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Thursday, July 28, 2005

The End of the War... I.R.A to lay down Arms and Cease the Armed Struggle

A great day today as news just in of the Historic IRA cessation!

As an honorary (hopefully )Irishman, having lived here for almost all my working life and with my two daughters born and brought up as Irish citizens, I applaud the announcement and the huge amount of work to bring this about.Congratulations are due to all the parties involved and hopefully we can all continue to build on this momentous political development.

All of us here in Ireland are benefitting from our new found wealth which arrived after many years of hardship and sacrifice. Long may it continue; and it is sure to do so, as further economic progress is inevitable both North and South.
Here in Limerick we have seen the most amazing rebuilding of the city in the last five to seven years and it is now vibrant and bustling with many new immigrants looking to make their way in the World. Todays announcement will fuel even further prosperity I believe, and make us a life that will be fulfilling and enjoyable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Driving Force behind this Blog and the Articles so far.

As you may be aware this Blog is just under two months old and comes about as a result of many months of computer study and the purchase of too many courses to mention here! As a professional Driving Instructor with the first Driving School web site in the region I thought I would be retired by now having made my Millions.What a thrill to have a web site... and apart from a few visitors that did contact me, that was as far as the thrill went!

Fast forward five years to June 2005 and a newsletter hit my inbox which I could not put down know the feeling..... Of course wading through literally mountains of e-mails and courses takes a huge amount of time and like most Internet Newbies I became swamped by the information overload to the extent that I am now unsubscribing from a lot of newsletters with just a very few exceptions,

Ever since the discovery of Jim "smackdown" Edwards and his first personal e-mail reply to me, I knew that things would definitely get better if only I could stop thinking and start acting .
The e-mail that morning hit me with such a jolt that I got stuck in and my Arrive Alive blog was born! Getting something going,however bad or amateurish the early results might be is infinitely better than just wishing and hoping.Of course in the two months that have followed I have not become a millionaire but I have learnt an aweful lot and each morning now I check my stats and do key word research,and wonder of wonders get new html posted to the template (with some difficulty I might add)

Its a bit like learning to seems to take for ever in the beginning and there is just so much to do all at once and then on a sunny day it suddenly all falls into place,and you have completed your apprenticeship and embark on a new exciting journey.

For those of you who are not aquainted with Jim Edwards he is probably one of the most down to earth success stories you are ever likely to meet(even if it is only on the end of an e-mail).I am enclosing one of his articles from earlier on this year which I hope will interest you .I do own many of Jim's books which are real eyeopeners .If you want to learn about anything to do with marketing on the Internet buy them all it will be money well invested in your future.there are several other Web Authors whose work I admire but we will leave these for another occasion.
In the meantime enjoy the article.
just one of Jim's web sites.

Can You Survive In An Online World?

- by Jim Edwards

© Jim Edwards - All Rights reserved

Do you have the skills to make it in a computer driven,
increasingly online world?

Your immediate, knee-jerk reaction may be "Yes! Of course I
have the skills."

"I know how to send and receive email and surf the web."

"I can even download and install files."

Well, three or four years ago, email, Web surfing and
downloading files qualified you as "electronically
literate," but not any more! Computer and online survival
skills now encompass much more than that.

Surviving in an online world involves maintaining a high
degree of "electronic literacy," which means focusing on
and developing skills in the following areas:

** Personal Computer skills **

In the old days of 1998, the ability to use a computer,
keyboard and mouse rated anyone as computer-literate.

In fact, you were a real pro if you could burn a CD, scan
documents and manipulate digital pictures.

Fast forward to today and "personal computer skills"
carries a whole new meaning. You must know how to maintain
and update not only anti-virus, but "anti-spyware," and
firewall software too.

You also need to understand how operating with Windows ME,
or 2000, or XP will affect your ability to use certain
software along with specific security precautions to avoid
trouble from hackers.

** Internet Skills **

In the bygone era of 1998, friends considered you an online
genius if you possessed basic surfing and navigation

They watched in awe as you used search engines like (a long-defunct search engine) to find and
download programs, pictures, and information on specific

Now electronic literacy means the ability to set up,
upload, and maintain basic web pages and blogs.

It also means understanding terms such as "RSS" and "news
aggregator" because that's the next generation of how
information will get disseminated online (and it arrives
for the masses this year).

** Email Skills **

Perhaps the most deceptively simple of all the areas of
electronic literacy, email actually presents the most
challenges for keeping up with the times.

Previously, clicking the "send and receive" button meant
you were proficient at using email.

Now, because of spam, viruses and "phishing scams"
(identity theft schemes delivered through email), email
requires a whole new set of skills, "street smarts" and
software just to survive.

You must understand how to use an email "preview" program
such as to eliminate spam and virus email
messages before they ever reach your computer.

You also must learn to protect your identity and avoid
"phishing scams" by learning to recognize and defend
against online con-artist tactics.

** Buy or Borrow Expertise **

Though you should constantly upgrade your skills through
personal education, nobody can do or know it all (except
maybe your know-it-all bother in law).

The good news is that you can always buy or borrow someone
else's expertise to solve any online challenge.

A prime example of outsourcing in the consumer market is
all the little stores popping up in strip malls to help you
sell your stuff on eBay.

Through outsourcing, online survival skills can also mean
taking what was previously the exclusive realm of computer
geeks and making it as easy as dropping off the dry

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the co-
author of an incredible ebook that will teach you how
to write and publish your own highly profitable ebook in a
week or less... even if you failed high school English

Why are some people getting rich selling their ebooks?

Jim Edwards and Joe Vitale have created the *ultimate* guide
"How to Write and Publish your own Outrageously
Profitable eBook... in as little as 7 Days!"
FREE Details:

Friday, July 22, 2005

10 Good Reasons for Taking Driving Lessons.

In a driving context, most of the decisions that you take and the techniques that you employ, will have both an economic and a safety impact. The decision to take driving lessons is really a simple one but one that will have far reaching consequences well into the future. Most, if not all, poor or dangerous habits in today’s drivers stem from the lack of professional tuition at the outset. In this second in a series of articles designed to assist today’s learner drivers we will have a look at the benefits in taking Professional Tuition.
1. Taking lessons will greatly improve your chances of staying safe and accident free since providing you retain what you have been taught, you will be probably better than many motorists who have been driving for considerably longer. Lack of sufficient training, or even no training at all which is common in Ireland, will inevitably lead to accidents at a very early stage in the driving career. Accidents are to be avoided at all costs.

After all isn’t the safety of the driver, the passengers and other road users the paramount priority?

2. A course of lessons at the start of your driving career and not one month from your Driving Test, will give you the confidence you need to continue the learning process, and will form the foundation for safe motoring.
3. Taking a course of lessons will give you the chance to be accepted by an insurance company for your first Insurance policy. In fact most companies will insist on a minimum number of lessons completed by a recognised school, before a son or daughter will be admitted onto a Parent’s policy.
4. On a very topical note, the Irish Insurer Hibernian, in conjunction with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, has extended its successful Ignition scheme to provisional license holders since January 2005.Learner drivers that pass the one hour driving assessment, will be offered a 21% reduction on their insurance. This is a substantial reduction for any new driver, particularly young males under 25 years of age, and well worth achieving. Just being in the possession of a provisional license will not suffice to pass this test. A course of lessons will be needed in order to achieve the required standard and the test should not be booked until quite a high level of both competence and confidence has been reached.
5. Passing the Department of Transport Driving Test, sooner rather than later, will result in further reductions in already high Insurance costs. Lessons taken just before the Driving Test will not cut it in today’s Test environment; there is just too much to learn if one wants to be successful first time out.
6. The long waiting list for the Irish Driving Test is a great inconvenience for many learner Drivers and also their Driving Instructors. The long wait is accentuated by the huge numbers of learners who do not prepare adequately with a professional school and then are forced to re sit their Test sometimes several times over. Career aspirations can easily be affected if the journey to a full License is overly prolonged.
7. Obtaining a full driving license promptly will speed up the reduction in your insurance premiums via your annual no claims bonus, providing of course you are not involved in any accidents.
8. As a fully licensed Driver you will have much greater opportunity to shop around for a competitive insurance quote, since there are only a very few companies who will insure provisional license holders and then only at a huge premium.
9. As an addition to item number 4 as a fully licensed Driver, you may apply for the more advanced Hibernian Ignition course, providing you are in your first five years of driving .This is a full day course, the cost of which can be recouped, if you pass the practical driving assessment at the end of the day. The reduction in insurance premium for the successful candidate can be upwards of 30%, so again very worthwhile .Drivers in this category should take a refresher course with a driving school to ensure that any bad habits or techniques are eradicated. Once again it is worth pointing out that the length of your driving experience is not a guarantee of success unless you started on the right foot to begin with!
10. If, in the early days of your working life you are unlucky enough to find yourself jobless through either, takeovers, cutbacks or closures, a full Driving License will enable you to pick up an interim job very quickly while you regroup and examine your future options. There is a shortage of drivers to fill current vacancies in Europe, particularly in the commercial sector so there are great opportunities for young qualified drivers who have been well trained.

Both career and promotional opportunities abound for the fully licensed driver in any organisation. Faced with two candidates of similar qualifications, an employer will naturally favour the person with the full license pretty much every time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ten Tips on Choosing Your Irish Driving Instructor

First of all let’s examine why you would need a Driving Instructor in order to learn how to drive. Sure everyone needs a teacher, advisor or instructor, don’t they, when facing up to a new challenge? Or do they? Which comes first, the Chicken or the Egg?

Would you go out and Order an expensive Steinway Piano, never having played a note?

Would you go to your local swimming pool and jump in the deep end if you had never been in the water before?

Would you ring up your local light Aircraft Company and order a Cessna for next day delivery and ask them to have it tanked up and ready to go?

How about booking a two week scuba Diving holiday in the Aegean when all your experience to date is a deck chair on the beach at Torremolinos?

All of the above scenarios are about as inconceivable as you can possibly imagine; yet thousands of Irish learner Drivers are doing the equivalent every day of the week. Why so? Well it is a combination of the previously lax laws and now that we do actually have some legislation heading us in roughly the right direction, the inability of the Garda to enforce them .Yes we have had a good deal of changes to our system of Driving Tests and Licensing recently but Mandatory tuition has yet to be enacted. When it is introduced, hopefully we will be on the slow uphill climb to some degree of motoring competence instead of the current Motoring mayhem which we currently enjoy.

Let’s now have a look at the type of Instructor you should be looking for.

1. Look through the Golden Pages and try to make a short list of those Driving Schools with a Web Site. You could of course, do a quick search on Google using various search terms. A School with a web site is one who takes their profession seriously and who will provide quite a lot of free, but invaluable information .Do not regard a web site as purely a smart way of attracting more pupils. Look at it as a way of getting some valuable info, together with an inside peek at who the Instructor might be, and how he or she does business.

2. Look for a school with qualified Instructors. Now in Ireland at present, but not for long, anyone can call themselves a qualified Instructor, never having so much as looked at an advanced Driving Course or taken any Examinations. We have The Driving Instructor Register here which has been examining Driving Tutors on a voluntary basis since 1996 .A good number of Driving Instructors have passed these exams and will be able to impart an advanced level of tuition.

3. Don’t just ring up a Driving School and with your first sentence ask what prices are your lessons. You are perfectly entitled to query prices, which will be very much the same from all established Schools. Schools that have not been established for long or who are desperate for business will be sometimes somewhat cheaper. Any one that is substantially less than the bunch should be avoided since this is not a profession that is cheap to run and today you get what you pay for .Cheap lessons are exactly that!

4. Ask the age of the Instructor and how long they have been driving. European Driving School standards require that an Instructor must have been driving on a full licence for at least three if not four years. Frankly, anyone with less than ten years driving experience will not have the necessary skills to be a worthwhile choice in my view .We are talking here about teaching pupils skills for life and not a half-hearted few lessons prior to the Driving Test, which sadly seems to be a favourite choice of a good many Irish learner Drivers.

5. Ask what make and model the Driving School car is. There are many models in use by Driving Schools and of course all Instructors tend to have their own particular favourites. Diesel models are extremely economical for the Instructor who lives in the country and who does a lot of mileage. Diesel models are on the increase due to their improved performance over past years and their economy. They also hold their value well and while a little more expensive to maintain they go on for ever if looked after.

6. Ask the Instructor whether or not country road and high speed carriageway Driving are include in the Teaching Syllabus. These form a large part of your every day driving in Ireland and are very important skills to have right from the start. Ask yourself the question...are you going to be spending the bulk of your driving career, driving around your local area or into town and back; or are you going to be visiting the Coast, going on Holiday to the far reaches of the country or even Dublin. Of course you are; after all isn’t this why you are buying a car in the first place? If you are only concerned with transporting yourself within your local area it’s much cheaper, believe me, to hire a Taxi!

7. Ask your proposed Instructor does she or he give Motorway Tuition. While we don’t have the same level of Motorways here in Ireland, as in the U.K or Europe, we do have stretches between major cities and particularly in the Dublin area and of course over the coming years there will be many more miles of Motorway I am sure. These marvels of Engineering require a higher degree of skill and lots of practise in your car before one can safely negotiate Dublin or abroad. This is why Learner Drivers are not permitted on Motorways. We are lucky here in Limerick, in that we have a new ring road carriageway, spanning about 20 miles which is identical in layout and signage to a Motorway apart from the speed limit and the colour of said signs. Perfect for legal high speed Motorway style practise within five minutes or so drive from most parts of the City.

8. Most Driving Schools will usually book lessons at least a week ahead, so don’t expect to ring up and get a lesson that day or even the next. Occasionally if you are lucky, and the School has a vacant slot they will take you but it’s the exception rather than the rule. If the School can’t take you for a week be patient it will be well worth the wait.

9. A good Driving Instructor will ask you for a fair bit of information on the phone in order to gauge your level of skill. He or she will ask questions that may not seem relevant, when all you, as a pupil want to do is to get behind the wheel .Believe me they will be; they will all be designed to build up your driver profile and should not be construed as being nosy!

10. A Professional Instructor will take with a pinch of salt your efforts at explaining just how well you can drive and how you only need a bit of practise here and there at reversing or hill starts. Don’t be defensive, you are about to learn one of the most important life building and life saving skills. A good Instructor will not venture out in your own car, if you already have one, until he or she has seen your capabilities or you have described in great detail your experience. eg. one years driving and getting ready to sit the Driving Test.

This is the first in a series of “Ten Tips” to better and safer Driving.
About the Author: - Robin Piggott has spent a lifetime behind the wheel and is passionate about his Profession (and many other pursuits as well).The next generation of Drivers needs to develop a passion for excellence if they are to stay safe and arrive alive!Visit the Astral School of Motoring Web Site at: -


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Irish Tales from the Dark Side.An Instructor's Diary.

An alternative title for this article could be “Don’t Think buying a new car will solve all your ills because it won’t!
Fast rewind to a balmy summer’s day in 1997, the location-- Limerick and our intrepid Instructor is seen to approach his chosen Automobile supplier cheque book at the ready. A really exciting time, buying a new car for cash for the first (and probably last) time in his life, so you would think. Think again, the storm clouds are brewing (Actually I think they may coagulate)

It’s worth while pointing out at this stage that the car had been ordered some time before and a set of OEM Alloy wheels were to be fitted. Enter showroom with big smile on face, to be met with an equally expansive smile from the Service Manager, who was an old friend and Motoring adviser from many years previously. I am sure the Salesman would have preferred to have dealt with me himself but in this world it’s who you know not what you know, if you get my drift .Back in those days, before the glistening new stainless steel and glass Emporiums that we are used to today when we visit main dealers, it was a bit rough and ready and no cappuccino on tap. Still, all was calm, friendly, and full of expectation. At this stage no hint of what was to come

Your car is ready Sir; the usual pleasantries of being ushered to the waiting Beast (and it did turn out to be just that!) and a silence while we were allowed time to gasp and smile and generally feel good about ourselves. The car did look magnificent with its metallic blue paint, gleaming alloy wheels and electric front windows and other niceties.
This was a Wednesday, in the month of August, and the sun was shining, the birds singing (no rain for a change) and all was well as we completed the formalities and prepared for our new experience. It was indeed a great thrill but I was not to last! A few hours later with just 70 miles on the clock all the electrics went and out the window went my hopes, to be replaced with a foreboding that, as it turned out was wholly justified.

The first problem with the car would not have been so bad had it not been for the fact that my two Daughter’s and I were booked on the Irish Car ferry to the UK on the following Sunday at 8.00am.My heart sank as I realised that there were only two days or less to get the car roadworthy. In the event of the vehicle not being ready in time, a replacement car and the necessary Insurance cover would have to be ready by close of play on the Friday and this was now 2.00pm Wednesday. Not good!

Back at the showroom, with smiles long since forgotten, campers were unhappy to say the least. I forget which car we drove home and was preparing for the worst, which did actually happen. The fault could not be diagnosed and we reluctantly accepted another replacement car, slightly bigger, to take us on our adventure. We were all extremely disappointed not to be able to show off our new machine to relatives and friends but as it turned out, the larger car was a great benefit on the return journey with all the extra accumulations that a 2000 mile trip does to a small family car.

Two weeks later, safely home from an exhausting round of Family, Friends and Motorway overdose, we looked forward to retrieving our real car; as I am sure, it too, was looking forward to its new owner (or was it?)
It transpired that two or three Auto Electrical Engineers had failed to locate the problem and with the hours ticking away fast to the arrival of the owner, some emergency action was required if a lynching (or worse) was to be avoided. Said Service Manager took the Bull by the Horns and proceeded very quickly, but quite by chance, to discover the malfunction. A simple short circuit on the steering column when the steering wheel was at the fully locked position.

Problem solved---- Happy Campers again …not for long sadly! Never having had such a debilitating situation, (at least in the motoring sense!) with any new car before, over the previous twenty seven years, I felt confident that the worst was over .It was only just beginning and it would be come a lot worse over the next twelve months and beyond.
Clearly my plans for the future which included guaranteed, trouble free motoring, had taken a severe knockdown or as Jim Edwards would say a “Friday night smackdown”. Jim, as some of you will know is a master Internet Marketing Guru and Author although he doesn’t like the term. I will put his URL in the resource box at the end, for those of you who are interested in a real life success story. I have Jim to thank for helping me to get down and dirty with my word processor and who knows maybe one day I will be able to afford to walk into a Car showroom again and buy the damn place and then maybe, just maybe, I will get some service.

It’s just too exhausting, reliving those heady days, for more than an hour at a time, so the rest of the story and it’s a long one, will follow in the next chapter. In the mean time drive safely and remember learning is a lifetime occupation.

P.S. I have Jim Edwards to thank for finally getting the Word processor dusted down.Jim as many of you will know is a noted Internet Author and Entrepreneur and for those of you who have yet to discover his work I enclose his url (one of many ).

P.P.S. If you are looking for Information on a wide variety of topics visit ezine articles, one of the Web's best Article Directories.All our articles are published there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Show Me---Tell Me.The New Technical Checks of The Irish Driving Test

The latest round of changes to the Irish Driving Test were implemented on, Feb.14th 2005, as part of a chain of E.U.Directives.

Test Candidates are now required to have a basic level of mechanical knowledge, which any good professional School of Motoring would have been teaching from day one in any event.

The car of today is a very different beast compared with its grandparents and any driver, young or old, should have a range of skills that enable them to identify problems and take the necessary remedial action.

The Driving Examiner will select three questions at random from a list of technical aspects which will include opening the bonnet. While it is not exactly space technology, the ability to identify this range of equipment and to describe how individual checks would be performed, does require some thought and a little practise. Some of the equipment will have accompanying warning lights on the instrument panel some does not, so some of the requirements will already be known (hopefully!)

Candidates will be asked to explain how they would perform checks on three out of the following list:-
Engine Oil: Coolant: Steering: Brakes: Horn: Indicators: Lights: Tyres: Reflectors: Windscreen washer.

The under the Bonnet checks relate to:-Power Steering Fluid; Brake Fluid; Engine Oil; Engine Coolant; and Windscreen washer Fluid. In a newer car all of these pieces of equipment are easily identifiable by coloured tops to the various reservoirs, which have an easily recognisable icon painted or etched into them. The location of these five essential items does vary a little from model to model so if you have changed your car in the lead up to the Driving Test then spend a few minutes double checking.

In the event of very bad weather (rarely a feature of the Irish climate) it is unlikely that the Examiner will ask for the bonnet to be opened but since he or she has already spent time outside the car, checking brake lights and indicators and paperwork, it’s not impossible. If he or she is a fisherman or a boating enthusiast then a few drops of rain will be water off a duck’s back. Just keep an eye on the weather and ensure that your heater or demist controls are pre-set .Two persons in the car during rainy weather will mist up the windows extremely quickly and the candidate needs to be equally deft with the controls.

Questions on brakes will cover both the footbrake and handbrake, and on steering will deal with cars that both have power steering and those that don’t .Of course there are still a few older cars out there without P.A.S. It’s worth adding to the list , one more item of importance to the Driver—that of the Alternator and it’s drive belt .The fact that all the above need to be demonstrated on the Driving Test should not detract from the need to perform these checks on a regular weekly basis. It is precisely because of the importance of all these pieces of equipment and their monitoring, that it was deemed essential to include them in the scope of the Driving Test.

Show Me –Tell Me……..Below is an example of the question and answer technique to one of the Test Questions .The full questions and answers will be provided in another follow up article and on the Astral School of Motoring website shortly.

Checking the Oil Level.
“Show me the Oil filler cap and tell me how you would check for the correct level of Oil in the Engine”…Examiner
“Here is the oil filler cap and to check the oil level I would first withdraw the Oil Dip Stick, wipe it clean and then replace it momentarily. I would then withdraw the dip stick again and ensure that the level of oil showing was between the minimum and maximum marks on the base of the dip stick, preferably nearer the maximum mark. In the event of the oil level being lower than the half way mark I would top up to the maximum level”…Candidate

This latter sentence has been put in for good measure since it’s not much good knowing how you would check the oil if you didn’t then follow through on the result!

Since all equipment in your car needs to be in tip top shape and regularly inspected if we are to stay safe and avoid accidents, look on the acquisition of these technical skills as two sides of the same coin ….Safety and Economy .If you look after your equipment you will be both safe and economic. In a number of future articles we will explore the advantages of correct techniques and the impact they will have on your safety AND your bank balance.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Irish Driving Scene.An Instructors Perspective.

The Driving Environment

Today’s motoring environment is very different to that of thirty or even fifteen years ago for a number of key reasons and we will examine these to get an idea of the kind of skills needed to survive in today’s world and stay accident free.
For the first time in over one hundred and fifty years our population has exceeded 4 million and continues to increase steadily.
The age of our population is quite unique and according to the 2002 census there are approximately 640,200 people in the 15 – 24 age bracket who are in, or approaching, the age at which they will want to drive. Lets be clear on this point …every person in today’s Ireland will aspire to drive and own a car in this prosperity environment, for career, family and social reasons .In the past until you had the potential to be able to own a car it was quite common not to bother to learn to drive. Those that needed to get to work from a distance tended to rely on neighbours and friends or relatives to be the ever present chauffeur. It’s very common today for an exodus from the city limits out to the open country to live, with huge numbers of houses, sorry mansions; being constructed at seemingly breakneck speed. The draw of the country air and the sweet sounds of birds in the morning seems to be an irresistible magnet for the city dweller. A car or three is taken for granted. Of course , we are a nation of keen gardeners now and the regular trip to the garden centre could not be undertaken by public transport because it doesn’t exist in most rural areas. All of this means that we have a far greater number of cars and drivers on the road than thirty years ago and at different times of day due to many variations in working hours. So there is hardly a time when you are unlikely to meet another vehicle. Six am during the working week can be just as dangerous as five thirty rush hour.
Learner Drivers
Current numbers of learner Drivers are estimated at 350,000 and this continues to be swelled by the increase in our immigrant population, both expatriates and non-nationals setting up home here for the first time. The waiting list for a Driving Test has reached an all time high due mainly to these demographics, but also to the relatively small number of Driving Examiners
. This situation is being addressed at the moment with the probability of an outside agency being drafted in to undertake a further 40,000 Driving Tests over the course of a year .While it is unfortunate that all drivers have to wait such a long time in order to sit their Test it is an opportunity for them to learn some very essential skills and to prepare well for the Test.
It is very common for candidates to leave their lessons to the last moment which very often produces a negative result. Worse still, is the mistaken belief that the longer one is driving the greater chance of passing the Driving Test. Without professional lessons the chances of passing the Test are pretty remote; but more crucial will be the lack of basic skills leading to accidents which can and should be preventable .Passing the Driving Test, while certainly a milestone in a person’s driving career, is only the beginning of a life –long process not the end.
Professional Tuition
Safe Driving for Life can be achieved, with the correct mind set and the knowledge that good basic driving skills are the foundation for the learning process and need to be provided by Professional Instructors and not relatives or friends. Practise with Mum or Dad is very useful but only in conjunction with proper Tuition. Being able to move a car down the road and perhaps change a gear or two and even steer out of trouble is not the level of skill needed to stay alive and is about as far from the required Driving Test standard as we are from the Moon.(about 250,000 miles, sorry 400,000Km at the last count).I am not suggesting that we need to drive a quarter of a million miles

New Technology
The development of technology over the last number of years has had a big impact on the driving environment both positive and negative. Better roads and road markings make the driving experience much more pleasurable especially on major thoroughfares; however despite the millions of Euro spent on the main road infrastructure, Irish country roads will probably remain as they have always been, difficult and full of danger for the novice or Tourist Driver.
Legislation, most of which has emanated from Europe, has contributed to better maintained cars, that are more Eco-friendly and more easy to drive. Having said that, a car will quite easily go off and do its own thing if the driver has not got the ability to control it under all kinds of weather and road conditions.
Cars are much better insulated than years ago so the impression of speed is nothing like what it was thirty or forty years ago when you really knew you were travelling at 70mph.Wind noise and vibration kept you alert and aware! Even small family cars today have the ability to travel at 100mph (or 156kph) without too much coaxing .Back then a much larger capacity engine of say 1500 cc had a top speed of around 75mph (120kph).This ease of speed gives new and novice drivers the opportunity to far exceed their capabilities without realising it .
In today’s Ireland we have virtually full employment and many sectors are suffering from a lack of skilled employees, the commercial driving sector being one of many. More jobs and the need to get to those jobs on time has created a society that is flush with prosperity and awash with an ever increasing number of new cars on the road. The opportunities now being created for younger people with full Driving Licenses are many. Indeed most occupations now require you to have a full driving license and it certainly looks good on a C.V. especially if you are in the younger age bracket. So get to it all you young ones and don’t leave it till later on in your career…. Do it now!
Most of these new cars on the road are being piloted by Learner Drivers, a good proportion of whom, do not take driving lessons professionally.
Unlike most of the rest of our European Neighbours, we do not yet have mandatory tuition for learner drivers, although it is being proposed. Therefore we have a situation whereby learner drivers can buy a car and just head off into the wide blue yonder without the necessary skills to control what is essentially a lethal weapon. Our Accident statistics bear out this point and it would be of great benefit to the whole community to see a reduction in these horrific figures
Recent E.U. Directives have extended the scope of the Driving Test and not before time. There has to be at least a basic knowledge of instruments and equipment before you can pass the Driving Test today but there are still many areas of driving expertise that do not come within the remit of the Irish Driving Test. An emergency stop; country road driving; high speed carriageway experience and a greater emphasis on hazard perception would go a long way to improving standards on today’s roads by being incorporated into the Driving Test.

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