This week I had an email from a learner driver who was thinking of giving up on the UK practical driving test having failed on the most recent attempt at getting a full British licence, and losing hope to ever achieve the dream of being in charge of a car un-supervised.
If you have had several attempts at the driving test and not been successful, I would like to offer some words of encouragement to stop you from giving up.
Obviously there will be different circumstances for a lot of learner drivers, some will be considering how much money they have spent on lessons and dsa testing fees, others might just be discouraged that all their efforts and hard work to overcome this hurdle has so far fallen by the wayside since they have not heard those desired words from the dsa examiner, there might even be those who would considering if they have gone past the driving age because they are much older.
The first thing I would like to say is that none of you are stupid just because you have not passed a driving test. As the name implies, it is a test, and tests are not a 100% good way of assessing characteristics, since it only checks skills at a specific time, so it is possible for a very good and safe driver to just make one mistake that invariably means a fail. I have had one or two test candidates of mine return with no faults apart from the one serious driving test error that they failed on, obviously they were at test standard, but maybe just a moments lapse in concentration blew their chances, and this could easily affect their morale.
Having said that, everyone in the UK who wants a full driving licence has to take a test unless they are fortunate enough to have a foreign licence that can be exchanged for a british one, so it just another hurdle that we have to get over to get to our goal, and giving up on the driving test should not really cross your mind if you really want that pass cerificate.
Learn from your experience no matter what happened. You can give all sorts of excuses, try to blame the dsa examiner for being too harsh or say your ADI did not take you on that particular driving test route, but the bottom line is you made a mistake which was not acceptable and your most important task is not to make the same error on your next attempt while still maintaining the good driving skills from your last attempt.
If you can afford it, don't take a break from driving lessons, if you do, resume them as soon as possible so you can keep your driving skills current. Don't think that because you narrowly missed out on the practical car assessment the last time, that you will still be abe to drive the same way after a 6 week break.
No one is out to stop you from getting a driving licence! No matter what anyone tells you, or the thoughts that go on in your mind, the dsa examiners have not targeted you, keeping records of how many times you've been to the test centre or just don't want you to pass the driving test, if you do everything to the acceptable standard, then they can't fail you. There is no point in arguing that you only just touched the kerb during the turn in the road driving test maneuver, work on improving that weakness, and it won't be a problem for you the next time.
You might be thinking it is easy for me as an intructor to say that, but the truth is that while you might be finding it difficult to master a particular skill (roundabouts might be your back breaker), if you persist and work hard with the right help from your ADI (maybe you need to change instructors), then you can overcome it.
Money is what is holding me back! It costs money to take lessons and book the driving test, I agree, but if you really want that licence, are you just going to give up because you think you don't have the money? Have you explored all avenues available to find the money you require to achieve your goal? Could you stop smoking, drinking, eating takeaways, giveup one of or all your mobile phones, work more overtime, mow the neighbor's lawn? If you try hard enough, surely you can make it, even if it takes sometime to save up the money, don't forget you could also ask your instructor for a discount (you are more likely to get one if you have been a loyal and hard working client).
Make the money count, read as much as you can about the driving test, know the highway code inside out, learn from other people's mistakes (learner driver forums are full of driving test stories), don't be afraid to ask questions and know why you need to do things a particular way (the 2 second rule must be kept not just to pass the test, it could save your life, money, stop you from injuring someone) and most importantly, don't give up hope on yourself, if others can do it, then so can you, no matter how long it takes, the sacrifices you have to make or the number of attempts you have had at it.
Following all these steps will not guarantee a driving test pass, but I can assure you, that it would put you in a better chance of doing so, don't give up, remember success is failure that tried one more time!
The UK driving test explained.
Your instructor can't pass driving test for you.
Driving test mistakes what to avoid.
Bad lesson before driving test.
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