Some learner drivers take over 40 driving tests according to a Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency report (2017-2018). The latest news from the DVSA, reveals the number of driving test attempts that have been taken by some learner drivers to be 40 – 45.
A learner driver once adequately trained would need no more than two tests. I had helped many people to pass their test after they had made 3 or 4 attempts before I met them. The pupil with the most previous attempts I have had the privilege of helping took 25 tests. The method I used to train this particular pupil was to look at their mental state, both on their driving test and their lessons. Once the pupil mastered their mental state passing the test became much more manageable.
Why take over 40 driving tests
The majority of driving instructors (ADI’s) in the UK teach learner drivers reasonably well. We all have our method of explaining driving techniques to the new driver. Some pupils though need that something extra. Perhaps they are more nervous than most, or maybe English is their second language. Whatever the reason, in my opinion, a person who would like to learn to drive a car needs all the help and encouragement possible.
Here is an example;
Whenever I receive a new enquiry regarding learning to drive in an automatic car, the first question I ask is “Why?” As I only teach in a vehicle that has a manual gearbox. If I receive the reply, “My driving instructor says I am finding changing gear too tricky, and I should consider an automatic car”.
My immediate reaction is that the instructor either has not got the patience to teach gear changing or is not using the correct approach to this particular pupil. I have never recommended any of my students to learn to drive an automatic. Learning to drive in a manual car is both fun and exhilarating once you understand the process.
Driving instructors communication techniques
Referring to the earlier paragraph maybe those candidates who have taken 40 driving tests had instructors who could not communicate to them effectively. Perhaps the learner who takes a lot of tests has not taken professional lessons. I have met potential students who only want to take a test and not bother to learn to drive. Taking a test is what it seems to be all about, but if you stop and think, what is the reason for a test? It’s to see if you are a safe, competent driver. When professional lessons are taken it becomes more apparent as to what is required to pass.
Taking more tests that are necessary can be caused by repeating the same mistakes over again while practising. A mistake repeatedly more than three times usually means either the pupil is not understanding what’s required. Else is not concentrating on the right technique.
Taking 40 driving tests would cost £2,480 in test fees only, not counting the cost of using a car and services of an instructor. Spending that amount would equal approximately 100 driving lessons with the average driving school. It makes one wonder if this person finally passes what kind of driver would they be when left to their independence.
Intensive driving courses are the answer
Intensive driving courses when carried out in the right manner can be very beneficial while learning to drive. These courses provide students who have a problem remembering specific tasks with a chance to help remember. This technique occurs because there is no significant gap between lessons. Weekly driving lessons leave too much time between and the memory tends to fade.
When taking an intensive course that is correctly structured, there is no stress. Stress occurs when a student focuses on the driving test and not the learning process. When the focus becomes the learning, the practical test becomes relatively straightforward. A driving test should rarely take place in the same week as early lessons.
Learners learn at different rates
All students learn to drive at different rates; here are a few types of learner driver that may need more help and time.
English is their second language.
Have lived in another country for most of their life.
Have a fear of driving created from a negative perception.
Are more used to reading and passing theory exams, than working in a practical environment.
Have never or rarely played contact sports at school.
Are afraid of operating machines.
Should you fall into any of those categories, then you should expect to take longer to learn to drive. But taking 40+ tests is rather exceptional.