Taking the practical driving test is easily one of the most nerve-wracking things that you will do in your life. However, it is a rite of passage for every driver on the road today. The practical driving test is something that all drivers must experience before being able to get behind the wheel and find their independence on the road. However, since it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to happen during your practical driving test, they aren’t particularly known for being fun or pleasant.
Whilst you may not be able to prepare for every single potential outcome that you may face during the practical exam, there are several steps that you can take beforehand to fine-tune your driving ability and increase your chances of being able to effortlessly deal with any driving situation that may come your way.
We’ve listed twelve tips to help you pass your driving test – whether you’re taking it for the first time or re-taking it after dealing with a past fail.
Tip #1. Choose the Right Driving Instructor:
It cannot be stressed enough just how important your driving instructor is when preparing to take your practical driving test. You should choose an individual who is professional, knowledgeable, and willing to go the extra mile when it comes to helping you prepare to pass your driving test. Ideally, you should opt for a driving instructor who also has a strong knowledge of the local area and is highly familiar with all the different roads that you might encounter on the test route.
Tip #2. Consider an Intensive Course:
Whether you have failed your test in the past or simply want to get behind the wheel as quickly as possible, an intensive driving course could be one of the best ways to help you pass your driving test and finally get the pink license you’ve been hoping for.
Intensive driving courses take a lot of dedication and commitment, since you’ll be driving every day, and sometimes all day, for a while during the run-up to your test. If you tend to need to be ‘on a roll’ to get things done, then an intensive driving course could be the perfect choice for you, since you’ll barely even have any time in between lessons and the test to get worried or nervous about it.
Be aware that finding the right driving school for your intensive course is essential – the wrong one could spell disaster. To make sure you’re choosing the right driving school, some such as Momentum will allow you to take an assessment lesson locally. Schools like this one offer a 1-hour introductory lesson which enables you to learn more about the course you’ll be taking and meet the people who will be teaching you.
Tip #3. Practice makes Perfect!
Whether you’re driving with your instructor or behind the wheel of a car with a friend or family member, bear in mind that practice really does make perfect when it comes to driving. The ability to drive can quickly become embedded in our procedural memory, just like things such as riding a bike or swimming – the more often that you do it, the more of a second nature it will become. Because of this, getting as many hours of driving practice as you possibly can before your test will help you feel more comfortable, relaxed and familiar behind the wheel.
Tip #4. Know Your Theory:
Even if you have already passed your driving theory test, it’s important to make sure that you know driving theory and the highway code inside out before you take your practical test – don’t let it slide! All the information that you’ve learned from studying theory is even more useful when you are finally on the roads – your examiner will be looking to see if you understand road signs and markings when driving, for example.
Tip #5. Get Acquainted with Your Car:
Whether you’re going to be taking your driving test in a driving instructor’s car, your own vehicle, or are borrowing one from a friend or family member, make sure that the day of your test isn’t going to be the first time that you drive it. Even the most experienced of drivers can get a little confused when driving a new car for the first time – cars are all laid out slightly differently so it takes some adjusting. Make sure that you know the car that you’re going to be driving inside out!
Tip #6. Know the Test Routes:
Today, each driving test centre will have multiple test routes, and it’s possible that you could be taken on any one of them. It’s easy to find the different test routes online, or a good local driving instructor may already know exactly where they are. Practice driving on as many routes as you can – if you’re familiar with the area and roads when taking your test, you’ll feel much more relaxed.
Tip #7. Brave Different Driving Conditions:
Everybody prefers driving when the weather is fine, however, the problem is that you can’t guarantee that the sun is going to be shining on the day that you’re taking your driving test. Before your test, it’s a very wise idea to have had as much practice as possible when it comes to driving in different weather conditions, such as heavy rain or even ice and snow. This way, you’ll be well prepared for anything that the elements might throw your way!
Tip #8. Drive at Different Times of Day:
Learner drivers are often taken out for their lessons during the quietest times of the day, when the roads are empty and there’s plenty of space for making mistakes and learning. However, when you take your driving test, you might not be lucky enough to get a test slot at a quiet time for the roads. Because of this, make sure that by then, you’ll have had plenty of practice in different traffic conditions, such as traffic jams!
Tip #9. Prepare Yourself:
Physically and mentally preparing yourself for the driving test is vital to ensuring that you feel comfortable and confident during. Arrive at the test centre having had plenty of sleep and make sure that you eat something – even if you’re only able to keep a little bit down.
Tip #10. Use Your Mirrors!
Once you’ve set off and the driving test has begun, bear in mind that the failure to use mirrors and improve visibility is one of the most common complaints made by driving test examiners when failing a student. Even if you’re not directly aware of it, your examiner will be watching you closely – including how many times your eyes move to check your rear view and wing mirrors. Check your mirrors actively and make sure that you’re turning your head to check in your blind spots when needed.
Tip #11. Ask for Clarification:
Oftentimes, you may be given instructions during your driving test that you’re unsure of. If this is the case, then don’t worry – simply ask for clarification and your examiner should be more than happy to explain and ensure that you understand what’s expected of you.
Tip #12. Don’t Panic!
The driving test is a very nerve-wracking experience, so it’s not uncommon for learner drivers to feel a little bit panicky when going in for it, especially for the first time. The best thing to do is stay as calm as possible – breathing exercises may help with this – and take your time to ensure that you understand everything during your test. Although you’re likely to feel a little nervous, try not to rush, and remember that even if you think you haven’t done well, always try your very best right to the end since there’s no way of knowing for sure until then.
Did these tips help? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.