The moment has arrived; you have passed your theory or written examination, and now you can start preparing for your practical driving test. Or your DMV test. This is where the nerves may set it. The idea of having to drive with someone who is not your parent or instructor, where the person next to you is watching your every move to see if you are safe on the roads. To see if they can pass you. It’s nerve-wracking, to say the least. If the prospect of taking the driving test does not inspire a certain amount of anxiety or trepidation, then you are blessed with nerves of steel.
But never fear, don’t forget you have been learning to drive, you probably have hundreds of miles already under your belt and not to mention many hours. If you were not sufficiently competent, your instructor would not be ready to let you fly solo. It’s easier said than done, but don’t panic. You are going to be fine. And to help you prepare are six different tips to help!
1. Have a lesson beforehand.
Having a lesson before your driver’s test works wonders because it allows you to correct any errors you may be making, practice something you are unsure of, and remind yourself that you are doing on the test. It is something you know how to do. You can go over any maneuvers or ask for clarification on last-minute questions you may have. It will also help you get into the right state of mind for the test.
2. A Practice Test
Taking a DMV Practice Test helps you to experience what a test is really like. According to DMV Practice Test, “a practice test can still be beneficial” Practice makes perfect, and a practice practical exam will help you understand what the exam entails, what you will have to do and will help you see if you are ready for the test. If not, it gives you the chance to move the test to a different date or reassures you that you can do this! You won’t be caught off guard, and “you will have a higher chance of success and minimize the risk of you failing.”
3. Choose when to take your test
If you have been driving locally while learning to drive and your test will be in the same area, you should have a vague idea of what traffic is like at different times. If you can, book the test when you know it is not going to be that busy. If the roads are cleared, that is one obstacle out of the way and will help ease nerves.
4. Exaggerate those mirror checks
One of the biggest causes of minor faults for many learner drivers in their test is lack of observation. Check your mirrors regularly, especially when stopping, setting off, or changing road positions.
Examiners are trained to look out for you checking your mirrors (and will have an extra mirror to do so); being over the top doesn’t do any harm. Move your head when checking the mirrors; your examiner is less likely to give you a minor fault than if you glance at the mirror.
5. Get to know your test routes
Test routes are not allowed to be published anywhere for learners to practice; it is impossible to know where you will be directed in the day or what traffic or hazards you will face along the way. So it’s best to be prepared; make sure you have practiced on a variety of roads—a mixture of major and minor roads, country lanes, and dual carriageways. Also, if you know your test location, try and practice driving around the area; some places you recognise may come up.
6. Don’t assume you have failed
If you make a mistake, don’t panic and think you have failed straight away. Even if it feels like a massive mistake at the time, remain in control of the car and the situation. Don’t let minor mistakes play on your mind, or you run the risk of making even more.
These six steps are just a few tips in helping you pass your test. However, one of the most important advice you could take is don’t rush trying to get your license. There is no point in taking your test and spending money until you are ready. Rushing to pass will only leave you lacking the experience you really need to be on the road independently.
It will also know your confidence if you fail by taking it too early. And it doesn’t matter if you fail; some of the best driving advice you will ever get is at the end of your practical test – whether you pass or fail. The examiner will explain any mistakes you have made and how to improve, and at the end of the day, there is always room to improve your driving.
Photo Credit: Ford