The standard required to pass a driving test is a high one, because everybody is safer if poor drivers are prevented from driving alone. This, however, means that it can be difficult to reach that standard and can take quite a long time to pass your test. If you look out for some common driving faults that may be holding you back, you can work on correcting them and you will reach your driving goal much sooner.
Many drivers have a couple of bad habits relating to the positioning of the car, but the most common one is driving too close to the car in front of you. A popular mnemonic used by instructors to help learners to remember to keep their distance is ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.’ This is to remind you that it should take at least two seconds to pass a landmark that has just been passed by the car in front of you. Another mistake that you might be making is that of choosing the wrong lane; unless you are trying to overtake or getting ready to turn right, you should be in the left-hand lane. It isn’t just learners who ‘hog’ the central or right-hand lanes, but it’s better to stop it from becoming a bad habit as early as possible, especially as it will be marked as a ‘lane discipline’ fault when you take your test.
Correct use of mirrors is crucial to safe driving and there are several problems that would stop you from passing a driving test. Infrequent use of mirrors is one certain way to fail; you must check your mirrors in pairs before signalling to carry out a manoeuvre, after which their use should be part of your observation during the manoeuvre. Conversely, during some actions, over-reliance on mirrors would be considered a fault. An example of this is ‘parallel parking’; if you exclusively use your rear-view mirror as you reverse into the space, rather than turning to look where you are going, this will be marked as a mirror fault.
Clearly, being aware of what is going on around you is one of the most important aspects of safe driving. The more you practise, the better you will become at this skill, so if you have access to a car at home you should try to carry out a few hours of driving in between lessons. Obviously, you can only do this if your family car is covered by young drivers insurance, but the money you spend on this can save at least as much by avoiding extra lessons and failed tests. The best piece of advice, other than to practise a lot, is to assume nothing; look for evidence – speed signs, road markings and signs containing instructions or information – even if you are very familiar with the area. Changes may be made, which could catch you unaware if you aren’t constantly looking out for signs.
If you are being observant, you will always be aware of the maximum speed for the road you are on. A typical mistake among newer drivers is driving too slowly. You may think that driving slowly isn’t a problem, but if you cause other drivers to have to slow down, stop or change direction, then you are creating a hazard. Keep up with the traffic, while watching your own speed and make sure you develop consideration for other road users. With practice and good manners, you will pass your test and become a good, safe driver.