Getting your full licence after months (or years) of driving lessons is a real achievement and a qualification that you’ll continue to use all your life. But passing your driving test isn't a big signal to the world that you know everything about driving either. You’re simply at a stage where you know the legal minimum to drive safely on your own.
No one will expect you to be 100% ready to rule the road – that’s why P-plates exist as a “hey, I’m new to this” message to more experienced drivers. Your attitude to this is important and means you can just focus on what you’re being asked to do.
To make sure you do your best when it comes to driving test time, have a read through these 6 tips from ingenie car insurance. Best of luck!
Make sure you take enough lessons
According to the DVSA, you’re going to need 47 hours (plus around 20 of private practice). That’s the average number of hours with an instructor that it takes to pass.
It may seem like taking your test as soon as you know the basics will save you money on driving lessons, but if you fail that’s another £62 and more lessons. A better driver will also save money in the long run with their No Claims Discount and lower insurance renewal prices.
Know the Highway Code
Many of the rules in the Highway Code are legal requirements so if you display any of the ‘Must Not’s’ or fail to show any of the ‘Must’s’ - that’s a problem. Being familiar with the legal requirements of any road situation will help you avoid serious faults.
Knowing the Highway Code when you take your driving test will also allow you to make calm, precise decisions under pressure and help you be a better driver in the future.
Get familiar with the test centre area
Facing an unfamiliar route during your driving test is not a great start. Use your last couple of driving lessons to practise the roads you may be tested on - your driving instructor might even know from previous students which routes are most likely.
Looking out for things like hills (for dreaded hill-starts), complicated traffic systems and the busyness of the roads will also let you know what kind of situations you may be up against during your test.
It’s also a good idea to check out your test area on Google Maps and click through the roads, mentally familiarising yourself with any tricky road signs or junctions. Just check you’re not looking at a map view from 5 years ago!
Work on common driving test faults
- Not checking mirrors before reverse parking
- Not checking mirrors when moving off
- Lack of proper observation at junctions and roundabouts
- Not reacting to what’s in the mirrors
- Failure to drive to weather or traffic conditions
- Hesitation at junctions and roundabouts when it’s safe to go
- Failure to drive at the appropriate speed - whether that’s not making progress after moving off, not adjusting for a bend, or driving too slowly on a main road
- Failure to signal
- Giving a confusing signal
- Failure to cancel a signal
- Poor hand placement on the steering wheel IF it's affecting your control
- Steering accuracy for the turn in the road, reversing around a corner and sharp turns
- Stalling due to poor clutch control and failing to recover quickly and calmly
- Keeping the clutch down (coasting) on a turn or after changing gears
Even if you think you’ve got these down, practise and then practise again. You’ll be nervous on the day, so you need your body to remember the action instinctively if your brain decides to switch off. Try not to let it do that either though.
Be aware of everyone around you, not just other drivers!
Remember that being a good driver is being able to react to everything that’s happening around you, not just other drivers. For example a learner driver could fail their driving test because they approached some flood water too fast and ended up drenching some pedestrians. The issue here would be not anticipating the problem and adjusting, so remember to keep alert.
Get enough sleep the night before your driving test and make sure you eat breakfast. Don’t plan anything else for the day - you don’t want to have to rush or worry about something else you have to get done.
Important things to remember on the day of your driving test:
- Theory test pass certificate
- Photocard driving licence
- Glasses if you need them for driving
If you don’t bring these, you fail before you’ve even started the engine. Even the glasses: you have 3 attempts at reading a number plate from 20m away and if you can’t, that’s it.
Another side to being prepared is how you come across. Look tidy, be polite - even if the instructor is made of steel and isn’t remotely bothered about anything outside of their score sheet, you’ll feel together and responsible.
Keep some perspective
If you usually drive well during a lesson, why shouldn’t you drive well during your test? You know the area, you know the car, and you know what you’ll be tested on.
The only think that could get in the way is your nerves - but if you’re prepared enough, you’ll pass. If you don’t pass, you weren’t ready. And that can be fixed.
Just remember not to give up after a mistake. You might think you’ve made the worst error ever, but calmly putting it right and carrying on shows you can deal with problems on the road. You never know, it might not have been as bad as you thought.
Practise outside of your lessons
If you know someone who can give you a bit of extra private practice, check out ingenie’s flexible Learner driver insurance that allows you to drive someone else’s car. You just choose how long you need, from 1 to 6 months, and if you get to the end of your insurance and you need more time, you can buy another chunk.
The good bit? It’s your insurance policy, so if you do have a ding along the way, it protects any No Claims Discount the car owner has built up. Family drama avoided…right?
Got your own car waiting on the drive?
Remember you don’t have to have passed your test to start driving your new wheels. With ingenie’s black box Learner insurance you’ll be covered while you practise. You’ll get regular feedback so you can really focus on the areas to work on and you can earn money back just by driving well - up to 21% off your insurance over the year.
This article was written by our specially selected partner ingenie.