As you all know, the driving test has recently changed to include new manoeuvres, using a sat nav and a new show me tell me. We wanted to know, what is it like to have failed the old test, then take the new one? Andrew has done exactly that, and has let us know what he really thinks.
When did you start to learn to drive, and what made you want to do it?
I started driving lessons in April 2017, and I was having 1 to 2-hour lessons a week. Unfortunately, I had to swap instructors in October – one month before my first test – as my previous instructor changed job. The reason I started learning to drive is that I am a single parent to my 3-year-old daughter and I live quite far out of town. From a trip to the shops to getting my daughter to nursery, I was having to rely on other people to get me and her everywhere. Enough was enough.
Were you hoping you would get the test done and dusted before the changes came into place?
I assumed I had plenty of time to get my test done and passed before the changes came in. However, I didn’t quite realise that I needed to learn, not only the ability to drive but the confidence to do so!
Had you been learning the old and the new manoeuvres etc in the lead up to your first test?
In the lead up to my first test, I had only been learning what I needed to pass at that point. When I then failed that test, there were only three weeks until the test changes took place! I began to learn the new manoeuvres and using a sat nav straight away.
How much did your lessons have to change once you’d failed the old test and knew you’d have to then take the new one?
The lessons I was taking didn’t have to change too much; after all, it’s still driving ability you’re tested on! It was just a case of learning the new manoeuvres, as up until this point I was expecting the three-point-turn or the reverse around the corner. The sat nav was a great and easy way of following directions, however, I still had to practice following the road signs, as 1 in 5 tests won’t be using a sat nav.
What did you fail on the first time?
On the first test, I failed a parallel park by slightly hitting the curb. Luckily I didn’t have that as my manoeuvre the second time around (phew) as some days I can do it absolutely fine, and others I have no idea when to turn the wheel!
Did you find the new test easier, or do you think you passed second time because of the additional practice/not as nervous etc?
I personally found the new test much easier! The new manoeuvres such as forward bay parking and pulling up on the right and reversing could not be any easier. Following a sat nav was great too; rather than being told by the instructor where to go, if I wasn’t sure I could have a look on the screen instead of asking them to clarify. Having already taken the old test the nerves were nowhere near as bad the second time around and I was confident on passing as I mostly knew what to expect.
Did you get any minors that were the same or similar on each test?
The only minor I had the same was following distance, both of my tests were in the heavy rain. Great British weather, ay?
Did you have any practice outside of your lessons – private practice with a friend or family member? If so, did this help?
The only practice I had in anyone else’s car was my mum’s, which helped a lot early on with cornering and reversing manoeuvres etc. Unfortunately, it’s an automatic and I was learning in a manual, so after I was confident enough with general driving, I stuck to the lessons.
Do you have any advice for learners who failed the old test and are now waiting to take the new one?
For anyone who has failed the old test and is looking to pass on the new one, it’s important to forget about the previous! You already know mostly what to expect as the driving is still the same. Just remember, 1 in 5 tests won’t use the sat nav so don’t get caught up in it telling you where to go. Another piece of advice would be to book your second test as early as possible! I did, and I didn’t have to spend loads of time thinking about it.
What does passing mean to you?
Now I’ve passed, it means I have the freedom to be able to go out whenever and wherever I want! I will be able to do a lot more with my daughter, and no longer have to rely on other people to get around.
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