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4 May, 2014

Driving test tips & tricks from Dave

RED instructor Dave Childs, who has been with RED Driving School for 15 years has given us his top tips on learning the skills needed to pass the driving test and how to stay calm on your test day.

When the day comes to take your driving test, it can feel pretty daunting to apply hours and hours (and often, month’s) worth of learning in an hour-long test setting. To give you an extra hand Dave has helped us to put together an extended list of some of his best nuggets of wisdom before, during and after your test day!

RED driving instructor Dave Childs with learner Maisie Williams

Before the Big day

Don’t Rush it

Be sure to get enough lessons in during the lead up to your test, ask your instructor to tell you when they think you’re ready – and if not, what you need to work on. Everyone wants to trade their green provisional for a pink full driver’s licence, but if you’re not ready it can be an expensive setback.

Budget for it

Learning to drive is a great confidence booster for young people, not only is it the first big investment you’ll make, for some the first time you’ll really have to budget in order to see something through. Don’t forget about any of the expenses involved: Provisional licence, theory test, professional lessons (UK average is 45 hours) as well as the practical test.

“See you next week”

To help you learn at a consistent pace, and avoid forgetting what you’ve learned to date it’s great to keep your lessons to a regular pattern – aim to have two or more hours behind the wheel every week. Agree a number of  convenient time slots with your instructor during your first driving session.

Chart your Milestones

Recording, and then practicing what you’ve learned in preparation for your next lesson is great for motivation. Many RED instructors help their pupils to chart their progress with a progress log, if yours doesn’t find out what the big milestones are and keep track of your progress that way.

Practice makes Perfect

Whilst lessons with a professional instructor are crucial in passing your test, be sure to ask a friend or relative to take you out on the road too. This extra practice time will help with your confidence driving in different vehicles and with different passengers.

Mental Miles on the Clock

Don’t forget you can get some extra miles on the clock and be better prepared for every stage of learning with RED’s tools: Road Brain Trainer, UK Theory Test tools and even Driving games for a bit of light relief. Practice spotting potential risks on the road, this will give you a deeper understanding of situations and hazards that may occur and how to avoid them.

Theory test Done

Once you’ve had around 10-14 hours of practical training and spent some time practising your Theory Test Online, you should feel ready to tackle that test! Aim to do this earlier on in your training, which means you can book and spend plenty of time building up to your practical test!

On the Big day

Test and Learn

You’ll find it helpful to have at least one mock test in the run up to your test day. If you can, use a test route and have an entire lesson under test conditions. Many people will also tell you to keep schtum about the real date of your test, (perhaps giving away the week so people can wish you good luck) as the more people you tell, the more pressure you’re likely to feel on test day.

Get your Head Down

No, we don’t just mean paying attention – getting the right amount of sleep is crucial to maintaining that attention during your test too! If you’ve got time before the test, a lesson beforehand will have you in the right driving frame of mind to ace the test.

Stay Cool, Stay in Touch

So you’re in the driver’s seat, the day has come and aside from your driving there are three key things to keep in mind: Focus, concentrate and breathe. Don’t let your mind wander, listen to the examiner’s instructions, and don’t allow nerves to get the better of you by taking deep, steady breaths.

If you do make any mistakes on the day – most people do – don’t give up. These mistakes may only be minors, so long as you avoid any serious or dangerous faults you’re still in with a good chance of passing your test. If at any point you aren’t clear on what your examiner is asking you to do, speak up and ask for clarification.

Remember that learning to drive doesn’t stop at passing your test, RED instructors will happily teach you to drive on a motorway, at night and in poor weather conditions. Pass plus is a popular choice and it even helps to reduce the cost of your insurance!

Telematics insurance is another option to consider, where the insurance company monitors how you drive with a ‘black box’ fitted to your car . You will be heavily rewarded with cheap insurance for being a sensible driver.