Driving test day would have to be right up there as one of the most stressful days of our lives!
But it doesn’t have to be if you are properly prepared. Want to know what you need to do to pass your driving test? Keep reading!
The Queensland On Road Driving Test is the final step in gaining your P’s (Probationary License). Finally, after many hours of driving supervised, you are just one step away from going it alone. And this is why so many fail first time.
They are under prepared. They are really not P Plate ready. If they were, they would pass right? It’s not just about being well practised in the ‘test route’, or that you ace all of your ‘manoeuvres’. It really is about how prepared you are to be driving alone in a car – anywhere!
If your general driving has only been to school and back, perhaps to work or home from work with the occasional highway/ motorway run to go visit a relative, think about what it is you have come across on those drives. Were there traffic lights? a variety of intersections? Did you have to stop or change speed? How are you positioned in the car? Are you holding the steering wheel with both hands? Do you use your mirrors frequently? How do you indicate on roundabouts?
Those are just a few of the ‘situations’ that you are ‘tested’ on for your driving test.
Situations are what you will come across every day as an independent driver and you are being assessed on Test Day to ensure that you know how to conduct yourself and handle your vehicle through a variety of ‘situations’. If you’ve been spending a lot of time perfecting your reverse parallel parking or ‘three point turns’ then sorry, you have wasted valuable learning time.
So what are the ‘situations’ that are on the Driving Test?
Roads: To state the obvious, one of that largest ‘situations’ are roads! Marked, unmarked, multi lane, narrow, wide, with bends and turns. Roads with T Intersections and cross roads. A variety of roads and conditions.
Conditions: Low volume traffic, high volume traffic. Lower speeds. Higher Speeds. Roads that go from two lanes to one or one lane to two.
Signs and Markings: While driving, you should be aware of all of the signs and road markings which will give you guidance along the way. Stop signs, Give-way, one way, must turn left or must turn right, left/right lane ending merge signs. Speed signs. Lane closed ahead signs. Arrows and line markings on the road. Bicycle lanes, solid and broken lines, double solid lines. So many that you may have taken for granted and not necessarily obeyed but you must during your test – and you SHOULD for the rest of your driving life!
Indicating: It goes without saying that indicating is how you communicate with other drivers as you safely move around the roads with them. None of us are born mind readers! Indicate at least 5 seconds before moving your vehicle from one lane to another. If turning into a side street, indicate before you brake as this alerts a driver behind you that you will be slowing down soon. Indicating correctly on roundabouts is also important – but do not rely on other drivers to do the same! Caution should be used at all times around other vehicles. Never assume that another driver will do the right thing.
Speed limits: It is vitally important to obey speed limits. Not doing so will abruptly end your driving test as there is ZERO tolerance on speeding. REMEMBER TO DO THE SPEED AT THE SIGN !!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. Slow down to the speed limit if you are approaching a sign with a lower limit to the area you are currently in. Only speed up to the new speed limit once you REACH the sign – not when you SEE it!!!! So many test students overlook this one rule and end up failing their test due to being 6 or 7 kph over the limit either side of a speed sign.
Safety: Driving safely involves obeying road rules and safe operation of the vehicle at all times. This means that you MUST have both hands on the steering wheel while the vehicle is moving. Of course you can take one hand off for a couple of seconds to scratch that itch, wipe that tear from your eye, change a gear (manual) adjust demisters etc. You MUST check your mirrors regularly – both sides and rear view. Always be aware of vehicles around you. Then if you need to change lanes or move in a hurry, you check all of your mirrors, and SHOULDER check before moving – especially if you saw a red car a few seconds prior and it seems to have vanished into thin air! Chances are it is now in your Blind Spot! NEVER assume that the space that you want to move into is empty. ALWAYS look first!
Manoeuvres: Ensuring that you can do a minimum of two manoeuvres with at least one reversing component, this is the most stressed over part of the driving test and it shouldn’t be. You can FAIL your driving test during a manoeuvre if you fail to turn to look behind you out of your back window before reversing OR if you impact a kerb, car or person OR if the examiner has to intervene either with braking, accelerating or steering OR if you fail to stop for a vehicle that is coming towards the rear of your car while you are reversing in a straight line. Provided you remember these important rules, then even if you are too far from the kerb or are a little wide pulling up, it’s better to lose a point than fail the whole test.
The on Road Driving test takes half an hour – provided you have not made any critical errors (CDE’s) or too many non critical driving errors (NCDE’s). Although it does not seem like a long time, a lot of ‘situations’ are covered in that time. If you have completed 100 hours of driving experience (or more) and you followed the road rules during that whole time, it really isn’t rocket science to pass your test. The clincher is how nervous you may be on the day. Regardless of how prepared you think you are, those butterflies and nerve endings can play havoc with your physical actions and you can see yourself doing things you may never have done before.
To assist with this, spend time with a qualified instructor that you can relax with. Have them put you through a few practise tests so that you become familiar with that process.
Try to think of your ‘test day’ as just a day that you are proving to another driver that you can drive safely and in accordance with the road rules.
All the best with your safe driving future. If you live on the Gold Coast and would like to have a lesson with me, please get in touch I am also an accredited Keys2Drive instructor – have a free government funded lesson with me!