Driving test tips

Top tips for your Driving Test

The biggest driving test tip is not to book a driving test unless you feel ready! If you don't feel confident, check with your driving instructor whether you are ready for your driving test.

  • I disagree with this top bit. You can book your test when you don't feel ready. Why? because you will save money. If you book it when you feel ready, you'll probably need to do another 6 lessons (1hr a week) until your test to keep your confidence. That's about £120 (?) that you could save. Book it when you are nearly ready, so when it comes to the test you should just be ready*

It's natural to feel slightly nervous on the day of your driving test. Don't let this worry you too much. Stay calm and drive as you have been driving with your driving instructor, don’t drive any differently just because an examiner is sitting next to you. Also, if you've been told something on this forum that is different to what your instructor said, follow your instructors advice.

Always check your mirrors and indicate before stopping or moving off during your driving test. Look carefully over your right shoulder to check your blind spot before moving away from the kerb. Failure to do the latter will most certainly get you a minor fault mark, and could be potentially hazardous to other road users.

Don't look down at the gear stick when you change gear during your driving test. You should always keep your eyes on the road, constantly scanning the far, middle and near distance.

Update your mirrors regularly - including your door mirrors - even if you're just driving in a straight line for ages. This will prevent other traffic creeping up on you unawares, so you're prepared if you find yourself having to slow down or change direction at short notice.

Always indicate correctly and in good time, this helps other road to know your intentions.

Do not stop at every junction during your driving test unless it is necessary. For example, if you stop at a roundabout when it's obvious that you're clear to go, you may pick up marks for hesitancy. However, where the road sign tells you to "Stop", you must do so.

Don't get too close to stationary vehicles or obstructions. Always keep a look out for pedestrians stepping out onto the road. On narrow roads with limited room, you should reduce speed so you can cope easier with the unexpected. Remember - less space, less pace. Be very wary at zebra crossings- many people will turn suddenly to cross without looking. Take extra caution if there are people near the crossing.

If you have to overtake cyclists during your driving test, give them plenty of clearance (about the width of an average-sized car). Don't follow them too closely. Try to complete the overtake reasonably briskly so that you don't hold up other traffic for longer than necessary. Make sure you can see clearly that no other cars are coming towards you.

When reversing, keep looking round for road users. You should not continue reversing as another road user is passing, unless they are passing so far from you that no conflict is possible. You must complete the manoeuvre within a reasonable time, so if it's busy, consider reversing a little at a time between each moving hazard, rather than sitting there for ages waiting for a totally clear road that may never occur. If traffic is clearly stopped and holding back for you, get on with the manoeuvre so you're out of their way as soon as possible.

Use your mirrors before you change speed (up or down), change gear, stop or move off and whenever you change direction in your driving test.

If you think you’re heading for the kerb when reversing round a corner, stay calm. Make all round observations first , then pull forward and correct yourself. This is a much better approach than carrying on and hitting the kerb! (Top tip: Angle your left mirror down so you can clearly see the curb and edge of the car, makes it much easier and is fine to do on the exam- just remember to keep looking around!)

If another vehicle approaches while you're performing a turn in the road during your driving test, don't panic. Make eye contact with the other driver first - if it's clear that he is waiting for you, continue calmly with your manoeuvre, but check all round first. Otherwise wait until he's driven past you before proceeding. In addition, while you should do your best to complete a turn in the road in three movements, you will not automatically fail your driving test if you take more then three. The important point is to look out for other road users and complete it at a reasonable pace.

Don't panic if you make a mistake during your driving test. The examiner will not necessarily automatically fail you. Remain calm and move on. The national pass rate for the practical test was just under 46% in March 2010. This does not mean 46 people out of every 100 will pass. If you can drive well, you will pass.

It is recommended that prior to taking your test you should have had at least 40 hours in-car tuition with a qualified driving instructor and then another 25-30 hours practice with friends or family. It's a good idea to go out with a parent in their car every night for two weeks before your test.