Drive Safe For Life Syllabus

Drive Safe For Life Syllabus

South London Driving School is proud to provide our students with a strong understanding of driving techniques that allows them to maintain a lifetime to safe driving habits. That begins with the quality of our core driving lesson syllabus.

Your instructor will build an individualised lesson plan that will perfectly meet your needs as a student. However, every plan will include the entire syllabus bellow, which covers all of the knowledge you need to pass your driving test.


1. Requirement Check

Driving is a great responsibility, and a number of legal requirements come along with that responsibility. Before your first lesson, your instructor will check that you comply with all of the basic requirements to start learning how to drive.

You must have a valid provisional license that covers the type of vehicle you’re learning to drive in before you can take control of a motor vehicle on any public roads. You must also prove that you have satisfactory eyesight by reading a number plate from a distance of approximately 20 meters, with contact lenses or glasses if necessary.

If you do not have a provisional license, your instructor can show you how to apply for one. Also, if you are not able to read the number plate from the required distance, your driving instructor will require you to make an appointment with an optician before continuing your driving lessons.


2. Control Lessons

The controls on most modern cars are very straightforward. However, it takes time to learn how to use all of the controls efficiently and effectively. Your instructor will introduce you to all of the controls of the car, what they do, and how they work in conjunction with all of the other controls.


3. Moving Off and Stopping

Your instructor will teach you all of the important precautions you must use when you prepare to drive, such as such as ensuring your handbrake is fully engaged before starting the engine. You will also learn how to safely move and stop your car. Getting to know the right amount of pressure to apply to the accelerator, brake (and clutch, if you’re learning in a manual car), and how to properly use them together, takes some practice. But your instructor will teach you everything you need to know.


4. Turning

Your instructor will teach you how to safely and effectively control the direction of the car with the steering wheel. This begins with proper hand placement, which means that both of your hands should be placed on the steering wheel in the ‘ten and two’ or ‘nine and three’ position, depending on which is most comfortable. Once you can effectively hold and move the wheel, your instructor will teach you how to approach a junction and turn left or right safely, as well as how to emerge from a junction.


5. Oncoming Traffic

When you start to get some experience driving on South London roads, you may start to realise that the roads can often become very narrow. However, this doesn’t have to be a problem. Your instructor will teach you how to safely meet oncoming traffic on a narrow road, how to safely position your car, and rules behind who has the right of way in every possible situation.


6. Planning Ahead

Your instructor will teach you how to anticipate and plan for things that other road users may do, how to spot warnings and indications that other road users may do something unexpected, and how to safely take action to ensure both you and all other road users remain safe.

Once your instructor has showed you the best way to build these skills, you will notice that small actions and behaviors from other road users can actually warn you that something may happen. This is called anticipation, and as you continue to gain experience, you will begin to make use of the information around you much faster, allowing you to effectively avoid potential hazards, and plan your actions ahead of time.


7. Adequate Clearance

Whenever you pass a person, object, road hazard, or another road user, it is important that you leave enough space so that you can safely come to a stop if you need to. This is especially important in South London, where we have a large population of cyclists that you have to be mindful of when driving. Your instructor will teach you the best practices behind leaving enough space for everything around your car. From hazards, to passing cyclists, to parked cars.


8. Changing Gears

The gearbox connects the engine to wheels of the car, allowing the engine to operate efficiently at any speed. Drivers are expected to switch to progressively higher gears as they speed up, and lower gears as they slow down. Your instructor will teach you how to change gears smoothly and appropriately as your speed changes, allowing you to access a greater range of speeds safely while also increasing the efficiency of your engine. On a manual car, this also includes extensive instruction on clutch control, and the role the clutch plays on the gearbox.


9. Hand Signals

Drivers usually show their intention to change direction or speed with the use of the orange indicators on the corners of the car, or the red brake lights at the back of the car. However, there are many cases where you can help other drivers understand your intentions with simple hand signals.

Your instructor will teach you all of the common hand signals that allow other road users, including pedestrians, understand your intentions and act upon them. You will also learn when it is and is not appropriate to use hand signals, and how long you should maintain the signal to ensure other road users have time to both see your signal and take action if necessary.


10. Pedestrian Crossings

People walking have the right of way at most pedestrian crossings. However, they can only be safe while crossing the road if drivers know how to safely handle the crossing. Your instructor will teach you about every type of pedestrian crossing you’re likely to come across, and how to approach them safely to minimise the risk to yourself and any pedestrians.


11. Crossroads

A crossroad is where two or more roads meet. Cars are at the greatest risk of an accident at crossroads, so they should be approached with due care and attention, no matter how simple they may seem at first. Your instructor will teach you about every type of crossroad, including the occasionally confusing yellow-box junction, and teach you who has the right of way in every possible situation.

You will also learn the offside-to-offside and nearside-to-nearside crossing techniques to give you more choice when making a turn in a junction.


12. Roundabouts

Roundabouts allow cars from different directions to merge relatively seamlessly, and often without stopping. You normally give way to any cars approaching from the right, and you should always keep moving if the road ahead of you is clear. Your instructor will teach you about all of the different types of roundabouts, including mini roundabouts, single-lane roundabouts, double-lane roundabouts, and spiral roundabouts. They will also teach you how to approach and use them safely and efficiently.


13. Dual Carriageways

Dual carriageways and motorways usually have much higher speed limits than other roads, and you must be able to drive confidently at high speeds in order to use them safely. Cars handle very differently at high speeds, and your instructor will teach you how to maintain control of your car at speeds of up to 70mph, as well as teach you how to safely merge onto and leave dual carriageways. After these lessons, if you would like further instruction on how to handle your car at higher speeds, you may consider taking a Pass Plus course once you have passed your driving test.


14. Changing Lanes

Being able to change lanes safely is an important part of driving, and requires you to understand how to properly use the Mirror -Signal – Manoeuvre (MSM) technique. Your instructor will teach you this technique, as well as provide instruction on how to ensure every lane change is safe not just for you, but all other road users as well.


15. Lane Discipline

It is important that your car is properly positioned in the road at all times. At this point you should be familiar with your car; however, your instructor will teach you the best place to position your car within the lane, as well as how to tell which lane to occupy when following direction signs.


16. Overtaking

Overtaking is an important part of driving, but it can also be dangerous if executed incorrectly. This is especially true if you need to use the oncoming lane to overtake slower-moving traffic in your lane. Your instructor will teach you how to overtake safely every time; including how to judge whether you have time to return to your side of the road before meeting oncoming traffic, how to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles, and the best ways to overtake stationary and slow-moving traffic in different conditions.


17. Manoeuvres

There are four ‘set manoeuvres’ that are included in the official driving test syllabus. These movements require extreme skill and care for learner drivers to complete successfully. However, in these lessons, your instructor will teach you have to perform every set manoeuvre with confidence, and ensure they become second-nature to you.

The four ‘set manoeuvres’ are:

  • Turn in the road (three-point turn)
  • Bay parking
  • Parallel parking
  • Reversing around a corner (left or right)

Some test examiners may also ask you to do an emergency stop as a manoeuvre. Your instructor will teach you how to perform an emergency stop safely and with confidence.

While these may sound simple enough, the reason these manoeuvres are taught late in our syllabus is because they require a mastery of all aspects of car control – Especially clutch control for students learning in a manual car.

Your instructor will ensure you have all of the knowledge you need to successfully perform any manoeuvre that a driving test examiner may ask you to complete.

18. Bus Lanes

While it sounds counter-intuitive, there are many times when cars are expected to use bus lanes to help alleviate traffic. During your driving test, if a bus lane is not in operation, and it is appropriate for you to do so, you would be expected to use the bus lane and it is considered a Serious Fault if your don’t, which can cause you to fail your test.

Most driving schools don’t even cover this topic, but we make a point of doing so because we care about our students, and want to make sure they’re able to succeed and learn to drive safe for life. Your instructor will teach you how to look for bus lane signs showing the days and times a bus lane is operational, when to use bus lanes, when to avoid bus lanes, and why it can sometimes be necessary for you to use the bus lane in your car – Especially on London roads.


19. Independent Driving

Once you reach this point, you have all of the skills you need to drive independently. Your practical driving test will include approximately 10 minutes of independent driving, so the instructor will closely observe your actions while you drive independently and provide additional tips to make sure your driving is of the highest possible standard.


20. Show Me/Tell Me

Show Me/Tell Me questions are designed to test your knowledge of how a car works and ensure you understand how to perform basic maintenance on your car. At the beginning of your practical driving test, you will be asked one “Show Me” and one “Tell Me” question. Your instructor will teach you everything you need to know about the car to successfully complete this section of your test. It’s also worth noting that the DVSA has published the full list of possible Show Me/Tell Me questions on their website.


21. Mock Test

Once you’ve perfected your independent driving, your examiner will hold a mock test that will accurately simulate the conditions of a real practical driving test. If you pass the mock test, you will be ready to book your real practical driving test. However, remember that there is no rush. Even once you get to this point, your instructor will always help coach you through any areas of weakness, and will always stand ready to answer any questions you have or help you perfect any additional areas that you may not yet have complete confidence in. We are committed to you, and will do whatever it takes to ensure you have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pass your practical driving test.

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