Taking your driving test can be a daunting prospect. Even the most capable drivers can be overwhelmed by nerves and fail the test by committing simple errors. Most failed driving tests can be easily avoided by preparing fully in advance. These five tips will enable you to side-step the most common and avoidable pitfalls that cause many other drivers to fail their test.
1. Prepare Your Car Before The Driving Test
Know which car you’ll be using well in advance of the test date. If possible, it’s normally best to take the test in the vehicle in which you’ve taken most of your lessons. Ask your instructor or the test center whether the car is appropriate. You may have to make small adjustments, such as fitting supplementary mirrors, before you’re granted permission to use the vehicle for the test, so make your inquiries with plenty of time to spare.
By taking the test in a car you’re familiar with, you will be more comfortable and more knowledgable of how it reacts in different situations. Small things, like gear changes and bite points, can be subtly different in individual vehicles so avoid the risk of being surprised on the day by using your own vehicle.
2. Choose The Best Location To Take Your Driving Test
Where you take the test is as important as the car you do it in. Most areas will have a few test centers within a reasonable distance, so it’s important to do your research and pick the most suitable one. Consult your driving instructor and ask for their opinion; it’s likely they will know the best one for your needs.
Visit the area at least once before the test and make yourself comfortable navigating anything you may have to face on the day. If you know where you’ll be taking the test far in advance, you can schedule the majority of your lessons to take place in the local vicinity. The better you know the area, the greater your chances of success on test day.
3. Take Your Driving Test At The Right Time Of Day
A test route can present very different challenges at different times of the day. For example, on weekdays, rush hour traffic could pose a real problem for an inexperienced driver. Obviously, you should be capable of navigating all traffic conditions, but you don’t want to make the test harder than it needs to be.
Be patient and choose a test slot at a time when you think the roads won’t be busy, and you can demonstrate your driving skills without the additional stress of workday or weekend traffic. Once you know exactly when your test will be, visit the location at the same time of day to accustom yourself to the conditions. When nerves are heightened, avoiding unexpected challenges can be extremely beneficial, so prepare for your test by gathering as much information about it as you possibly can.
4. Use Proper Driving Techniques During Your Driving Test
Your driving technique while learning and on the test should be subtly different from how you’ll drive when not being scrutinised. To ensure the invigilator is aware of the checks and decisions you’re making, you should slightly exaggerate all of your movements. It may feel awkward at first, but it’s a good habit to get into while learning. Try to leave the tester in no doubt as to whether you’ve made your necessary observations.
You can even position your mirrors slightly off-centre so you physically have to move your head to see them. A cursory eye-movement may easily be missed by the person conducting the test, so make them aware of your competence by subtly adjusting your actions.
5. Stay Calm Calm During Your Driving Test
The vast majority of people who fail do so because they were too nervous and made mistakes they would never normally make. If you can remain calm, you will only be judged on your true ability to safely drive a vehicle. Staying calm is easier said than done, but through diligent preparation and a sense of perspective, you should be able to steady your nerves.
A sense of apprehension is perfectly normal, but can nearly always be greatly diminished by having confidence in your ability and in the situation. Nervousness is often exacerbated by the presence of unknown variables. If you don’t know exactly what is going to happen, your brain will naturally assume the worst. This is part of the reason why you should put effort into researching the terms of the test. Reduce the number of variables and your confidence in your own ability will increase.
It’s important to keep a sense of perspective. Even if something does go wrong on the day and you happen to fail, it’s not the end of the world. Be prepared to practice more and schedule a new test. However, your chances of passing will be greatly increased by putting time and effort before the event. Preparation and hard work will give you the best chance of demonstrating your abilities and ensuring you pass your driving test with flying colors.