It’s time for you to fulfil that lifetime ambition most of us have had at some point, of learning to drive. But just hearing that thought probably fills you with dread! As we all know, there are now two parts to passing our driving tests. The practical test and the theory test. Let me share with you our top ten tried and tested tips to aid and prepare you to pass your driving test.
1. The Highway Code
Being the most important tool when learning to drive, this is a little book costing approximately £2, available widely to buy on the Internet or hire it from your local library. It is a fantastic source of information for all new drivers. As well as having lots of practise theory test questions within it, it teaches you all about traffic signs and their meanings, road marking’s and other essential driver information. There are of course numerous websites on the Internet that offer the same information, but this is perfect for keeping in your bag or pocket and pulling it out whenever you a few minutes to study it. No serious driver should be without this!
The ideal way to practice is to pay for a professional driving instructor to teach you to drive. These can vary in price and quality, so ideally – ask around friends and family for personal recommendations. They can be paid for per session or in block bookings of 10 or 20 lessons; saving you a little money. Or, you may choose to ask a friend or relative to teach you, to help you get more used to being behind a wheel. Providing they use L plates and have a full driving licence, they are able to partner you when driving to help better prepare you for your eventual test.
3. Don’t run before you can walk
One of the biggest mistakes made by new learner drivers is rushing too quickly to get to the point where they are taking their actual driving test. Having driving lessons can be quite costly, but rushing them to save money and asking for your test date sooner than you are ready, will only lead to a quite possible failure. Be sure to follow your driving instructor’s advice when it comes to deciding how many lessons you need to be ready. Having the test too soon will not only knock your confidence but could end up being quite costly in the long run. And remember – passing your theory test does NOT mean you are ready for your practical test!
4. Can you afford it?
It may seem like an easy answer, but consider this; you may not pass the very first time you take your practical test. Most brand new learners need an average of 20 – 30 lessons before they are anywhere near ready to be tested. Add the cost of those lessons to the cost of the theory and practical tests and it will be quite a lot of money. If you fail, you will want to continue immediately so as not to lose confidence. This means more lessons and more test costs.
And of course, you could be taking your lessons for quite a few months. Will you still be able to afford them in a few months time? The reason for this, is taking a break because of financial reasons from your driving lessons, can be really damaging to your confidence. Once you have committed to taking your driving lessons, it is strongly advised that you don’t give up until you have passed, otherwise you could end up spending far more money in the long run.
5. Utilise all available help
There is so much information available to us today to help and aid us in passing our driving tests. *The GovUK Website has a fantastic section of ‘learning-to-drive’ information. From practice theory tests to licensing information and prices; this is a fantastic resource for new drivers. But there are many of these similar websites available to help and guide you towards your goal. Be sure you use every bit of information you can find, because the vast majority of it is free!
*Be sure to book your theory test directly via the Gov.UK website. It is free, but other websites offering to book it for you will always charge you extra.
6. Learn your route
You will get to choose whereabouts you take your driving test, so try to pick a town that you know well. Then, ask your instructor, relative or friend to take you on the actual test route. The more you get used to the actual test route, the more confident you will be when you are taking your test. Make a mental note of any possible hazards such as roundabout’s or major junctions, and practice them well.
7. Practise your theory
I know that may seem an obvious thing to say, but people regularly fail their theory test because they are under-prepared. The good thing about the theory test is that there are many resources freely available on the Internet, including on the Gov.UK website that offer free practice theory test’s to help you to prepare better. With far too many hazard possibilities to mention, a huge catalogue of road signs and markings and many other areas of driving that you will be tested on, you cannot practice your theory test too much! Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared!
The vast majority of mistakes made when learner drivers are taking their driving tests, is forgetting simple straightforward things due to their nerves. Most people are quite nervous when they take their driving test, so you most certainly not alone! By learning to bring your nerves under control, you will be far better prepared when it’s time to take your actual test. When it comes to the test, holding light conversation with your examiner will most certainly help to ease your nerves.
9. Variety is the key!
By variety I mean roads and driving conditions. There’s no point only learning to drive at night after work if you plan to take your practical driving test at 2pm in the afternoon. The traffic on the road is likely to be very different! Change the times of your driving lessons if possible so that some are at night and some are through the day, thus preparing you for different traffic conditions. And that includes the weather too. Be sure to practice driving in the rain as well as when it is dry, if at all possible. Wet roads can bring far more hazards than dry roads, and when your test day comes, you need to be prepared for anything.
And don’t forget to change the actual road you are practising on now and then. As well as ordinary roads, try driving on dual carriageways and take in lot’s of roundabouts. You need to be sure you are competent on all roads before requesting your driving test to ensure you are fully prepared.
10. On the day
So it’s time to take your test. You have prepared and practised as much as you can for both your theory and your practical tests, and now is the time it all comes together. Try to sleep well the night before. Don’t allow the worry or the stress to keep you awake if possible, as being tired will only hinder you more on the test day. Don’t skip your meal before your test either, as not eating will only exacerbate your anxiety levels and probably make you feel quite nauseous. Have a light snack before both tests to help you calm your nerves.
Even if you don’t manage to pass your test the first time, don’t panic. Approximately two thirds of people taking their theory or practical driving tests, fail them the first time. Just brush up on the area’s where you failed and don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to re-taking your test. Just remember – practice makes perfect!