So today's post (as you may have guessed from the title) is not about make up, hair or fashion, its about driving. Something that i've wanted to be able to do for a while now, and today i finally passed (third times a charm! ;)) I thought i'd share my experience of driving lessons/test as it may be useful to people whom are taking lessons, or are taking their test soon!
Lets start way back when...
Finding a decent driving instructor is absolutely vital to making progress with your driving and passing your test. I firstly had an instructor who told me that one hour driving lessons are useless, and that two hour lessons are far more beneficial, so i booked two hour lessons with him where all we would do is literally drive down long country roads, there were hardly any junctions and i wasn't really learning any new driving skills. After having about ten lessons with said instructor, i finally decided enough was enough and decided to change instructors.
My second instructor (who i passed with!) was recommended to me by my one of my mum's friends. If you are looking to take lessons, then definitely try and get a recommendation for a good instructor off a friend, family member, someone at work. Even if you are in the hairdressers having your hair cut, mention to your hairdresser that you're having lessons and do they know any good instructors, chances are that someone will know be able to recommend someone. My instructor was an independent instructor, so he isn't working for any of the Driving Schools such as The AA, LDC, BSM. I think independent instructors also tend to charge a little less than motoring schools.
During my driving lessons with my second instructor i was steadily progressing. We started off with going around housing estates, then onto main roads, major roundabouts, town centre traffic, dual carriageways and finally to country roads. Whilst learning to drive you will have crappy lessons where you think 'i'm never gonna be able to drive!' then you'll have good lessons where you think 'hey, this driving malarky isn't so hard after all!'. We also covered the 3 manoeuvres, Turn In The Road, Left Reverse and Parallel Parking (at my test centre, we don't do bay parking, although we did cover this in my lessons too) Manoeuvres are not my strongest point, i found Turn In The Road easy enough, but Parallel Parking and Left Reverse definitely took a lot of practice to get them to test standard, and even then i was hoping they wouldn't come up on my test! I think the key with manoeuvres is to keep them super slow, theres no rush to get them finished, and if you mess it up then you can always correct yourself. E.g. If you come a bit wide on a Left Reverse then you can take the car forward slightly and reverse back closer in.
Test 1 On my first test i went in thinking i was gonna pass, all was going so well until my manoeuvre, i was told to reverse around a corner. I reversed my car around the corner but turned the wheel slightly too late, which resulted in me being too wide. Then i did the worse thing that i could do and panicked and stalled the car. All my confidence was banished, and i just knew i had failed! In hindsight i should of took a deep breath, took the car forward and then reversed back closer in, but unfortunately i didn't. So that was fail number 1.
Test 2 This test was also going very well, my general driving was great, i got Turn In The Road as my manoeuvre, which i carried out perfectly - i thought to myself great i can relax now! Then my examiner told me it was time for the independent driving. For this he told me to follow signs for a particular place, most of the independent drive was in the countryside with differing speed limits (40 to 60 to 50...) I got back to the test centre, pulled up thinking i'd passed and was told i'd failed. I'd been driving 5mph over the speed limit! Yup, i failed on 5mph, such a silly mistake to fail on! So if you are driving in the countryside on your test, or anywhere with differing speed limits then keep your wits about you and watch your speed.
Test 3 - Today was the day i passed my test. My examiner was the guy who failed me for my first test, slightly awkward, but he is a really nice examiner, very friendly and calming. I did my general driving, which went fine, my independent driving was also good, and i got a Turn In The Road as a manoeuvre. This time though, i didn't get ahead of myself and didn't let myself think i'd passed. I kept calm and really concetrated on my driving. We got back to the test centre and he told me i'd passed, with 3 minor faults! :)
Driving Test Tips
- Remember to adjust your seat/head restraint so you are comfortable.
- Concentrate on your driving, even if you think you have passed.
- Be on the lookout for no entry signs, these catch a lot of people out apparently!
- Whilst doing your manoeuvre keep it slow, calm and make sure your looking out of all your windows.
- Listen to the examiner, if you can't remember what he said, ask him/her to repeat the instruction.
- Get a good nights sleep the night before and try to eat something for breakfast before your test, trust me, you'll feel a lot better with something in your stomach.
Test Cancelation Website
After i failed my second test, there was a 6 week waiting list until the next available test date. I didn't want to wait that long so i signed up to a website which emailed me when a cancellation at my chosen test centre arose. The website is www.changedrivingtest.co.uk all you do is register your email address, and when a cancelation becomes available, you'll receive an email notifying you, then simply logon to the DSA direct.gov website and take the cancelation date, you have to be quick with them though as cancellations go very quickly!
So, thats my driving experience. I really hoped it helped someone out there! If you want to vent/talk to anyone about driving lessons/tests then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'm no expert, but if i can pass my driving test, then anyone can! :)