Preparing for your driving test? If you’re gearing up – pardon the pun – for the big exam, and find yourself terrified at the prospect of getting behind the wheel with the examiner in the passenger seat, take a deep breath and read our ten essential tips for getting a pass mark.
You’ll be on your way to passing that test with flying colours and get that little bit closer to driving on your own for the very first time!
1. Practice makes perfect
First things first: don’t even attempt the test if you haven’t put in the hard yards. It takes a lot of practice and many hours of driving to build up the skills and confidence behind the wheel that your examiners are looking for, so if you’re tempted to fudge the mandatory driving hours and book an exam before you’re ready, think again. You will more than likely fail – not to mention endangering other drivers’ cars and lives with your unpractised incompetence! Practise, practise, and practise some more before you even book your test.
2. Revise the road rules
Once the test is locked in and the nerves are kicking in, the best way to reinforce your confidence is to revise the road rules. Revisit the book or website of road rules in your local territory that you originally learnt them from, and test yourself on the practical skills next time you drive. It’s also a good idea to check and make sure that the road rules haven’t been updated since you got your learner’s permit.
Another handy tip to passing the driving test is to chat to friends and family who did it at the same location that you did to get an idea of the route and take a short ‘reconnaissance’ drive through the area. While no two routes will be exactly the same, it can be helpful to see what sort of areas the test drive could cover and go over them beforehand to familiarise yourself with the area. If there are multi-lane roundabouts or steep inclines on the route, you’ll want to know about them beforehand.
4. Stay calm!
Okay, so you’ve done your practise, revised your road rules and familiarised yourself with the local area and are now walking to the car with the examiner in tow. What’s the number one thing to remind yourself before you hop into the vehicle? Stay calm! If you’re a shaky, nervous mess in the driver’s seat, it will show in the quality of your driving. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’ve got this. Remember, a calm student equals a calm examiner!
5. Check your vehicle
Before you open the door of the vehicle, cast a precursory eye over the exterior of the car you’re using to show that you take your safety seriously.
6. Adjust your mirrors and seat
When you hop into the driver’s seat, do not forget to adjust all of your windows, as well as the distance of the seat from the steering wheel, to maximise visibility and comfort. This will make for a calmer, safer drive, and could make the difference between you passing and failing.
7. Always check your blind spots and mirrors
When the test has started, do not forget to check your blind spots and mirrors constantly, at least every 15 seconds, and before every single turn or lane change that you do. This is important not only for the driving test but also for your safety when you’re out on the road in general, and is a crucial habit to develop.
8. Look out for signs
Beware the sneaky stop sign! Many people sitting their driving test find themselves concentrating so hard on the road that they forget to check for the all-important road signs commanding you to stop, give way, or reduce your speed. Disobeying – or simply not seeing – one of these guys will result in an instant fail so watch out!
9. Beware the incline
Another sneaky trick that can pull up would-be first-time drivers is the incline. If your examiner asks you to perform a curb side stop, be aware of the road and, if it is on a dramatic incline, it is worth your while to pull up the handbrake before coming into park, and then taking it down before accelerating. Many friends of mine were caught out by this sneaky trick examiners sometimes use!
10. Pull off the perfect park
Completing your driving exam with the perfect park is a nice finishing touch that signals to the examiner that you are a skilled driver and ready to drive on your own.
License: Creative Commons image source
Robin Lopez is a journalist and car enthusiast with a passion for driving and trying to win the lottery and start his collection of luxury SUVs.