Supporting the NHS

Supporting the NHS. 

It is at times like this when the coronavirus is at pandemic levels, that amazing people up and down the country are stepping up to support the NHS and the wider community.  To date over 400,000 people have signed up online to support their communities via the government’s website.

We are also seeing the Thursday evening clap where residents are standing on their doorsteps and applauding the NHS and key workers who are working hard to keep the country moving.   This includes doctors, nurses, care and support workers, shop workers, bin men (and women), postal workers, delivery drivers, those in manufacturing and many more.  So a big well done to everyone who has stepped up to help and often putting themselves at risk in the process.


We all have a part to play

People right across the country are stepping up to assist others in need.  This includes volunteering to assist vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes with things like; shopping, collecting medications, offering phone support to the lonely, etc.

Many people have had to temporarily close businesses as they are unable to leave their homes as their businesses are closed because they are classed as non-essential.  This includes driving instructors.  It is encouraging to see that a large majority of driving instructors have also offered their help by signing up for the government’s scheme.

What am I doing?

As a member of St John’s Ambulance, I have been able to sign up to assist the NHS in a more clinical way.  This could in the near future included assisting nurses and carers in the NHS hospitals as and when required. It is still early days and at the moment, I have undertaken extra training provided by St John’s Ambulance to facilitate this.  Hopefully, some shift will come through soon as I really want to play my part in offering as much assistance as I can.  Having had to close my driving school temporarily I have plenty of time to offer.

Stay save in whatever you are doing

Whatever you are doing to assist others, or even if you are forced to remain in social isolation due to ill health please stay safe and well.  Try to remember that we can all play our part by following the government’s rules and recommendations on social distancing.  Together we stand and together we can get through this.  Hopefully, we will all be able to return to some sense of normality as soon as this horrible virus has been defeated. 

Sign up for lessons

Sign up for lessons. 

During these unprecedented times where countries across the world are in total lockdown and nothing is moving you can still make plans for the future.  There are no theory tests, practical driving tests or driving schools open for lessons (except to odd few for key workers) but you can still make plans for when this is all over and the country reopens for business again.


Practice your theory and hazard perception

Why not make the most of all the extra time we all have by practising for your theory test.  There are many great apps that you can download that offer the complete set of DVSA questions as well as the hazard perception clips.

Even though there are currently no theory tests available due to the test centres all being closed why not get one step ahead, then when the test centres reopen you will be all set and ready to book in and take that test.

I would recommend the ‘Driving Test 2020’ app by Driving Test success £4.99

There are also many online websites where you can practice your theory and hazard perception, as well as free app to download.  However, the majority of these free apps are limited and do not contain the latest DVSA question bank, so for the sake of a few pounds it is well worth paying for the app.


Get booked with a driving instructor


Even though all driving schools are currently closed down to all business (expect key workers) it could be a good plan to get your name on a driving instructors list so that as soon as daily restrictions are lifted and business begins to return to normal you will be able to start lessons.  Some driving schools may still have a waiting list, so plan ahead and try and get as close to the top of the list as you can.  Driving schools will also give priority to their existing pupils who wish to continue with their driving lessons.

Get on the list

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Temporary Closure

Temporary Closure. 

We will be back.  

Temporary closure of driving schools 

Due to the Coronavirus, it is regrettable but fully understandable that the government has ordered the closure of small businesses and shops.  Therefore driving schools have also been forced to close until further notice.  In order the bring the spread of the virus under control all citizens have been advised to keep a safe distance of at least 2 metres from others and only to leave their homes if it is absolutely necessary.  Social distancing would be impossible in the car so for everyone’s safety please be understanding at this time.

Theory & driving tests

The DVSA also took the decision to suspend all theory and practical tests shortly before the formal governments’ announcement.  Therefore until further notice, there will be no theory or practical tests, however, NHS and frontline key workers could still be offered the chance to take a test if it is urgently required.  If this is the case then the candidate will need to contact the DVSA by email for this to be arranged.

Any candidate that has had a test cancelled or postpone will be contacted directly by the DVSA and your tests will be rearranged free of charge.  Candidates will also have the option to request a full refund if it is required.

Don’t blame your instructor

These are unprecedented times for all of us, so please do not blame your instructor – all driving instructors are self-employed and do not get paid unless they work.  Myself and my colleagues are finding this situation very stressful and are waiting to hear if the government are going to do to help the self-employed.  It has only been a few days where we have all been asked to self-isolate and already we are wanting to get back to work – teaching people to drive is what we all enjoy doing and we are looking forward to returning to work as soon as we possibly can.

We will be back

Once the risks of the coronavirus have passed and the government have lifted the restrictions on the movement citizens we will be back to work.  It may take a while for the DVSA to get driving test up and running again so please be patient as there is nothing any of us driving instructors can do, other than to offer our learner drivers support.  We will look forward to getting back in the car and teaching again as soon as we are allowed to do so.


Thank you to  those amazing heroes still working

Please stay safe and well, stay indoors and follow the government’s advice.  Let’s all give a loud round of applause to the NHS staff, care workers, shop assistants, delivery drivers, emergency services and all of those who are still working and putting themselves at risk to keep the country running.


From all Driving Instructors up and down the country,

Paul Loader ADI
(Paul’s Automatic Driving School)

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update. 

Coronavirus Update
by Paul Loader ADI

Can driving lessons still go ahead?

Many people are getting in touch with their instructors to find out if driving lessons can still go ahead.  In short, the answer is yes they can.  There is no government advise or DVSA directive to instructors to cancel or postpone any driving lessons at this stage.

Due to the confined environment, the cars interior hygiene is very important.  The advice from a professional on the BBC news today stated that all driving instructors should ensure that the surfaces in the car are cleaned between each driving lesson.

Additional car cleaning and sanitising between all driving lessons using anti-bacterial wipes has been in practice for the last two weeks with my driving school now and will continue until further notice. 

Good Hand Hygiene

Providing all students and instructors continue to practice good hand hygiene the risks can be reduced.  It is recommendable to wash your hands directly before a driving lesson and then immediately after a lesson.  You should also avoid greeting your instructor with a handshake, just smile and say hello. You can also avoid touching any unnecessary surfaces in the car or between the car and home.

Self Isolation 

It is very important for the safety off all fellow citizens that if you or anyone you have been in contact with shows any signs of the virus that you immediately self isolate.  It is obvious that should this be the case that you cancel your lessons until you recover or cease to be a risk.  If all instructors and pupils are careful then hopefully the risk of contracting or spreading the virus during lessons will be minimal.

Theory Tests and Driving Tests

As you may be aware from the news the DVSA are taking preventative action and are temporally closing the Theory Test and Driving Test centres to protect staff from the coronavirus.  Any tests affected are being automatically rebooked and new appointments are being issued.

A candidate affected by a practical test cancellation will be able to claim back any out of pocket expenses that they incur if they need to cancel any driving lessons at short notice and incur a charge.   

Please note that any test cancellations or postponements are completely out of your instructor’s control. 

Paul's Automatic Driving School Basingstoke

Offering automatic driving lessons, classes and tuition in Basingstoke. 


Important Routines  for Learner Drivers. 

A post by Paul Loader ADI
Owner of Paul’s Automatic Driving School Basingstoke

Important Routines for Learner Drivers

Why learn routines

When you learn to drive with a DVSA Driving Instructor you should be taught a set of routines to make some sense of the endless list of things you are going to need to learn. Not all driving instructors teach these routines – but it is my opinion that they should, and I always try to make sure my learner drivers understand what they are.  These routines are often referred to in the theory test and on the driving test by the Driving Test Examiner from time to time.  The routines can add essential structure to the otherwise chaotic learning process that can occur when a pupil does not understand the order or sequence of basic tasks.  I have also found the absence of these routines can disadvantage a pupil who may have been struggling to learn a particular part of the syllabus.  Adding these routines can also accelerate learning and provide reassurance to struggling pupils.

In this post, I will list and give the basics of the routine but it will not be an in-depth explanation of the routines.


List of routines

– D-S-S-S-M,  Cockpit Drill (read)

– M-S-M,  Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre (read)

– P-O-M,  Prepare – Observe – Move (read)

– P-S-L,  Position – Speed – Look (read)



On your first driving lesson with an instructor, you should be introduced to the cockpit drill.  This is the very first thing you will do on all of your lessons thereafter to get the car ready for you to drive.

This routine is important as it will ensure you can reach all of the controls and set up the car mirrors correctly to ensure you can see what is behind and to the side of the vehicle.  It should also be done following the correct DSSSM sequence.







Perhaps one of the most important routines in driving and definitely something you should get used to as early into your learning as possible is the MSM routine.

– MIRROR (s)



1. Before you do anything that involves a change of speed, position or direction you should always ensure you check your mirrors very carefully to assess how you are going to affect other road uses and to ensure it is safe to carry out your maneuver.  Start with the middle mirror and then a side mirror (left or right) depending on which way you are going to be moving or turning. It is not necessary to check all three mirrors.

2. Once you have checked your mirrors then you can give a signal if it is required.  Make sure it is correct, correctly timed and not confusing. 

3. Then you can carefully and safely make your maneuver. 


To add some structure to moving off you can use the POM routine.  It is helpful to go through each stage in turn, it will also ensure you do not forget something important when moving off.




Preparing the car

1. Before you move away you need to prepare the car.  It is pointless looking around to see if it is safe to move away unless you are ready to go!

a) Turn on the engine

b) Put your foot on the brake and select drive (automatic lessons)

c) Remove handbrake,  keeping your foot on the footbrake so the car does not move.

Then the car is then prepared.  Use common sense as well, use your judgment at all times and only get the car ready if you are actually ready to go.


Once the car is prepared you need to check your mirrors and do not forget to check the blindspot.


Once you are prepared, have checked the mirrors and blindspot and it is safe to go you can move.  But always make sure it is safe to go first, double-check if you are unsure. 


There are many times the P S. L routine are used, but mainly at junctions. 





When dealing with junctions in the important that you position the vehicle in the correct position.  The correct position can also reaffirm a signal or can be used instead of a signal in some situations.


The correct and safe speed is always important.  Sometimes this can also mean coming to a complete stop.


Looking at the way ahead, and looking at junctions is highly important aspect of driving.  Always be on the lookout for hazards, other traffic, pedestrians and cyclists.  

Ford Fiesta Active (Eco Boost)

No Gears, No Clutch, No Stalling, No Rolling Backwards

You can learn to drive in an Automaitc Ford Fiesta Active that is easy to drive, comfortable and economical.

  • Additional Reversing Mirrors
  • Reversing Sensors
  • Dual Controlled Brake
  • Fully Automatic

Paul’s Automatic Driving School specialised in teaching automiatc driving lessons in Basingstoke.

Due to high processing fee’s any payments for block bookings should be made by bank transfer.  You can call or text 07854 245 494 to request the bank details.

The payment once recieved will then show in your pupil app under the payments section

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