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.

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 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.