Driving test reality check

For any general chat and banter.

Moderators: scimjim, Lukeyboy46, erikscimitardemon, Roger Pennington, philhoward

Post Reply
mountainlaurel
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 2:55 pm
Location: Woking

Driving test reality check

Post by mountainlaurel » Fri May 17, 2019 3:25 pm

I'm a US expat currently on my provisional license, even though I've been in the UK five years. It's a bit of a long story, but I have hardly driven at all for four years and I no longer feel comfortable behind the wheel. (I was shocked to discover this, but apparently it's not that uncommon.)

I took a few driving lessons last year and I made a poor choice of instructor -- I decided to take lessons in a manual, which I hadn't driven for more than 15 years, and the instructor was apparently unable to teach someone who wasn't a blank slate. As an experienced driver learning a new set of rules, I need to UNlearn as much as I need to learn, but this guy just couldn't wrap his head around that. I understand the tests here are much, much stricter than in the US and most people fail the first time. The instructor told me, for example, that I would absolutely fail my test if I turned the steering wheel hand over hand instead of gliding it through my hands without removing them, or if I failed to use my parking brake at a stop sign. My husband (who is an exceptionally safe driver) thinks that sounds ridiculous (and he does neither of those things), but of course he had his test 30 years ago and standards have probably changed.

Has anyone here taken a test recently, or maybe had kids who did, who can give me a bit of a reality check on this? I feel like if I read the rules of the road and can drive competently (which will just take a little practice to get used to it again -- never mind the manual, I can pick that up again later), I ought to be OK, but that instructor made me feel like I was completely incompetent even though I've been driving for nearly 40 years and have driven at least a few thousand miles in the UK without causing any accidents. Now I'm paranoid and wondering if I should hire another driving teacher or just get some more practice in my husband's car and see how it goes.



User avatar
GavinR
RSSOC Member
Posts: 475
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:31 pm
Location: Bristol
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 19 times

Driving test reality check

Post by GavinR » Fri May 17, 2019 3:32 pm

Hi,

The instructor will be correct on what constitutes a failure, and from people I know who have taken the test recently, it does seem harder than it was 30 years ago

Even then, my mother taught me to drive and I had lessons so the instructor could teach me how to pass the test!
i.e. when to change gear, when to use the handbrake, how to move the steering wheel, how to make it obvious you are using the mirrors to be observant, etc

Thanks
Gavin


GavinR
RSSOC Member 3513
1971 SE5a
1970 SE5 Project

User avatar
swoakes
RSSOC Member
Posts: 6968
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:23 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 45 times
Been thanked: 105 times

Driving test reality check

Post by swoakes » Fri May 17, 2019 3:38 pm

I suspect most UK drivers who passed their test years ago would struggle to pass the test today because we have developed "bad habits" which are difficult to unlearn. The 2 things you mention above are prime examples. Neither are necessary when you are an experienced driver BUT you will fail the modern day test if you do it.

New drivers are taught to pass the test and you need to have the same instruction. Your problem is that you need to drop the bad habits that will cause a fail.

From what you have said above more lessons with your Husband sound like a mistake :w :lol:

I would find a new instructor :wink:


Steve Oakes
SS1 DET Sprint Car

Former cars
SS1 DET Turbo sprint Project
Sabre Ti
SS1 Ti
1971 Yellow 5a
1985 SS1 1600
1978 Green/Silver 6a

Image
"Fail to prepare and you are preparing to fail."
Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
reliant-reviver
RSSOC Member
Posts: 4970
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Beighton, Sheffield
Has thanked: 99 times
Been thanked: 144 times

Driving test reality check

Post by reliant-reviver » Fri May 17, 2019 3:41 pm

Simple. Don't resist what you are being told and listen to your instructor, do that and you will pass your test. Whether you continue to drive to "test standard" is up to you.

In response to your two examples.

Feeding the wheel between your hands at the quarter to three position is the safest way of ensuring you retain control of the steering wheel at all times. "Gliding" is not the right term I think however!

When stationary and not preparing to set off the car should be out of gear and held on the parking brake. Should a car collide with yours or a mechanical fault (for example failure of the clutch cable) engage drive then the vehicle won't shoot off on its own.


Philip Andrew.
'74 Robin Super Saloon, '84 SS1 1300, '86 SS1 1800ti, '87 SS1 1300
Previous: I lost count around fifty.

User avatar
swoakes
RSSOC Member
Posts: 6968
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:23 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 45 times
Been thanked: 105 times

Driving test reality check

Post by swoakes » Fri May 17, 2019 4:02 pm

reliant-reviver wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 3:41 pm
Simple. Don't resist what you are being told and listen to your instructor, do that and you will pass your test. Whether you continue to drive to "test standard" is up to you.

In response to your two examples.

Feeding the wheel between your hands at the quarter to three position is the safest way of ensuring you retain control of the steering wheel at all times. "Gliding" is not the right term I think however!

When stationary and not preparing to set off the car should be out of gear and held on the parking brake. Should a car collide with yours or a mechanical fault (for example failure of the clutch cable) engage drive then the vehicle won't shoot off on its own.
Yeh right :roll:

What about this Phil




Steve Oakes
SS1 DET Sprint Car

Former cars
SS1 DET Turbo sprint Project
Sabre Ti
SS1 Ti
1971 Yellow 5a
1985 SS1 1600
1978 Green/Silver 6a

Image
"Fail to prepare and you are preparing to fail."
Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
philhoward
RSSOC Member
Posts: 25354
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:41 pm
Location: Staffs, UK
Has thanked: 65 times
Been thanked: 644 times
Contact:

Driving test reality check

Post by philhoward » Fri May 17, 2019 4:07 pm

As above really - it does sometimes take a while to find the "right" instructor. See if you can find one that also does IAM Roadsmart (I think it's still called that - Institute of Advanced Motorists) as they are very adept and getting people to undo bad habits!

Whilst the hand-over-hand twirling of the wheel might not specifically instigate a fail on the test, it's all about maintaining control of the vehicle, and the somewhat alien method of "quarter-to-three" driving and feeding the wheel does ensure you have control of the wheel at all times. I'm showing my age as it used to be "ten-to-two" when I learnt!

Learning in an automatic might seem the easy option but it means you can't drive a manual over here - even if you never drive one again after passing the test.

You should be taught to pass the test though - not to drive - and yes, it is much stricter than most places in the US. That means a lot of parking brake on, parking brake off. I'm not sure if rolling back even an inch on the transition between parking brake and take up of the clutch is still a fail - it is a momentary loss of control of the vehicle though.


Phil Howard
Scimitarweb Forum Admin
SS1 1600 Rooster Turbo; Sabre Mk1.5, Sabre Mk2
Previous: SE5/5a/SS1 No.1/SS1 Rooster/SS1 1800Ti/SE5a 24 Valve
http://www.ss1turbo.com
Never try and argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you based on experience.

efi_sprintgte
RSSOC Member
Posts: 1347
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:24 pm
Location: Sutton, Surrey
Has thanked: 152 times
Been thanked: 86 times

Driving test reality check

Post by efi_sprintgte » Fri May 17, 2019 5:04 pm

When I took my separate trailer licence I struggled to drive “correctly” again. I found my instructor hyper critical but I aced the test as a result.

They are not doing their job if they don’t point out what your doing wrong.

I still think RR (Phil) did brilliantly to
A: loose it in a 1300 SS1 in the dry
and
B: save it so well! :D


JC

Dcrosby13
RSSOC Member
Posts: 1244
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:28 pm
Location: Warrington
Has thanked: 15 times
Been thanked: 63 times

Driving test reality check

Post by Dcrosby13 » Fri May 17, 2019 5:27 pm

Hmm a downchange too far Phil? :lol:


I break stuff...... :w

User avatar
reliant-reviver
RSSOC Member
Posts: 4970
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Beighton, Sheffield
Has thanked: 99 times
Been thanked: 144 times

Driving test reality check

Post by reliant-reviver » Sat May 18, 2019 7:25 am

Could well be "ten to two" position. My time telling skills and my driving skills are at times both questionable.

Whilst passing my driving test just over a decade ago was easy enough I did another for the towing last year and that took two attempts. Something about "not making progress" i.e driving too slow would you believe.

At the end of the day it's formulaic, learn what's needed, apply it and you'll pass. Although I gather you aren't just looking to pass a test? In which case the IAM suggestion is worth considering as this is about teaching you more than just driving safely

By all means try out a few instructors, but remember you don't get to choose your examiner!
A friend of mine really struggled to pass his test a few years ago. Decided he would upgrade from a b1 licence after driving 3 wheelers for over 40 years. As far as he was concerned he was a good driver and perfectly capable but he did not like being told what he was doing was "wrong" and that it should be done a different way. He often had debates with his instructor, who by his account was a bit difficult and did seem to insist upon some odd things if I believe my friend's account to be entirely correct.
I recall questioning various things when learning to drive, but for all those things there was a valid reason why it should be done a certain way. Don't be afraid to query what you are being told I suppose.


Philip Andrew.
'74 Robin Super Saloon, '84 SS1 1300, '86 SS1 1800ti, '87 SS1 1300
Previous: I lost count around fifty.

User avatar
Rattling
RSSOC Member
Posts: 489
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Warwickshire
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 17 times

Driving test reality check

Post by Rattling » Sat May 18, 2019 8:49 am

The IAM is a good suggestion,but it is about learning how to pass the test as all have said above,if you can satisfy the difficult instructor then hopefully the examiner won't be too fierce ,all the best with it .
It was 10 to 2 when I learned not quarter to 3 ,but they were earlier times :D
Last edited by Rattling on Sat May 18, 2019 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.


Colin

1800 Ti

User avatar
AJL Electronics
RSSOC Member
Posts: 7853
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:49 pm
Location: Gloucester
Has thanked: 47 times
Been thanked: 241 times
Contact:

Driving test reality check

Post by AJL Electronics » Sat May 18, 2019 8:54 am

The biggest myth with driving instruction is that you are taught to "pass the test" rather than being taught to drive correctly. Watch any street corner with traffic turning... Apart from professional and blue light drivers (not all sadly) the majority seem to think that crossed hands is acceptable and safe, even though it would have been an instant fail on the test.

My assumption of the reason for this is that students don't get given any skid pan or 'challenging' driving to do, where the danger of having zero steering control would be obvious. That having been said, there is another 'technique' I sometimes see which is difficult to describe. The left hand is used to grip the inside of the right hand side of the steering wheel when turning right, then some strange crossing and swapping of hands takes place during the turn. :|

If the steering wheel is used correctly by feeding the full circumference through the hands, it is smoother, safer and a lot easier especially with no power steering as you have push and pull effort on the wheel. Watch a Police advanced driver and it is just so fluid and efficient.


Yes, we can mend your Scimitar!
Order your Scimitar parts any hour of the day at http://www.classicmicrocars.com (member's discounts).

Fancy a holiday in Gael, France? http://www.ianrhu.com

There is no point trying to teach a pig to sing. It doesn't work and it annoys the pig.

mountainlaurel
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 2:55 pm
Location: Woking

Driving test reality check

Post by mountainlaurel » Sat May 18, 2019 6:39 pm

Thanks for all the input, it's much appreciated and the advice to use an IAM instructor is especially helpful as I definitely have bad habits, even if many of them are legal in the US. (As it happens, I also recently took up riding a bicycle again after a couple of decades, and it turns out it's actually bloody terrifying at first, so I guess it's not that surprising that cars are the same way.)

The current plan is five-stage, because clearly trying to do it all at once was a bad call:

1. Get a few hours of practice behind the wheel of our car so I'm reaccustomed to driving in the first place.
2. Take driving lessons in an automatic, from someone who has some experience teaching people who are new to the UK but not to driving, so I can focus on learning the rules of the UK roads instead of how to shift a manual diesel left-handed.
3. Get my license for automatics.
4. Once I'm fully comfortable on UK roads, find a friend with a manual to take me someplace I can practice shifting with my left hand.
5. Take the test again so I can drive manuals. Because I love them, and the only reason I stopped driving a manual was that I was spending 2-3 hours a day in bumper-to-bumper traffic back then and it was taking a toll on my knee.

As of this morning I'm insured again, and my husband allows as how maybe he needs to actually let me drive the car occasionally if he ever wants me to be able to drive again. And as we're spending a couple of weeks in the Highlands starting next weekend, there should be plenty of empty roads for me to practice on.

Wish me luck! (And my husband, who is actually lovely but a bit worried about his new Lexus!)



User avatar
Old and Slow
RSSOC Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:37 pm
Location: East Berks
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 55 times

Driving test reality check

Post by Old and Slow » Sat May 18, 2019 7:36 pm

Good Luck!!
Also, buy a copy of the "Police Roadcraft Manual" (available in W.H. Smith I think) , read it a few times and leave it on the back seat of the car when you go for the test (only kidding about the last part) 8)
Another useful read is "the Porsche Driving Book" which adds suggestions such as - when "cruising" at a steady speed in heavy traffic on dual carriageways/motorways etc, make sure you are aligned to a gap in the adjacent traffic stream and not alongside another vehicle, just in case you need to make a sudden sideways manoeuvre.. etc.


Philip Needham
Ashley-bodied TR3; '54 Ford Consul; '55 AC 2-Litre Saloon;'65 850 Mini; '70 Ford Zodiac MkIV; XR3i
'81 911SC Targa, '64 Sabre Six

User avatar
TrevorG
RSSOC Member
Posts: 482
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:09 am
Location: Thomas chapel in Pembrokeshire
Has thanked: 23 times
Been thanked: 25 times

Driving test reality check

Post by TrevorG » Sun May 19, 2019 4:35 pm

Pity the Porsche driver who wiped me and my sps out on the m4 some years back didn't read that driving book then.....would have saved the nhs a lot of time and titanium!😁



upstart8s
RSSOC Member
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:14 am
Location: Worksop
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 7 times

Driving test reality check

Post by upstart8s » Sun May 19, 2019 5:07 pm

I hope you're not driving the NC500 route, busiest roads in the whole of the country...
Stu


current...
1977 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE6a (VHI registered) 3000 automatic/pas UUV***S
1991 Mazda Eunos Roadster (import on classic insurance) 1600 automatic/pas J***XAN
2006 Vauxhall Astra Estate 1800 automatic/pas FM***TLO
previous...
1977 SE6a automatic VOH***S
1994 SS1 1600CVH manual B***RWK (#54)

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Technical Discussion”