How to make your testing officer feel comfortable

driver and trainer
The Aim of the Test
Learner drivers usually hear stories from their friends on what the driving test is going to be like and advice about what to do. Some of this is true, most is not.
During the driving test, the learner driver’s aim is to make the testing officer feel comfortable, that is, they feel safe in the car with you.
Setting off in a controlled manner and driving confidently right from the outset will make the testing officer more relaxed.
Generally, if the testing officer is chatting with the learner driver, this is a sign that they feel confident. If they are using the grab handles then they might not be feeling so comfortable!
 
Appearance Counts
Webp.net-resizeimage (20)
The test starts before the learner driver gets into the car. The learner driver wants to make a good first impression to the testing officer.
Follow these points:

  • Don’t be late
  • Be neat and tidy
  • Smile
  • Have all paperwork sorted out and neat (look after your logbook)
  • Have a clean car parked in the correct location
  • Know how to operate the indicators and brake lights without the engine running

 
How to drive during the test
Be seen
We have heard from some students that they have been advised to drive 15 km/h below the speed limit. This is not a good idea, it will make the testing officer question the learner driver’s ability. It is best to drive with the flow traffic up to the speed limit unless there is reduced space or vision, then slow down as required.
You may hear stories that everyone fails for head checks or blind spots. While this is often true, the solution is not to look like a laughing clown at Luna Park while driving. You need to understand what you are looking at, then you can check the appropriate blind spot, the traffic and do observation checks for the situations presented. Testing officers are onto people who are looking just for show and will be really picky about observation errors for these applicants.
Learner drivers need to make safe decisions. We have all been in the situation of waiting to do a right-hand turn onto a busy road waiting for a gap (high risk of accident). This will be on the test too. You cannot be swayed by the aggressive driver four cars back honking the horn. If there isn’t an appropriate gap, then wait till one comes along. The testing officer would prefer the driver to wait for a safe gap than have a go at a gap that is not big enough. Remaining calm in this situation will show the testing officer maturity in your driving.
Sometimes things go wrong on the driving test. The car might be stalled or your reverse parking may be botched. Remember these two things – the testing officer is human, they might not have noticed the mistake and it is OK to make a couple of errors, often they are not marked as harshly as you might think.
It is most important the learner driver does not give up after the first mistake. Just take a deep breath, relax the grip on the wheel and carry on.
 
Getting Results
Thanking the testing officer regardless of the result will put them in a better mood for the next applicant!
If you are not successful on their first attempt, don’t argue with the testing officer about the result. There is every chance that you will end up with the same testing officer in the next attempt. That will make for a very quiet drive…
 

Driving Test Intricacies: The Test Car

There are many components to the driving test. Many of these driving test intricacies can put positive or negative impressions in the mind of the testing officer. In this post, we explore the details of the test car.

What car can be used for the driving test?

Service NSW does not provide a test car for learner drivers on the test day. However, the learner can take the driving test in any registered vehicle matching the licence class they are being tested for. This must be a vehicle that weighs up to a maximum of 4.5 tonne Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and seats no more than 12 people. We, of course, do not recommend taking a moving truck to the test.

What will the testing officer be looking for?

The testing officer will check that all the brake and signal lights are working correctly, and have no cracked or broken lenses. This is to ensure the safety of the driver, the passengers and the other drivers on the road. A learner driver needs to be able to communicate properly on the road with correct signals during the driving test.

Other safety essentials include a clean and crack-free windscreen without chip damage, tyres that are not worn out and rims without any sharp edges from crash damage. Inside the car, the testing officer will check to make sure the seat belts are functioning properly.

How can the testing officer be helped to feel comfortable and safe in the car?

Having a half-eaten Happy Meal, the dogs breakfast (we mean that literally) and school textbooks that can fill a library in the back seat of the testing car is not the ideal way of impressing your testing officer. Yes, impressions do count. Make sure the car is clean and free of debris that may become a hazard in an accident. We recommend that it doesn’t smell like month old unwashed laundry either. Let’s make the testing officer feel comfortable when they enter the car.

Although a BMW for example may excite some testing officers, more often than not they will fear the learner may go over the speed limit. BMWs tend to do that to drivers… We recommend using a car that is less aggressive and places an emphasis on safety first.

What is the Trent Concierge?

The Trent Concierge is a driving test concierge service. Trent Driving School ensures that all the other variables are eliminated and the learner driver only concentrates on the task at hand: the driving test.

The Trent driver trainer will pick up the learner on the test day from home, school or work. The driver trainer will also warm up the learner during the drive to the testing location, and present them to the testing officer. At the end of the test the student will be driven back to their original location.

The Trent Concierge car won’t have rubbish floating around on the floor, or McDonald’s ready for the testing officer on the backseat – although we may want some to fill our stomachs before the test. Nor will the car have any safety concerns such as broken tail lights.

Most importantly, testing officers feel more at ease in our dual-control fitted cars, as they have a braking pedal on their side of the footwell.

Read more:
WHAT’S IN A DRIVING TEST?   |  DRIVING TEST SUCCESS

Why do people fail their Driving Test?

Webp.net-resizeimage (57)
We surveyed our trainers on what were the main causes of failing the driving test.
What was the number one response? Nerves.

How to Prepare

Webp.net-resizeimage (13)

The best way to manage your nerves on test day is to be trained to above the driving test standard. By working with a driver trainer early in the learning process, you will build safe habits into your driving. When you are under pressure your muscle memory will take over, so any bad habits that were ‘corrected’ in the days before the test won’t have had time to take root in your muscle memory and they will come back.
In the weeks leading up to the driving test, your trainer can put you through the Trent on Road Test (TORT). During this test you will be taken around a predetermined test route that is far more difficult than the driving test.
This way, you get used to being assessed. The TORT will also test what is habit and where weaknesses exist. It is just as important to practice being assessed as it is to practice your reverse parks and three point turns!
On the day of your test, your trainer will look after you with our concierge service. You will go for a short warm-up drive and be presented to the testing centre. Your trainer knows where to park, what paperwork is required, when to arrive and how to present the vehicle so that you don’t have to worry about anything.

Getting the Right Mindset

pexels-photo-101523
Get a good night’s sleep before the test, eat your normal meals and do something that takes your mind off the imposing test. Don’t overthink the event. When you are well prepared you can walk into the test with the mindset that you are going to show the testing officer how safely you can drive. Take a couple of deep breaths before moving off on the test and stay calm.

Don’t Give Up!

Webp.net-resizeimage (59)
Too many times we have seen students return from their test and the testing officer saying that they drove really well until they stalled on the hill start. Had the student just taken a deep breath and kept trying their best,  the minor control error would not have blown into a fail item for a poor decision at a roundabout. The testing officer is not expecting you to drive like Mark Webber, they are looking for you to drive safely.

Common Myths

Webp.net-resizeimage (58)
There is a misconception that all testing officers are evil grumps that enjoy watching you fail. This is not usually the case! Since the changes to Services NSW has been rolling out, the testing officers are of a much higher standard. They realise that it is in their interest to make you feel comfortable on your test. The testing officer will not try to trick you by asking you to do a turn where one is not allowed.
If you accidentally turn right when the instruction was to go left, it is not the end of the test.

What if you are not successful?

Not everyone passes first go. Plan your course of action before the test, are you going to re-book on the spot or online with your trainer at a later date? Before you attempt another test, have a couple of lessons with your trainer to work on the items that were not up to scratch the first time and go to the next test with more knowledge and skill. Sometimes you will learn more in defeat than in victory.
For more information about the driving test read: WHATS IN A DRIVING TEST?
 

What’s in a Driving Test?

Webp.net-resizeimage (13)
Our students often ask “What will I be tested on?” or “Where will the examiner take me during the driving test?”,  so let’s have a look at what you need to know in order to pass first go.

What will you be tested on?

During a driving test you will be assessed against five criteria:

  • Car Control
  • Vehicle Position
  • Hazard Perception
  • Speed Management
  • Decision Making

Car Control

The examiner will be looking for your ability to stay in control of the car. You will be required to smoothly operate the accelerator, brakes, steering, clutch and gears. An often forgotten section is your posture in the vehicle e.g. the seat position, seatbelt and mirrors.

Vehicle Position

The examiner will be looking for where you position the vehicle on the road. This could be selecting the correct line around a corner, stopping a safe distance from the vehicle in front and your distance to the kerb on the reverse park, three-point-turn and kerb side stop manoeuvres. Positioning also includes where you choose to drive in relation to other vehicles and the vision available. For example, driving near or in other driver’s blind spots is considered poor positioning. You must be aware of the area surrounding your car, your Safety Cushion.

Hazard Perception

The examiner will be looking for your response to any potential danger around the car, both on and off the road. There won’t necessarily be hazards in all parts of the test course, however, you will usually be marked on 5-10 of these hazard situations.

Speed Management

Selecting the correct speed for the situation is the purpose of the Speed Management section. The appropriate speed will be governed by the vision available, space around the car and the speed other traffic. Keep a three-second gap! The road surface will also influence the appropriate speed. Wet or gravel surfaces are situations where speed should be managed carefully.

Decision Making

The examiner will be looking for you to choose good gaps in traffic to enter a road, change lanes or proceed at an intersection. This is the section that blind spot checks are critical. You will need to have good observation all around the vehicle at all times. Getting this wrong is where most learners fail.
In addition, you will be asked to perform any of the following manoeuvres:

  • Reverse parallel park
  • Three point turn
  • Angle park
  • Kerb side stop

 

Where will they take you for your driving test?

Webp.net-resizeimage (58)
The driving test is conducted on a specially designed test route. There are a number of routes at each test location making learning each of them laborious and fraught with error. The best knowledge to have is the types of scenarios that you will be presented with.
During the test you will face the following scenarios:

  • Right-hand turn across busy traffic
  • Lane changing on multi-lane roads
  • Single and multi-lane roundabouts
  • Stop and give way signs
  • Up-hill start
  • Right-hand turn at lights with no green arrow
  • Narrow roads
  • Varied speed zones
  • Turns onto major roads with limited vision
  • Busy lane changes
  • Multiple decision situations

Once you are confident in all of these sections why not book to take a Trent On Road Test to see how ready you are to pass first go? If there are some issues one of our specialist trainers will help you sort them out and you will have your P’s and your freedom sooner! Call us to book (02) 8748 4500 or book online now!