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I'm a learner driver - what should I practice?

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

July 24, 2019

Learning to drive 7 min read

Knowing what to practice as a learner driver can make all the difference when it comes to test day and after you’ve passed.

We’ve pulled together 3 things to practice as a learner that you’ll likely be tested on during your test, and 3 things that young drivers wish they were taught or was included in their test. It’s good to prepare for you test, but it’s essential to prepare for life on the road as a new driver.

What do I need to practice that will be in my driving test?

What do young drivers want to be included in driving tests and lessons whilst they’re learners?

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3 things to practice for your driving test

There are certain things you’ll be tested on during your driving test. You need to make sure that you’re able to perform them all to a good ability. Here’s our top 3 that you may want to work on!

1 – Practice your manoeuvres

Getting each manoeuvre down and perfected will lift a huge weight off your shoulders when it comes to test day. Some learners pray for a manoeuvre they know they can do well, and desperately try to avoid others (because who really likes the Parallel Park?). Practice them all and make sure you can do them all well, so you’re not worried at whatever manoeuvre you’re asked to perform on the day!

2 – Practice following a sat nav

4 out of 5 learner drivers taking their test will be asked for follow a sat nav for around half of their driving test time, so it’s likely you’ll be using one. In the lead up to your test in your driving lessons and private practice, it’s a good idea to become familiar as to what the sat nav looks like, sounds like, and how it displays your directions (because each sat nav will be different). Remember in your test, you will not fail if you take a wrong turn, you’ll just be asked to go back on course and given new directions.

3 – Practice roundabouts

One of the trickiest parts of driving as a learner are roundabouts. Many learners struggle with them and it’s not difficult to see why. Taking time to practice roundabouts will help when it comes to test day – and not just the same roundabout over and over. Try practicing single lane roundabouts, mini roundabouts, multi-lane roundabouts, cut through roundabouts, access-controlled roundabouts and more – whatever is around where you plan to take your test, hop in the car and give them a go!

via GIPHY

3 things to practice to help you with life on the road

We asked 1,000 young drivers** what they thought should have been included in driving lessons/tests. Here are the top 3 points they made.

1 – Practice driving at night

You may not be able to get in your driving lessons at night, but with private practice you can drive anytime you like (providing you can convince someone to accompany you). We did a recent survey of 1,000 young drivers, where 42% of people felt that driving at night should be factored into lessons and tests. Whilst this isn’t the case yet, you can get in as much nighttime practice as you like with learner insurance, and it sure helps when it comes to post-test too. Despite there being less road users on the roads at night, statistics show that 40% of collisions occur in hours of darkness*. When it’s dark, it’s harder to judge the speed and distance of other drivers and objects. They can be closer than they appear, or travelling faster than expected, so getting as much practice driving in the dark as you can will leave you being better equipped to it when you pass your test.

2 – Practice driving with passengers

Aside from having your accompanying driver in the seat next to you, learners don’t often get the chance to practice driving with other people on board, yet 35% of young drivers wished they had! Whilst it may be a bit awkward to ask your driving instructor if one of your pals can sit in the pal of the car, there’s no harm in getting people on board in your private practice. Having passengers can affect many different things for you as the driver, such as distractions, view, and an added weight to the back of the car. Perfecting this when you’re learning will hopefully stop any awkward stalling moments happening on your first road trip with you pals.

3 – Practice driving with music playing

We all dream of having the windows down and the music up when we pass, but leading up to our test couldn’t be further from that which is probably why 29% of young drivers want this to be included in their driving lessons or test. It’s inevitable that we’ll at least have the radio on once we pass, so why don’t we practice driving with music beforehand? It goes without saying that it can be a bit distracting, so learning to drive with some music on will boost your confidence for when you pass, and you can play the Moana soundtrack to your hearts content.

via GIPHY

I don’t have time to practice all of these things

If you’re learning to drive only with your instructor and having a 1 or 2 hour lesson every week, it can be hard to practice all of the things you need to, especially if otherwise you feel like you’re ready for your test! Private practice can be an absolute lifesaver in situations like this – you can get out on the road as much as you like, giving you plenty of time to practice what you don’t feel completely comfortable with.

When you pass your test, you’ll likely encounter all of these things, and more! Practicing them when you have a fully qualified driver beside you to step in and help if you make mistakes is so much better than making the mistakes once you’ve passed and you’re out on the roads on your own.

Learner Driver Insurance→

Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a learner, to help you get that magic pass!

* https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/drivers/driving-at-night.pdf

**Research conducted by Fly Research, on behalf of Marmalade in June 2019 with 1,000 UK drivers under the aged of 30

Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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