Are you really ready for your practical driving test?

By John Lendrum - June 2nd, 2015 | Posted in Article

The UK driving test is one of the toughest there is, and the standard expected is high due to UK roads being so varied in terrain and width.

The main question is do you feel ready ? it is your driving test, and even though driving instructors tell you your ready and that you can do it, does that match you feelings, because if you do not feel ready then you wont pass.

 The national average in the UK first time pass rate last year was 47.1%, which is low, so over 50% of people failed a test last year, of which a high number may not have been ready. This was from the national statistics;

Year 2013/14

Pass rate – 47.1%

Tests passed with 0 faults – 11,984

Top ten reasons for failing

Junctions (observation)

Use of mirrors – (change direction)

Control (steering)

Junctions (turning right)

Response to signals (traffic lights)

Move off (safety)

Move off (control)

Positioning (normal driving)

Reverse park (control)

Response to signals (road markings)

Nerves play a large part on the day and this is hard to manage, however you have to think to yourself, can I drive without help from my instructor ? if the answer is yes then your ready and could get some remedies to help relax you which are not drug based. You can buy Rescue Remedy from the pharmacy which is a herbal remedy, speak to the pharmacist who can advise if it is for you and what ingredients it has. The idea of this remedy is it settles your nerves.

We have all heard the old tales that if you have your test on a Friday you will fail, the examiner has quotas to meet in pass and fail etc etc, these are all rubbish. The examiner when they arrive each day get sent a list of pupils they are examining and they get told which route, which reverse exercise, whether a emergency stop is required and what independent drive to take, so they don’t walk in on the day and decide where they are going. The only time this changes is due to an accident, road works or you go off route.

At the start of the test the examiner will ask to see your licence, photo card and paper licence or if you only have an old style paper licence will be asked to show your passport. Bring your theory certificate with you. The examiner will ask you to sign your assessment sheet saying the car is insured and you live in the UK. Once they are happy they will ask you if you would like to have your instructor with you, its YOUR choice not the instructors. They can sit in the back of the car, however they are not allowed to speak or help in any way. If you do have your instructor in the back remember the car will be heavier, which would mean a bit more acceleration.

Your test is between 35-45 minutes in duration and roads and speeds vary. The examiner does not want you to try and impress them or change your driving, they want you to show them what you have learnt, make them feel relaxed in the car and demonstrate a high quality drive which you will be doing for rest of your life. The examiners know if your trying to impress and mistakes will occur.

The examiners know you will make mistakes and as you see from the statistics 11984 people passed with no minors out of 1.6 million, you are allowed 15 minors with no serious or dangerous marks. Examiners may mark on the way round or at the end of the test, but it is important to note that they don’t mark every single minor mark or nobody would pass a test. They look for a pattern ie you miss a mirror, they will note it and if the fault happens again will give a minor.

The independent driving section is a good thing, and is something you will be doing once you have your licence, reading signs, road markings and dealing with situations without directional guidance. You may be lucky and do this with ease, but sometimes people get confused or miss a road sign, DON’T PANIC ask the examiner where to go, and it is their job to tell you. If you approach a roundabout for example and miss a sign but it is too late to ask where to go, know the lane your in and decide the correct direction from that lane. You do not fail a test or get a minor for going the wrong way so long as you went there using the correct safe procedure. Examiners are used to being taken all over the place, and they will bring you back on track.

The key is to listen to the examiner, then think about what they said to you, process that information and then do what you need to do. A typical mistake is for an examiner to say “At the end of the road I would like you to turn left”, you the pupil then react to that without thinking, checking mirrors and signalling straight away, but have you looked first, what if there is a junction before the end of the road, you are now giving a false signal to others. Another is when an examiner asks you to find a safe and convenient place to pull over, most will just swing the car over to the kerb without thinking and not notice other traffic so not signal or select a bad place to stop. The key is to listen, think, decide and do.

A driving examiner has a tough job, they give you good news or bad news, but their job is not to get to know you, with this in mind some examiners will give small talk and others wont talk, don’t think of this as them being rude, they are showing you the respect of letting you concentrate. Imagine an examiner gets into a full conversation with you and then you make a serious mistake, you would blame them for talking to you. Show examiners respect and they will do the same to you.

At the end of the test you will be given the result and a full brief on their reasons. If you fail you will feel unhappy, but remember they deserve respect, do not be nasty to them or have a go at them as they are only doing a job, and the mistakes were made by YOU not them. Examiners are protected by the law and will not tolerate abuse or violence and your details are on the system, so as much as you may not be happy, leave the centre and think about what was said. If your still unhappy or feel treated unfairly you can appeal through the magistrates court, but even if you win, you will only be given a retest, so this would a very costly test.

Below is a short video from the DVSA who run the driving tests on how the test works, take some time to look at this.

So after all this information DO YOU FEEL READY ?

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