Common Driving Test Myths Explained

Common Driving Test Myths Explained – As you start to drive you will have lots of questions about your upcoming driving test. As a driving instructor in Manchester I am frequently asked lots of questions about the driving test from my students. There have been some strange questions over the years but normally the same questions crop up every time.

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There are lots of myths surrounding the driving test that have built up over time and all of them are untrue, but leave may people worrying unnecessarily.

These myths can seriously add to the nervousness of taking the test and in some cases put people off taking the test all together. We’ve listed below some of the common myths surrounding the test in the hope that having the accurate facts about the driving test will help with your confidence and keep you on the right track.

Taking a wrong turn is an automatic fail

The driving test is designed to allow the driving examiner to assess your driving ability during the course of a 40-45 minute route, taking in various road and traffic conditions, including at least one driving manoeuvre. If you are asked to turn left at a roundabout but take the wrong exit by mistake, you will not incur a driving fault as long as you drive in the correct manner. Even on the recently added ‘independent driving’ section of the test, you are not penalised for getting lost during the drive, so If you are not sure where you should be going, ask for help and you’re your examiner will give it.

What the examiner does not want you to do is drive dangerously or erratically because of poor planning and anticipation e.g. not seeing your intended turning until too late, moving dangerously across traffic when not safe to do so and causing the flow of traffic to slow unnecessarily. Whatever you do on the test, do it safely and you’ll have a good chance of being successful.

Stalling the car is an automatic fail

Another common driving test myth but this is again not true. By the time you’re ready to take the driving test, having shaky clutch control should be a thing of the past, but as the test seems to do strange things to candidates, stalling the car does not automatically lead to a fail. Stalling the car repeatedly when in traffic or stalling when entering major junction, which will affect other road users, will fail the test however as this shows a lack of car control. If you do stall, remember not to panic.

Take a deep breath, think, and start over again. Some candidates have even passed tests after stalling numerous times. Nerves can ruin a test for even for some of the best of drivers so it’s important to not dwell on small mistakes as some aren’t as bad as you may think.

Driving test examiners have quotas and try to fail people

This is one of the most common myths and has absolutely no basis in fact. Every year the reasons behind this myth get bolder and stranger. I recently heard somebody say this was because there were already too many drivers on the roads and examiners could only pass new drivers if older motorists stopped driving. Think about this one logically, for example, if you pass the test your examiner actually has less paper work to do. When you pass your test, the examiner issues your pass certificate and heads back to his office for quick cuppa before the next test. However, if you have failed your test they return to their office to write a report, detailing the reasons for the fail. 

Another associated myth we hear sometimes from students is that examiners have to fail a certain amount of tests each month. While it is true that Examiners are expected to have pass rates that fall within 10% of the national average, there is nothing to suggest that the test results are compromised because of this, in fact in my experience the only person who really affects final decision is the candidate taking the test. If you drive competently and safely, and ensure you control the car on the road and during manoeuvres, then you will pass your test.

My parents passed after a few hours of lessons

Congratulations for them. Whilst this may well be true, consider that at a rough estimate most candidate’s parents will have taken their test 20 to 30 years ago in very different times and road conditions. The volume of traffic on the roads today has greatly increased since then, as have the number of complex junctions and road systems in busy urban areas.The DSA has changed the test on a regular basis over past 30-40 years to reflect the more challenging situations that drivers face on modern roads, including the recently introduced independent driving element of the test and a greater skill level in hazard awareness and anticipation that is needed to deal with today’s busy roads. 

The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suggest that an average of 40-45 hours of driving lessons along with around 20 hours of private practice is required in order to reach the test standard. This is on top of preparing for the theory and hazard perception test, which in your parents case, took a few minutes of flash cards in the car during the practical test. We’ve heard many myths over the years on reasons why people fail their test, but if you drive confidently and safely, then passing the test will be easy. If you have any questions about taking the driving test in greater Manchester, or if you are looking for driving lessons in Manchester or the surrounding area, please feel free to contact us.