you always check them before you begin a long journey.

What am I checking for?

  • Wear and general condition
  • The pressure of each tyre

How do I do it?

  • Have a visual check of the tyre, ensure there are no cuts, scrapes, gouges or any other form of damage. Tyres often exhibit distressed cracking as they age too.
  • Check the tread depth all round the tyre. It should be 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre. Helpful tip – Every tread has several guides that are 1.6mm around the circumference.
  • Check the pressure when they are at cold, when the car hasn’t been driven recently.
  • Ensure the pressure gauge is reliable – the gauges at petrol stations are not always well maintained, calibrated or accurate.
  • Remember to replace the dust caps when finished.
  • You also have a spare tyre so remember to check that too.

Bank Holiday Driving Tips – Avoiding Breakdown

Bank Holiday Driving Tips

It’s a busy time for road rescue services as motorists head of for the weekend. Problems such as running out of fuel and batteries going flat can ruin weekend breaks and could be avoided by just a few simple precautions.

Here are some top tips to use before setting off

Check coolant and brake fluid and oil levels
Check condition of  alternator  drive belt
Check tyre pressures when they are cold. Remember spare tyre.
Check all electrics including brake lights, heaters, demisters, indicators, lights
Check windscreen wipers condition for wear and tear


Responsibility – One of The Vital Qualities Of Safe Driving

Responsibility – one of the  vital qualities of safe driving. I came across this D.S.A. video and thought it quite a powerful message. I can’t emphasise enough that getting a licence is just the first step to driving. What we do with that licence has an effect on so much more people than the driver. Case studies in theory tests can help foster responsible attitudes. So can driving instructors, mums and dads and peers. Education is so vital to understanding the dangers of irresponsible driver behaviour, so i unashamedly recommend you take a look at this short film.

First Driving Lesson – A “Really Good” Place To Start

It’s that first driving lesson; the one where you don’t know the instructor, but your friend says they’re “reallygood;” the one where you have to get to know lots of different controls and levers- but someone told you about A.B.C. – Accelerator, Brake and Clutch, the one where you might actually have to move and stop a car.

In truth,  how people feel about their first driving lesson is an  uniquely individual emotion. From those who are raring to go to others who may be filled with trepidation, its a journey- no pun intended- most of us will make.  So here is a little summary of what to expect and how you can prepare for that first driving lesson.

  • Bring along both parts of your provisional licence
  •   footwear – avoid heavy boots and high heels
  • If you wear glasses, bring them along
  • If you have passed the Theory test, bring the certificate along.
  • Relax

Your instructor should arrive punctually, and introduce themselves. They should go over necessary documentation with you, and explain a bit about learning to drive. During this time the instructor will usually ask you if you have any driving experience, or if you are likely to receive private practice.

Some pupils just cant wait to get going, and can identify and explain the function of the controls without any hesitation. Others will need an expaination and instructors will take time to make sure that familiarisation with the vehicle controls is confirmed before any actual driving can take place.

The next step is usually to go over the “Cockpit Drill.” Getting the seating position correct is crucial to being able to control a vehicle, again the instructor will supervise this and ensure the drill is completed safely. It should be noted that the instructor may well demonstrate the cockpit drill and how to operate the controls smoothly. Even on the way to a suitable – normally quiet  – location, the instructor can be demonstrating and explaining.

Depending on the duration of the lesson, and how long it takes to complete the above, some moving off and stopping can take place, sometimes more. The important pont is that the instructor works at a pace suitable to the individual learner – which can vary greatly – and that a working relationship begins to form with the pupil and their instructor. After all, much of successful driver training relies on effective teamwork.

Please visit the “Learner Resources” page on the main website, which goes in to some detail over controls, cockpit drill, moving off, and stopping.

Intensive Driving Courses – Do They Work?

Intensive driving courses in Glasgow seem much more popular nowadays than when I was instructing in the Nineties and Naughties. Perhaps people are enticed by the notion of getting it all done in a few weeks, or may feel their learning style requires longer periods of driving spaced closely together. In many cases riving schools offer big discounts on intensive courses. It would seem however, that driving instructors are themselves divided in opinion as to how effective intensive courses really are.

Personally,  I think intensive driving courses certainly have their place as a training programme. What i would say with certainty is that they are not suited to everyone. This is where a skilled and experienced driving instructor can really help. As learners are all individuals in their learning needs, so they require an approach that is individually suited to them. Just a few hours with a “Really Good” instructor will normally enough to assess a learners suitability for intensive training. Instructors then have the opportunity to help learners decide if they have the necessary concentration and stamina for such a course, how long the course should be, and if they are likely to progress quickly enough to take a test at the end of their course.

It is in the interest of any responsible driving instructor to “best advise” their pupil on the above. In addition, instructors are professionally obliged not to submit pupils for tests until they have proven themselves “test ready.” Herein lies a potential problem: the learner may for instance, not progress to test standard within the course time. Sometimes learners may be doing really well but could struggle with reversing or roundabouts, for instance. The closer to test date they get, the more the pressure goes on – for both learner and instructor. Here, the instructor will do their very best for their pupil, but in final analysis, if the pupil is not at a safe standard, the instructor must advise cancellation of the test – however disappointing that may be.

On the up side, the learner will still have gained a lot of driving skills in a short space of time – they will just need to persevere a bit longer in their training. The down side could be a loss of a test fee, unless the instructor is able to determine difficulties early enough.

There is much to consider with intensive driving courses in Glasgow. Please feel free to contact Really Good Driving School or our sister site anytime to discuss learning requirements.

Anniesland Driving Test Centre – Is The Home of All Matters Driving to Close?

As the D.S.A. continues in preparations to deliver driving tests more locally, the public may well consider the benefits of not having to pay  extra driving time for lessons to reach Anniesland. Certainly, having satellite practical driving test centres where instructors can take their pupils in Bearsden, Milngavie and Clydebank delivers a localised service. But what of the Anniesland centre?
As i understand Anniesland is one of very few centres that D.S.A. actually own, and it’s always busy – the freedom driving centre some may say! That said, under the current economic conditions, i wonder how secure it’s future will be? If for example, D.S.A. find rolling out tests from public libraries and car parks proves a cheaper and popular move, will it then give them a legitimate reason to hoist up a “for sale” sign?

Following Distances at Speeds Over 40m.p.h. – Some Useful Advice

It has happened to all drivers, and by the same token, nearly all drivers must have done it. It occurs frequently on faster roads. It’s the cause of many accidents. The slang name for it is “tailgating,” which happens when one driver is following another vehicle far too close to be safe. Bang! You have either joined the vehicle in fronts occupants unexpectedly, or someone behind has joined onto the rear of your vehicle. Either way, you lose.
So, what do you do to reduce the risk of collision? Simply leave a gap of two seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front – four seconds in wet or adverse weather. If you are taking Driving Lessons with “Really Good Driving School” in Glasgow, your driving instructor will show you how to time this.

Leaving a separation gap allows you to react if the driver in front slows down suddenly, and means you don’t have to brake so hard that the driver behind – who may be following YOU too close – doesn’t run into your vehicle. On slower roads leave a yard -or metre – for every mile an hour of your speed.

Remember, tailgating does not get you anywhere more quickly, but does increase risk and anxiety for those around.

You Don’t Have To Be Young To Learn To Drive- Just Determined!

Well I am on a high today! Even after 22 years of driving instructor work in Glasgow I still  love when my pupils pass. Today was the turn of Rajan Thomas, one of my more mature pupils – well, only seven years older than myself.

Often it does take a wee bit longer when a mature learner takes to the wheel, but also they are often completely blown away by their success, and so they should be. I must admit when i was a younger man i probably was “ageist” in the sense that i thought anyone over 50 was   not going to achieve much more in life. How naive I was! Personally, I have never felt more energised in business and if anything i have found myself working harder and longer than ever before. Rajan, like so many of my contemporaries, proves with his achievement that with will and determination anyone can succeed. My advice would be “Go For It” – don’t let anyone hold you back.

As a youth i may have hated the man i have become. But, then again, as Mark Twain said, “Youth is wasted on the young!”

Driving Home The Lesson In Bearsden – A “Really Good” Place To Start

These days i notice many of my Bearsden pupils are fortunate enough to have the help of their parents giving them extra  “private practice.” This can really help pupils overall experience, and help them build confidence – if done correctly. One of the first questions i will ask a pupil is if they will have the opportunity for private practice, and if so I will speak to parents to let them know where i can help. Not all instructors may be so proactive as this, but when approached a few words with the local driving instructor/school for Bearsden can give great direction to this type of practice. Beware though, because without this rapport an over- enthusiastic mum or dad can easily take their offspring into very dangerous territory where the learner is completely out of their depth.

Take for instance, that the learner will normally need time to get used to a different type of vehicle, where the controls are situated, and how it handles. The majority of driving instruction vehicles are diesel engined – changing to petrol can be tricky to master clutch control. Ancillary controls such as wipers and light switches may be located in an entirely different position. The gears and pedals  may well feel unfamiliar, and, the vehicle may well be much more powerful and larger in size.

Considering the above, do you really want to let your child loose on Canniesburn Toll or Pendicle Rd. without firstly finding out what they can do or giving them a chance to get used to a different car?  Take them to somewhere quiet and build car control before getting too adventurous. Avoid the “jump in at deep end” scenario – you may both drown…
Most a.d.i’s would be more than happy to discuss the progress of their pupil and give direction to private practice. If I am aware my pupil can handle Crossroads fluently but struggle with reversing to the left, whats the point in parents doing more Crossroads? Parents may not be sure where to take their children for reverse left driving practice during driving lessons in Bearsden – but I do and i would be happy to help!

Personally, i really enjoy when parents get involved, and i will go out of my way to offer advice, teamwork can work! If you are thinking of enrolling your son or daughter for driving lessons in the area of Bearsden, why not call Really Good Driving School? We are the local experts.

Driving Lessons Partick- The Clydeside Expressway

When i first started teaching people to drive, the driving test took about 30 minutes. A candidate would be unlikely to drive at more than 30mph and usually the tests routes stayed within Knightswood, Jordanhill and Whiteinch. Nowadays, expect to travel on faster roads for further distances! One popular route is on the Clydeside Expressway between Finnieston and Jordanhill.

Any reputable driving instructor should train their pupils to drive on all types of road, and even back in the day i ensured my pupils could handle areas outwith driving test routes. Personally, i believe that by training my learners to be observant and “read the road” they will be best prepared for all eventualities – not just a test route. That said, the Clydeside Expressway is an excellent area to teach any learners getting driving lessons in Partick and surrounding areas, how to join and leave a busy dual carriageway.

At various locations on the Expressway a driver would enter it from a slip road . On most slip roads  drivers should build their speed to match that of traffic on the carriageway, check mirrors, signal, and merge into the main carriageway  without causing any other road user to slow down, stop, or swerve to avoid them. This is how we “harmonise” with traffic. Sometimes though, the  slip road may be quite short – like at Thornwood- and it could be unsafe to build up too much speed only to have to brake hard if no gap exists! At peak times it may even be necessary to stop on the  slip road and wait for a gap. This can happen often at the Clydebank/Clyde Tunnel shared merging point.

Once on the dual carriageway leave a gap of 2 seconds in dry weather, and 4 seconds in wet weather, between yourself and the driver in front at speeds of 40mph and above. This will eliminate much of the risk of running into the vehicle in front, or the following vehicle running into you!

When leaving the Expressway, remember to use mirrors and signal in good time before reaching the  slip road. On the slip road  watch for a reduction in the speed limit and use your speedometer to check your speed. You may be faster than you think.

All Really Good Driving School instructors are expert in training their pupils in the negotiation of these procedures so rest assured, learners will be in safe hands.

If you are thinking of driving lessons in Glasgow West, give us a call or email. You can find even more information on our homepage.