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driving test nerves
  1. Learner
7th January 2021

Driving test nerves — 8 tips to keep them under control

Learner driver experts at Sterling Insurance put their heads together to come up with advice on how to beat your driving test nerves.

Car Insurance from just £125 per year

There’s no denying that taking your driving test is a nerve wracking experience, but what will help put the brakes on those nerves as you prepare for the big day?

Each day in the UK approximately 6,000 people take their driving test and, unfortunately, of those around 2,400 will fail. Some will fail because they are simply not proficient, but many very capable learner drivers will fail because they have succumbed to driving test nerves.

Of course, a few nerves are not necessarily a bad thing when you take your test. Psychologists say that nerves stir the adrenaline, keep you sharp, reactive and on your toes. But there is no doubt excessive nerves can hinder your performance on your driving test.

You have spent enough time and money on lessons and driving test fees already, wouldn’t it be a shame to allow your nerves to get the better of you? But how do you overcome driving test nerves?

For most people driving test nerves and confidence is one in the same thing. Here, the experts at Sterling Insurance put their heads together to come up with advice on how to calm your nerves before your driving test. 

driving test nerves

8 tips for driving test nerves

1. Don’t book your test until you are driving test ready

Good driving instructors won’t want you to book a test until you are ready but, at the end of the day, you can book your test when you want. Avoid the temptation to book a test too early.

The more lessons you have, the more proficient and confident you will become. And the more normal and routine driving becomes to you, the less likely you are to suffer from excessive driving test nerves. 

Many learners ask about driving test nerves medication, but in reality the best cure for nerves is preparation rather than medication.

2. The examiner may have driving test nervous too

The examiner may have taken hundreds of learners for their tests but, unless you are a serial failure, they have probably never met you before and they will be unsure of your driving skills. That means they could well be nervous. 

Treat this as your chance to show this total stranger how darn good you are on the road. 

3. Imagine it’s a practice run

The examiner may carry a clipboard under his arm like a sergeant major’s swag stick, but try to imagine this is simply another practice run with your instructor if you want to beat the driving test nerves. 

Most driving instructors know the driving test routes used by each centre so you will probably be driving the same car on the same roads, facing the same traffic conditions and performing the same manoeuvres that you have already faced many times in your lessons. Relax and enjoy the experience.

4. Hold your horses

Your driving test is not a time trial. Most tests last around 40 minutes but it doesn’t matter if it over-runs. Take your time, listen to the examiner’s instructions carefully and proceed in a cautious but confident manner.

5. Arrive promptly to beat driving test nerves

Arrive at the test centre in good time but don’t get there so early that you are sat around for ages worrying about what is to come. Try to clear your diary too, you don’t want to be getting anxious about other nasty appointments you have before or after your test. 

A lesson beforehand however is a good idea and can be used as a warm up for the test and will help calm driving test nerves. 

6. Be in the right frame of mind

Get a decent night’s sleep before your test and on the day of the test take it easy. Have a light meal beforehand but don’t over do it as an overfull tummy will likely leave you feeling lethargic. You will want to conserve all your energy and concentrate fully to pass first time. 

7. Don’t broadcast the date of your driving test

Tell only your instructor and close friends and family when and where your driving test is taking place. The more people that know about it and the more pressure you will feel and the more driving test nerves will build up.

8. Hold off on the caffeine

You may imagine a good strong coffee or energy drink is just the thing to get you buzzing, but it might leave you feeling agitated and crank up the driving test nerves. 

If you want a hot drink go for tea, perhaps something herby such as chamomile, better still stick to water, but not too much of it, you don’t want a full bladder adding to issues caused by your driving test nerves. 

driving test nerves

Get learner driver insurance from 77p per day

Cheap learner driver insurance can be hard to find. Sterling works with many insurance providers to offer value-for-money policies without compromising on the level of cover. Call us once you’ve passed your test and we can also offer great value young driver car insurance.

For more tips on taking your test visit the The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency website. 

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