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The Reverse Parallel Park

The Reverse Parallel Park

An essential part of everyday driving, that many drivers fear is reverse parking! It is undeniable that many drivers would rather drive a considerable distance from their destination to find a large parking space, than attempt a Reverse Parallel Park.

The reason for this is two-fold:

1) The individual was taught a complicated procedure for doing the manoeuvre. (Difficult to remember)
2) The individual did not practice the manoeuvre for some time after passing the driving test. (Easy to forget)

In this article we will seek to explain a simplified procedure for executing the Reverse Parallel Park in a safe and efficient manner.

What Size Of Gap Do I Need?

To drive forwards into a parking space between vehicles you will need a gap of at least three car car lengths. If you need to park in any city or town centre it will be almost impossible to find a gap of this size.

Any space smaller than this can only be used if you reverse in. The minimum space that you can reverse into is 1.5 times the length of your car.

It is important that you are familiar with the size of your car. Many drivers often over-estimate the size of their vehicle. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should often get out of your car and check the size of your vehicle in comparison to the space you are trying to reverse into. If you do this from time to time your spatial awareness will improve.


If you are not confident with attempting this manoeuvre it is advisable to practice on quiet roads where the pressure will be minimal until you can complete it easily. You should start off by reversing into large spaces or even reversing into a space behind one parked car. By following these steps you will begin to build up your confidence and ability to do the manoeuvre at a reasonable pace.

The Procedure

1) Choose a space that is at least 1.5 times the length of your car.
2) Check your mirrors to see any following traffic.(It is important to see how far behind they are).
3) Signal left and slow down early….following traffic will need a few seconds to understand your intentions.
4) Position your vehicle approx. one metre away from the vehicle furthest forward of the parking space and approx. half a car length past it.
5) Apply your handbrake and select reverse gear.
6) Check all around in every possible direction for vehicles and pedestrians.
7) If clear reverse back slowly until the back of your car is level with the back of the car closest to you.
8) Steer full lock to the left. Check around again, paying particular attention to your right hand side.
9) Keep reversing until the front of your car reaches an angle of approx. 45 degrees or between 0100 and 0200 on a clock face.
10) Steer to the right until the wheel is straight (approx. 1.5 turns of the wheel). Look all around again.
11) Reverse straight back until approx. 0.5 meters from the kerb (normally when the kerb disappears from the left side mirror.
12) Steer full right lock. Continue looking behind for potential hazards.
13) When parallel with the kerb straighten the wheel.
14) Adjust if necessary.


With practice this procedure will make the manoeuvre fairly straightforward. Remember to practice on quieter roads and use larger gaps until your confidence increases. If you require hands on help, do not hesitate to contact us by any of the channels found on this site.

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Choosing a Driving Instructor in Edinburgh

Choosing a Driving Instructor in Edinburgh

So you have received your provisional driving licence and are itching to get started, but what next? The amount of driving instructors registered with the Driving Standards Agency continues to rise year on year. With so many different instructors to choose from, how can you be sure to pick the right one? To be honest, you will only know for sure after you take a few driving lessons but there are some things you can do to help with your decision.

1)      Search for reviews online-
Many consumers leave reviews when they are particularly happy or disappointed with a service. This is especially true regarding driving instructors and driving schools. Google Maps, Qype and Yelp are a few examples of where to look. Don’t be afraid to ask a driving instructor to provide some reviews, as most instructors wanting to develop their business will have no problem with this request.

2)      Compare prices and special offers-
The Driving Standards Agency advise that a 17 year old learner driver will take on average, 44 hours of driving lessons before passing the practical driving test. If the average driving lesson price is £24, the cost of acquiring a driving licence could prove to be very expensive. With this in mind ‘value for money’ is even more important. You should be able to find different ‘Special Offers’ to choose from. However, the cheapest driving lessons you can find may not always be the best value for money. The better your driving instructor, the fewer lessons you might need overall, potentially saving you a lot of money.

3)      Speak to the driving instructor-
If you find satisfactory reviews and a good promotional offer your next step might be to call the driving instructor to ask any questions you may have. This is a good opportunity to get a feel for the instructor and to check out their professionalism and knowledge. You may want to do a little research and formulate a few questions to ask. The driving instructor you speak to should be courteous, professional, and knowledgeable. A lot can be gained from this initial conversation.

4)      Check the instructors’ credentials-

Not all driving instructors are fully qualified, there are some who operate on a Trainee Licence. The majority of Trainee Instructors will never become fully qualified as the pass rates for the final Part 3 exam (test of instructional ability) are very low. The worst about it is, most learners being taught by a Trainee Instructor don’t actually know that this is the case. You should ask the driving instructor before arranging any lessons if they are fully qualified. In addition when you get into your instructors car for the first time you should be able to see your instructors ‘badge’ on display. A pink triangle indicates a Trainee whilst a green square indicates a fully qualified instructor.

Having gone through all the checks listed above hopefully you will have found the perfect driving instructor. The assessment process to become a driving instructor is very stringent in the UK and most instructors are good at what they do. However, there are still a few other factors in this equation. You will spend a considerable amount of time with your instructor and it is important that they are likeable to you with a certain degree of charisma. Too many learners are unhappy with their instructors due to personality traits or communication problems. If this is the case you should not continue your lessons but should try another instructor. Your ability to learn to drive at the optimal rate will be seriously hampered if you are not happy with, and confident in, your driving instructor.

Hopefully after reading this article you will be better able to choose a driving instructor that is experienced, knowledgeable, and likeable to help you to learn to drive safely and pass the driving test with the minimum expense.




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Winter Driving Tips

Will this winter be as bad as the winter of 2010? The UK almost ground to a halt that infamous winter. The Scottish Governments minister for transport even lost his job! Windscreens iced up, black ice on the roads, driving tests cancelled. Winter 2013 is almost upon us. Driving in these adverse conditions is without doubt difficult and potentially dangerous. The recommended advice is always- ‘ Do Not Drive Unless Absolutely Necessary’- and who could argue with that?

But what if you really need to drive?

‘Got to be at work’
‘No baby milk’
‘Need gas/electricity top up’

We advise to be ‘winter ready’ at all times!

Do not neglect some simple steps that could save your life this winter-

What To Do?

1)Buy winter tyres- optimum performance when temperature is below 8 degrees Celsius, increased traction and grip, decreased stopping distance, can be used all year round. (This one thing will help you stay safe whilst driving in winter, more than all the others combined).

2)Make sure your car is fully serviced- The last thing you want is your car breaking down when temperatures are low.

3)Plan your route- Sticking to main roads may help to reduce the risk of encountering ‘Black Ice’ and other slippery surface conditions.

4)Make sure that you carry vital equipment in your vehicle- Fully charged mobile phone, snow shovel, blanket, windscreen scraper, de-icer, screen wash, and a torch.

Above all else- we recommend that you do not drive in adverse weather conditions unless it is absolutely necessary. However, if you must drive, make sure that you stick to the guidelines listed above. In addition you should always drive to the prevailing conditions.

In general-

1)Look well ahead
2)Plan in advance
3)Slow down early
4)Expect the unexpected
5)Avoid side roads
6)Give yourself plenty of time

Please take care this winter.

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Driving Schools Edinburgh

Driving Schools Edinburgh

There are many different driving schools in Edinburgh. There are large national and various independent driving schools and driving instructors. The number of driving instructors registered with the Driving Standards Agency has increased over the last few years. This gives learner drivers more choice when it comes to choosing a driving school but it also makes it difficult to choose the right one.

It is important to spend some time researching prospective driving schools before making any decisions. Write up a shortlist of driving schools and driving instructors. Some of the things you should consider:

1)      Driving Lessons Special Offers

2)      Qualifications of Driving Instructor

3)      Cars Used for Driving Lessons

4)      Reputation of Driving Instructor and Driving School

5)      Driving Schools Terms and Conditions


In addition to the points listed above, one of the most important factors that may influence your decision is Driving Lesson Prices, i.e. How much will this cost me? It is easy to find the cheapest driving lesson price in Edinburgh and to go with that, no questions asked. This is not recommended. The cheapest lesson price does not always equal good value. You must first ask yourself, “Why is this driving school so much cheaper than everyone else?” No driving instructor is very cheap out of the “goodness of their own heart”. It is because they don’t have enough pupils, which leads to the next point, “why have they no pupils?” Professional, confident, results driven, driving schools in Edinburgh, have very good pass rates and do not offer very cheap driving lessons. These businesses thrive due to recommendations from their pupils.

If a driving instructor charges £15 per driving lesson, they will need to do around 50 driving lessons per week to make any money. This equates to around 70 hours on the road taking into account travel time between lessons. It’s not difficult to see that the quality of these lessons will not be of a good standard in particular the last 20 or so lessons. The driving instructor will be very tired and will not be able to give you 100 per cent. You have been warned! This should not be confused with driving schools offering an introductory special offer. This is a marketing strategy that all businesses use.

In summary, do the research, check the driving schools credentials, and be careful when it comes to price.


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Getting Started

Michael Shumacher, Nigel Mansell, Colin Mc Rae, just like the rest of us, these famous racing drivers started their driving careers by applying for a provisional driving licence. Whether you have ambitions to become a superstar racing driver or simply need a licence for the daily commute, your first step up the ladder will be applying for your provisional driving licence.

You can apply for a provisional driving licence in the UK three months before your 17th birthday or three months before your 16th birthday if you are disabled and eligible to receive the higher rate of disability.  In both cases you must not drive a car until the day of your birthday.

At present the provisional driving licence application fee is £50. You can apply online or by post, and can pick up an application form at your local post office.

There are a few things to consider before filling out your application:

1)      Do you meet the minimum eyesight requirements?

You must inform the DVLA when you fill out your application if you have an eyesight condition that affects your eyes or your sight, but not including short or long sight or colour blindness. Additionally, you will not be allowed to sit the Practical Driving Test if you cannot read a car number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres.

2)      Do you suffer from any of the medical conditions listed by the DVLA?

 You must inform the DVLA if you have a medical condition that is listed on the Direct.gov website. The site lists every medical condition that must be reported to the DVLA when you fill out your application form. These conditions do not mean that you are instantly prohibited from driving, but a medical enquiry will be initiated by a DVLA medical advisor. You can check the listed medical conditions here: www.direct.gov.uk

If you meet the eyesight and medical requirements you should receive your provisional driving licence within two weeks. It has been known to take up to three weeks however so bear this in mind when considering when to apply.

Your provisional driving licence is valid until you reach the age of 70 providing you remain in good health, although the photograph needs to be renewed every 10 years.


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