You’ve done your hours, racked up time with your mum sitting next to you screaming every time you brake and you’re finally able to go for your P’s. It can be a nerve-wracking experience but remember to take a deep breath and relax. While you’re probably going to know how to drive at this point, there’s a couple of little things the examiners will be looking for and that you’ll want to remember during your P’s test.
1. 5 second signals
It feels like forever and if you’re in a little back street with no other cars, keeping your indicator on for a solid five seconds can make you feel like an idiot. But just do it; it’s something the examiner will be looking for so don’t lose yourself easy marks on this one.
2. Very obviously check your blind spots
Usually, you might just quickly glance over your shoulder or flick your eyes up to your rearview mirror when you’re checking for traffic. In your test, make it obvious. Move your head when checking your mirrors and while you don’t need to over exaggerate, make sure your shoulder checks are visible.
3. Exiting the test area
Pay attention to stop signs as you drive out of the test centre. You might be a bit nervous and over keen to get your test started but make sure you have a look as you’re exiting. Keep an eye out for stop signs and don’t just roll through- come to a complete stop.
4. Don’t be in a rush
During your test you kind of want to drive like your Grandma would. Don’t overtake if it’s not necessary and if you get stuck behind someone turning don’t freak out about trying to get around them. Overtaking or changing lanes will mean even more head checks for you and it’s usually just easier to wait.
5. Don’t go way under the limit
A common myth is to sit 10km under the limit to make sure the assessor can’t pull you up for speeding. What you should actually be doing is the regular speed limit, and adjust to the conditions. If it’s a rainy day and the road is wet, yeah, knock some kms off your speed but don’t crawl along just for the sake of it.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions
The assessor will be directing you on a set course for your test and they’ll give you a heads up when you need to turn or pull over. But, when you’ve got a million things running through your head, it can be easy to second guess what you heard. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat their directions. Even repeating it back to them, e.g. if the assessor says ‘turn left at the end of the road’, saying ‘left at the end’ back to them can confirm the instruction and stick it in your head.
7. You don’t have to talk to them
Most assessors will make casual conversation with you, particularly at the beginning of the test. For some people it helps put them at ease, but others might find it makes them more nervous. If you’re the latter, you don’t have to talk to them and they won’t think you’re rude if you don’t have an in-depth conversation while driving.
8. Be aware of the time
If your exam is in the morning be aware of areas like schools zones where you need to slow down. Going during school zones can be good because it means you get to cruise through at an easy 40km. But, if the thought of having to keep an eye out for school kids freaks you out, book your test outside these times.
Even if you haven’t been getting lessons from a driving instructor, it’s worth booking one just before your exam. They’ll be able to take you around the area of your exam so you’re familiar with the ins and outs, plus, they’ll be able to tell you if you have bad habits, like forgetting to indicate off a roundabout.
header photo by: gnarzone