Before your driving test

If you use your own or family car, that’s absolutely fine as long as you check Tax, Insurance, NCT ( if necessary ), L plates. Lights, so obvious, but so often, no drive!
Know your vehicle, under the bonnet, and around the cockpit,  fog lights, demister  etc.
When did you last check your tyres?
Don’t forget your provisional licence and check that it is current.
These are YOUR  responsibility, so they must be in order, don’t expect any sympathy or leniency from the tester.

These are figures from the RSA. First quarter 2013, reasons why all these tests did NOT go ahead.

Candidate late 94
No valid insurance 144
No ‘L’ plates 64
No valid learner permit 137
No valid NCT disc 154
Pupil did not show up 4904
Vehicle not roadworthy 635
Vehicle ‘Not in class’ 42
No road tax 125


On your test

A safe, competent, smooth drive with good and timely observation. Using your mirrors and being aware of other road users will help you to plan your way forward.
Don’t forget your blindspots!
Try not to weave in and out of traffic unnecessarily if your way ahead is clear.
Try to keep reasonably but not too close to the kerb allowing yourself plenty of room and time to move out around parked vehicles or hazards, hazards are anything that will make you have to change your position or speed ahead, so plan early!
Use your mirrors before changing speed or direction.

When you are emerging from junctions, make sure you can definitely see both ways, the tester will also be looking, so if you guess and get lucky, you will still get marked.
If you can’t see clearly, be proactive, edge out carefully to a position where you can.
Use your brakes, accelerator, and clutch in good time, this may sound pretty obvious, but many drivers fail their test by not staying focused on the small detail.
Accelerating smoothly and braking gently always impresses, when changing gear, try not to raise the clutch sharply, try being able to count to four, bringing your foot up.
Changing to the gear you need rather than the next in line, for example, 4 to 2 instead of 4 to 3 to 2, gives you more time, is safer and IS correct providing you adjust your speed first. Also it is not always necessary to change down thru the gears before stopping.
When you are stopped ,using the handbrake is not always your only option, but it gives you more stability.

Many drivers fail their test for lack of progress, this means that they are delaying real or potential traffic without good reason. If road conditions are good and suitable, then wherever possible drive at, or close to, the speed limits as they change up or down.

Very few drivers are able to drive without making some faults, the test is not that restrictive, but if you make, and continue to make errors on the drive, then you will accumulate enough markings to fail. Obviously some errors are more serious than others but if you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it, move on, it may not be as bad as you think.

Finally, there are no quotas to pass, certainly some testers have a tougher reputation than others, but if you are good enough, you are old enough!  Try to display the winning formula, confidence with competence.  If you are sitting the test for a second or subsequent time, don’t worry if you get the same tester again, each time you start with a blank sheet.  As for crossing  your arms, or keeping both hands on the wheel whilst conducting your manoeuvres, you don’t  have to be too rigid about it. Just make sure that it does not affect your control over the vehicle. Beware of any ‘good advice’ you may get from well intentioned friends, some of this certainly is good but some of it may be misinformed. Anything you are not sure of, consult the ‘Rules of the Road’ or your instructor.

various tips

1. Know your rules of the road. This may seem like stating the obvious, but a good start by impressing the tester may yield dividends in the long run.

2. Position your vehicle correctly at all times as though you are always meeting oncoming traffic. Don’t hog the road, but don’t jump up on the kerb every time you meet traffic.

3. Keep your observation skills going throughout the test. If you don’t look out for problems, how can you possibly expect to deal with them effectively?

4. Read the road ahead, constantly reviewing the information you are getting. Don’t let inexperience drag you into a sticky situation.

5. It is very important to always be aware of the movement or non-movement of traffic behind you. So the constant use of all of your mirrors throughout the test is essential.

6. Always try to ensure that you keep your distance from any object on the road either stationary or in motion. Remember to allow for car doors opening, bicycles swerving etc. 

7. Use your indicators wisely and in good time. Late signals help no one and don’t forget to cancel.

8. Do not invite anyone, neither vehicle nor pedestrian onto the road.

9. Use courtesy at all times whenever practical.

10. Watch out for anyone- including yourself- alighting from vehicles.

11. Try to keep traffic flowing at all times. Make the necessary observations at junctions etc. but don’t overdo it. If you believe it to be clear then get moving, slowly if you are unsure, but moving. Stay with the flow of traffic as long as it is legal and safe to do so.

12. Try to ensure some fluency with all your vehicle controls, these include accelerator, clutch, gears footbrake, handbrake, steering, etc.   

13.Adjust your speed to suit road conditions, width, visibility, wet etc. Don’t tear up to end of the road or the car in front, if you are going to end up braking hard. This shows poor planning ahead. Always keep to the   speed limit.

14. Traffic controls, these include road markings, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings etc. Always obey them.

15. Always give right of way where appropriate, moving off, overtaking, changing lanes, turning right etc.

16. Reversing to the left. Don’t hit the kerb and observe, observe, observe!

17. Turning the car in the road, same again, don’t let the car roll back. Try to do it in three moves but if looks like you cannot then take another go.

18. Finally make sure you can park between two cars, you may have to at the end of the test.

Reg. Approved Driving Instructor R.S.A. 34925 Reg. Approved Driving Instructor U.K. 182655