Tag Archives: Theory Test

New Driving Test is Finally Here

I’ve blogged about the new driving theory many, many, many times before, but the big day has finally. The big day is 4th December 2017, its not only the theory test which changes on this day. From 4th December you’ll be able to have driving lessons on the motorway. 

L Plate

  1. A new set of 21 Vehicle Safety Questions to be added. Questions about the engine, screen wash, where controls are, etc.
  2. New Manoeuvres added such as reversing and rejoining traffic, parking on the opposite side of the road and more replacing paraelle parking and reversing around a corner. 
  3. Independent Driving increased from 10 to 20 minutes. this is where you are told to follow road signs to destination of the instructors choosing. 
  4. You must safely set your Sat Nav to a location given by your instructor, and follow the instructions as as part of your test. 

You can also now have driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor on the motorway, but its down to your instructor to decide if they feel you are ready for it. You CANNOT go on the motorway with friends or family, only instructors. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Stopping Distances for Driving Test

Brake Lights Stopping

Brake Lights Stopping

This post includes a little tip I read somewhere, but I can’t for the life of me remember where. I read so much stuff before I did my theory test. In my opinion stopping distances are kinda useless, since you can’t really calculate them on the fly, but you still need to know them. Its more a visual or spacial awareness thing while driving.

You know *your car* need “this” much space to stop and thats kind of it.

I mean without any extensive thought, some of the variables are Road Condition:  Wet / Dry, Weather: Hot / Cold, Humidity: Dry / Wet, Tyres: Slick / Knobbly / Worn, Road Material: Loose / Firm / Soft, Tyre Pressure: Over Inflated / Under Inflated / Correct, Brake Type:  Disk / Drum, Brake Material: Steel / Carbon / Ceramic, this before we get to Electronic / Mechanical like ABS, Stability Control and Brake Assist and without too much thought, the variables must be into millions of permutations.

Stopping Distances by DVLA

Stopping Distances by DVLA

All these are dependent on when the driver actually realises they need to stop, and their reactions and indeed actions. 

However you need to know these for your theory test and I guess for your actual driving test because of the Show Me, Tell Me Section and / or when the examiner asks you questions during the independent driving portion.

Top Tip: Easy Braking Distance Calculation

There is an easy way to calculate these, its quick and easy. Which makes me equally proud of the mathematics but also suspect about authenticity of the figures. Not to mention if they actually have any real world correlation or basis.

You basically multiply the speed by using an incrementing modifier, so for example..

The Overall Stopping distance in feet:

Speed (MPH)  Qualifier (Feet)  Multiplier Distance (Feet) 
20 mph 20 ft 2x 40 ft
30 mph 30 ft 2.5x 75 ft
40 mph 40 ft 3x 120 ft
50 mph 50 ft 3.5x 175 ft
60 mph 60 ft 4x 240 ft
70 mph 70 ft 4.5x 315 ft
100 mph 100 ft 6x 600 ft
160 mph 160 ft 9x 1140 ft

 

You maybe thinking, but I need to know meters not feet. Negative, the theory test gives you the distances in both feet and meters. 

The Fastest Travelling Speed

This got me thinking about the fastest speed I have travelled, which were 155mph in a car with a NOS kit, along the lines of what the Wizards of NOS do, obviously not driver. We were in moist conditions on a slight down gradient and talking with music on, which can slow reaction times…

Lowes Motor Speedway Quater Mile Marker

Lowes Motor Speedway Quater Mile Marker via Wikipedia.

155mph slightly distracted by music and chatter giving slower than average reaction times, on moist/damp conditions makes the stopping distance 3,135 ft / 956 meters. 

The Earths curvature means at absolute best a 6 ft man can see between 1.8 km and 5 km away through a telescope or binoculars before the Earths curve obstructs your view. Whether your eyes could see anything smaller than a bus at a distance of 956 meters is debatable.

The above image is taken at around 500 meters / 1,600 feet from the building. I don’t think you’d be able to see the child and their father on the left from double this at 1,000 meters. Assuming you could even see them, my guess it they would be road kill at anything over 80 mph, at 158 mph, the driver and passengers would need to be steam cleaned off the buildings wall.

155mph = 70 meters per second.

That building is approx 6-7 seconds away at that speed and about 13 seconds away with the breaks on. Not even a Bugatti Veyron would be able to able to stop in time and that has some of the best brakes and air breaks in the world. 

This isn’t really an anti-speeding post, its more an awareness post, 1,000 meters or over half a mile sounds like a long distance, but when you think, at 70mph its 30 seconds away. 

 

Brake Lights Image by Myles Davidson.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Happy New Year for 2017

WARNING: WALL OF TEXT

Well its a new year, as per usual I have no real resolutions nor plans to create any. The lifestyle changes I made last year which could be considered resolutions. They just happen to start with a new year, or a new month in the case of reducing my sugar intake (July-ish)) and increasing my cardiorespiratory fitness (April-ish). 

I’ve been thinking about what I would like to achieve in 2017, and decided that again no resolutions but more some lifestyle changes and objectives. I debated posting or rather sharing them here since its such a clich√© to blog about them, and I’m not sure this blog is the place either.

1, Driving

Top of my list is finally sorting a driving license out. For someone who has owned multiple cars, many number plates and actually understands how a combustion engine works, I don’t actually drive. I’m hoping the fact I passed the theory test with a near perfect score of 49/50 on the Multiple Choice and 67/75 on the hazard perception, that it will be easy to learn the practical part. I have never had a single lesson and managed that. 

I’m so confident that I’ve already booked a practical test for less than a month away, and I still haven’t had a single driving lesson. I really should book some lessons, 2017 will be the year I pass. 

Confidence much.

2, Fun

I’ve been that busy sorting everything else out, I appear to have lost track of actually having fun in every sense of the term. I’m not quite sure how I shall interpret this, but I’m going to try work on it. 

I may actually try the whole date thing, so I have someone to Netflix and chill with. The only Netlix and chill I do, it more AmazonTV and chilled Wild Turkey and Ice Cubes. Amazon and Chill…ed Beverage as I call it.

I need to think of more fun things, not sure I remember how to do that. 

3, Health

Early on in the year I expect I’ll be having potentially major shoulder surgery will will knock out a large part of my health plans for the year. Mostly strength wise, certainly upper body work will be wiped out for many many months. During the rehabilitation I’ll be going back to basics, and hopefully correcting my bad form and enhancing my lifts. Over the years I’ve picked up bad habits “just get it up”, rather than maintain solid form. 

This also gives me an opportunity while working on my recovery and rehab unable to lift much, so I’ll be working on increasing my cardiorespiratory health. I’m going to work on hitting the 100km cycle ride this year (2017) as a target. Maybe aim for 100 miles next year, who knows. Keep the small achievable steps for now. Based on my current efforts that’s about 3 and 1/2 hours of riding with some short breaks added. 

4, Photography

I plan on making time in 2017 to actually do photo-shoots that I want to shoot. Its been a long time since I shot something I actually wanted. Around 5 yrs ago, I approached a friend of mine Beckie Armitt about doing a very dark and twisted Harley Quinn photoshoot. This is long before any dreams of suicide squad existed, had to be 2010 maybe 2011 and certainly before Halloween 2016 became Harleyween. It however got side tracked and things went another way, I recently mention it to her and she said “You should have explained more about what a Harley Quinn was” heh. I have loads of similar plans which could be unique. 

I’d also like to get back to shooting some stock images along side, in the fitness, health, and similar niches. I use about 200 pieces of stock a year, about half is free stock the rest paid for. I should be shooting my own again. 

5, Websites

I not too long ago (March) I consolidated all my blogging here into one blog. It still doesn’t feel right posting some things here, that goes for both private stuff and professional stuff. Some times code based posts feel wrong here, other times personal blogs feel out of place, as do rants and such so I’m curating and censoring myself, which can be sucky. I’m going to work on this. 

I am also changing my operating method, currently I have a few dozen website, I plan to cut this down to 2-3 bigger sites.

Bigger sites will take more work for less return in the short term but the long term potential and return is massively improved. 

The Summery

I don’t know what else to say here, were going to post a year summery but so much has been censored and removed from my blogging it will would look out of place. I also didnt’ get a complete year or blogging. I will post a summery next year, and see how my 5 points above pan out. 

A few days ago someone told me I need to message more when they don’t reply as they read messages when they are unable to reply then forget when they are free heheh, so I’m going to try to message people more without feeling stalker-ish or pushy. I figure this should be here too. 

P.S. I left this post without a picture or any pictures as I don’t really want any reading it ūüėõ 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Driving Test Revisions

Boxer Behind The Wheel

Boxer Behind The Wheel

I recently passed the Theory Test, so I’ve been watching the latest news and there is a little bit of research done by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) which concluded at the end of August (2016). Its a little late to have any say now if you missed it, but you could have given your views on proposed improvements to the current driving test. The results still haven’t been released but should be interesting.

The Key Points they are asking about are:

  • Independent Driving – Increasing the time from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, there the examiner will test you on traffic signs, give you directions or a combination of both.
  • Navigation and Directions – Asking drivers to follow directions given by a Sav Nav / Phone during the above Independent Driving section. 
  • Manoeuvre Updates / Changes – Replacing some manoeuvres such as reversing around a corner, with reversing or parking in a parking space.
  • Vehicle Control / Safety – Asking the driver to turn on the Rear Window Demister or Fog Lights. 

Its probably a very good thing, I would have thought reversing around a corner would be fairly standard things to learn. Personally parallel parking looks harder to master, but parking in a parking space and following a SatNav are probably good skills to have.

 

 

Image By Palmer W. Cook

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Driving Theory Test

A week ago I finally got around to sorting my Theory and Hazard Perception Test, this may shock some since I own cars and number plates with plans to buy more, yet I don’t actually drive. I always joke, why drive when you can be driven ;).

DVLA Trainng Apps

DVLA Trainng Apps

In the middle of August around my birthday, there were an argument or “debate” on Facebook about some minor highway code rule. The original poster said “those who break it shouldn’t have a license”. I checked the highway code¬†before I said anything, and they were wrong. They decided they have been driving since Moses partied with the Hebrews in Gomorrah and they were right, I were wrong. Their reasoning “Because out there in the jungle, I mean on the road its different”. Who shouldn’t have the license really?, perhaps those who think the rules no longer apply to them.

A day or two after that, the 22nd August to be exact, I download the highway code app and various driving apps. I read the highway code, played the different types of quiz and apps. I decided, this is easy, I know this stuff.

On 27th August I booked my Theory and Hazard Perception test for first thing in the morning in just over 2 weeks time. I started to read a dozen different road acts and laws, the official highway code website and anything else that I could find. The day before the test started watching The Strain, I ended up awake until 4am, and had to wake up at 7am to get showered and ready for the test. Powered by Grenade Hydra-6 Chocolate Charge and Gatorade Orange I headed out just before 9am for the test at 10:30am.

The Test Centre

You should arrive around 30 minutes early, this is to allow for queues, check in, and you have some stuff you have to read before hand. As soon as you enter the test centre, even in the waiting area, you must turn your phone off. Not on silent, not aeroplane mode, OFF! failure to do, is a refusal to allow you to do your test.

You queue up, and its important you stand behind the Queue Here stand, otherwise you are told to step back and look a tool which I witnessed several times. Once you have queued up, they ask you for your drivers license, to confirm some details and book you in.

If you have any special requirements, you have to let them know here and they can make provisions. Such as voice overs, larger print, medications, etc.

Lockers

After booking in, they give you a locker key with essentially a brick attached (looks more like an Anne Summers Special) and some information you have to read and agree too. In the locker you have to lock hats, coats, drinks, food, phones, wallets, jackets, fleeces, keys, pens, paper, pretty much anything. This is all on the stuff they give you to read along with other rules and guidelines, 3 pages in total.

The only things you are permitted to take on to the “killing floor” or test booths are suitable clothing, your drivers license and the locker key and brick.

The Test Booths

Theory Test Booths

Theory Test Booths

The room at my test centre were a small is room, with squared semi-circle like a [ shape, with 8 or 9 wooden office dividers, making small booths. There were an observation area behind where the inspector guy sits where he can see all the booths. He explains if there are any problems, raise your hand he’ll come over to you.

Inside each booth were a computer case, a mouse, a keyboard and a white square the size of a mouse mat which says “place your belongings here”. This is where the locker key with the huge stick attached to it, and your drivers license are to be placed.¬†Over head is a CCTV Camera on each booth to watch you’re not cheating and such, and to the left a pair of headphones hung on the divider.

Adjust the seat, and the screen make sure you have a good view, as moving it during the test makes them suspicious. I also suggest adjusting the headphones to fit as you’ll need them later on. You have been logged in by the inspector guy who is behind you, so you just need to click start.

The Actual Test

The test is broken up into various parts, each part has a set time limit, and various controls and options. You are given some choices as well, some you don’t have to do, some you do have to do.

Learning Mode

Initially you are given a system run through over how the system works. Where it asks you to select, and deselect things, change options and such like. I guess this is mostly to test everything works and make sure you can use it.

This is timed at 5:00 minutes.

Practice Mode

You are then given the option of doing a “practice session” which is really just a more in-depth version of the above. In this you are asked to select options, flag options for later review if you are unsure. Explained exactly how it all works, what each option on the menus do, etc.

This works exactly like the real test only it only has about a dozen pages / questions. Its well worth doing this, so you know how to flag and review, I used this feature myself.

This is timed at 15:00 minutes.

Break Time

You are given a short period of time to prepare and relax before you perform the on screen instructions to start the test. You cannot move from your booth at this time and should remain looking forward.

This is timed at 2:00 minutes.

Multiple Choice Theory Test

This is 50 questions, and 43 questions are required to be correct in order to pass. Approx 44 of my questions were general highway code questions. Stopping distances, road signs, vehicle marks, first aid, traffic lights etc, mostly basics.

Towards the end were a “case study”, it gives you approx 6-7 sentences about a fictional journey, for example it may say…

You are moving house, so you get a roof rack fitted to your car and load it up with your belongings. 

You travel down a 3 lane motorway for most of the journey. On this journey you notice a sign with “40” on it over the hard shoulder.

The motorway is quite congested so you move from the left lane to the right lane to overtake slow moving vehicles before moving back to the left lane. 

You notice a warning sign saying “Fog Ahead”, shortly after you find yourself in the fog, but it clears up in a few miles.¬†

Some of your belongings fall off the roof rack in the left hand lane. After dealing with this incident, you leave the motorway. 

You want to go ahead and take the 3nd exit of 5 on the round about.

Theory Test Results Screen

Theory Test Results Screen

It then asked a series of multiple choice questions based on the above description, one of them were like, “while you were overtaking, what colour were the reflective studs on your right”, “What did you do when you saw the fog sign”, stuff like that.

One question answer troubled me, which is related to the left hand lane. Its not clear if round about is on the slip road, nor how many lanes the round about has. It then asks you “which lane would you go in”, with the answers “left, right, middle or most appropriate“, there are other questions like this which are in my opinion are tricky.

This kind of threw me off guard as I hadn’t seen this before in any of the apps or literature I read.

At the end you are told how many incomplete, flagged and answers questions there are on the review screen. You have the option to review the unanswered, the flagged, the answered or indeed the entire test before you hit end test and confirm it.

This is timed at 57:00 minutes.

Break Time Part Deux

You are given anther short break after the Multiple Choice Test, to relax a little bit and prepare for the theory test. You cannot move from your booth during this break.

This is timed at 3:00 mintues.

Hazard Perception Test

Much like the multiple choice section, this is broken into 2 parts. A demo or introduction mode, which talks you through it and shows you step by step how it works.

Followed by the actual test being administered.

Introduction Mode

At the start of the test you are advised to put your headphones on, to listen to the introduction. The introduction shows you a demo video and explains how the clicking works. It explains you should click on developing hazards as soon as you see them develop, and as they are happening. It explains about clicking too fast or too many times, or in any sort of pattern, and you’ll score 0 for that clip.

What I din’t know is, you don’t have to click the mouse where the hazard as is happening, just as soon as you see it developing. You can’t actually see the mouse cursor on the screen unlike in the multiple choice where you can.

After this, it shows the same video click again, and explains the various potential hazards, and shows you how the scoring of 5-1 points would work on that clip when the actual hazard develops and explains the whole clip.

It also tells you, if you click the hazard on 5, then again on 3 and again too late, the computer counts your first click, so you will still score a full 5 for that hazard.

You can watch this twice if you are unsure or the volume were low etc. You don’t need the headphones after this.

This is timed at 5:00 minutes.

The Actual Test

The test is 14 Computer Generated Videos, each lasting 60 seconds (ish) with a 10 second break between each one. Do NOT click the mouse during the 10 second countdown as it can register those clicks and result in a 0 score penalty.

One of the videos has 2 hazards, the other 13 have only 1 hazard.

Each hazard you spot, depending on how early you catch it developing is worth up to 5 points. You need a minimum of 44 points to pass, this is out of a possible 75 points.

What I did is click each potential hazard as soon as I saw it, then clicked again if and when it developed. This didn’t trigger any penalties, and seemed acceptable.

This is timed at 15:00 minutes.

Potential Questions

At the end it may or may not ask you about some potential future questions, you were asked before the test started if you were interested in these. These don’t affect your test score at all. These are questions which they are considering adding to the multiple choice or hazard tests in future.

For me this were about 5 multiple choice questions, which seemed to be more like “word play” on existing questions. For example in the theory test, I were asked:

What is the stopping distance when travelling at 50mph ?

in the potential future questions I were asked:

What is the stopping distance on a clear, dry road while travelling at 50mph?

This may mean there is also a “What is the stopping distance on a wet road at 50mph?” question in the bank, somewhere or maybe its just wordplay to make you question it.

Customer Satisfaction

Lastly you are asked about a dozen questions, everything from how long did it take to get your provisional license, if you booked online how happy are you with the service, were you happy with the way the system worked etc.

One question threw me a little “What is your ethnicity, this is so we can ensure the test is administered fairly”, how exactly is knowing if I’m black, white or polkadot going to change how the test is administered ?

My Test Results

I scored 49 correct multiple choice out of 50  (98%), and 67 hazard points out of 75 (90%), giving me 94% total score. So I got a pretty good pass, a very good pass for some ones first test, and apparently astonishing for someone who has never had a professional driving lesson in their life.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.