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Common Driving Terms

Approved Driving Instructor. A driving instructor who has passes a 90-minute written exam, passed a strict driving test, reached a high standard in instruction and is checked regularly by the Driving Standards Agency.

Attitude. Behaviour towards other road users. Drivers should be tolerant, understanding and observant at all times.

Blind spot. An area where your vision is obscured by part of your vehicle or an object outside your vehicle: for example, a tree or a person standing on the pavement. It is an area that isn't visible through your side mirrors - on the right-hand and the left-hand sides of your vehicle. You should always be aware of where the blind spots are and remember 'a second look can be your lifesaver'.

Complex questions. A question which has more than one possible answer.

Co-sign. To sign a contract or document jointly, agreeing to share financial responsibility.

Cockpit checks. The five basic checks you must make before starting the engine.

Clutch control. The balance between your clutch and accelerator which helps you to move off smoothly and to move slowly under control when manoeuvring or in traffic jams without stalling.

Deductible. The money you have to pay when you are in an accident, before your insurance will pay for the rest.

Department of Transport. Government department that controls all matters relating to transport.

Depreciation. When the worth of something goes down after it is used.

Designated driver. A person who doesn't drink alcohol so he or she can drive friends (who are driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence [of alcohol or other drugs] (DUI)) home (or any other safe destination).

Down payment. Money that you agree to pay right away toward a purchase.

Driver visibility. The maximum distance at which the driver of a vehicle can see and identify prominent objects around the vehicle. High driver visibility is essential to safe road traffic.

Driving Standards Agency (DSA). Executive agency of the Department of Transport whose aim is to promote road safety through the advancement of driving standards.

Examiner. A person approved by the DSA to conduct driving tests.

Forward planning. Looking well ahead and anticipating what actions are needed.

Give way lines. Dotted lines across the end of a road, indicating that you are approaching a major road.

Hazard. A danger requiring more care and skill than usual.

Highway Code. Booklet produced by the Department of Transport giving road traffic law, advice and rules for all road users.

Invoice price. The price a dealer pays to the manufacturer (OEM) for a vehicle.

Kangaroo. When loss of balance of clutch and accelerator causes the car to jump.

Manoeuvres. Movement such as reversing, turning in the road or parking which require more observation and skill in handling your vehicle.

Practical test. The driving test taken with an examiner in your car.

Provisional licence. A temporary licence which allows you to practise driving with a suitable person accompanying you.

Pass Plus. A course of post-test lessons with an approved instructor to introduce you to motorway and other aspects of more skilled driving.

Reading the rod. The skill of looking and planning ahead.

SIPDE. Is an acronym for the process used to make judgements and act in traffic (used by riders to improve their riding strategy). Experienced riders make this a practice so they are aware of what is going around them. It stands for:


Stall. When the engine stops because you made an error with your footwork.

Stop lines. Unbroken lines at the end of a road which mean you must stop before crossing them.

Test routes. Routes which examiners usually use when conducting a driving test.

Theory test. Routes which examiners usually use when conducting a driving test.

Theory Test Pass Certificate. The certificate which is issued by the DSA to prove you have passed your theory test.

True market value (TMV). The current price, or what you can expect to pay for the car.

Turn in the road. Turning the car round in a road so you are facing the opposite way (formerly known as the three point turn).

Courtsey - Passing Your Driving Tests: How to Be Prepared and Feel Confident of Success, by Oatridge, Angela.
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