You’ve passed your driving test. You’ve bought a car. You’ve got your insurance covered and paid your road tax but there’s something else to organise. A mechanic. We cannot stress enough, how much easier your life will be if you find a mechanic before you have any major car troubles or your MOT is suddenly due.
But how do you choose a mechanic? Here are a few things to consider during your search:
- Ask your friends and family. Chances are that the people around you will happily give you their recommendations and some of them would have been going to the same mechanic for a number of years.
- Ask your driving instructor. Their job is to be on the roads every day…in a car…that works. You can’t really go wrong asking a professional driver who their mechanic is, they’ll probably be able to give you a few recommendations of mechanics in your local area.
- Know what you need. Understand your car. Some garages don’t have the capacity to deal with electronic or hybrid cars and some don’t have the capacity to deal with old or vintage cars. It doesn’t make a mechanic bad, it just means that they don’t have the tools or expertise to deal with your particular vehicle.
- Do your own research. You’ve got your recommendations so now it’s time to do your own research. Look online, check out reviews, go to the garages and ask some questions, find out what services they provide. Do they do MOT’s, are they able to look after hybrids? Take your car with you and find out if they have experience with your particular make and model. Car troubles can be stressful (and expensive) so make sure that you can not only get on with your mechanic but that you trust them too.
- Don’t assume. Don’t assume that the garage down the road or that one your mum told you about has the capacity to see you and your car straight away. Most of the time, good mechanics are constantly busy. This is also why you shouldn’t wait until you have major car troubles before finding the right mechanic for you and your car.
Finding a mechanic doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be stressful. It will take a bit of time and a bit of research but your car will thank you for it in the future. If you’ve got no one to ask or maybe your new to an area, use websites such as The AA Garage Guide or Approved Garages Near Me.
Did you know that to become a taxi or Uber driver, you have to pass an assessment? In Portsmouth and the surrounding areas, taxi tests are conducted by The Blue Lamp Trust. They tend to call it an assessment rather than a test and just like learner drivers, the examiner wants to know that you will be a safe driver.
The assessment consists of a driving licence check and eyesight test followed by a 45-minute driving assessment across a variety of road types. In practice, this means a driver can be anywhere in a 20-minute radius of where they start the test. By failing the eyesight test, or not having the licence to show the examiner before they start, the practising taxi driver can fail their test before they even get into their car!
The less the examiner notices about their driving the better. When you get into any car and the driver is a good one you will feel safe and relaxed and this is how you should feel when you get into a cab with a professional driver. Safe and relaxed is how the examiner wants to feel because that’s how you should feel.
At the beginning of the test, the examiner will say that they want you to be smooth, safe and legal. Sound familiar? If you can do those three things you should be alright. Just like the driving test, the examiner can only mark what they see on the day.
Just like learner drivers, it’s important to have some training before taking the Blue Lamp Taxi Test. You wouldn’t take your driving test without driving lessons, so why take the Blue Lamp Taxi Test without lessons? At driving-pro, we offer training to people looking to take the Blue Lamp Taxi Test.
Our aim is to have as many safe drivers on the road as possible! And just like us, you can be sure the local council is concerned about the safety of drivers, their passengers and the people around them.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the types of training we offer, get in touch via the form below!
Learning to Drive: How to Choose a Driving Instructor
Finding the right driving instructor for you can be hard. You have to spend a lot of time with your driving instructor, you have to be able to talk to them and take direction from them. So we’ve put together a handy list of 10 things to consider whilst you’re looking for your perfect driving instructor.
1) Ask a friend! Your friends know you and they’ll know if you’ll get on with their driving instructor or an instructor they might know.
2) The bus test. If your driving instructor sat next to you on the bus, would you move or would you stay sat next to them? If you’d move, they’re probably not the instructor for you…
3) Reviews. In today’s world of information overload, reviews are a great way of getting answers to your questions, from real people. If your potential driving instructor has lots of (good) reviews, they’re probably doing something right! Check places like Yell.com or Facebook.
4) Professionalism. You are paying your instructor for a professional service, so as much as you need to get along with your instructor, they need to be professional too. Professionalism can be shown in lots of different ways. For example, at driving-pro, our instructors like to dress professionally and keep their cars are clean inside and out. There’s nothing worse than getting in a dirty car!
5) Answering the phone. If you phone a driving instructor directly and they don’t answer, that’s a good thing! They’re probably out driving, respecting the fact they’re working and respecting the law. Don’t get put off, just leave a message and they’ll get back to you!
6) Code of Conduct. Has your chosen driving instructor signed a Code of Conduct? Ask this question! You should also find out if your instructor has terms and conditions, then you’ll both be on the same page!
7) Do you feel comfortable with your driving instructor? If you don’t, we suggest finding a new instructor. There’s nothing wrong with that! At driving-pro, all of our students know that if they ever have an issue or they’d like to speak to someone who isn’t their instructor, they are able to. It’s important to us that our pupils are happy and comfortable.
8) Don’t get hung up on pass rates. It’s easy to, we know. You will pass your test. You will pass your test in your own time, and it mainly comes down to your commitment, the number of miles spent on the road and your confidence.
9) Instructor grade. There are two grades, A and B. The grade is supplied by the government. At driving-pro, although we take grades into account, most important for us is professionalism, people skills, ability and teaching methods but never be afraid to ask for credentials.
10) Price. Learning to drive is an investment. Of course, cheap lessons or special deals such as ten hours for £99 or the first five for £55 are attractive but ask yourself, why these lessons are so cheap? A good and in demand driving instructor will charge appropriately for their service, which ultimately could end up costing you less.
If you want to find out more about any of driving-pro’s instructors, you can give us a call on 02392 75 25 25 or check out their profiles!