People are nervous about taking their Driving Test and have worries about how they will perform on the big day. These driving test tips highlight the pitfalls and what you can do to increase your chances of passing?
Steve Kingham has been a driving instructor giving driving lessons in Bournemouth with Kinghams Driving School for twenty years. Steve has helped hundreds of people to pass their test in Bournemouth and lists the main reasons people fail. He also lists some driving test tips to help give you insight into what is expected and how to pass.
To pass the practical test candidates must not commit any serious or dangerous faults and less than 16 minor faults. Driving test candidates are expected to complete one reversing manoeuvre, possibly an emergency stop, and a 20 minute independent drive. During the independent drive, students follow road signs or SatNav to a specified. Most of the test will involve the examiner directing you junction by junction.
Driving test tips – The main reasons people fail are:
- Poor Observation – candidate rushes or misreads a junction leaving too little time to make effective observation.
- Inappropriate Use of Speed – driving either too slow or too fast for the conditions.
- Inaccurate Positioning at Junctions – before turning right, either too far forward, too far back from junction or too far to the left (obstructing traffic passing on your left) or too far to the right (obstructing oncoming traffic).
- Incorrect Driving Position – too far to the left or right, wrong position on roundabouts, straddling lane lines etc.
- Lack of Steering Control – steering too late, too early, too quickly or too slowly.
- Moving Away Safely – non effective observation.
- Incorrect Use of Signals – signalling too early, too late, cancelling signals late and not signalling when necessary.
- Use of Mirrors – not looking in mirrors when necessary and/or not acting on what is seen in the mirrors.
- Reverse Park Maneouvre – ineffective observation and a lack of accuracy.
- Reverse Around a Corner Maneouvre – ineffective observation and a lack of accuracy.
One of the main driving test tips is suggested by Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency research and shows that learner drivers who pass the driving test have 47 hours of professional instruction and 20 hours of private practice. People who think they can skimp on their driving lessons should realise this is of the best driving test tips!
Here are the driving test tips for passing the driving test first time.
- Trust your driving instructor – be advised by your driving instructor on roughly how many lessons you may need and roughly when you’ll be ready for your driving test. No instructor can be certain as he/she cannot control the rate at which you learn and pick up skills. Unfortunately everyone is different. If you have a test booked and your driving instructor believes you won’t be ready in time then trust their judgement and re-book for a later date. You will know when you are ready as you will be driving for long periods without any instructor intervention.
- Don’t skimp on your driving lessons – some candidates do not understand the high standard of driving needed to pass the driving test and consequently expect to pass with a minimum of effort and a minimum number of driving lessons. Learning to drive is extensive and expensive but taking your driving test too soon is a false economy and is dangerous. Professional advice is essential so please ask to your driving instructor.
- Get to know the driving test area – if you have been taking professional driving lessons with a reputable school such as Kinghams Driving School then you will get to know all the tricky bits in your area. However, you should be taught to drive rather than just taught the test routes.
- Reversing – make sure you can carry out the reversing manoeuvre without any faults otherwise you may worry about it to the point of effecting the overall drive.
- Driving Documentation – avoid last minute panic on the day by making sure you know exactly where your U.K provisional driving licence is well in advance of your driving test date.
- Talk your way through it – You may find it helps with concentration when you talk yourself through your driving test (under your breath if you prefer) and tell yourself what’s in front and how to react. It really focuses the mind and it’s called commentary driving.
- Don’t be afraid to ask – the driving examiners are very good and clear when communicating what they want you to do and where they want you to go. They will be happy to clarify directions if you want them to, so just ask.
- Going the wrong way – if you realise you are in the wrong lane or heading in the wrong direction, avoid changing lane or position unless you have plenty of time to use your mirrors, signal and manoeuvre safely, giving other traffic enough time to assess and react to your change of position. Always avoid sudden lane changes and follow the lane you are in. Try and avoid it though as it can increase the duration of your test! You will not fail the driving test for going the wrong way.
- Look at the road, not the mark sheet – you may notice the driving examiner marking the driving test report sheet during your drive. Make sure you concentrate on the road and not on the driving examiner. You won’t be able to see what is written and it will distract your attention from the road ahead.
- Stalling – if you stall the car just sort it out. If you were moving off when it happened it may be more convenient to leave the car in 1st gear, with the clutch fully down of course, apply the handbrake if necessary and restart the engine. As long as you don’t stall in a dangerous position you’ll be fine.
- Mistakes – most people make some mistakes on their driving test. If you make a mistake, put it behind you and concentrate on what’s coming up. Dwelling on your mistakes takes your mind off the road and increases the chance of an unsuccessful result.
- Did that fail me? – if you think you’ve done something wrong then you are probably right. However do not assume you have failed the driving test because of it as the result depends on the driving examiners opinion and the circumstances at the time. Only the driving examiner is qualified to judge.
- Be positive and confident – remember you have every reason to be positive when taking your driving test. You driving instructor has every confidence in your ability to pass the test otherwise he/she would have postponed it.
The driving test tips above will help you get a better idea of what’s required to pass your test. Take away the mystery and any concerns and prepare positively for your driving test.
If you need help or advice please contact Steve Kingham through the Kinghams Driving School website. You’ll also find lots of other useful information about driving lesson prices, intensive driving courses. It may be useful to check out the DVSA Driving Test Syllabus.