You may be worried and anxious but with these 10 driving test tips, you can increase your chances of passing first time.
1. Take Plenty of Driving Lessons
Lessons aren’t mandatory in Northern Ireland but they are very important. The practical driving test isn’t something you can bluff and there’s no point in going to the test centre if you’re not ready.
There’s no standard number of hours to complete. Some people feel the need for 20-30 hours while others need 40-50 hours. It all depends on how fast you learn and how ready you feel. Don’t forget to check in with your driving instructor to see if they think you are ready to take the test.
It’s also recommended to put in some good practice outside of driving lessons. Some people spend time driving with a friend or family member who is fully licensed.
2. Be Prepared for Some Driving Test Questions
Did you think the theory test would be the end of driving questions? Think again! You’ll be asked two questions during your test to check your understanding of vehicle safety. These are the ‘show me tell me’ questions.
- The ‘tell me’ question is asked before you start driving. For this question, you need to explain how you would carry out a safety task. Examples include “Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working” or “Tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil”.
- The ‘show me’ question is asked while you’re driving. Examples of ‘show me’ questions include “Show me how you wash and clean the front/back windscreen” or “Show me how you would switch on your dipped headlights”.
3. Get in the Habit of Checking Your Mirrors
One question learner drivers want to know the answer to is “how many faults in a driving test?”
You can have up to 15 minor faults in the driving test and still be able to pass.
Failing to check your mirrors regularly is a very common driving fault. Be sure to get into the habit of using your mirrors frequently. Exaggerate those mirror checks by moving your head, don’t just take a quick glance. Show the examiner that you’re carefully observing each time you set off, reverse, change road position, and approach hazards.
4. Practise Different Manoeuvres
Not only will you be examined on your general driving skills, but your examiner will also get you to do some driving test manoeuvres.
You’ll be tasked with completing one reversing exercise. This could either be:
- Reverse parking
- Turning on the road
- Reversing around a corner
You’ll also be asked to complete an emergency stop exercise. To safely complete an emergency stop, release the gas pedal, tighten your grip on the steering wheel, press firmly on the brakes and press down the clutch. You can then put the car in neutral and put up the handbrake.
It’s also possible that you may come across a real emergency during your test so be prepared for an emergency when driving.
5. Become Familiar with Independent Driving
For most of the test, the examiner will give the driver directions on where to go or some instructions. However, there’s a part of the test where the driver will be asked to drive independently by following traffic signs, a series of directions, or a combination of both.
The driving examiner will show you a diagram of where to go. Don’t worry if you don’t remember every direction, the purpose of this section is to examine your decision-making skills.
6. Choose What Car to Use
Perhaps you feel more confident in your driving instructor's car or you want to do the driving test in your own car. Either way, it’s important that you are familiar with whatever car you’ll be using on the day.
Make sure that your car is roadworthy and that everything is in working order. Flat tyres or indicators not working properly could result in you having to retake your test another day. You’ll also need car insurance, a valid MOT if applicable and tax for your vehicle to be used on the road.
7. Stay Calm and Confident
Like many drivers, you may be wondering how to calm your nerves before the driving test. As mentioned in our first tip, it’s important to get plenty of practice before the big day.
Give yourself some self-motivation and remind yourself that you’re capable of passing. It may help to take deep breaths if you’re stressed. If you’re anxious about the examiner, just pretend that he/she is your usual driving instructor.
8. Get Your Eyes Checked Before the Test
If you have poor eyesight, it may be worth getting your eyes checked before the test. If you need glasses or wear contact lenses then ensure you wear them when you drive.
The eyesight check is a mandatory part of the practical test and requires you to read a number plate on a stationary vehicle that’s a certain distance away. Failing this part means you’ll have to reschedule for another day. If you’re struggling, the examiner will give you two more chances to read different plates.
9. Review the Rules of the Road
You may think you’re confident when it comes to knowing the rules of the road after passing your theory test. However, if you get even one major fault then you’ll fail your test immediately.
Major faults are those that put yourself, the examiner, or other road users in danger. Examples include not stopping at a zebra crossing, emerging quickly onto a junction without checking mirrors, and driving through a red light.
10. Practise Driving in Diverse Weather Conditions
Although it’s likely your driving test would be rescheduled if there is a severe weather warning, don’t cancel that driving lesson if it’s windy or snowy outside. It’s good to get used to driving in different weather conditions.
As we all know, the weather in Northern Ireland could change at any moment and you’ll spend a lot of time driving when it’s raining. Just as well we’ve prepared a guide on how to drive in heavy rain and floods.
Car insurance Northern Ireland
Whether you’re a learner driver or have passed your test you are legally required to take out car insurance on your vehicle. Get an online car insurance quote in minutes from a number of top insurers in Northern Ireland through Stroll Insurance.
There you have it, our top tips for passing the driving test. If you feel more confident, then it’s time to book that test. You can book here on the NI Direct website.