OBE for British Road Sign Designer!

Road signs are a part of life for drivers as well as pedestrians alike. It’s because of these red and white circles and triangles that we know what not to do. Blue signs direct us and yellow signs can be warnings. For many of us they have been a part of our everyday journeys, sometimes a part that we might take for granted!

Now the brains behind these national signs has received an OBE. Margaret Calvert, who is now 80, designed the signs with Jock Kinneir in the late 1950′s. The signs were designed to be easy to read and understand by all, both for the British as well as people travelling into the country from abroad.

See the ‘Children crossing’ sign outside schools and playgrounds? Well it was Margaret who designed that. These signs are known as ‘Pictograms’ and are still in use today. Think of the Stag on the Animal Traffic road signs that can found in the country side.

Along with designing these iconic signs, Margaret also created two new typefaces that are well recognised today. ‘Transport’ and ‘Motorway’ can be seen wherever the signs come with directions or instructions.  It’s thanks to these designers that we have one of the safest transport systems in the world!

he Guardian interviewed the designer last September, she is reported to have said: “I enjoy the idea of designing for the public. I feel that design is a public service.”

Her work has certainly paid off. It also continues to be a legacy to this very day. With London’s Design Museum paying tribute with an exhibition last year. She also was recently awarded with an OBE for services to typography and road safety in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year. She continues to work in her studio in Islington, London and said of the award: “I like to keep a low profile. It came as a complete surprise. I’m naturally delighted.”

Learning these signs now take up a huge part of the driving test. Want Driving Lessons work with all our pupils to ensure that they know their road signs before going for the driving test. Road signs will also make up a portion of the Hazard Perception test as well as the Theory and Practical.

All of our Qualified Driving Instructors are well versed in the signs that are familiar to your area. Take a drive around town with us and we’ll show you what you’ll need to look out for to not only pass the driving test but long after. It’s these skills that will stay with you long after you’ve left us to become that independent and qualified driver! There’s no better time to learn about those all important road. Know someone who has been thinking about learning for a while? Want Driving Lessons offer some great discounts as well as gift vouchers. These make the perfect gift for any occasion.

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Driving Test: When Should we be Passing?

Passing the driving test can be done at any age, we at Want Driving Lessons will tell you that this is a skill that is important, whether you are 18 or 65 years old! If you haven’t learnt to drive yet but are thinking about it, there is no better time to learn than now. But even if you have left it late to learn, you are not alone.

While some will be booking those driving lessons as soon as they hit their 17th birthday, there will be others who have decided to wait a little longer before taking the plunge. The reasons for this could be anything from financial to just not having the time to take driving lessons. It was found that around two fifths of learner drivers hadn’t begun to take lessons until they were 25 years of age and older.

The study was done by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk in 42% of 1,054 participants, haven’t yet passed their driving test and they were over the age of 25. Even more shockingly, around 1,058 drivers who were over the age of 45 were also questioned. It turns out that just 28% of these participants hadn’t passed by the age of 25 either. So leaving it till later, seems to be a trend in the UK.

The older generations were also questioned, 49% of current drivers had passed by the time they were 18. This is just some of the information that shows a lower pass rate in young people learning to drive today. But what were the reasons for such a huge decline:

Reasons why we are leaving it later…

The people who hadn’t learned to drive and passed their test were also asked why they hadn’t yet, what were the reasons that had put them off.  A large proportion of those asked said that it was simply too expensive to learn. Next on the list of answers was that nerves and anxiety played a part. Just over half of them had said that they had already failed a driving test, this had put the off from continuing.

But there were other reasons for why younger people just don’t have driving on their priorities list: Just under half said that using public transport was cheaper and much more convenient for them. This was especially the case for those living in and around London. Some said that there were other drivers in the household that they lived in so they could always get a ride when they needed one.

With the cost of living on the rise, it’s no surprise that more and more people are deciding to focus on other priorities. But driving doesn’t have to be something you avoid because of costs. Want Driving Lessons offer very competitive prices for all parts of London. Get in touch with us to find out about the offers in your area. We will even put together a price package that is perfect for your budget.

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Petrol Prices Soar in June!

While driving is an essential skill in today’s world, it does come at a cost. Petrol prices have been plummeting over the past few years, described by some as a ‘golden age’ for the consumer. But what goes down must eventually rise, the average fuel price has increased for the third month this year. In short, this has made filling up a car with a tank of petrol much more expensive than it was at the beginning of the year. It works out to be £5 more expensive in fact!

The RAC have been looking into this hike in prices. Their Fuel Watch data for last month has shown that on average, unleaded petrol has increased by 2 pence a litre. This was from the original price of 108.67p a litre to 110.59p. To put that in everyday price terms: It will add an extra £1 to the price when filling up a 55-litre tank. Family cars will suffer in the short term while prices are at a high. Since the beginning of the year, the average cost of a tank of petrol has increased by £4.77.

What about Diesel prices? 

The price rises have hit Diesel too in a bigger way! It’s increased by 2.2p a litre! This might not sound like a huge increase, but it soon adds up. It’s been raised from the original price of 108.49p to 110.70p. So a full tank of diesel will now cost an extra £1.22 than this time in February.

Spokesperson for the RAC Simon Williams has spoken about the increases: “Many drivers will be disappointed at the pump prices going up again. They have enjoyed filling up their vehicles with petrol and diesel for under £1 a litre at the beginning of 2016. Unfortunately the below-£1 litre is now nothing but a distant memory.”

Summer is here and most families are thinking about taking that road trip during the holidays. Many will be reconsidering their choice with these price increases are happening. That trip into the country could prove to be very expensive indeed.

There is some good news despite all the doom and gloom at the petrol pumps. The decrease in the output of fuel has now returned to regular levels in the Middle East. This means that the crude oil production prices will not directly affect customers at the petrol pumps as much over the next few months.

While the prices of petrol is at an all time high, we recommend sitting tight. There are ways to save money when it comes to driving, with many newer cars not fitted with power saving technology. Keeping your car well maintained can also save on unexpected repair costs later on. When making repairs, it’s recommended to shop around for the best deal with a reputable company. Cutting down the cost of driving can even start from when you are learning to drive! Want Driving Lessons offer some very competitive lesson prices for all our pupils.

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Tyre Tips: Summer Caravan holidays made easy!

Ah the great British caravanning holiday? It is an established part of summers in the UK. While not for everyone, there is a chance that at least one of your neighbours will be headed to the coast in one of these glorious people carriers! However, these mobile homes do not come without risk, as there will always be several checks that need to be carried out before setting off.

One of the most important checks will be the tyres on these small mobile homes. Bridgestone (also known as the world’s most established tyre manufacturer) has put this very useful tyre information out there to help people enjoy their trip this year. Even if a caravan or other type of trailer is only moved a couple of times a year, you can find that a flat can appear within those times. This is mainly caused by the rubber becoming deformed because of the weight being put on it for a long time.

This will not only affect the quality of the journey, but can be dangerous when driving at high speeds on long road trips. So a tyre check is well worth doing at least a few days before making that journey.

Also to take into consideration is the natural wear and tear that a tyre will suffer. Even if it’s only taken out randomly. Rubber is a natural material that degrades over time. So your once new tyres with a super grip will not perform as well after a few years. It’s recommended to get caravan tyres changed around once every ten years. If not, you might find your car and attached caravan will be more prone to road traffic accidents.

Other tips for caravan tyres

For a safe journey tyres will need to be able to carry the load. It could be tempting to fit cheap tyres to a caravan without considering the weight and dimensions of the trailer or caravan. This will cost you dearly in the long run, as under inflated tyres will suffer wear and tear very quickly. They will also likely burst meaning an expensive roadside repair job for the driver. In the worst case scenario, there could be a loss of control that could prove disastrous.

A trip to a garage or having a qualified car mechanic look at the pressure of the tyres before hand could save tears later on. Properly inflated tyres will mean that any wear and tear that does happen will be evenly distributed. This will hopefully mean that the tyres last longer than they would have otherwise. A tip to check the tyre pressure is when they are cold and not during or just after a journey. If in doubt, the owners handbook will be there to guide you.

Looking forward to a great summer of driving? Check out our driving tips for both new and experienced drivers right here on the Want Driving Lessons blog. Also join us on Twitter and Facebook where you’ll find all our blog posts and much more. 

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Get your Car Sparkling the Right Way!

We all get to that point where we just want to chuck a bucket of water over the car. It’s probably been a long time coming and your car might look a wreck! But there are things to keep in mind when cleaning the car. For a start, you’ll want to look after the finer details. Think about the paint work. Keeping your car in good nick on a regular basis will mean that you are gentler on the car in general. There will be less harmful chemicals damaging the body work of the car.

Once you have passed your driving test and have bought your first car, getting the showroom look doesn’t have to be hard work. It’s easy enough to wash a car and rid the bodywork of the dirt. Getting that unmistakable shine can be found in the details. Yes that means having to spend a little more time on sprucing up your car than usual perhaps. However, it was found that you’ll only need to do this routine every three to four months to keep your car looking amazing.

Washing

First things first! The actual car wash. Invest and use a good quality car shampoo, the chances are that these will be specially formulated to keep the paintwork from getting damaged. Domestic cleaners often contains salts, these are likely to cause damage. Use a lot of clean and cold water to rinse the car off. A good tip is to mix the car shampoo in a bucket with lukewarm water. The more foam the better as these bubbles will get the car clean.

The chamois leather has long been a staple part of cleaning a car. This or a microfibre cloth are soft enough to gently clean the car. This is where the hard work comes in, gentle strokes and round movements will help carry away dirt. Bird mess might be a sticking point when cleaning the car, don’t scrub away at these little marks as these will damage the car’s paint work.

Remember to get into all the nooks and crannies of the car, the hub caps as well as around the wheel and grill. Take note of the chrome fittings, making sure to keep them dry as water left here can sometimes cause marks to appear. A dry chamois leather is perfect to wipe down the car with, removing any leftover grit or dirt after the washing.

Polishing

You really only need to do this once a year! Use a clay bar to take off all traces of dirt and marks found in the paint work. Even the cleanest car will have hidden patches of dirt. Look to polish the car on a cool evening away from direct sunlight.

It will take the polish a few minutes to dry, you can then buff the car to perfection. It’s this step that will give your car the gleam that it deserves! Once again, look to working into the smaller parts of the car. These include door handles, around light fittings. A tip is to use cotton buds to really work the polish into the smaller crevices.

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Dealing with Road Rage

Unless you happen to live in a quaint country village where everyone is polite all of the time, the chances are that you’ll come up against road rage at some point. Perhaps you are prone to a little bit yourself? Road rage comes in lots of different forms, and unfortunately can spiral out of control!

According to research, a huge number of drivers feel their anger levels rise on the roads at least once a week. Ocean Finance surveyed around 2,000 drivers in their latest survey that revealed some startling results.

Around 85% of the drivers questioned said that they felt road rage at full force at least once a week. One in three of these drivers said that they are annoyed on the roads at least once everyday! It’s easy to see why, especially when stuck in traffic or dealing with other hold ups. But road rage makes even more sense when put into perspective: It was also found that one in three of the drivers questions had been in a road traffic accident that was due to negligence by another driver. That’s bound to get anyone riled up!

Driver numbers have increased over the past five years, with this the number of accidents that occur. People are in a rush while others will slow them down and cause some of the symptoms of road rage. It was found that tailgating as well as indicating at the wrong time are among the causes of road rage. Tailgating as well as indicating are among the top causes of road rage in the United Kingdom. Next it was using mobile phones at the wheel that got many driver’s blood pressure rising. Over speeding and under speeding were also on the list.

Who are the most annoyed drivers? It was found that 18-24-year-olds were most at risk of road rage. They would be most likely to follow up on the actions of bad drivers in order to let them know.

How to Stay Calm

Find that you are getting wound up on the daily drive into work? There are some ways to keep cool when under pressure behind the wheel.

- Allow extra time for the journey. Whether it’s work or a road trip, getting to the destination on time is all important. So why not allow an extra hour to get there to allow for traffic jams or other hold ups.

- Keep hydrated, now that the warmer weather is upon us, the heat can get too hot to handle! A bottle or two of water in the car will go a long way to keeping you cool.

- Listen to soothing music or music that you enjoy. Whether this be music in the charts or listening to a classical radio station. If anything, it will make the journey a lot more enjoyable.

- Keep your driving in mind. Although all Want Driving Lessons students leave us with great driving skills, we would advise to be mindful of your driving. Know when you are wrong and apologise with the ‘I’m sorry’ gesture which is a small wave. This will go some way to stopping road rage getting out of hand.

Love these helpful driving tips? Stay locked onto the Want Driving Lessons blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds for more. 

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Number Plate and Car Theft in the UK

It’s one of the most visible parts of a car, the number plate is both personal as well as making for easy pickings for thieves. The research done by the RAC found that on average, 56 number plates are nicked each day in England and Wales!

In 2014, there was a total of around 20,717 cases of licence plate theft. This might seem like a lot, but it’s actually down from 23,667 back in 2010 according to the RAC. These figures came from the results of 34 police forces after he RAC got in touch asking for the information through the Freedom of Information Act. But what exactly are the thieves doing with the number plates once they have them?

Further research into what is going on has found that the number plates have been fixed to other cars with similar attributes i.e. The same model and make. This is in order to make stolen cars seem like the real deal. As a result, drivers of these illegally registered cars are harder to get caught for offences like driving out of petrol stations without paying. They are also harder to trace when these vehicles are involved in road traffic accidents.

The grand total of thefts have fallen in general, this is the good news. However, several of the police forces involved have said that the problem has actually escalated. West Midlands Police were among the forces to report an increase, they experienced a 38% increase, next was Derbyshire with 34%, North Yorkshire came in third with 18% and South Yorkshire noting a 13% rise.

But there have been decreases too. Warwickshire found that their force managed an 80% cut in this crime. Cheshire saw decreases of 55%, Surrey cut crime rates by half and Thames Valley Police force also saw a 46% drop in car crime rates.

Number Plate Theft is Big Business

The research also threw some light onto the situations in which encourage the thefts. The RAC found that number plate thefts do not happen alone. The plate will likely be stolen along with the car as well as home burglary. The theft of this part of a vehicle will, in most cases, be linked with other criminal activity. Police forces are aware that this could be considered as a symptom to a wider problem.

Reducing the likelihood of being a victim will be on the mind’s of nearly all car owners. There are ways to help protect your vehicle, whether your car is brand new or has a few miles on the clock. Want Driving Lessons suggest investing in tamper-resistant number plates and fittings. These are available from places like Halfords. Also, park your car or van in as well lit a place as possible. This might not stop the theft, but it has been found to deter the thieves from carrying out the crime.

However, as a nation, we seem to be getting more safety concious. A spokes person from the National Police Chief’s Council is quoted as saying: “The levels of vehicle crime, including theft from motor vehicles, have fallen by nearly three quarters since 1997.”

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How Accident Prone is Your New Car?

Once you’ve passed your driving test, it’s only natural that you’ll want a shiny new car as a reward! Perhaps a nice new Jaguar or a Porsche if you are lucky. While this might not be as realistic as we would like, buying a second hand car might actually save you in more ways than one!

It has been found that nearly a third of accidents that happen in the first year after passing the driving test happen in a brand new car. In fact they have been found to happen within months of the new car being delivered. Brand new cars being scrapped is not as outlandish an idea as one may think.

The accident management firm known as Accident Exchange has been investigating the results of it’s records for the last year. A huge 10% of accidents happen in a sparkly new car that is likely not reached it’s first birthday yet! 10% might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, however, it becomes much more substantial when added to the 32% of accidents that happen in cars that are less than two years old.

But that’s not all, the firm have actually managed to pin point the day an accident was most likely to happen! It was found that there was a high frequency of incidents on or around the 57th day after buying the car. Could this information put drivers of new cars off driving for the first month and a half? While road traffic accidents are likely to happen within the first year, arming yourself with great driving skills at Want Driving Lessons will go some way to cutting down that risk.

The Costs of New Car Accidents 

As we can imagine, the costs of these accidents will have soon mounted up. The research has also found that the average repair cost per accident can be around the £2,050 mark. There was an estimated 2.2 million accidents that happened between March 2015 to February 2016, some of these have been thought to be unreported.

In general, the statistics found that about 62,720 cars below two months old were involved in incidents.

So while a shiny new car might be on your wish list for the next birthday, investing in a second hand car might be a better option. Not only will the car have been proven to go the distance and is already ‘broken in’. There will be no new car ‘issues’ or recalls to worry about.

But even if you do decide to invest in a new car, there are things you can do to ensure that it is a safe ride. Firstly, do your research. The internet has many online resources that review new cars as they are released onto the market. Even search engines like Yahoo have a dedicated car features page that regularly review cars. Find out how other drivers feel about them and then give them a road test to see for yourself. The right car will have a great feel to it and in most cases you’ll know instantly that this is ‘the one’.

Love new cars? Enjoy reading about vintage car auctions and other motoring news? The Want Driving Lessons blog has it all. Find us on Twitter and Facebook for more driving inspired stories.

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Safe Driving: Don’t forget your specs!

Glasses come in all shapes and size, some of us love to wear them as fashion, other times those specs are a necessary. Do you need to wear glasses for reading? Maybe you are short or long sighted? In any case, you’ll probably need them when driving.

It’ll come as no surprise when we tell you that a leading car insurance provider has proven that poor eyesight is causing hundreds of fatal accidents every year. Sounds like a pretty obvious cause doesn’t it? But it’s been fund that nearly two thirds of drivers with eyesight problems are not wearing their glasses when driving. What’s more, the 67% of drivers that wear glasses or contact lenses on a regular basis have had at least one accident in the past two years according to Direct Line.

The road traffic accident figures that were gathered show a large proportion of the nation’s incidents involve driver not wearing their contact lenses or glasses. This is despite the fact that in general, eyesight problems were not directly responsible for lots of incidents.

The DVLA ask for information about eyesight and other related problems when anyone first applies for a provisional and then full driving license. However, there are no penalties currently in place to make sure drivers wear their glasses when driving. It was found that a fifth of drivers who regularly wear glasses away from the wheel, didn’t bother when driving.

Eye Tests

Eye tests are important for all drivers, regardless of whether a person wears glasses or contact lenses. Blurred vision as well as dizziness can be symptoms of eye problems linked with a whole host of other problems. Want Driving Lessons can’t stress enough that taking care of one’s overall health is so beneficial when learning to drive and becoming that confident fully fledged driver.

So we were surprised to hear that nearly 37% of drivers that were questioned as part of the Direct Line study, hadn’t had an eye test within the past two years. In terms of safety, this could be disastrous when it comes to driving. Not wearing the proper eye wear could not only cause you to have a fatal accident but the passengers in the car as well as any pedestrians that happen to be nearby.

Things you can do

Many eye sight problems do not stop people from getting their driving licence. Many of whom go onto enjoy many years of safe driving. There are a few precautions that you can take to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Eye Tests: This is a good thing for everyone. They are relatively inexpensive to have and can be done on the high street. Check out your local chemist or other smaller opticians local to you.

Attend Opticians appointments: Perhaps you already have long standing eye problems? Missing appointments could mean the difference between getting the correct lenses for your eyes and compromising your sight. Regular check ups might be suggested by your optician in some cases.

Wear the correct glasses and or contact lenses: It’s up to you to make sure that you are wearing the correct lenses. Staying safe behind the wheel requires being able to see the road ahead. And in extreme cases could mean the difference between life and death!

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Bentley goes Pop Art!

We love a great customised car here at Want Driving Lessons! And Bentley have gone all arty on us with this stunning Pop Art inspired car!

The one-in-a-million Bentley Continental GTC has been  customised by British artist Sir Peter Blake. Luckily Bentley have given everyone a sneeky peek of the work of art before it is to be auctioned off  for charity later on this year.

Sir Peter Blake is a pioneer in the world of art, specialising in creating stunning pop art pieces. Known for his bold art for the Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the artist was approached by Bentley to collaborate on a car that was to be unlike any other. Bentley, based in Crewe, are now planning to sell the GTC V8 S at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The proceeds from the auction of this car will go to the Care2Save Charitable Trust. So not only will this car’s future owner have a very unique car, they will have donated their hard earned cash to a good cause.

A regular Bentley like this could sell for anything around £165,000 as a starting price, so the auction is likely to be an exciting one with a queue of bidder ready to place their bids. But what about the car itself?

You won’t miss this stunning mix of workmanship with art, this car stands out from the rest. Find blue and green with a yellow bonnet and giant red heart. The grille is pink and the seats are each in different colours. Take a closer look inside and you’ll find the steering wheel in the four colours of the seating. The roof is canvas and features in black.

The artist’s signature also features in several places on the car, the same way it would have done on canvas art. It is stunningly embroidered onto each of the four headrests, it’s also on the dashboard panel. It’s the finer details that we love with this car, a beautifully crafted tread plate on each if the door sills reads ‘No. 1 of 1′, so you really are getting a one-of-a-kind car.

Kevin Rose, who is Bentley’s Member of the Board for Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, spoke highly of the collaboration: “It was a fascinating project to be part of, particularly for the skilled artisans in our bespoke Mulliner division, who worked closely with Sir Peter to bring this design to life…

“We have proudly supported the Care2Save Charitable Trust and the hospice movement for more than 25 years and so take great delight from donating this inimitable car for such a worthwhile cause.”

Could we soon be seeing more collaborations with other well loved artists? This could become a trend that will certainly transform the streets of London. Perhaps even making the car’s themselves highly prized art pieces.

Sir Peter Blake also spoke of the collaboration: “I am proud to have been involved with transforming this beautiful car, and have enormous admiration for the people at Bentley who brought my design into being, to produce this one-off lovely car.”

Stay locked to the Want Driving Lessons blog. For more on the latest goings on in the motoring world, find us on Twitter and Facebook too. 

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