Beat Driving Test Nerves

Driving tests can trigger problems for learner drivers. Even learners who consider themselves to be good drivers can get anxious over a driving test. Because one serious error can cost a learner the opportunity to get their full driving license, there is considerable pressure to perform well on the day of the test. The fear of driving tests, like many other phobias, is strictly driven by mental attitude. People often fear driving tests as they have doubts about their capability to perform effectively. In addition to this, a lot of learners have a fear of driving tests as they aren’t sure exactly what to expect on the day.

Much of the worry about driving tests can be connected to not having enough confidence in your capability to perform. Even if a learner driver considers themselves to be the best driver in the world, they can still have the fear of taking a driving test if they lack self self-confidence.

Other learners fear driving tests due to the fact of unpredictability. Even though they understand how to drive, they have no idea of how a driving test works.

If you go into a driving test and you are nervous about the test, you probably won’t perform well. Anxiousness and anxiety can have an adverse effect on success levels on driving tests. How do you get rid of these things?

All driving instructors are very experienced at dealing with nervous learner drivers and can give you the best advice to help reduce driving test nerves. However a lot of preparation is needed before the driving test day arrives. Listed below are the recommendations and techniques regularly used by driving instructors to help learner driver’s deal with their driving test nerves.

1. Make sure you know what to expect on driving test day. Going for a driving test without knowing exactly what’s going to happen will increase your Anxiety level and make you more nervous.

Read the article on what to expect on driving test day for a complete guide on what happens on your driving test. This will give you a lot more confidence knowing that something unexpected isn’t going to happen.

It’s also a good idea to ask your driving instructor if you can have a Mock driving test. This gives you an idea of the standard you have reached so far and whether or not you are at the standard required to pass the driving test, this will also give you an idea of the terminology the examiner will use on the day of your test.

Your driving instructor will give you a lot of advice and tips for passing the driving test, However every little helps and you can find more advice in our article How to pass the driving test this will broaden your knowledge further and help to lesson any nerves. You’re driving instructor will also go over the Show ME Tell Me questions and answers with you.

You will also need to be familiar with these.

You will be asked one show me question and one tell me question at the start of your test. Your instructor will need go over these with you as some of them could be specific to your driving instructors car only.

2. The biggest obstacle for a learner driver taking the driving test is their lack of experience. Something may happen during the test that you have not come across with your instructor or on any of your driving lessons. Unless a learner driver takes hundreds of driving lessons, it’s very unlikely that a learner is going to come across every situation there is.

Try to practice every aspect of your driving and all the set manoeuvres until you are totally confident with both, be guided by your instructor after all he/she is the expert. Private practise with a friend or relative is a great help but ensure you stick to what your driving instructor has taught you and practise to improve on everything you can, if there is anything that you are having trouble with concentrate on this, again be guided by your instructor. Follow this and there should be no reason why you should fail the driving test.

Some parts of the driving test can be largely controlled by the learner driver, for example the emergency stop and the four set manoeuvres. In regards to the the manoeuvres the learner driver has total control of the vehicle and the situation they are in.

If other vehicles stop or wait for you don’t panic or rush to finish, carry on keep the car slow and let them wait for you. If other vehicles want to get past you, stop your vehicle and let them pass wait until it’s safe then continue.

Turn in the road

Reverse around a corner

Parallel parking

Bay parking

The emergency stop

3. The independent part of the driving test often makes learners nervous.

The independent driving part of the test is not meant to test the learners navigating ability if a learner takes a wrong turn it won’t count against them.

If the learner forgets the directions that were given they can ask the examiner to confirm them. If any of the road signs that are being followed are hidden or blocked in any way, for example by an overhanging tree or a parked vehicle, the examiner will help you and tell you where to go.

Ensure that your driving instructor gives you plenty of practice following a series of set directions and driving around following destinations from road signs.

4. Knowing the area you are taking you driving test in will without doubt help you. Every driving instructor will know the general areas that examiners use for particular test centres. You don’t need to know every single road on the driving test routes as most of the roads are the same as each other.

However examiners often use the trickier or more complicated areas on test routes deliberately to test your driving ability to the maximum.

Making sure that you are confident driving in these areas will help you to reduce test nerves. Also knowing the roads in and out of the driving test centre will help.

5. Driving lesson frequency is also an important factor taking one lesson a week is fine, however increasing your driving lessons to two or three a week leading up to your test will not only increase your confidence but go a long way to reduce those driving test nerves. Try to take lessons at different times of the day including busy times if possible. The more time you spend out on the road, the more it becomes normal. Taking your driving lessons at different times of the day will let you gain more experience with different and busier traffic conditions.

6. Telling people you have a driving test will put you under more pressure to perform, a lot of learner drivers don’t tell anyone that they have a test booked. The least amount of people who know the better, and the less pressure there is on you, the more people know the more pressure it will put you under, this could result in making you more nervous.

7. Choosing an appropriate time of day to book your driving test can also reduce driving test nerves. Generally tests booked between the hours of 10am and 230pm are a good choice. This will avoid any rush hour traffic and of course the dreaded school run.

Plenty of practice is crucial to building your confidence up. The more confidence you have the less driving test nerves you will have. It is important that you feel confident in yourself and your driving ability.

If you feel confident with all of the points above then you should feel confident within yourself to take the driving test. Be guided by your driving instructor, If they say you are ready for your driving test and you feel confident within yourself, and with your ability you have nothing to worry about.

Preparation is the key to driving test success. Most of your driving test nerves can be reduced by not only preparing for the driving test by increasing your driving skills, but by relaxing your mind through mental preparation. Following the above advice will go a long way to reducing your driving test nerves.

To summarise

  • Make sure you know what will happen on the driving test.
  • Make sure your Confident to perform all the manoeuvres.
  • Read tips on how to pass the driving test so you know what the examiner wants from you.
  • Practise all the Show Me Tell Me questions and answers.
  • Make sure you are confident with independent driving.
  • Know any of the difficult areas of the test routes in your area.
  • Increase your driving lessons as the driving test gets closer.
  • Take a mock driving test.
  • Make sure you and your driving instructor are confident in your ability to pass the driving test.
  • Tell as few people as possible when you’re driving test is.
  • Try to book your driving test at the quietest times of the day.

Preparation is the key to driving test success. Most of your driving test nerves can be reduced by not only preparing for the driving test by increasing your driving skills, but by relaxing your mind through mental preparation. Following the above advice will go a long way to reducing your driving test nerves.

Tim Hunt

Driving School Director