Driving test nerves

Whether it has taken you hours or months of driving lessons in Brighton and Hove, it’s what every learner driver is working towards, getting their driving up to and beyond test standard. Passing your driving theory test demonstrates you knowledge of road signs, the Highway code and perception – your practical test is just that, putting all that knowledge in to practice.

However we all suffer from exam nerves and many people worry their nerves will get the better of them on the day of their driving test. This particular form of anxiety has been coined Performance Related Stress and can affect some people more than others. If you feel you are suffering from performance related stress you certainly aren’t the only one and your examiner will be aware you are likely to be experiencing nerves.

There are a few things you can do to combat performance related stress. Being prepared and knowing what to expect is one way to avoid stress. At Brighton Marina Driving Lessons you can undergo mock tests so you have experiences driving without the usual input from your driving instructor. It also means you can develop a better understanding of the marking methods used during the exam and what constitutes a major or minor fault.

On the day you will need your driving theory test pass certificate and both parts of your provisional licence – paper and plastic. Once at the test centre you will be required to fill in some paperwork to confirm you are providing a properly insured vehicle for the driving test and that you have been a resident of this country for the necessary amount of time. You will also be given the option of being accompanied by your instructor on your test.

Once you are ready your examiner will ask you to take a quick eye test, all this involves is reading a car number plate from around 20 metres. Your examiner will then ask you two show me, tell me questions regarding a vehicle safety check. Once you have done this you can proceed to the driving portion of the test which should last around 40 minutes. It will include a reverse manoeuvre, an angle start and possibly an emergency stop.

With regard to manoeuvres if you believe you need to correct your point of turn pull forward and explain to your examiner you need to try again. If you realise your tyre is touching the kerb remember there is a difference between hitting the kerb and touching it. If you only touched it then it does not necessarily constitute a fail.

Likewise if you stall your car don’t worry. Your examiner is aware you will be nervous. Keep calm and restart the car to continue as normal, unless you stalled the car in a dangerous situation it does not mean you have failed. Your driving examiner isn’t looking for perfect driving (although that would be nice!) but safe and accurate driving.

You will also be asked to drive independently for 10 minutes. If you forget the directions or request your examiner made don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it. The DSA states: “Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going.” Going the wrong way won’t affect your test, unless you make a driving fault, and your examiner will guide you back to your correct route.

If this is not your first time taking the practical driving test then don’t forget the national driving test pass rate is 45%, meaning more people fail than pass it. If nerves got the better of you last time there is no need for this to happen again with the help of relaxation methods.

You can use breathing exercises to calm yourself down. Breathing exercises are recognised as a very effective calming method – actors use them before going on stage and it’s also thought to be very important in sport. DrivingTestSuccess.com suggests the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4. Hold that breath and count to 7. Then slowly exhale through your mouth for the count of 8. As you exhale make a soft ‘whoosh’ sound by holding the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Repeat this exercise 3 more times and you should feel more relaxed.

It also helps if you can get a good night’s sleep before your driving test. If you can’t sleep just make sure you are well rested the night before.

Try to book the test around a time you are used to driving. This means the road conditions will be familiar to you even if the route you take isn’t. A morning test might be a good idea if you are concerned your nerves will only increase throughout the day. If you’re worried about disappointing people or embarrassed about the idea of having to tell people if you fail Squidoo.com suggests you simply don’t tell them about the exam! This takes a lot of pressure off.

Remember, a little bit of stress is good for you as it gets your adrenalin going which makes your more alert and ready to react quickly. if you make a mistake during the test, try not to worry and continue as normal, if it was not serious it does not necessarily mean you have failed.

And most importantly don’t forget, if you weren’t ready, your instructor would not put you forward for the test!

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