Top 10 test failures

Contrary to beliefs, you start your driving test with a pass. It’s up to you to earn a fail.
Observations at junctions

Driving off the edge of a cliff is a bit of an exaggeration. But poor observations at junctions is one of the top 10 reasons that people fail.

You’ll be marked with this fault for not taking effective observation before emerging at junctions, and emerging into the path of other vehicles. Always make sure it’s safe before proceeding.

(Oh, and don’t wolf-whistle – it’s really not cool).
2. Moving off safely
Moving off safely
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Moving off safely makes it into our top 10.

When you’re moving off from the side of the road, you need to make sure you look around, check your blind spots – and that you’re indicating the right way!

3. Use of mirrors
Use of mirrors
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Well OK, people don’t sit combing their hair on their driving test, but not using mirrors properly is one of the top 10 reasons people fail.

Remember that you need to use your rear view mirror and wing mirrors – and react to the information! People get caught out for pulling up with no mirror checks, increasing their speed with no mirror checks, or using their mirrors too late.

4. Reverse parking

The next reason is reverse parking. In the driving test you’ll either do a parallel park on the road, or reverse into a parking bay at the test centre.

You’ll notch up a fault in this area if you need to reposition to correct a loss of control or accuracy. A complete misjudgement or significant loss of control will count as a serious fault.
5. Response to traffic lights
Response to traffic lights
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Giving the right response to traffic lights is something that catches people out.

Some of the mistakes that people make include waiting at a green filter light when it’s safe to proceed and staying at the stop line when it’s safe to move.

Other faults that count include not conforming to a red light, and stopping beyond an advanced stop line in the area designated for cyclists.

6. Steering
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Believe it or not, steering makes it into our top 10.

You need to be able to maintain a steady course in normal driving. Things like mounting and dismounting the kerb, and not following the contour of the kerb results in faults in this area.

7. Positioning
Well that might be a very extreme example, but positioning is really important.

Your vehicle should be positioned correctly for the route you’re taking. If lanes are marked, make sure you’re in the middle of the lane. Avoid straddling lanes.
8. Turning right at junctions
Turning right at junctions
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Turning right at junctions makes it onto our list.

When you’re turning right, position your vehicle correctly – it shouldn’t cut the corner when turning right.

Also, watch out for cyclists and motorcyclists, and any pedestrians crossing the road.

9. Control when moving off
Control when moving off
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Is this the one everyone dreads doing?

Repeated stalling is one of the things that counts as control when moving off.

Other things that are included in this reason are moving off (or trying to!) with the handbrake on, rolling backwards when trying to move off – and not putting the car in gear and attempting to move off.

10. Response to road markings
Response to road markings
Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
And finally… look out for road markings.

You’ll be marked with faults in this area for doing things like unnecessarily crossing the solid white centre lines on the road, and not following directional arrows.

Stopping in a yellow box junction when the exit is not clear also counts for this reason. So make sure you know the rules about using them.

Prepare to pass
It’s normal to be nervous before your test, but if you’re properly prepared and your instructor thinks you’re ready, then there’s really no reason to worry.

On average, people who pass the test have had 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of private practice.

Your examiner’s not trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you can drive.

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Audi renewable fuel?

Well sort of,read below. If this takes off it will reduce the costs of fuel dramatically particularly if they liquefy it.
Audi to Make Fuel Using Solar Power
The automaker is using technology from SolarFuel to make renewable methane for natural-gas vehicles.

By Kevin Bullis on January 25, 2013


Renewable energy needs a more cost-effective form of storage.

Gas maker: SolarFuel operates this 250-kilowatt demonstration plant that produces methane from carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Audi is building a plant that will use solar and wind power to make methane from water and carbon dioxide. The plant, which will use technology developed by Stuttgart, Germany-based SolarFuel, is scheduled to start operation later this year. It will produce enough methane to power 1,500 of Audi’s new natural-gas vehicles, which also go on sale this year.

SolarFuel’s process uses excess renewable energy generated as a result of Germany’s push to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. There’s now so much renewable energy in Germany that supply sometimes exceeds demand—such as when the wind is blowing late at night. That power could be cheap enough to make methane from water and carbon dioxide, even though the process for doing so is inefficient.

SolarFuel says its approach may be a solution to one of the biggest challenges with renewable energy—its variability. Methane, which can be stored in existing natural-gas storage facilities, provides a convenient, long-term option for storing the energy.

To make the methane, SolarFuel combines two existing technologies. One is electrolysis, which splits water to produce hydrogen and oxygen. The other is methanation, which combines hydrogen with carbon from carbon dioxide to make methane. The company says its innovation lies in the way it’s combined the two processes.

SolarFuel’s chief customer officer, Stephan Rieke, says that the amount of excess renewable energy in Germany grew, in two years, from 150 gigawatt-hours per year to 1,000 gigawatt-hours per year. “That’s electricity that we could use for nothing,” he says. The amount is expected to continue to grow as Germany pursues ambitious goals to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 using largely renewable energy (see “The Great German Energy Experiment”).

SolarFuel can’t compete directly with the wholesale price of natural gas. But it hopes to compete with biogas—methane produced from organic sources—a relatively large industry in Germany. It may also compete with retail natural-gas prices by building its plants close to consumers.

The uses of the technology outside of Germany—with its excess supply of cheap renewable energy—will be limited. The company is in talks with mining companies in Chile that currently get power from expensive diesel generation—its system could help such operations cut costs. The technology might also be attractive for rural communities without grid power (see “How Solar-Based Microgrids Could Bring Power to Millions”).

One major drawback of the process is its inefficiency. Its small-scale demonstration systems are only 40 percent efficient at converting electricity to methane. It hopes to improve that to 60 percent efficient in its commercial plants. Even then, when factoring in the losses from burning methane to generate electricity again, the overall process is at best 30 percent efficient. SolarFuel hopes to recoup much of that lost energy by using it for steam, but doing that is limited by the demand for steam and the infrastructure for distributing it.

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