Once you’ve managed to pass the theory test, your attention will turn towards passing that all important Practical Driving Test. Despite already having your Irish provisional driving licence, it’s normal to feel nervous about passing your driving test, but with preparation and lots of practice you will manage to get that full licence.
We’ve created a list of the top driving test tips for passing the practical Irish driving test. Use these as your guide and get ready to pass your driving test.
You can buy the book from your local bookshop or download it for free from RSA.ie. You will be asked theory questions as part of your test. You can familiarise yourself with the full list of Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 offences in advance of your practical test and bear them in mind throughout your lessons. You can also download the official learning app from here. These resources are key for learning all the important things such as road signs and driver hand signals.
Although you are only legally required to complete 12 Essential Driver Training lessons with an EDT approved driving instructor, you may need more lessons to become a more confident and skilled driver. Complete as many lessons as you need to. Use them to practice any particular skills that you lack confidence in, such as reversing around a corner. This can be another main reason for fails, so remember, practice is key.
Pre-tests are an essential part of preparing to pass your driving test. These tests mimic the driving test and allow you to see how the exam runs, what the route is like and practice answering theory questions. Think of them as a mock examination.
Avoid any added stress on the day of your test by organising the required documents and having your car checked over in advance. Double check that everything is in order. Get to the test centre early so that you have time to gather your thoughts. When parking at the test centre before your test, you should reverse your car into the parking space. Ensuring your car is facing out of the driving space, means you won’t have to begin your test by reversing. It is also very helpful to have familiarised yourself with the test route ahead of time, as this will help to build even more confidence.
Reassure yourself during the test and remember that you are a good driver and fully capable of passing. You’ve already put in the hard work so try not to let nerves get the better of you. If you find yourself getting too stressed take a deep breath. Breathing deeply and slowly triggers the body to stop releasing stress hormones and start to relax. Always anticipate the movements of other drivers. You can’t always trust other road users to be as diligent as you; some drivers start moving before they start indicating. You can often pick this up and anticipate their move before you see the indicator. By staying focused throughout the entire test, you will be better placed to see these potential dangers before they happen.
Remember, only a fool breaks the 2-second rule. Leave at least 2 seconds of distance between you and the car in front. If driving at 30 km/h you will require 4 car lengths to stop safely. Be sure to leave more distance if it’s raining. Also be mindful of your clearance distances. Not giving the ‘width of a door’ clearance and driving too close to parked vehicles. And always leave the correct space, at least 1m between you and the cyclist when driving under 50km/h, and 1.5m when driving over that speed, when sharing the road with a cyclist. Avoid incorrect positioning on the road, don’t drive too far to the right or left. Don’t take left turns too wide, or cut corners when turning right and don’t progress too far before you turn.
Be extra vigilant so you see every stop sign, yield sign, red light etc. Missing any of these will result in a fail. Brush up on your road signs using your driver theory test app before your test. Progress slowly at junctions, roundabouts and on straight roads. Match your driving to suit the conditions, such as weather, road and traffic conditions. And never ever speed.
Excessive coasting can potentially cause you to fail the driving test as it can be dangerous. Coasting while driving means that you keep the clutch depressed to free-wheel and not use the engine to move. This is easy enough to avoid but still a very common fault that many drivers fall into, so just be especially mindful of this.
Roundabouts can be daunting for inexperienced drivers. Be sure to study the dos and don'ts in the Roundabouts section in the Rules of The Road book for a helpful tip about picturing roundabouts as clocks. Make sure you maintain proper progression at roundabouts, but also at junctions, on the straight and when overtaking too.
If you make a mistake during your test try to move on and continue as normal. Don’t give up. The mistake may not be as serious as you thought. Always imagining the worst case in every scenario is clinically known as catastrophic thinking and can increase anxiety and feelings of panic. As mentioned above, if it’s getting too much for you, try taking a deep breath to help you relax.
Tip: When you’ve passed your driving test you’ll need these documents to get your full licence
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