Tag Archives | driving test

Do you pass the eye test?

It may seem obvious, but before you get behind the wheel, do you know what the basic eyesight requirements are and do you meet them? Have you taken the ‘number plate test’ to see how your eyesight performs? By law, motorists are required to meet the minimum eyesight standard at all times when driving. One of these requirements is the ability to read a number plate from 20 metres away. A line of five cars or eight parking bays is a quick and easy way to measure this distance and test whether you can read the number plate clearly. If you can’t, go straight to the optician. You must wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive if you need them to meet the standards of vision for driving. If you’re planning to drive a bus or HGV, these standards are even higher. When you take the practical driving test, the very first thing the examiner will do is to ask you to read the number plate of a car parked in front of you. You’ll be sitting 20 metres behind it and must be able to read the number precisely – wearing glasses or contact lenses if necessary is fine. If you can’t read the plate, you’ll fail the test there and then, and your provisional licence will be revoked. When you apply for your licence again, the DVLA will ask you to have an eyesight test carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which will be done at the driving test centre. If you pass, you still have to take and pass the number plate reading test on your next driving test. Once you have your licence, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you can pass the 20-metre driving eye test at all times. It’s not just being a bit short sighted that can be a problem; field of vision, night vision, contrast sensitivity and other visual functions can all compromise safe driving. As a result, there are three main points at which your eyesight will be tested for driving: when you take your driving test, a police roadside eye test should you be stopped, and at your optician. After all, changes in vision can creep up gradually. Early signs are often experiencing eye strain and difficulty seeing at night or in changing light. Even if you don’t have concerns, it’s important to have regular optician checks to be a safe driver.

Penalty points

If you happen to accrue up to six penalty points on your licence in the first two years after passing your driving test, for things like speeding or careless driving, your licence will be automatically revoked. This is not good news. You’ll then have to reapply for your driving licence as a learner driver and re-sit both your theory and practical driving tests all over again. Best advice: treat your new licence and car with the utmost care.

Are you a ‘parked’ driver?

Passing your test is a big moment, but not necessarily the start of a motoring love affair. Around one in 10 qualified drivers in the UK have not sat behind the wheel since getting their licence or not driven for more than 12 months. One of the main reasons cited is lack of confidence. We understand the challenge at West Wales School of Motoring, so If you’re a licence-holding non-driver struggling to get back in the driving seat, choose one of our three or four day residential Refresher Courses and move your life back up a gear.
For details, call Eddie on 01239 710106 or 07950 235013.

Dress for the test

Deciding what to wear for your driving test might not sound important, but you need to make sure you’re comfortable and wearing safe footwear. It’s up to you whether you want to dress smartly or casually, but bear in mind that looking relatively smart and tidy will give a good first impression to your examiner and will make you feel confident too. As you’ll be sitting in the car for around 40 minutes, being comfortable is really important. Wear something loose fitting which won’t get caught or restrict your movement.

Some shoes are not suitable for driving, for example, flip flops and high heels. Choose a pair of shoes which are flat and stay securely on your feet. Shoes with a slim sole will allow you to get a better feeling for the pedals. Footwear with thick soles, like Ugg boots, can make it more difficult to control the car.

If your test is in the summer, avoid wearing layers of clothing as you don’t want to overheat. Likewise, in winter, wear something to keep you warm, but not too warm. If you do get too hot during your test, ask the examiner if it’s OK to pull over in a safe place to remove a layer of clothing. It’s better to do this than to ruin your chances of passing because you’re too hot to concentrate. If your test is in the summer, leave your sunglasses at home. They can obscure
your view and will prevent the examiner from being able to see whether you’re checking your mirrors every time you should be.

Demystify the demister

First impressions count especially during your driving test, so make sure you know how to adjust the demisters to clear the front and back windows. If it’s a rainy day and your windows mist up, then you have no hope adjusting the demisters on the move if you didn’t know how to do it stationary. In the event your windows do mist up and you don’t control it with the demisters, the examiner can give you a serious fault for a section on the marking sheet called ‘Ancillary controls’.

Testing times

Passing your test still remains a major rite of passage, but did you know the first UK driving test cost 37.5p and began on 1 June 1935? France was the first country to introduce a driving test in 1893 along with vehicle registration plates and parking restrictions. In 1900 Vera Hedges Butler was the first British woman to pass a driving test. As tests hadn’t started in Britain, the intrepid Miss Hedges Butler went all the way to Paris to take the French one. The UK driving test celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2015.

Test tip: Exaggerate your actions

Your examiner will be making sure you’re a safe driver by observing whether you’re looking at your mirrors properly or if you’re checking for oncoming traffic at junctions. Slightly exaggerating these actions will ensure they notice that you are indeed a safe and sensible driver.

Do your first solo journey in daytime

When you drive for the first time on your own do it during the daytime and on roads you know. Maybe take some of the routes you covered during your lessons, the familiarity will make you feel more confident. Getting lost in an unfamiliar part of town is unpleasant at the best of times, if you’ve only just passed your test, it can feel unnerving.

Driving test nerves

If you’re properly prepared and your instructor thinks you’re ready, there’s really no reason to worry, however, a certain amount of driving test nerves is good. It increases adrenaline which in turn makes the brain work faster and react quicker. You may think food is the last thing you need, but the test requires mental energy so have a light bite before to ensure your brain has all the energy it needs. A full English isn’t necessary, a banana will do. Avoid caffeine and drink water or a camomile tea instead. A brisk walk before your instructor picks you up or just before your test begins will also help you to relax. It will take your mind off the test a little, and allows you to release endorphins that will help your body to relax.