Saturday, 27 December 2014

Driving Test Tips!

Hi All!
Trying to tackle those pesky driving test nerves can be just as daunting a task as the test itself but don't despair! If you can get your nerves under control, or at least toned down a little, it will make the whole experience much easier no matter what the end result.
Everyone, no matter how old or how experienced they seem to be, gets nervous before taking exams and a driving test is no different, in fact a driving test is one of the most nerve-wracking exams you'll ever sit and it's absolutely understandable that people get stressed and nervous before it. As a teenager particularly there is a significant amount of pressure and expectation from friends and even parents in some cases which makes the experience a whole lot more stressful. I have gathered together some snippets of advice and helpful tips from my experience and others' experiences of the test that should help you prepare for your own UK driving test. One things that should be noted throughout this post is that I recently passed my driving test and I suffered from extreme nervousness, however I managed to pass with only 3 minors first time simply by staying as calm as possible. Here we go:
1. You need to be patient.
When you decide to get your driving license you will be eager to get mobile as soon as possible but you need to be patient, son't expect to be a fantastic driver the moment you get into the car, the more you worry about your own ability the lower your confidence in your ability will sink. This was a major issue of mine, I love to be the best as everything but that just wasn't the case when driving. Driving is a skill that takes time to refine, patience and confidence in yourself. When you're confident and patient with your own ability you then have the change to focus more on what you are learning rather than the negatives e.g. if you've hit the wrong gear or something. This applies on the day of your driving test, be patient with others on the road as you're liable to be agitated or tense, be confident in your skill and this should help lessen nerves.
2. Read up!
It is absolutely essential that you read your literature thoroughly and ensure you are aware and you understand what it all means. Read the Highway Code as well as The DSA Official Guide to Driving: The Essential Skills, The Official DSA Theory Test and The Official DSA Guide to Learning to Drive. It also wouldn't hurt to grab a CD or DVD which you can use on your computer to allow you to watch over people's driving tests, see what they did wrong and so on. I personally recommend GSP Driving Test Complete.
3. Make sure you know your weaknesses.
When you are aware of your weakest areas when driving you can confront your instructor with them, ask for more lessons based around those weaknesses. My weakness for example was roundabouts and lane discipline, I am also aware of people whose weaknesses included traffic signs, motorway rules and many more. You must tell your instructor what your weaknesses are because if they are not addresses they could result in a minor or a test fail.
4. If possible practise out of lessons.
If, unlike myself, you have the chance to drive with insurance outside of lessons with a parent or someone over the age of 21 with a valid driving license older than 3 years, take it! Practise makes perfect after all. However DO NOT drive on the road if you are not confident with your ability. An insecure driver makes for a dangerous driver.
5. Drive in different weather conditions.
Obviously this is going to be a difficult one as weather in Britain is unpredictable. If you can do private practise outside of lessons go out when it is windy, raining, snowing, good weather. Each different weather condition means driving style must be altered. Driving in rain is much different from driving when the weather is good as any driver should tell you.
6. Keep it on the DL.
If you're bad at keeping secrets this one might be difficult. If you tell only a few people about your driving test you will have a lot less pressure and expectation placed upon your already nervous shoulders. I highly recommend that you only tell your parents and a couple of close friends. Also if you tell a lot of people about your upcoming test you're basically asking for trouble, you're inviting people to tell you all of their driving test horror stories, how they failed, their cruel test examiners (who most likely we're very nice but people can get bitter if they're failed). Also don't believe the rumours about people being failed because of their appearance. Of course of you go into your test looking as if you've been drinking for a good 4 consecutive nights that could have an impact. It is important that you're comfortable and refreshed and ready for your test.
7. Sleep, eat, drink.
Make sure you have at least 8 hours of sleep to wake up well rested, have a good breakfast (many driving instructors recommend Bananas for an increase of potassium) and hydrate yourself, take a cold water bottle with you if necessary.
8. If all else fails.
I, and as thousands of other drivers across the UK will, highly recommend Bach's Rescue Remedy which is an over the counter calming mixture. I swear by it as it has gotten me through many educational exams and most recently my driving test.
 I wish all of the prospective young drivers the best of luck in their and your upcoming test!

Love Katherine. X

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