So, the big day is here. You’ve passed your theory test, spent hours practicing and can perform manoeuvres in your sleep – but now that your practical driving test is here, it’s only natural to be nervous and worried.
Keeping your nerve for a successful pass is easier said than done, but here are our top tips for your practical driving test day.
1. Don’t Starve Yourself
Have something to eat an hour or so before the test begins. You might feel to nervy to want to eat, but it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels up, otherwise you might start to feel drowsy and inattentive.
2. Don’t Over-Practice
Your driving instructor will probably pick you up no earlier than an hour before the test time, which allows you time to get to the centre and prepare yourself. The drive to the centre is really all the practice you need on the day – if you spend hours driving around or practicing manoeuvres, you’ll be tired and not as fresh as you need to be.
3. Stay Positive
If you weren’t ready for the practical driving test, your instructor would not have put you in for it. While you are waiting, either just focus on your breathing to calm your mind or visualise how you will feel after the test, with a successful pass to your name.
4. Nerves Can Help
Remember that a certain amount of anxiety can help in your test, so don’t beat yourself up about the butterflies in your stomach. If you’re a little bit nervous, you’ll be in a hyper alert state, which can be a good thing when it comes to spotting hazards and driving appropriately.
5. Mistakes Happen
Once the test begins, do not panic if you make a mistake. You can get away with a surprising amount of mistakes before you’ll be downgraded to a fail. Stalling the car does not equal a fail unless you stall it in a dangerous place and fail to recover the situation safely. So if you stall, stay calm and in control, and just get yourself back going again.
6. Ask for Help if You Need it
During the independent driving section of the test, remember that it’s OK to ask for help with the directions. You’re not being tested in your navigation skills, and you won’t fail if you get lost or take a wrong turning.
7. It’s Not Your One and Only Chance
If the worst happens and you do fail the test – it’s not the end of the world. You can retake the test as often as you wish, and having been through the experience once, so you know what to expect, you’re very likely to pass on a second attempt.
On the day of your practical driving test, the most important thing to remember is that the examiners are not looking for perfect drivers – there are precious few of those around, if any at all. You just need to demonstrate that you are capable, aware of the rules of the road, in control of the vehicle and can drive safely. And you can – otherwise you wouldn’t be taking your test today. Good luck!