There's a great deal to consider when you're learning to drive so we've put together 5 things that may well surprise you!
1. Silence is Golden
If the thought of chatting with an examiner during your driving test fills you with dread, don't worry - you don’t have to! Most people don’t realise that you can politely request your examiner to not make conversation with you if you're worried it'll put you off. However, it's unlikely you'll come across an examiner who'd be super chatty, as they understand you'll want to be concentrating on the road.
2. You don't need to go-it alone!
Did you know that you can actually take a passenger along with you on your driving test? It's often a smart move to have your instructor with you during your test so they can see how you perform, and give feedback and a structured learning plan if you don't pass. Examiners ask in the waiting room if you would like to have your instructor or accompanying driver along with you for your test and debrief. This person must be over 16 and by no means interfere or comment on the test.
3. Play that funky music
We all have an inner ‘Wild Cherry’ which helps to put us at ease when we are feeling stressed, and the good news is that you are actually allowed to have music on during your driving test. As long as the music is not disruptive and you are able to hear the instructions from the examiner, then you are free to listen to your favorite songs. Read more about listening to music in the car here. We don't advise you turn the radio on during your test if you don't usually listen to music during your lessons, however; it's surprising how much of a distraction the radio can be when you're not used to it!
4. Stalling the car during the practical test:
Some learners get paranoid over stalling on their test as they fear that they will fail instantly. However, you will be pleased to know that this is not always the case. All examiners understand that pupils get nervous on their driving test, so as long as you handle the situation in a correct and safe manner, there’s no harm done! If you're worried about stalling on your test, speak to your instructor about it beforehand, and learn why it happens (it's all about clutch control!). As long as you know how to correct it, and keep a calm head, you should be fine!
5. Making way for an emergency vehicle:
From an early age, we're taught to get out of the way of emergency vehicles in whatever capacity you can. However, if moving out of the way involves carrying out a dangerous manoeuvre such as pulling into a bus lane or through a red light, you can actually find yourself in a spot of bother, with a hefty fine in the post.
As the Highway Code states, you should not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. Next time you're on a lesson, ask your instructor about the best practices when an emergency vehicle is approaching.
The practical test changed in December 2017.
Read about the changes, and how they'll affect learners in our blog: "The driving test changes you need to know".