Passing the written test is the first hurdle that needs to be overcome. Once that is out of the way, it is important to concentrate closely on the skills required to drive competently. Driving examiners can be quite strict in their criteria that they are looking out for, but they cannot pass a learner driver if they find too many faults during the driving test.
Dealing with nerves
Taking your driving test can be very nerve racking. Even before you sit down behind the wheel you may start to feel your heart racing. This is a normal reaction, and not one that has to get in the way of the test. Make sure you arrive at the test centre in good time, so that you will have time to compose yourself. Take a few deep breaths and have a drink of water. Driving examiners will usually be sympathetic to your feelings, as they see reaction quite often in their line of work. Some allow students a moment or two to compose themselves before the test begins. If you are offered this opportunity, take it. Nerves usually subside after the test has started.
Obey traffic laws
During the test, the driving examiner will expect the learner driver to obey traffic laws at all times. That means wearing a seatbelt, obeying speed limits, and alerting other drivers to their intentions. They must also allow a safe following distance and not drive aggressively on someone’s bumper in an effort to encourage them to drive faster.
The most important thing to focus on during the driving test is the test itself. That means any personal, financial or emotional problems must be left at home. A driver who allows other concerns to overshadow their driving test could easily be distracted and cause a collision. It only takes a split second of dazing off into space, rather than the road ahead, to get into such a situation. View the test as an opportunity to shine as an exemplary driver.
It is true to say that learner drivers who have a positive attitude are more likely to pass than pessimistic people. You need to get into the car thinking of how you will prove you can drive well. If this is your first driving test, you will probably not know the driving examiner sitting beside you. As a stranger, they are impartial. You must prove to them from one drive that you are ready to pass your test. All the other smooth rides you have had will not count for anything if you cannot deliver on the day of the test. This knowledge may help you to make a good impression as you drive.
Be aware of other drivers
Learn to actually look at the road ahead and be aware of what other drivers are doing in front and behind you. If someone is trying to overtake you, do not speed up and impede their manoeuvre. This could become very dangerous, as they struggle to move back into the normal flow of traffic. It is also very inconsiderate and will not endear you to the driving examiner. Let others drive as they see fit. If they wish to speed, then allow them to do so. It is your responsibility to drive well and courteously. You should not tell others how to drive and certainly not during your test!
Use of the horn
Using the horn during a driving test is not usually advisable. The proper use of the horn is to alert other road users of your presence. For example, if a car is reversing quickly and is about to hit your car, the horn would be appropriate to inform the driver that you are right behind them. But the horn is often abused and used aggressively by drivers. Resist the urge to use the horn during your driving test, unless absolutely necessary.
Do not attempt to tell pedestrians what to do during your driving test. For example, if you see a young child trying to cross a busy road, do not blow the horn and wave the child across. The correct procedure would be to slow down and see what the child intends to do. If they continue to stand on the side of the road, do not interfere with their decision. It is very bad practice for drivers to ever try and tell pedestrians what to do. How would you feel if a pedestrian stopped your car and told you how to drive?
Do not feel intimidated
Learner drivers should stay focused on the driving test and do their best to obey each and every command that the driving instructor gives them. Driving examiners can seem intimidating when all they do is give directions, without striking up a conversation. But the reason they remain silent is to allow you to concentrate fully on the test and to not be distracted in any way. It is the same concept that is used when taking any kind of written exam. So do not feel intimidated by the stranger sitting beside you with a clipboard. They want to see you pass your test, as well as you do. If you have had plenty of opportunities to practice your driving technique, are a careful and skilful driver, then you stand a good chance of passing your driving test first time.