You may be a little nervous. Sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach…and all that jazz.
We’ve seen some of our most able candidates throw it all away on test day, simply because they couldn’t get a handle on their nerves.
Nerves lead to lack of focus, and lack of focus leads to silly errors.
We thought it may be helpful for budding drivers to see (what we think are) the 3 most common reasons drivers fall short on test day.
We’ll tell you a thousand times during your week with us: slow it all down. You’re not in a race. Your test will comprise 1 hour and 20 minutes of driving. You’re not competing for the Formula 1 World Championship. You are passing a test.
On the approach to a junction or roundabout, we teach candidates to use the height of the vehicle to their advantage in assessing the situation they’re about to enter.
If we use roundabouts as an example, on approach to a roundabout, you must always expect to stop, but at the same time you should prepare to keep the vehicle moving. How do we do this? Well, getting a decent speed on the approach will help you examine the area and decide to choose whether to keep moving, or to wait. The general rule of thumb is: ‘if in doubt, don’t pull out’.
Remember that the response time of the LGV is much slower than that of a car – it takes longer to stop and longer to pull away.
When you pull away from a junction, remember to check your mirrors and your blind spot; you must also give yourself enough time to get up to the speed of the traffic. The aim is not to slow other road users down.
One of the things we prioritise at NEDS is checking our mirrors – in fact, we encourage our candidates to make it their habit to check their mirrors every 2 – 4 seconds. We make it so there is, quite simply, no excuse for picking up minors for failing to check mirrors.
To highlight the importance of this simple practice, let’s consider this: we know from our time learning to drive a car, that we must always be aware of our road position; as a wagon driver, you’ll be driving some of the widest and longest vehicles on the road – you must use your mirrors, if for nothing else, for reassurance that you’re not dragging a car along with your trailer, or that you’re not clipping the kerb with your back axle as you negotiate a corner.
The procedure to move off safely is:
Simple enough, no? So, why do so candidates fail their test when it comes to moving off? Well, 8 out of 10 times, it’s because they’ve failed to check their mirror or blind spot. Believe it or not, this has been the downfall of many an otherwise solid driver.
The remaining 2 out of 10 would involve candidates attempting to move the vehicle before selecting a gear.
Simple errors like these are often the result of uncontrolled nerves. Of course, they can also stem from overconfidence, which is just as bad (if not worse). You may already be aware that we are confident in our pass rate, but there have been times when our candidates have fell short due to one of these issues. Please, take note of the information within this post and watch out montage video which can be found on our YouTube channel, Facebook page, or website, which will give you a visual prompt of what not to do during your lessons and your test! Lets learn from others’ mistakes!