Passing your driving test is one of the defining moments of your life – the day when you get your freedom and can go wherever you want. With so much on the line, it is no wonder so many new drivers stress themselves out about taking their driving test.
Many people who take their driving test for the first time fail to pass the exam. The reasons for failure are many, from lack of preparation and simple mistakes to nervousness. If you are getting ready to take your driving test, you need to prepare carefully, get your emotions under control and practice your driving skills.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best thing you can do to ensure you past the road test on the first attempt is to practice driving as much as you can. Driving under a number of different conditions, from rain and snow to fog and darkness, will give you the skills you need to be a safe and competent driver. Such practice will also make it easier to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws your way on the actual day of the test. If you have avoided driving in the snow up until now, you will be ill-prepared if a fresh coating falls the night before your driving test. The more conditions you drive under, the better prepared you will be.
Driving in challenging conditions can also boost your confidence and help soothe your nerves. Many driving test failures do not result from lack of driving skill. Instead, those failures can be traced to simple nervousness. If you are nervous and upset when you head out for your driving test, you are likely to make simple mistakes that could cause you to fail the exam. The more confidence you have when you pull into the lot, the easier it will be to pass the test.
Check Your Car Carefully
The last thing you want is to fail your driving test or be unable to take it, due to a mechanical problem with your car. Your driving instructor will want to know that you understand the safety features of the car you drive, and a small safety quiz may even be part of the exam.
Knowing your car inside and out and checking it carefully helps you be more prepared and reduces the chance of a last minute surprise. It will not hurt to give your vehicle one last once-over before you head off to meet your examiner and start the road test.
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Know the Course
The day of your driving test should not be your first introduction to the obstacles you are about to face. If you can, check out the course ahead of time to see what is involved in the test. You may be able to see a good bit of the course right from the parking lot, so take a few minutes to watch some other drivers going through their paces.
If you cannot see the actual course, at least try to find out which kinds of obstacles are involved. Many drivers courses include some sort of serpentine, either with cones or a course painted on the pavement. You will also likely be required to parallel park and perform a three-point turn. If you have not already practiced these maneuvers, now is the perfect time to get started.
You can recreate the driving test in an empty parking lot or other large space. Purchase a few cones or markers and set them up as close to the course configuration as possible. Then practice driving through them until you are confident in your ability to do so. It is a good idea to place the cones or markers a bit closer together than they will be at the actual test. That will challenge your skills, make you a better driver and boost your confidence when test day finally arrives.
Know Your Handbook
The road test and obstacle course are not the only parts of your driving test. You will also need to demonstrate that you know and abide by the rules of the road. Your state driving manual should be a big part of your reading list in the weeks leading up to the test.
Practice question and answer sessions with a parent or friend, and do not assume that all the answers will be multiple choice. You may encounter essay questions and other challenging queries, and you need to be prepared to answer them. Even if you think you have the rules in your state down pat, you need to practice possible exam questions as much as possible. Doing a bit of cramming right before the test will not hurt either.
Passing your driving test on the first try can be a challenge, but you will succeed if you are properly prepared. Knowing what to expect, knowing the rules of the road and having confidence in your driving ability can help you pass the test with flying colors.
DON’T Rush and DON’T Tense Up!
Easier said than done, I get it. But as you have had enough practice already, there’s no reason to be nervous at all.
Here’s what you can do to calm your nerves. First, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time before your test. So make sure to arrive a little earlier than scheduled so you can acquaint yourself with the testing area. If you arrive on time or later, stress will definitely put you in panic mode before you even begin the test.
Now, staying relaxed is not something you can control. But if you have a clear mind, it’ll be easier to check your surroundings and react accordingly. How can you do this? Focus on something else. If you’ve done enough practice, your mind will remember, as long as you have a clear mind.
If You’re Not Sure, ASK.
One clear mistake that first-time testers commit is being afraid to ask questions while the test is ongoing. I get it. It may seem like you don’t know what you’re doing so you don’t want to mess up your chances of passing the driving test. But that’s not the point here. If you ask sensible questions, especially if it is meant to clarify an instruction that isn’t clear to you, your instructor will see how serious you are about making sure you’ve heard and understood what you need to do. This shows how careful you are as a driver, that you’re not stupid enough to follow rules blindly.