Top Ten Tips
1: Stay Cool
Having decided to get your driving licence you'll be keen to get mobile as soon as possible. But patience is a virtue when it comes to learning to drive. Try not to pressurise yourself when you start to learn. You may find there will be an awful lot of people telling you how quickly they did it. Half truths maybe, even so, what works for one will not work for another, after all we are all different and learn things in different ways. So take the time to do it right and you stand a better chance of passing first time round.
2: Understanding the basics
Give yourself the chance to understand how to manage the controls. If you're just about managing to control the car on the road it's going to put pressure on you and you're going to feel nervous. So invest some time on private land with an understanding friend or parent and learn the basics. Learning the clutch biting point, steering, getting used to exactly what the limitations of the brakes are - all this is really very helpful. Not only will you be more confident on the road - you won't be wasting valuable lessons learning the basics.
3: Do your homework
Read and Learn your highway code, not just to pass the theory test but to understand what's actually going on out on the roads. More often than not, a pupil, when asked a theory question can not answer because they leave the studying to the last minute. Why spend 15 or 20 minutes, of your time, refreshing your memory on what you were doing on the previous lesson. Lessons cost a lot of money, so make sure you're investing it wisely. Swot a bit now and between lessons and you will make better use of the driving time you are actually having. That’s including after your theory test.
4: If in doubt, ask!
Everyone is different, people learn differently, and do the same thing – differently, what works for your friend will not necessarily work for you, so, if you feel you are struggling with a certain technique or style say so. Never be afraid of asking your instructor if there's another method because most instructors will have numerous different techniques that they can use that can be tailored to suit you
If you can't nail a reversing exercise no matter how many times you try just admit it and see if you can work it through with your instructor. It's in their interests too and they know all the tricks to get you up and running!
5: Drive on all types of roads
You should be driving on all types of roads, barring motorways of course. Your instructor should ensure you are confident with all roads and not within one small comfort zone. Driving is a life skill. Variety is everything and though it's tempting to learn every last inch of the test route in the end it won't serve you well as a driver. You need to feel and be comfortable driving, from the smallest to the largest roads to largest roundabouts and at the various speeds so when you actually get the keys you're not afraid to get in the car and drive it properly.
6: Ignore the rumours
Why listen to horror stories about failed driving tests, half the time they’ve been over exaggerated. When people have passed, they tend not to volunteer information. The test isn't as bad as you think. So don't be put off by rumours of people failed for wearing the wrong clothes or nightmare examiners giving out dangerous faults for sneezing and instead put all your energy into learning the skills to pass.
7: Try a mock test
Get your instructor to carry out a mock test, if you simulate the actual test itself you can see whether you can drive independently and also you get the chance to see what it's like to drive under test conditions. It may highlight costly and basic mistakes. If someone comes to me to do a mock test it happens in exactly the way it would happen on the real test from start to finish.
8: Practice outside of lessons
Lessons cost an awful lot of money and driving is as much about experience as anything so driving with a parent whenever possible will add to your experience. However, there are provisos. Private practice is good so long as the person you're with allows you to follow your instructor’s way of doing things, should there be any conflicting views then allow the person your practicing with to speak with the instructor so they can understand what is happening.
9: Keep it quiet
It's a good idea not to tell everybody that you're doing the test. Why put pressure on yourself? If you’re busy worrying about what other will think if you fail then you’ll be less likely to concentrate fully on the test itself. More so if you're still at school and in an environment where there is real competition to get your licence first. Keep it to your self, then when you pass it will be a much bigger surprise for your friends.
10: Drive in as many conditions as possible
If your schedule allows try and have lessons at different times of the day. This will build your experience of driving in different conditions, i.e. at night, in the rain, during the school run can be a bit mad so if the chance is there try and take it.