Driving tests can be pretty nerve wracking for many people. It happens to the best of us. So you are trying to get a license and have to go drive around town while someone sits in the passenger’s seat and grades every turn, brake, signal you make. Being new to the whole driving thing can really get you nervous and actually make you mess up even if you really are a good driver. So how do you calm those nerves so that you can show the Strive2Drive driving instructor what you can really do? Here are a few tips on how to keep your cool in driving school (hey, that rhymed!).
Practice and Prepare
There is nothing worse than going into an important test, final, job interview, or anything important without practicing and preparing. The more you actually know what you are doing, the more calm and confident you will be when it is time to take your test. Here are some ways you can prepare for your driving test ahead of time:
- Practice driving – Those hours of driving that they make you get before taking your test? Get those in, and then get in more! The more driving time you get, the better. Also, find out where your test will be and practice driving around that area so you will not be surprised by a strange intersection, sign or reduces speed zone.
- Practice parking – Parking is where many students go wrong. They only know how to park in certain spots and not others. So have an experienced driver help you practice parallel parking using an empty parking lot and cones or chalk. Make the spaces small and then do it over and over so that you are confident enough to nail it during your test. Repetition is key here.
- Simulated test – Have an experienced driver take you out for a “simulated road test” where they will pretend to be the instructor. Have them critique everything you do. It may be hard to take the criticism, but it is much better from them than from an instructor. If they are harder on you than the instructor, your road test will feel like a piece of cake!
Take Your Time
Driving instructors know how nervous people are, and some of them are nice about it while others try to use it to throw you off and mess up. Make sure not to let their presence or trick questions throw you off by taking your time to think, prepare and respond. There is no rush, so you should be able to take your time in these situations especially:
- Starting the car – The moment of truth! Yes, your nerves will be the worst at this point but do not let them make you rush and forget something. The instructor is watching to make sure you are not forgetting to adjust the mirrors and seats so take your time to do these things and feel out where everything is. They will not mark you down for being slow, only for forgetting things. Their job is to keep you and other drivers safe.
- Answering Questions – Instructors tend to ask questions while you are driving to see how you can handle distractions and multitasking. You can prepare for this by going over your class notes, but the most important thing is to just take your time answering. Acknowledge their question but give yourself time to think. Usually, they are straightforward questions but they may seem harder when you are trying to multi-task.