If you’re thinking ahead to your practical driving test, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve had a chat with our top-rated driving instructors in South East London to find out how to avoid some of the common mistakes that candidates make in the driving tests here.
You’re in luck if Hither Green is your test centre of choice. It has one of the highest pass rates in London! However, that’s no excuse to take a back seat. Our instructor Richard says, “there’ll be very heavy traffic during rush hour, so be prepared to come across some pushy drivers and unsafe pedestrians crossing the road in unexpected places.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down though. Richard’s advice to learner drivers is to “be cautious but don’t be hesitant. It’s about finding that little balance - something that many learners struggle with and that can often cause them to fail their driving test.” Common mistakes include speeding in a 20 mph zone or being too slow on a dual carriageway, so make sure you pick the right speed for the road conditions you’re driving on.
Learners often get stuck on roundabouts during their driving tests. According to our instructors, Richard and Nick, common difficulties are getting in the right position when approaching roundabouts, negotiating the roundabout and gauging when it’s safe to do so, hesitancy and being unsafe when emerging onto major roundabouts.
If you’re going to be taking your test at Croydon Test Centre, you’ll have to face the busy Lombard Roundabout. This is the biggest roundabout in Croydon, with two lanes upon approach. Instructor Salemon tells us, “Lombard Roundabout is very close to the test centre and lots of people have struggled with this during their driving test. Get some practice driving on it and in time, you will start to get used to it and build your confidence so that you won’t be fazed if you’re asked to drive round it on your test.”
Being in control of your nerves and not letting them affect your confidence is key to passing your driving test. You need to make sure that you can demonstrate to your examiner that you’re calm and in control in order to portray an accurate reflection of your driving. Nick explains, “Anxiety is a big reason for failing a driving test. Panicking at junctions, roundabouts and lack of observations during manoeuvres especially are what cause issues.”
Another easy way to pick up a major fault or two is failing to observe adequately. Salemon warns that “observation when changing lanes and joining traffic is paramount. If you cause other road users to slow down due to not looking well enough, you will get a major fault”.
So, how do you make sure you avoid making the same mistakes? For Richard, it’s all about “good peep and creep technique”, whereas Nick would advise perfecting your MSM (Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre) and MSPSL (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look) routines. Ultimately, if in doubt, do what Salemon advises: “look, look and look again before you commit”!