My experience with the new driving test
As you probably know, the driving test has recently changed and been updated to include different manoeuvres and following a satnav. Our ambassador Owen is here to share his experience with the new style driving test! Let's see how he got on...
Before the test
I had a mixture of feelings before the test, as does anyone. The nerves had a huge impact on how I envisioned the test to go, and I found myself slowly counting down the days until it arrived.
Overall, I was generally confident - up until the very last 2 nights before the big day. My test was booked for the 15th, however, this didn't stop me waking up on the morning of the 14th in a blind panic thinking I was late for my test! The nerves of the day really were getting the better of me!
I spent countless hours revising everything I could before my test - I had now gained everything I felt was needed for me to pass. My test started at 9:17 with pick up and a quick lesson from 8:00.
The lesson before
As with anything you’re preparing for, practice makes perfect, and the drive to the test centre was a perfect time to fit in a few manoeuvres. I went ahead and did the park on the right and reverse two spaces and the parallel park. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for a bay park although this wasn't a problem as I did it when arriving at the test centre!
Arriving at the test centre
As soon as I pulled into the test centre, the nerves really kicked in. I was unsure what was going to happen and having other learners around me, didn’t seem to help. When I arrived, I reverse bay parked so I was in the perfect position to start my test. I did a couple of eyesight checks with my instructor and once ready - we made our way inside.
My instructor then asked if I would like him to sit in the test with me. I know some learners find this really helps, but I decided it would be best to do it alone, to which he replied "You’re the first person on the new test to say no to me" whilst laughing it off.
Whilst waiting for the examiner, I was surrounded by other learners also there for their tests. Hearing the advice from their instructors to them also helped to boost my confidence.
When my examiner arrived, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief that he appeared to be not too much older than I am. I showed my licence, signed a few documents and off we went. After the eyesight checks and a quick run through of how the test would work, I was told to pull out of the test centre and begin.
I soon realised I wasn't one of the people who would be using a sat nav! Part of me was hoping to use the sat nav in my test, however my examiner was very clear and helpful when guiding me on where to go, so it didn’t make too much difference.
The overall route of my driving test was very town-based. Luckily, it was all the roads I had experienced before. I dealt with my first roundabout about 5 minutes into the test which went great, and before I knew it I was in a car park and being asked to do a forward bay park! This manoeuvre was probably my least favourite, and the one that I didn’t want to come up in the test but I went ahead and did it – surprisingly well!
With the reversing manoeuvre out of the way, I only had the show me question left. I was asked to show how I would roll down my window when safe and asked to tell how I would know if there was a problem with the ABS system. Luckily, I had memorised almost everything I could, so these weren’t too much of a problem.
The test overall went really well, following the signs was simple and even though I seemed to get stuck at every red light on the journey, I remained focused and confident.
Upon arriving back at the test centre, I knew the results would soon follow and I was eager to know if I had done enough to pass. I felt as though I did well, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Was my driving good enough for a pass?
IT WAS! I was so happy and I couldn’t wait to tell my family. Needless to say, I didn’t pass the test 100% perfectly – there were some minors that I was marked down for. My instructor came over, and the examiner talked us through them.
Sometimes I was going a little slower than I could have been, maybe taking the 2-second rule to the extreme. I knew I purposely went slower than I usually would when learning in my own car, but I wanted to be extra safe.
Another markdown I had was for my steering. On the way back to the test centre, I was going around the roundabout that was blocked with cars. I was in the inside lane and needed to go straight over. I didn’t make it clear where I was heading to the other drivers. My examiner stated that If I had the car pointing out slightly, I could have moved away quicker and made the steering a lot easier!
During my drive I went into the wrong lane, with no one around other than one car at least 5-7 car spaces back, I made my way into the correct lane without signalling to where I later realised I should have.
When leaving the test centre and approaching the roundabout, there were no road markings, but luckily my examiner stepped in and helped!
Despite the minors I received, I passed! I knew where all the mistakes were, and every minor was completely fair!
Wow - Owen really smashed his driving test! Have you taken the new style test, or do you have it coming up? If so, we'd love to hear from you! Head over to our Facebook page now, and let us know your story.