As our roads become more and more congested the expectations of a learner driver are forever increasing. The following is an explanation of what is expected of you on the driving test and what the examiner is looking for.
You must be able to use and safely control the accelerator, clutch, gears, parking break, foot break and steering.The controls must always be used nice and smoothly to minimise the wear and tear on your vehicle and to give your passengers the smoothest ride possible. The examiner will be looking for the following:
i. that you make proper use of the accelerator and clutch to make a smooth start.
ii. that you always depress the clutch just before stopping.
iii. that you select the correct gear to match the road and the conditions.
iv that you change the gear in good time (but not TOO soon)
v. that you do not allow the vehicle to coast by selecting neutral or having the clutch down.
vi. that you do not look down at the gear stick when changing.
vii. that you use the foot break smoothly and progressively.
vii. that you break in plenty of time and use the parking break whenever it is needed to avoid rolling backwards or forwards.
viii. that you avoid steering too harshly or steer to early (over steer) or too late (under steer)
You will need to show the examiner that you have the ability to move off smoothly and safely. you will have to do this on the level on a gradient and at an angle. He will also be looking for you to do all the necessary observations.
The examiner will be watching to make sure that you signal clearly to let other road users know what you intend to do. your signals must be made in good time and you must always make sure that you cancel them after your maneuver has been completed.
The examiner will be making sure that your use of the mirrors is both safe and effective. He will be watching that you ALWAYS check them before signaling, changing direction or changing speed. This is also known as the MSM routine (Mirror, Signal, Maneuver)
Response To Signs/Signals
You should show and be able to react to all traffic signs and road markings.He will be watching that you act correctly at traffic lights and that you properly check that the road is clear before proceeding. You must obey signals given to you by police officers and school crossing patrols and must always look out for signals given to you by other road users.
You should be able to judge the correct speed of approach so that you can enter a junction safely and stop if it is necessary. you should also be able to position the vehicle correctly and use the correct lane.
If you are turning right you must keep as near to the center of the road as is safe to do and avoid cutting the corner.
If you are turning left you must keep over to the left and not swing out you must always look out for cyclists and motorbikes coming up on your inside and also be careful of pedestrians crossing the road that you intend to turn into. you must always take appropriate and effective observation and make sure it is safe to turn.
You should only overtake when it is safe to do so. Always allow enough room when you are going to overtake another vehicle. You must give cyclists and motorbikes the same room as you would a car as they may wobble or suddenly swerve. Do not cut in too quickly after overtaking. Take care when the width of the road narrows. if there is an obstruction on your side of the road or not enough room for two vehicles to pass, be prepared to wait and let the oncoming car through. When you are turning right across the path of another vehicle make sure you can do so safely. Remember that whilst you are driving no other vehicles should not have to slow down, stop or swerve.
You should position your vehicle sensibly, normally well to the left. Keep clear of the parked vehicles and position correctly for the direction that you intend to take. Where lanes are marked, keep to the middle of the lane and avoid straddling lane markings. Do not change lanes unnecessarily.
Use Of Speed
You should make safe, reasonable progress along the road bearing in mind the road ahead the traffic and weather conditions and the road signs and speed limits. Make sure that you can stop safely, well within the distance you can see to be clear. Do not speed. Remember that as a new driver you accumulate six penalty points or more within the first two years of driving you will have to retake both the theory and the practical tests.
Always keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles. Remember, on wet or slippery roads it can take up to ten times longer to stop the car. When you stop in traffic queues remember to leave sufficient space to pull out incase the car in front has problems.
Clearance To Obstructions
You must always allow plenty of room to pass stationary vehicles, obstructions and be prepared to slow down or stop. A door may open, a child may run out or a vehicle may pull out without giving you any warning.
Awareness And Planning
You must always be aware of all other road users. You should always think and plan ahead so you can judge what other road users are going to do, predict how their actions will affect you and react in good time. Take particular care to consider the actions of the more vulnerable groups or road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. Anticipate road and traffic conditions, and act in good time rather reacting to them at the last moment.
Awareness And Planning
You must show that you can drive at a realistic speed appropriate to the road and traffic conditions. You should approach all hazards at a safe, controlled speed without being over cautious or interfering with the progress of other traffic. Always be ready to move away from junctions as soon as it is safe and correct to do so . Driving excessively slow can create danger for yourself and other drivers.
You should be able to recognise the different types of crossing and show courtesy and consideration towards pedestrians. At all crossings you should stop and slow down if there is anyone on the crossing. At zebra crossings you should slow down and be prepared to stop if there is anyone waiting to cross. Give way to any pedestrians on a pelican crossing when the amber lights are flashing. You should give way to cyclists as well as pedestrians on a toucan crossing and act correctly at puffin crossings.
You must show the examiner that you can choose a safe, legal and convenient place to stop, close to the edge of the road, where you will not obstruct the road and create a hazard. You should know where and how to stop without causing danger to other road users.
You must show that you understand the function of all the controls and switches, especially those that have a bearing on road safety. These include indicators, lights, windscreen wipers, demisters and heaters. You should be able to find them and control them when necessary without having to look down.
Controlled Stop (Emergency Stop)
You will need to be able to display a high level of skill in bringing the vehicle to a stop, safely, promptly and under full control avoid locking the wheels. Remember that in wet weather it may take you twice as long to stop safely. (Although your test will not be conducted in icy weather it is worth remembering that in those conditions it could take you ten times as long to stop your car)
You will need to display the ability to control the vehicle safely whilst reversing to the left, right, when parking on the road or into a bay. You must take good effective all round observation throughout the maneuver and show consideration to all other road users.
Tun In The Road
You will need to display the low speed control and observation skills necessary to carry out this maneuver safely and showing due regard to other road users and to pedestrians.
You will need to display to the examiner a basic knowledge of the fundamental safety checks applicable to your vehicle. For example safe fluid levels, lighting and tyre checks (see "phase 2 Show me tell me questions" for a full list of the safety questions the examiner may ask)