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15th April 2024

8 tips for overcoming driving test nerves

We all get nervous from time to time, but we shouldn’t let our nerves get in the way of passing our driving test. Here are eight simple tips to overcome your nerves.

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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 year in the UK hundreds of thousands of people take their driving test with around 50% of learners passing. Unfortunately that means the other half will fail, with many very capable learner drivers succumbing to driving test nerves.

Of course, a few nerves are not necessarily a bad thing when you take your test. Psychologists say 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.

But how do you overcome driving test nerves? 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

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 routine driving becomes to you, the less likely you are to suffer from excessive driving test nerves on the day. 

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 nerves 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 very well be nervous. 

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

3. Imagine it’s a practice run

The examiner may carry a clipboard under his arm, 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 you have already faced many times in your lessons. Relax and enjoy the experience.

4. Do not rush your driving test, take your time 

Your driving test is not a time trial. Most tests last around 40 minutes but it doesn’t matter if it overruns. 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 appointments you have before or after your test. 

Having one last driving lesson before your test is a great way to help ease any test day nerves you may be experiencing and will serve as a warm up.

6. Ensure you have a good night’s sleep before your driving test

Having a decent night’s sleep the day before your test ensures you are feeling fresh and helps get you in the right mindset. Have a light meal beforehand, but don’t overdo 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 tell all your friends when you’re taking 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, the more pressure you will feel to pass.

8. Avoid drinking any 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 herbal such as chamomile. Better still, stick to water, but not too much of it – you don’t want a full bladder adding to your driving test nerves. 

driving test nerves

Get learner driver insurance you can trust

Sterling works with many insurance providers to offer value-for-money learner driver insurance policies without compromising on the level of cover. And once you’ve passed your test, let us know as we also offer young driver car insurance.

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