Most people rank taking their driving test as one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of their entire life – worse even than school exams, job interviews or your wedding day!
As professional driving instructors, the team at Keen Drivers has been around the block a few times and seen it all. Some of us can even remember our own driving tests.
When we are giving lessons around Brentwood and surrounding areas of Essex, our main focus is preparing our students for life on the roads. But before that, we have to coach them through a successful driving test. A key part of our job is helping novice drivers prepare mentally for the big day, by controlling their nerves and being confident in their ability.
Here five tips we give students for staying calm for their driving test.
Waiting around can make people nervous. But on the other hand, if getting to your test ends up being a big rush, you will end up flustered and risk going into your test with a scrambled brain. To keep your stress levels at a minimum, make sure you have nothing planned before your test, give yourself plenty of time to get there (watch out for traffic!) and aim to grab a quiet five minutes before the test starts.
The only exception to our advice not to plan anything before your driving test is to book a final (hopefully!) driving lesson. We say ‘lesson’ – our instructors would not expect to do any teaching during this session. The main aim is to let you release some of that nervous energy pent up inside you. Getting behind the wheel and running through a few manoeuvres is the ideal way to focus your mind on your driving.
Especially if you have failed a driving test or two previously, the prospect of further failure can make some people very anxious. If that is the case, it doesn’t help to keep things bottled up. Talk to someone you trust about why it is you feel so anxious – do you really need to pass for a particular reason, for work perhaps? Do you feel you are letting someone down if you fail? Do you just share that common trait most of us have and simply dislike failure? Whatever the reasons, talking through your concerns can help put things in perspective and clear your mind.
The last thing you want going into a driving test is to be tired and hungry as well as nervous – that will only add to the stress levels. Get an early night the day before your test, and even if you don’t feel like it, make sure you eat beforehand. You need that energy to concentrate on your driving.
Confidence is often the key to success in all situations. If you believe you can do something, you probably will. You will usually only be taking you test on the advice of your driving instructor. Trust their judgement – we have been doing this for a long time, we know when people are ready to drive! If we believe you are ready to pass, take our word for it and believe in yourself.