Driving Theory Test – 5 Questions You May Not Know

When studying for a driving theory test, the Highway Code and other car driving books should be read. The theory apps can be complimented by using other driver training aids. Focusing on the test only, has limited learning value.

When studying for a driving theory test, most learner drivers use the available apps and Practice theory test for car drivers. Which is OK to get used to the technique required for the theory test itself. This method of learning the rules of driving is limiting your knowledge to what shows up on the app or sample test paper.

Why not just use the apps?

The apps available and sample test papers will not have all of the real questions that will turn up on the actual theory test for obvious reasons. Studying for your theory test using this method does not 100%prepare you for the practicalities of driving on the road. Neither does it prepare you for your driving test.

Your confidence in the driving of a car will greatly increase once you know more rules of the road, rather than focusing on a driving theory test. Lack of confidence comes from lack of practice and knowledge. As an example, would you attempt to play a game of football without first knowing the rules? So why then would you drive a car, which is a lot more dangerous than a playing a game of football?

Best way to gain extra knowledge

Driving Theory Test U turn sign
No U Turn Sign Post. Look at the black upside down U. The red circle and red diagonal line means you must NOT do whatever is shown in the red circle.

The best way to gain this extra knowledge for a driving theory test, would be to look at the latest edition of the Highway Code which you can do here. Additional to that you would need to find an DVSA Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) who can help you interpret some of the rules of driving you are not sure about. To demonstrate the point I was teaching doctor to drive who wanted to be dropped off at home instead of the hospital. I wasn’t familiar with the location, so I suggested that the pupil could drive themselves. So long as I was told which turn was going to be taken in advance.

After a while the pupil said they were going to turn right soon after passing this sign. Immediately after passing this sign the pupil signaled right and started to move into the section of road reserved for traffic to enter the road we were on. I said to the pupil. “What does that sign mean?” The reply came back. “No U turns.” I replied. “What does no U turns mean?”, “I don’t know.” Was the response. The pupil knew what the sign stood for, but not its actual meaning. This means the theory test would have been passed, but not a driving test.

Learn to Drive Automatic or Manual Car – which is best

Learn to drive automatic or manual car – which is best? In the UK the majority of learner drivers are taught in a manual car (manual & automatic refer to the type of gear change mechanism). Because the majority of used cars for sale have a manual gearbox and automatic cars are more expensive to buy and maintain. Passing a driving test in an automatic car will only allow the driver to drive automatics. Passing a test in a manual car, enables the driver to drive both type of car – manual and automatic. Those are the facts! Now here are the myths.

Learn to Drive Automatic car

New drivers who are disabled or come from a country where automatic cars are predominant have a reason to learn to drive in an automatic car.

In the UK a new driver is often influenced by others – including their driving instructor into learning to drive in an automatic. I have been teaching for 41 years and never advised a new driver to swap to an automatic car, despite teaching pupils who were disabled.

Learn to drive automatic. Grow model for learner drivers
GROW Model

A professional driving instructor who suggests a new driver should learn to drive in an automatic car, because they are struggling. Is not for the benefit of the student, it’s because it’s hard work for the instructor. An instructor in this situation should find another way of helping this particular student. The instructor should consider the needs of the student first.

Pupils that leave their instructor because they were told they would never learn to drive, specially in a manual car. May have been misinformed. At instructor training college I was taught to teach anyone to drive who wanted to. I’ve never veered from that statement. Perseverance by both instructor and pupil can get excellent results.

Learn to Drive in a shorter time

Learning to drive in a shorter time with an automatic is sometimes the reason a new driver swaps from a manual car. I have come across this question often, “My friend / instructor said I would learn to drive in a shorter time. If I learned in an automatic.” My answer, “What problem are you having with the gears?” student replies “None, I was just told it would save time”.

There are no shortcuts when learning to drive. But you can shorten the time by booking an intensive driving course.
Take a look at basic manual car control
Courses for nervous learner drivers

Passing Your Driving Test Is Difficult

Passing your driving test is difficult only if you think it is. Become smarter and you can pass your driving test with ease providing you have had enough of the right kind of practice. Why do many people think that it is difficult to pass a driving test? A lack of understanding of the basics is one reason  and urban myths another. Lets take  look at a basic skill set that needs to be mastered before anything else.

Passing Your Driving Test-Car Control

Starting with basic car control is a fundamental. Never mind traffic lights, roundabouts, lane positions, other drivers. These are important, but not at the early learning stage. You must be confident with your car control, before you can master anything else.

Lets look at clutch control:

The clutch pedal is always operated by your left foot.

Manual Car Foot Pedals
Manual Car Foot Pedals
passing a driving test is difficult
Clutch Operation Manual car

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pressing the clutch pedal to the floor will disengage the clutch – this means with the engine switched on the car will no longer drive. Your task to make the car move is to engage the engine onto the wheels so that the car will move. The engine side of the clutch plate (flywheel in the diagram) is moving. Because the car is stationary the other half of the clutch plates are stationary also. If you raise your left foot too quick the two clutch plates will bang together causing the car to stall.

The car stalls because you are placing a moving object (engine side of clutch) onto a stationary clutch plate. The skill you need to master is to find where the two clutch plates just touch. Once found, keep your left foot still until the car moves slowly forward. Once you feel the car moving, you may gently raise your let foot off the pedal. That is you now driving the car. The point at which the clutch plates touch is called ‘the biting point’. Mastering this is essential to become a safe and confident driver. More information can be found here
Passing your driving test does not need to be difficult. It must be the only test in the UK that you know the answers before you start.

Car control – stalling an engine

There are two main reasons that you stall a car engine. The first one is when you are moving off from a stationary position. The text above informs you on how to drive away smoothly without a stall. The second reason a car stalls is when stopping. When stopping you press the middle pedal (B) the brake with your right foot, this is also a slowing down pedal. In normal driving you operate the brake pedal to slow down before eventually stopping by pressing it as much or as little as you need to get the result you are after. Within reason, the earlier you press the brake pedal the better, it warns other drivers following you that you might be stopping. It does this by automatically turning the red stop lights on, which are at the rear of the car.

Once the car has stopped it will stall unless you press the clutch pedal down to the floor. The reason for the stall is that the two clutch plates are still operating together and are making the car drive forward. The correct process for stopping would be to slow down using the foot brake and keeping the clutch up. When the car is about a car length or so from the point at which you intend to stop, press the clutch fully to the floor.

To pass your driving test it is essential you master the clutch. It will build your confidence enormously. Be a smarter safer driver for life.

December 4th 2017 Driving Test Changes

December 4th 2017 Driving Test Changes. This date is a turning point in the history of the British Driving Test. For the first time in its history there will be no testing of the turn in the road manoeuvre [3-point-turn]. Which means there will be a majority of drivers, who have never turned a car around in the road. Ask the question. “When confronted with a blocked road, how would a driver turn around to face the opposite direction?” Never having carried out this type of manoeuvre.

The DVSA have published that the turn-in-the-road manoeuvre will still be taught by driving instructors, even though it’s not going to be tested. Yes, I agree with that, but driving schools are running a commercial business. This means that a learner driver would not normally be happy to pay for learning something that will not be needed on a driving test. The majority of learner drivers only want the ‘bare bones’ of driving lessons to get through their test. The fall in popularity of the Pass Plus training programme is evidence of that.

Driving Test Changes in Full

This is a link to the driving test changes in full Here is a quote from the official DVSA site:

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

As you can see it mentions that you will be asked to carry out one of three manoeuvres. Not strictly accurate since the bay parking exercise is divided into two possible scenarios. To my mind I see this as two manoeuvres, not one, as they require different skill sets.

driving test changes
New driving test manoeuvres. Parking on the right

The parking on the right manoeuvre cannot be legally practised by learner drivers taking evening lessons in the winter. As it would be illegal to park on the right at night except in a one way street. I wonder how many parents (hopefully not professional driving instructors) will park on the right at night with dipped headlights. Blazing away in the face of oncoming traffic and reversing over someone’s driveway?

Using horn after December 4th on the new driving test

Using horn on new driving test
DVSA Approved Instructor

Using horn after December 4th on the new driving test can be requested by the examiner whilst driving.

On the show me part of a driving test the examiner might ask:

“When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

 

According to rule 112 of the Highway Code:

Rule 112

  • The horn. Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. Never sound your horn aggressively. You MUST NOT use your horn
  • while stationary on the road
  • when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am
  • except when another road user poses a danger.

This now poses the question “How will a new learner driver view this breach of a Highway Code rule?” Since the sounding of a car horn is not complying with rule 112.

Here is a possible scenario;

The driving examiner checks all around the car whilst it is being driven by the test candidate. And it is considered, by the examiner, that the road is quiet enough to sound the horn. The test candidate should then carry out their checks to see if it is a safe time to operate the horn. The candidate thinks it is safe, just at that moment another road user (including a cyclist or pedestrian or car backing out of a drive) appears as the horn is pressed. In an overzealous moment the test candidate presses the horn too hard (test nerves are usually to blame!!!). A now potential road rage situation could be provoked, between the innocent road user and learner driver.

Learner drivers using horn whilst training

Driving lessons are normally taken by learner drivers prior to taking their driving test (there are a few exceptions). Whilst being trained the learner driver will be shown how the test is conducted and as part of this training will be asked to sound the horn. Imagine now 20 driving schools practicing ‘horn blowing’ throughout the day and early evening lessons? It is very rare for a new driver to get their techniques right first time, so every learner will need to try ‘sounding the horn’ a few times.

The thought of the local residents on a summer evening relaxing in their garden whilst having learner drivers practicing their horn techniques is mind boggling.

 

 

New driving test manoeuvres

New driving test manoeuvres are being introduced on December 4th, 2017. The traditional turn-in-the-road manoeuvre and reverse around the corner exercise are being dropped. The parallel parking exercise is to remain. Only one manoeuvre will be carried out from these three.

new driving test manoeuvres
New driving test manoeuvres. Parking on the right
  • Parallel park at the side of the road
  • Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will decide).
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse 2 car lengths and re-join the traffic

 Parking on the right of a road

A new and very unusual manoeuvre of parking on the right-hand side of a road is being introduced.

Once parking on the right has been achieved a driving test candidate will then be asked to reverse the car alongside the kerb for two car lengths, before finally moving off.  The examiner will not stop you first to explain the exercise, they’ll say it whilst you are driving.

These essential skills will be assessed when parking on the right

  • Planning
  • Awareness of road users from behind and oncoming
  • Effective use of mirrors
  • Accuracy and control
  • Observation

One drawback of having this manoeuvre on a driving test is the lack of time to practice it for learner drivers who can only take evening lessons in the winter. Because it is illegal to park on the right at night!

New driving test manoeuvres

Parking in a bay

A wide variety of car parks for the bay parking exercise, such as hotels, retail parks and supermarkets will be used.

The examiner will ask the pupil to park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or revering in and driving out (the examiner will decide which method to use).

Here is the examiners instruction to drive forward into a parking bay.

“I’d like you to drive forward into a convenient parking bay finishing within the lines, either to the left or the right (if the car park allows it).”

“Now I’d like you to reverse out either to the left or the right (if the car park allows it).”

Learner drivers do not need to park in a bay where there are vehicles in adjacent bays. Driving through a first parking bay, and then parking in a bay directly in front of that bay is not allowed. When reversing out, you will not be allowed to reverse into any bays behind.

Read more on sat nav part of new driving test

New driving test using sat nav

A new driving test using sat nav is being introduced for learner car drivers on December 4th, 2017. You will need to know how this new test procedure will take place if you are to be successful in passing your test.

New driving test using sat nav

The driving examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up, using one of the test routes that have been pre-installed. The learner driver will not be required to set it up, nor touch it during the test. A TomTom Start 52 sat nav will be used on the test, but it doesn’t matter which one you use on your lessons. Any sat nav in the driving

new driving test using sat nav
New driving test using sat nav

school car, or your own car, if you are using it for the test, should be turned off.

The examiner will position the sat nav on a dash-mat so it doesn’t move or fall off. However, on some cars it may have to be fitted to the windscreen. The power for the sat nav will be provided by an external powerbank, it won’t be plugged into your car.

Independent driving section

The independent driving section will be increased from 10 minutes to 20 minutes on December 4th.

The instructions the examiner will give when starting the independent part of the test using a sat nav are:

“Shortly I’d like you to drive for some distance independently. I’d like you to follow a series of directions from the sat nav please. Continue to follow the sat nav until I tell you otherwise. Drive on when you’re ready”.

One in 5 tests will be following traffic signs, and not directions from a sat nav.

The screen and sound

The screen will display the car’s speed, and the speed limit for the road. However, you should use the car’s speedometer and follow speed limit signs. The examiner will only use the car’s speedometer reading.

The sound will be turned on for the independent driving part, unless you ask for it to be turned off.

Why the changes are being made

Most fatal collisions happen on rural or high-speed roads (not including motorways). You should spend more time practising on these roads & during a driving test. This will better prepare you for driving on your own. Read more on why the changes.

Driving test manoeuvres are changing

Changing the manoeuvres that get tested means the test won’t need to spend as much time on the quieter side roads. The revised manoeuvres can be carried out more naturally during the test.

 

New Driving Test on the 4th December 2017

A new driving test on the 4th December 2017 is being introduced by the DVSA. All learner drivers will need to pass this test in order to gain their full driving licence.

Drivers will be expected to answer safety questions whilst on the move. The reason is to see if the driver is distracted by either the talking of a passenger (the examiner), or the action of say, operating one of the car controls, such as the heated rear window switch.

The reverse around the corner will be replaced with a parking exercise of entering a parking space whilst reversing, and/or reversing out of a parking space.

Using a sat nav on the new driving test

The 10 minutes of independent driving that is in the present test will be replaced with 20 minutes of independent driving using a sat nav.

Sat nav being used for new driving test
Sat nav [courtesy Getty images]
The DVSA carried out a public consultation and 71% of the 4,000 people contacted, agreed that asking candidates to follow a route using a sat nav would be a good idea.

88% of those surveyed agreed with increasing the length of the independent section of the test, whilst others agreed to changes in the reversing manoeuvres and show me questions.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said:

“We are very supportive of the revisions DVSA is making to the practical driving test, which will mean candidates undergo a far more realistic assessment of their readiness to take to the road unsupervised.
“Much has changed since the first driving test was taken in 1935, and it must be right that the test evolves, just as the cars we drive are themselves changing to incorporate ever more driver assist technology such as inbuilt sat nav systems.
“Novice drivers need to demonstrate the right skills and driving style to cope with the new environment.”

Learner drivers, new drivers, using phones to lose licence

New drivers with less than 2 years experience will now lose their driving licence if they are caught using a phone. The change in the law in the use of using a mobile phone whilst driving was changed on March 1st 2017. Penalties for using a phone doubled to six points on a licence.  Which means new drivers have to revert back to learner driver status. Taking their Theory and driving test again.using mobile phone new regulations

Police forces have started a seven day crackdown on drivers using their phones whilst driving. A hand held phone cannot be used even if stopped at traffic lights.

You can use your phone to listen to music if connected to a hands-free holder or via Bluetooth. A phone can be checked provided you pull over to a safe parking place and the engine is turned off.

Driving instructors and anyone supervising a learner driver cannot use their phone whilst the teaching vehicle is being driven by a learner driver.

Nervous Learner Drivers Can Pass First Time

Nervous learner drivers can pass first time & become more confident by following a few principles.

Question: Why do so many nervous learner drivers fail their driving test because of

Nervous learner drivers the right way
Learning to drive the right way

‘nerves’?

Before you answer the question lets take a look at the following:

If a learner driver can…..

  1. Understand the rules of the road more than just passing the theory test.
  2. Know how to control the car in every situation – fully understand the controls & their operation Check out the foot controls
  3. Read the road situation at every opportunity. Reading the road means understanding the other road users, who they are (driver, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist etc) and what they are either doing, or you anticipate what they might do.
  4. Understand the correct process for  a) Driving away from the kerb, b)Correct use of mirrors, c)Correct use of signals, d) Correct use of gears – [thoughts: You may know how to signal, but when do you actually signal? This alters according to where you are. You may know how to look in a mirror, but do you know how to act upon what you see?
  5. Dealing with other drivers at a crossroad when you both arrive from opposite directions at the same time. What about approaching a mini-roundabout which has a road to your left & right together with a road straight ahead; you arrive at this roundabout the same time as 3 other cars on these other roads. Who has priority?
  6. On your test the examiner is seen to be writing on his report sheet. Does this distract you because you think you have failed?
  7. Do you think on your test what the examiner might be thinking, or do you just get on with the drive?

If you are reading this as a learner driver who has failed their driving test because of nerves, maybe you recognise a few of these points.

Nervous Learner Drivers Can Pass First Time

In answer to the question “Why do so many learner drivers fail their driving test because of ‘nerves’? ”

Short answer: Because of a lack of understanding of the basic principles. Understanding the basic principles of any topic you are being examined on will always reduce exam nerves. Confidence comes from knowing your topic well.

If you know your topic well, you will still have nerves, but they will not show up in the way you drive. Focusing on the drive and all of the procedures you need to carry out, will stop the nerves from showing.

We offer one week intensive driving courses as a means of re-enforcing these principles. An intensive course though, is not the answer to overcoming test nerves for new drivers, in fact in can do the opposite. Our intensive courses are carefully balanced to help the individual student & an intensive course is a great way to boost confidence when used correctly.