Real People – Real Driving Test Fails!

Real People – Real Driving Test Fails!

Real People – Real Driving Test Fails!

Huge commiserations on your recent Driving Test Fail…

You see so many driving school websites and Facebook pages with picture after picture of happy faces, holding up their pass certificate and nicely advertising the instructor’s car… But what about the ones who didn’t pass?

In this post I’m going to examine the three driving tests taken by my pupils last week. I had one pass and it was a 1st time pass, but I also had two fails.

Many congratulations to Siarrad on her 1st time pass. Just a few minor errors but an otherwise uneventful and perfectly competent drive – As it should be, of course 😉

Another driving test pass in Coventry for Phill Godridge Driving School

But what of the other two… no names here to avoid any potential embarrassment… and what can we learn from their misfortune?

The first made a classic mistake at a twin-lane roundabout. He was asked to follow the road ahead and correctly approached in the left-hand lane. There were no road markings other than the lane dividers, so without further guidance you should always assume the left lane is for left and/or straight ahead and the right lane is for turning right.

Trouble is, he then drove in a straight line across the roundabout, initially cutting through the right-hand lane and potentially cutting up any vehicles using the right-hand lane, and then cutting back to the left (without checking either the left door mirror or left blind spot) which could have been equally disastrous. ‘Straightlining’ a roundabout is an all too common mistake. But the solution is simple. Approach in the left lane, drive around the roundabout in the left lane, exit in the left lane. Make sure to use your mirrors effectively throughout the roundabout and remember… Just because YOU are using the correct lane, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Keep you eyes open.

The second made his error leaving the car park at the very start of the driving test. Doh!

Granted it is quite a tight turn to get out of the car park from the Warwick Driving Test Centre and it can sometimes be very difficult to see if the road is clear if there are parked cars blocking the view… but all that should lead to a VERY careful exit from the car park, shouldn’t it?

The reason my pupil gave for pulling straight out into oncoming traffic, forcing them to come to an abrupt stop, was that he “…couldn’t see anything coming.” I would like to point out quite strongly that there is the World of difference between (1) being able to see a clear road and (2) can’t see anything coming. What he means is, there WAS something coming, he just couldn’t see it from where he was waiting. He should have used the ‘creep & peep’ method to slowly edge out until he could see if the road was clear. Then, and only then should he have pulled away. What a waste.

One of those pupils had an additional ‘problem’ to contend with. You may have experienced it yourself, I know many of the ADIs reading this will recognise the situation, and it’s something which we seem to have no choice about these days even though some years ago you had the right of refusal… What am I talking about?

Supervising examiners (SEs) sitting in the back during a driving test.

This is a necessary step. The SE is checking the examiner, not the test candidate. All examiners need to be regularly supervised to make sure the marking is consistent throughout the UK. The same faults need to be spotted and recorded no matter where or when you take a test. If we had different rules for different parts of the country, the country would be in more of a mess than it is now. After all, we really don’t want substandard examiners marking us on test, do we? So I have no problem with an SE sitting in the back… BUT the test candidate might.

Some years ago, I can’t remember exactly how long ago, the candidate had the right to refuse the SE. The candidate could simply say they didn’t want him to accompany them on test, just as they can with their ADI or accompanying driver. These days they don’t seem to be given the choice. The SE is going and that’s that. So what should a test candidate do if they are the ‘chosen one’?

Well if they have never driven with someone in the back seat, it could be a bit weird. You will keep catching sight of them in the rear-view mirror and when you check your blind spot… Just keep reminding yourself they are there and don’t jump each time you see them. You will also notice a weight difference (no offence intended to any larger examiners out there) and could experience problems pulling away, especially up hill or during a manoeuvre. Just bear in mind that a little more power could be needed to keep the movement smooth and steady. Otherwise just try to take no notice of the SE, as I said he is there to assess the competence of the examiner, not the test candidate.

I have just one question though… Who checks up on the Supervising Examiners? Will you one day need an examiner, a supervising examiner and a supervising supervising examiner in the back? This could get ridiculous! …and what if you want your instructor to come too? You did bring a 7-seater, right? Sorry, this is getting silly 😉

If you’ve had any experience with an accompanying SE, please share your story. Did it cause complications or did you not really notice they were there? In some extreme cases it has been argued that the extra person caused the test fail somehow! Has this happened to you?

As always, if there is a topic you’d like me to cover in these ramblings, leave a comment or drop me an email. I’m more than happy to help.

Phill G