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Driving test nerves? Here’s how to overcome them

Driving tests are often seen as a source of stress, with many learner drivers taking to social media to share their woes and get advice from drivers who have already passed. That’s why we’re sharing our tips on how to overcome driving test nerves – all sourced from team members who have previously passed their exam – so you can build your confidence on the road.

1. Think of yourself passing the test

Imagining that you’ve passed your test and come out unscathed on the other side can help put you in a positive mindset. Even guided meditations or hypnosis videos on YouTube like the one below can help you feel calm.

2. Make sure you’re familiar with all the different things you need to know

Take a look at our checklist on everything you need to know to pass your driving test. Being safe in the knowledge that you’re truly ready for test day will naturally help to ease driving test nerves.

3. Think of your test as yet another driving lesson

Just remember, you’ve been through this process a dozen times before, and you’ve got a good load of hours’ experience under your belt. Most invigilators are happy to talk to you during your test if you feel comfortable doing so, which can ease the stress a little.

You might have built the whole experience up in your mind, but at the end of the day the examiner wants you to pass – and they’re a normal human being too.

4. Choose a stress-free day

Although you might think having a busy day or week will make you worry less about your driving test, it’s probably likely to just add stress to the day.

A good idea is to choose a relatively calm day where you don’t have to think about anything of the usual things like coursework, work, classes or exams. If possible, it could be a good idea to book your test during the summer holidays or during a less busy time period during the year.

5. Eat a good meal beforehand

Make sure that you’ve fuelled your body so you’re at your best mentally. Feeling nervous and driving without eating isn’t a recipe for success.

6. Get a good sleep the night before

We know, we know – we sound like your parents. You’ll be surprised what a good night of rest will do for your mental alertness and reflexes. And, after all, driving is all about your reactions and staying safe on the road.

7. Have a lesson before your test

It’s a good idea to book a lesson with your instructor before your test, just so you can get back into the mindset of driving. And don’t let mistakes in this lesson make you worry even more. My instructor actually said that he noticed those who made a mistake in the lesson before the test usually passed the test anyway!

8. Give yourself extra time to get to the test centre

The last thing you want is to be late for your driving test. The best thing to do is to get to the test centre with plenty of time, even if that means starting your driving lesson beforehand a little earlier than usual.

9. Take Bach Rescue Remedy to calm your driving test nerves

Many learner drivers or just passed drivers recommend the use of Rescue Remedy before the test. In fact, even some driving schools, such as Drive Johnsons, recommend it. Taking Bach Rescue Remedy is actually a great idea as it naturally helps calm the nerves and supports you in emotionally demanding situations.

You can also get Rescue Remedy in pastille and chewing gum varieties. It might be a good idea to suck on or chew these during your test as doing so can have the added benefit of taking your mind off the testing process.

10. Crack your window if the weather permits it

Getting some fresh air into the car will help ensure you remain vigilant throughout the test.

11. Take your time during the test

There’s no need to rush during the test – in fact, it’ll probably be a lot safer and less stressful if you take your time with each action and manoeuvre. Make sure to do simple checks like ensuring your seat, mirrors and headrest are adjusted correctly before you drive off, as this will prevent discomfort and improve safety throughout.

12. Anticipate the road ahead

You’ve probably heard it hundreds of times before from your instructor, but one of the best things to do when driving is to anticipate the road ahead. This means you should be aware of your surroundings and pre-empt any sudden moves from other road users. This can help ensure you’re driving defensively throughout.

Whether you see heavy traffic ahead and anticipate that the car in front of you could perform a U-turn so you give them more space, or you notice a bicyclist in your rearview mirror so make sure they have enough room to pass you, this will help you deal with hazards on the road in good time. It can also have the added benefit of taking your mind off the examiner next to you!

13. Know that not all nerves are bad

In fact, some say that being a little nervous helps with concentration, especially once the adrenaline kicks in. It’s good to be nervous in a way, as it shows that you’re trying something new and that you care. And that means you’ll do your best.

14. Wear comfortable clothes

You might be wondering what to wear on the day of the driving test. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothes that won’t inhibit your movement as this will help you stay in control of the car. Make sure you also wear suitable footwear and stay away from flip flops or anything that could inhibit your ability to brake, accelerate and change gears.

Check the most common reasons for driving test failures

Take a look at our blog on what happens if you fail your driving test, which outlines the most common reasons for driving test failures and how to prevent them. Try to bear these tips in mind in your next driving lesson. These will hopefully become second nature, which will in turn make them more natural in your exam.

15. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the first time

Driving test nerves are normal, especially given the amount of time and money you dedicate to driving lessons beforehand. But don’t worry if you don’t pass first time – the majority of learner drivers don’t. Even getting some experience behind the wheel with an official examiner will help you know what to expect the next time you take the test.

16. Get more experience behind the wheel

Of course, some nerves are normal, but if you feel like you aren’t prepared, you might want to spend more time behind the wheel when it’s possible.

This could be in the form of extra driving lessons with your instructor or lessons with a trusted supervisor of your choice. If you’re choosing the latter, make sure you take out learner driver insurance too – we offer this from just 65p per day! Call us on 0800 369 8590 or book a callback for a fast, affordable quote.

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