Last week I passed my driving test, it’s the day every petrol head waits for. You’ve turned seventeen years old, you’ve got insured on your parent’s car, you’ve done all your driving lessons and now you sit in the waiting room, listening for your name to be called. But what exactly happens on the day?
Before I discuss the events of the test itself, I want to say that the most important thing you can do for the driving test is to be prepared. Make sure you have not only completed the twelve mandatory driving lessons, but that you have applied what you learned there both knowledge and skills wise to your driving. It is a very good idea to book a pretest lesson very close to your test date, because nobody can prepare you like your driving instructor can. Also, do not be disheartened if you make mistakes here. I failed my pretest and passed my real test the next day. Regular driving practice is also essential especially around the test area to feel comfortable on the roads. Maneuvers such as the reverse around the corner and turnabout should also be perfected to not drop marks in these common areas. You must bring with you your learner permit but nothing else to the test centre.
Your name is called!
The moment has finally come. Your examiner will call you into the office and invite you to sit at their desk. Try not to be nervous, the examiner should be very pleasant with you and wants you to do well. They will ask you to present your learner permit, ensuring it is valid. They will also ask you to read and sign a document confirming that you are insured to drive your car for the purpose of the test and that you take responsibility for your driving during the test. Once the formalities are taken care of, they will ask you two or three basic theory questions followed by three or four road signs. Although you cannot fail your test at this stage, you want to keep as many faults for out on the road and not waste them here.
The driving part!
Next you will walk outside to your car. Firstly, you will be asked to open the bonnet and show some basic engine parts. Three questions such as where would you add engine oil, or how would you know the level of the coolant will be asked. The examiner will more than likely also want to check the lights. Once inside, you will have to explain how the secondary controls work, things like the demister, how to clean your windscreen and turning on lights. Before you can set off the final thing is to adjust your seat, mirrors and steering wheel to a comfortable position.
At last you begin the real driving test. On one of the many predetermined routes, you will be assessed on every aspect of your driving. From positioning, turning, anticipating, observing to control, smoothness and understanding of the rules of the road, it all will be under scrutiny. Of course there will also be the maneuvers of the turnabout, hill start and reverse around a corner. Try to stay calm through the test and if you make a mistake, ignore it and move on as it probably hasn’t failed you.
After you park back at the test centre, you will return the the examiner’s desk where they will tell you if you have passed or not. Hopefully you have, in which case they will issue you with a certificate of competency to be presented when applying for your full license. Before leaving, the examiner will run through your test quickly pointing out areas you still need to improve on. An email will also be sent containing a detailed report of your test markings.