Are Half Of All UK Drivers Oblivious To Tax Discs Being Abolished?

British Car Tax DiscAccording to a recent article by the Daily Mail almost half of all British drivers are oblivious to the fact that tax discs will be abolished on October 1st 2014. This is quite worrying considering that this is a mere six weeks away.

Car owners will still need to have paid the vehicle tax to drive or keep a vehicle on the road and police cameras will now automatically check a car’s number plate to establish if it has been paid. Of those who are in fact aware of the changes, 50% do not know the exact date, six per cent believe that it is next year and 32% won’t even try to find out what the changes are. This information was revealed in a recent survey from money.co.uk. Almost a third of people polled claimed that they will wait for instructions from the DVLA although it has been claimed by the comparison website that the DVLA has still yet to start adding warnings to tax renewal reminders.

Drivers will need to be aware of the impending tax disc changes or face an £1,000 fine as well as potential penalty charges against any car they no longer own. This move away from paper discs is set to save motorists money on postage and should offer more flexible payment options. It will also be harder from tax dodgers to drive untaxed. It has been estimated by This is Money that taxpayers will be saved £10 million each year.

New rules also state that used car sellers much inform the DVLA of any change of ownership immediately. Meanwhile used car buyers must be aware of any outstanding vehicle tax as it will no longer be transferred to the new owner, meaning that those selling might be able to claw it back.

We wonder if any scams will arise from this change due to a lack of understanding of the new rules. The original article can be found here.

Tax Discs Coming To An End

British Car Tax DiscAs of the 1st October the DVLA will no longer be issuing tax discs to be displayed in vehicles. You will still need to tax a vehicle in the normal way, you just don’t get a tax disc. Reminders will still be sent to private individuals to remind them that their vehicle needs taxing.

One of the biggest changes is that you can no longer transfer the tax when you sell a vehicle. The seller has to send the slip back to DVLA and gets a refund on any outstanding tax. If you have just purchased a vehicle you will still need to tax it before you drive the vehicle away and DVLA has said that you can tax a vehicle in so many electronic ways that it should not be an issue. Failure to send in the paper work or driving an unlicensed vehicle can result in a £1000 fine, and with the introduction of more ANPR Cameras people will soon get caught.

By David Hill – Head of Light Commercial Vehicle Valuations with 25 years’ experience in used van sales.

How To Turn In The Road

woman parking carIf asked to perform this manoeuvre in your Practical Test you will be expected to do so safely, under control and smoothly without touching or mounting the kerb. The examiner will mark you on your accuracy, control and observations, i.e. looking out for pedestrians and other vehicles, checking your blind spot before turning, etc. If a car or a pedestrian approaches you on this manoeuvre stop the car until they have passed.

To start this manoeuvre you will move off as you usually would, checking all of your mirrors and blind spots. Go slowly forward in first gear, keeping control of the clutch and quickly whip the wheel fully right. Your aim here is to get the car at a right angle to the road. When the front of your car is about a metre from the kerb start moving the wheel briskly to the left. This will make your next step easier. Stop the car and place it into reverse while still checking all around you for cars or pedestrians. When you are ready start going backwards very slowly while quickly steering left. Look through the back window as you are reversing and when you need the kerb look over your right shoulder and start turning right so that your car wheels will have straightened up ready for the next step. Stop before you hit the kerb. Select first gear and start moving slowly while steering right and then straighten up on the left side of the road ready to move on.

How To Left Reverse Around A Corner

woman parking carDuring your Practical Driving test if you are asked to perform this manoeuvre you will be expected to do so safely, correctly, smoothly, under control, keeping parallel and reasonably close to the kerb without swinging too wide or hitting the kerb. The examiner will not only mark your accuracy and control but also your observations, i.e. looking out for pedestrians and other vehicles, checking your blind spot before turning, etc. If a car or a pedestrian approaches you on this manoeuvre stop the car until they have passed.

Before starting this manoeuvre you will be asked to pull in just before a corner. You will then drive past, peer into the road to make sure it is a suitable place to perform the manoeuvre (while also seeing how sharp/wide the corner is) and pull up about two car lengths past the corner. Carry out a check of all of your mirrors and your blind spots and put the car into reverse. Reverse slowly keeping control of the clutch and just before you start your turn stop and again check your blind spots. Your main observations should be over your left shoulder but remember to check all around for pedestrians and other cars. When you see the kerb disappear in the window pillow turn the steering wheel fully to the left while keeping the car slow. When the car is parallel to the kerb straighten the wheels up and watch where the car is going (with glances in the mirrors and around the car). Keep reversing to a reasonable distance from the corner and stop the car when you are finished.

Sitting Your Practical Driving Test

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 20.49.41You can book your Practical Driving Test using the gov.uk website. Remember that before sitting your Practical Test you must have already passed your Theory Test. To book the test you will need your driving licence number, and a credit or debit card. It is also useful to have your instructor’s number as this means that they won’t be double booked on the day. The test costs £62 on a weekday and £75 on an evening, weekend or bank holiday. You must take your drivers licence, paper counterpart and Driving Theory Test pass certificate with you on the day of your Practical Test or you will not be able to sit it.

Once your test has started you will be asked to read out a number plate to check that your eyesight meets the minimum requirement. After this you will be asked two of the safety questions. Don’t worry if on the day of your test your mind goes blank, not getting these questions correct only adds up to a minor fault! You will then drive for roughly 45 minutes. During this time you will face a bit of independent driving where you are asked to follow road signs for a certain place and you will be asked to carry out one of the three possible manoeuvres (turn in the road, left reversing around a corner and reversing into a parking space), a hill start and possibly an emergency stop. You will pass your test if you make 15 or fewer minor faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

Sitting Your Driving Theory Test

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 20.30.04When you are ready to sit your Driving Theory Test you can book it on the gov.uk website. To book your test you will need your provisional driving licence number (code on your provisional licence card) and an email address to send the booking confirmation to. You must sit the test in one of the specified test centres and it costs £31.

The Theory Test is made up of two parts; the multiple choice questions and the hazard perception test. The multiple choice part of the test contains 50 questions covering the main areas of driving (alertness, attitude, safety, hazard awareness, vulnerable road users, other types of vehicles, vehicle handling, motorway rules, rules of the road, road and traffic signs, documents, accidents and vehicle loading). In order to pass this part of the test you must get 43 out of 50. During the hazard perception section of the test you watch various clips of travelling along roads from the point of view of the driver. If you see a hazard, something which may cause you to slow down or stop, you click the screen. In this part of the test you must get 44 out of a possible 75 points. In order to pass your Driving Theory Test you must pass both parts of the test.

There are a wide variety of apps and books that you can use to help you learn the answers to the multiple choice questions in the test. There are also many online sites and interactive DVDs to help you practice the hazard perception section of the test. Once you pass your Driving Theory Test you will have two years from that date to pass your Practical Test. If you don’t pass within this time you will have to resit the Theory test.

Starting Lessons

iStock_000004031255SmallThe Driving Standards Agency (DSA) states that on average a driver will need around 45 hours of paid lessons plus 22 hours of private practice to stand the best chance of passing their practical test. It is also better to keep your driving practice regular – one or two lessons a week is an ideal amount.

There are many important questions that you must ask yourself before you begin learning how to drive such as what company to go with for lessons, what insurance to get if a parent or friend has offered to help you learn in their car (however, they must be over 21 years old and have been driving independently for over three years). What driving school you choose to go with will depend entirely on your area. You can have smaller companies based in your town or schools such as the AA and RED. The average cost of a driving lesson in the UK is now £24, however, this may again vary depending on your location. It is possible with most driving schools to get a discounted price when you book your driving lessons in blocks.

Your driving lessons will help to prepare you not only for your Practical Driving Test but for your Theory Test as well. The main areas that you study are alertness, attitude, safety, hazard awareness, vulnerable road users, other types of vehicles, vehicle handling, motorway rules, rules of the road, road and traffic signs, documents, accidents and vehicle loading. In your lessons you will also learn manoeuvres involving reversing (turn around on a road, reversing into a parking space, reversing left around a corner), and other things such as a hill start and emergency stop.

Getting Your Provisional Licence

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 18.06.03In the UK you can begin learning how to drive when you turn seventeen. However, before you can start learning you have to apply for your provisional driving licence. You can apply for a provisional licence when you’re 15 years and nine months old – as you can start learning how to ride a motorbike when you turn 16.

The easiest way to apply for a provisional licence is probably through the gov.uk website. However, you can also apply by filling out a D1 application form, which you can get from the DVLA form ordering service or from a Post Office. To get your provisional licence you must be a resident of Britain, meet the minimum age requirement, meet the minimum eyesight requirement, have a valid British passport, provide your National Insurance number (if known), provide your addresses from the previous three years and also pay £50 by one of the accepted card types.

Your application your licence should arrive within a week of applying online. If you are applying by post your licence may take up to three weeks to come. You will receive a letter from the DVLA containing your provisional driving licence and its paper counterpart. Make sure to keep both safe as you will need to take both parts with you when you sit the Driving Theory Test and the Driving Practical Test.

Do You Have Foreign Breakdown Cover?

iStock_000008421452SmallA recent article by the Telegraph has recently provided some tips on buying the right breakdown cover when you travel abroad. As we all know, breaking down can be a nightmare, even when it happens on home soil. However, having your car fail you while you’re on holiday can be more expensive than you may think.

Green Flag has revealed that if you don’t have cover, it may cost you roughly £2,500 to recover a car from southern Spain. Another reason to have European breakdown cover is the language barrier. All of the major breakdown companies have phone operators who can speak foreign languages fluently so that you aren’t left flicking through your pocket phrasebook trying to explain your problem.

A week’s cover for driving in France from the AA is a mere £55; from the RAC it costs just £46.36 including a 30% discount and Green Flag costs just £38.60. It is vital to make sure you know what the cover you are going to buy includes. Some provide unlimited roadside repair time while some limit it. Some pay towards overnight accommodation if you need it when your car has broken down in an inconvenient place, while some won’t.

We thought that you might find this article useful if you are travelling any time soon. The original story can be found here.

Young Men Most Likely To Face Driving Disqualification

iStock_000003385280SmallYahoo! Cars News has recently released a story stating that new figures obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have revealed that male drivers between the ages of 20 and 30 were the most common group to face disqualification from driving in the twelve months between July 2013 and June 2014. The figures were supplied by the DVLA after being requested through the Freedom of Information act.

A total of 92,136 motorists have been disqualified from driving between July 2013 and June 2014. Of those, roughly 62,000 are still disqualified. The age with the largest number of disqualified motorists is 25 with 3,748 serving a driving ban. This is made up of 3,294 males and 454 females. The information supplied to the IAM has also shown that 230 people under the age of 17 have also been disqualified. This is somewhat shocking due to them being under the legal driving limit.

We found this article interesting and wonder how these figures can be reduced in the coming future. The original article can be found here.