Driving a car is a very complex thing. Think about this, you have to co-ordinate two hands and two feet at the same time. Not only that you have to do all that whilst looking and concentrating on the road ahead while being aware of what’s all around you. You could do the same journey every day for ten years and yet each time will be different. Most days you may drive from home to work without consciously thinking about what you’re doing and arrive there safely. Another day a car may pull out in front of you causing you to do an emergency stop. The trouble is we have no idea of when that may happen so we have to remain alert at all times so that we are ready for an eventuality.
When it comes to a pupil taking their driving test, I try and break the skills they need down to a few simple things:
- Do the simple things consistently well – Every time they move off use “Prepare, Observe, Move”. When they are on the move and the need to change their speed or direction then use “Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre”. Those two sets of three words each, cover pretty much everything we need to do when we’re driving. There are slight variations of these words, however I like to keep it simple so when under pressure we can easily resort back to those keywords.
- If in doubt, don’t pull out – It’s the aggressive moves that are more likely to fail someone. If there is any doubt in your mind about the size of a gap then don’t take it, wait for a larger one.
- If you’re not sure slow down more – Situations like meeting traffic where there are lots of parked cars, especially outside schools at pick up or drop off times. The more difficult the problem looks the more you want to slow down. The reason being is that it gives you time to think in order to assess the situation.
- Keep all manoeuvres slow – By keeping them slow you then have so much time to look around to make sure it’s safe. You have more time to keep the manoeuvre accurate and in doing so you will actually do the manoeuvre quicker as you are less likely to have to rectify it.
- Keep concentrating the whole time – Pupils are more likely to fail in the first five minutes of their test because they are nervous or the last five minutes because they start to relax and think they are home and dry. I had a pupil once who failed in the last second of his driving test because he gently hit the brick wall at the back of the bay….. very frustrating!
That’s it!!!! Do those things well and you can almost guarantee to pass your driving test first time. I say almost because there are so many variables to allow for. However the list above covers almost everything in my opinion.
More importantly we don’t learn to drive simply to pass a driving test we learn to drive to make us safe drivers for life. You will be pleased to know that the list above applies to all motorists, not just learners taking a driving test. So don’t forget those simple skills once you’ve passed your test.