Driving myths: the driving test.....

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Lucky13, May 8, 2011.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    36,719
    Likes Received:
    1,054
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Nightshift picker
    Location:
    A Swede living in Glasgow, Scotland
    Home Page:
    Driving myths: the driving test

    Learning to drive is an incredibly stressful thing to have to do, the culmination of the process being the dreaded driving test. Given the significance of this moment it's not surprising that a whole load of myths have grown up around it.

    So who to believe? Well, in the first of a series of stories debunking driving myths we look here at some of the most common misconceptions about the driving test and put them to the test.

    To help sort fact from fiction we talked to Mike Richardson, an assistant chief driving examiner with the Driving Standards Agency and man with over three decades experience of teaching and testing both learners and examiners.


    Myth: examiners have a quota of people they have to fail

    "It's totally untrue," says Mike. "We have a system that might flag up if you're getting a 95% pass rate and your colleagues are all getting 65% but it's entirely possible you just had a good run of candidates." Put simply you'll pass or fail on the strength of your driving.


    Myth: you could do the test in a Ferrari if you wanted

    The rules for cars eligible for the test are strict and you're best off in a recognised driving school car. If you want to use your own car check the DirectGov website for a comprehensive list - a number of learner-friendly superminis aren't allowed. Banned cars include the MINI convertible, Ford KA convertible, Toyota iQ and VW Beetle convertible.


    Myth: you’ll fail if you stall

    Perhaps the most common myth of all. Stalling isn't necessarily an instant fail, depending on the circumstances. If you do it pulling out of a junction then, yes, you're out. But there are situations where, dealt with properly, a stall won't necessarily count against you.


    Myth: you can practise the test route

    Driving test routes are no longer published and there's a greater emphasis on 'independent driving'. "It's one thing to actually be confident within one small comfort zone but driving is for life," says BSM instructor Gary Lamb. Mike Richardson agrees: "We always say there is life beyond the driving test."


    Myth: you’ll fail if you cross your hands on the wheel

    People get very hung up on the widely taught 'push-pull' steering technique and you'll often hear crossing your hands will result in failure. But not necessarily. Mike confirms that examiners are looking for car control and the correct amount of steering input - how you achieve it isn't as black and white as is often thought.


    Myth: you should adjust the mirror so the examiner knows you’re looking

    Don't bother. Examiners are professionals and spend all day every day assessing learner drivers - they know when you've looked and when you haven't and this most common reason for failure will be obvious to them. Best advice? Methodically check your mirrors!


    Myth: it’s easier to pass at some test centres than others

    Actually this one is true but not for the reasons you may think - affluent areas where pupils can afford more lessons tend to have higher pass rates, for instance. Take heart though: if you do pass in more challenging conditions you'll be the better driver for it. And, Mike points out, "the assessment is the same even if the conditions aren't."


    Myth: you can just wing it with a few lessons

    Technically you don't actually need to have had any driving lessons and could learn with friends or parents. And though many may tell you it's possible, given the complexities and subtleties of the modern driving test, the official line recommends a combination of proper lessons and private practise.


    Myth: they don’t do tests if it rains

    Actually poor weather can halt driving tests, as can poor light. So if the conditions are particularly bad - especially if there's snow or ice - you should check with the test centre on the day. If it's cancelled you'll get another appointment at no extra cost but you probably won't get the money back if you're paying to use your instructor's car.


    Myth: everybody knows better

    Friends and parents will be all too willing to chip in with advice and sure-fire tips they believe will see you through your test but Gary Lamb advises caution. "Try not to listen to horror stories," he says, "When people have passed they don't tend to volunteer information. The test isn't as bad as you think!"


    Question troops, how many remember your driving tests and teachers?
     
  2. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    Heh. I think the guy giving me my driving test was at the end of his shift. I did the standard test the brakes/turn signals/mirrors....pulled out on the street and made four right-hand turns, and pulled back in to a parking spot (regular, not parallel). But, yeah, I was stressed goin in to the test! LOL

    Teachers? Heck, my parents taught me to drive. Which could explain why it took me forever to master 1st gear...
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    19,419
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    Home Page:
    There is a huge difference between driving tests in Europe and in the states. I took the English driving test, failed once and passed the second time. It was about 4 hours long. I couldn't find my English license when I returned to the states, so I had to take a California driving test. It took all of about 10 minutes and I ran a yellow light. Passed 100%! I feel much better about English driving skills after taking both driving tests.
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,730
    Likes Received:
    517
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    Some of the Stateside ones seem pretty easy. Here it is around an hour long now and you'll fail on a fair few things. I failed first time as well but passed faultlessly second time around. In South Africa it seems that a lot of the driving schools were using trucks/other large vehicles, guess if you hit something in it you'll be better of compared to whatever you are hitting after all which is probably part of the reason for using them...
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    Over here in Germany the driving test is pretty strict. The school is very long and very expensive as well. It involves several months of class room work about driving theory, laws and so forth, and several months of driving with a teacher.

    I actually stalled out on the driving test at a red light. The tester though said it was alright because I did not panic (like most people taking the test) and just restarted the car and continued driving. Passed the test first go.
     
  6. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Junior Historian, Paintballer, Student
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Home Page:
    I remember my driving test because I was 18 at the time, and in Arizona its something to the effect that you don't have to test for a permit if you're 18, you can go straight for the license. Also, my examiner for the test said (and it still is true to an extent) that I make beautiful left hand turns, but that my right had turns are usually a little jerky or sudden (interesting because I'm right handed). Also, for all the European people who respond to the thread, do you guys have a brake for the instructor on the "shotgun" side?
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    In Germany they do.
     
  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,730
    Likes Received:
    517
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    Most instructors cars have them here as well.
     
  9. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    My Dad taught me and did a great job , my driving test was done in a blizzard about 25 cm of snow which IMHO made for a hard test
     
  10. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    15,719
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Auto Restoration
    Location:
    Abingdon, VA.
    I learned to drive in a Ford F-600 Dump truck when I was just 7 years old and have bean driving every since. Growing up on a farm had a lot to do with that.:lol: I was driving tractors when I was 5. As for the driving test I used my dads 85' Ford Ranger, spent about twenty minutes on the backstreets of Smithfield, Va. and passed on the first try. As far as being nervous I really don't remember.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,480
    Likes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    auto body repair
    Location:
    pound va
    I remember the when I took my test and got my license in 1963, had no problems.

    That evening my sisters boyfriend though it would be fun if I drove a real car, his 56 Ford, that he had put a 390 in. I'm going up a short uphill straight about 75 or so, in a 55 zone. At the end of the straight a state police car came from the opposite direction. We make eye contact, it's the same cop that just gave me the driving test. He didn't even bother to turn around and get me. He knew me, and he knew my dad. It was nothing official, but I didn't get to drive again for 6 months.
     
  12. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Junior Historian, Paintballer, Student
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Home Page:
    #12 MacArther, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
    Yeah, they had the brake on the instructors side, and a shut off switch as well. The second feature was used on my first ride to simulate the engine cutting out....not fun when you are about to go through an intersection.
     
  13. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    9,562
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Graphic Designer
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Home Page:
    Here it's an hour long, and I passed first try. It's not really that hard, but the tester I had seemed really nitpicky about a couple things. Here though you drive your own car, but it can't have cracks in the windshield and there can't be any warning lights at all. The instructor cars have brakes in them though.
     
  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,480
    Likes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    auto body repair
    Location:
    pound va
    Back in the 50-60s the even made driver instuction cars with a steering wheel for the instructor.

    I used to work at a dealership that let the local schools driving instuctor use part of the lot for his students. He'd take a break in the bodyshop, have a coffee, calm down, after 10-15 minutes he'd be ready for another hour.
     
  15. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,480
    Likes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    auto body repair
    Location:
    pound va
    #15 tyrodtom, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
    When I was in Germany in the early 70s you had to take a about 100 question test, and get a pretty good score, like 85% or so, to pass, to drive a military vehicle on the German roads. If you wanted to drive your private vehicle, it was even more difficult. But in the Germans civilians opinions they dumbed down the test for the US military, for them getting a drivers lincense was almost as involved as getting a private pilots lincense in the USA. It also took classes and a test to get a hunting or fishing lincense in Germany too.

    As a whole, I though the Germans were pretty good drivers. I loved those autobanhs
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,988
    Likes Received:
    432
    Trophy Points:
    83
    1st exam was about 1st aid, 2nd exam (after 20-30 hours of siting in classroom) was about theory, then it was practice, 30 hours. Passed all first try.
    Today's exams here are much more strict, and way more expensive (1100 €?); it was under today's 100€ back in 1992.
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    It has not changed. The young soldiers get over here and have no clue how to drive in Germany. All they have to do is take a 50 question written test. So many of them cause wrecks over here because they think they can get out on the roads in their brand new BMW that they can't even really afford and drive 250 km/h.

    Most of us Americans who have been over here for a while actually complain about them. I personally believe they should be required to take a "Driving in Europe" class with a driving instructor before they can drive over here. I started thinking this after seeing about the 100th American turn the wrong way into a traffic circle. Hell I even saw one American lady on the Airfield stop and put her car in reverse because she missed her exit in a Traffic Circle. Come on lady, keep going, I promise you the exit is going to come around again! :lol:
     
  18. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    15,719
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Auto Restoration
    Location:
    Abingdon, VA.
     
  19. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,623
    Likes Received:
    205
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Aviation QMS/SMS consultant
    Location:
    Blenheim
    Yoou guys shoudl try the Cook Islands Motorcycle test!
    Instructor tells you the route, and says he'll follow you. He gets on the bike as you are, then as you pull away, he stops, gets off his bike and waits for you to get back. I guess the theory is, if you make it back O.K. you are safe!
     
  20. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    15,719
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Auto Restoration
    Location:
    Abingdon, VA.
Loading...

Share This Page