For many learner drivers, the last two years has seen their journey to driving independence put on hold as tests and lessons faced long delays.
Recent research from the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, revealed that 70 per cent of driving instructors still have waiting lists. Two thirds (66 per cent) also said that in their experience the waiting times for driving tests hadn’t reduced at all in the last few months.
For those who are lucky enough to find an instructor, the pressure is on to pass their test first time – or face a lengthy wait for a second try.
Young Driver asked 150 of its qualified driving instructors for their top tips to help learners pass their test first time and become the safest possible driver.
The 10 most popular pieces of advice were:
- Don’t copy what your peers or parents are doing behind the wheel – they may have picked up bad habits. Listen to what your ADI says and follow their guidance.
- Be a back seat driver – pay attention as a passenger when other people are driving. Put down the phone and watch the road to see how you would handle certain situations.
- Learn to read other road users – but understand that some will not follow the rules, so you have to be able to forward plan and always ask yourself ‘what if…’. Don’t assume anything!
- Learn the theory not just to pass the test but because it will make you a better driver
- Utilise digital aids like the Young Driver App – it has 360-degree VR driving lessons you can watch and rewatch to refine your driving technique.
- Using your mirrors and checking blindspots needs to become second nature whenever you’re in a car, for the rest of your driving life. Always be alert to cyclists and motorcyclists.
- Be patient and courteous – never let your temper get the better of you.
- Reflect on constructive criticism – there’s always something more we can learn. Passing your test will not be the end of your learning journey, so continue to try and improve your technique.
- Never lose concentration for a second – that’s all it takes to have an accident or fail your test.
- Get as much experience as possible – ideally pre-17, on the road with your instructor and private practice with a suitable family member or friend in their car. Practice really does make perfect!
Sue Waterfield is head of marketing at Young Driver, which teaches 10-17 year olds how to drive at 70 venues across the UK. She said: “One of the reasons Young Driver was established was so that teens can learn the mechanics of driving a car before they’re anywhere near a real road. If they can smoothly change gear and handle a vehicle ahead of 17, they can then spend their on-the-road lessons learning the finer points of driving – such as how to judge potential hazards and how to deal with other road users. That’s why Young Driver past pupils are less likely to have an accident when they do go on to pass their test.”
Young Driver has delivered more than one million driving lessons to 10-17 year olds since it launched in 2009.
For more information visit www.youngdriver.com or download the Young Driver App.
Note: Research conducted with 150 driving instructors