I bet you are all eagerly anticipating the day when you get to go out and drive on your own. You know that feeling of freedom you’ll have, just driving around wherever you want? Well, that’s all great, until we remember that we have to pass a driving test to be able to do it. I mean, there are no road signs in the sky that tell you if your driving is good or bad, so how will anyone know? Well, that’s where I step in.
Over the course of my life as a Driving Instructor, I’ve gone through countless driving tests with learners who haven’t done very well. What makes me qualified to help you out? Well, during all those times when I was sitting in the car next to someone while they were taking their test—because clearly, drivers can need more than a passenger— they need an expert to guide them to success.
So what are the most common reasons for failing the driving test, and how can you avoid them?
Inappropriate use of speed
Your speed is clearly shown on your dashboard, but what about your use of it?
You should be slowing down before you make any turns or take the appropriate route, and learn how to apply appropriate brakes according to the situation. Your approach time has a lot to do with the accuracy of your movement; if you’re overly hasty, then you’re definitely not going to get through your test.
Inappropriate use of Signals
Using your indicators at the right time and in the right place is vital. A bad signal could potentially be the difference between you passing your test, or failing.
Most of the time, your speed will determine how soon you have to use your indicators. If you are driving at a very slow pace down a one-way street, then most probably there will be no reason for you to signal right away. On the contrary, if you are speeding you will have less time to respond to the conditions of the road.
You must be observant of everything that is happening on the road. Your test examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate your ability to see, understand and act upon what’s happening around you.
This means good observation skills are key!
Not anticipating hazards
Many new drivers tend to think that simply checking their mirrors is sufficient when observing the road. However, you should be looking around rather than at the road. When you are about to drive off, do not wait until it is too late to start checking for traffic or pedestrians. The examiner will be observing how well you check your mirrors and blind spots before taking off or parking.
Driving too close to the vehicle in front
Another example of this is when you are unable to see the road ahead due to your car being too close to the one ahead. Always allow a two-second gap (on a dry day) between yourself and the car in front so that you have time to spot any hazards and take precautionary action.
So to summarise, you should always scan your mirrors by checking what is behind you before you move off, slow down, turn or change lanes. Practise these skills on a regular basis to ensure they become second nature when you are driving in normal conditions.