Most experienced drivers as well as learners have feeling of panic when confronted with an emergency vehicle, during lessons this is something your instructor will explain. To help it is worth visiting the official video “Blue Light Aware” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btRHvQEIkcU) but always remember you not expected to break the law in order to get out of the way
Are you ready for your test? Do you practice safe driving? How can you make sure your first time is really good?
As a front seat passenger if you have found yourself going for the imaginary footbrake, it was not a very nice feeling. It meant the driver was going to fast.
On a driving test the examiner will be that front seat passenger and will be mentally driving the car with you. He will look and see what you are doing and compare it to what you should be doing, but making allowance for the fact you are a learner.
The advice from the test people (The DVSA) is you must be driving consistently well, with confidence and without assistance. So what does this mean?
The aim should be to go to the driving test where you are unlucky to fail rather than lucky to pass.
The DVSA say you have to be a 'level 5'. This means you drive without prompting or assistance.
So what are the levels?
2. Done under instruction.
3. Done when prompted.
4. Seldom prompted.
5. No prompting at all.
Besides driving without prompting another way of viewing if you are a level 5 and ready for your test is. If you have you reached something called unconscious competence. This means you do not think about how to do something, you just do it.
Writing can be a good example of unconscious competence. You do not think about how to write, but rather what you are writing about. The parallel with driving is you do not think about how to control the car but what you want to do with the car.
So are there other levels of competence? And if so what are these other levels and what do they mean.
1. Unconscious Incompetence:
You do not even know what it is let alone how to do it.
You have no idea what driving is.
2. Conscious Incompetence:
You know what it is but you certainty can not do it.
You know what driving is but you can not drive.
3. Conscious Competence:
You are thinking about doing it properly.
You are now learning to drive, but still thinking about how to do it.
4. Unconscious Competence:
You do not think about it any more you just do it.
In driving terms you are not thinking about how to drive but rather where you are going to drive.
What all this is saying is that if you have internalised the practice of safe driving you are ready for your test.
Problems with speed.
A problem with speed is the faster the speed the greater the likelihood of death if you hit a pedestrian. The source of this idea is two studies: one UK and the other Australian.
The UK study found that the chance of death from being hit by a car at 30 mph was 45%. And the Australian study reports that the chance of death from being hit at 30 mph was 37%.
At 40 mph both studies showed that the chance of death was over 80%.
And at 20 mph it dropped to 5% in both studies.
The reason it jumps from 5% at 20 mph to over 80% at 40 mph is down to the laws of physics. As the impact speed doubles the energy imparted to a collision quadruples. Blame Sir Isaac Newton for that one.
A more interesting question is why the difference between the UK and Australia. A 45% chance of death in the UK, compared to 37% chance in Australia.
The Australians might believe that this is because they are tougher, where as the English could retort that this is because drunks sustain less damage. A more likely explanation is that with wider roads and pavements Australian children are less likely to be run over.
All this brings us back to why 30 mph, and it is all to do with people surviving their mistakes. Children do run out into the road, old people wander out and drunks stumble out.
At some point in our lives we all make mistakes. Without a speed limit these mistakes could be a death sentence.
For most people the driving test is a fairly unique experience. One of the things that makes it unique, is being marked as you actually do the test. If you remember when you were doing your exams at school, when the teacher looked over you shoulder you went tense.
This is a natural reaction to being marked as you perform. This pressure can lead to a loss of performance leaving both parties disappointed and frustrated. One knowing that they can do better and the other believing that it did not live up to what was promised.
Now there are some exams that are marked as you perform. Music, medical and martial art grading are some that come to mind. So unless you are a musical martial artist who is medically trained you are going to be up against it. So the real question is how do you know you are ready to take your Driving Test? This we will look at in the next post.
Aside from the actual passing of The Driving Test what other ways can we look at it.
From Societies point of view?
Passing your driving test is a rights of passage from which you receive your freedom. In this case that of the open road. Even The Queen has learnt to drive and has a Driving Licence. The fact she doesn't need to drive, as she has 8 chauffeurs from the Royal Household to call on is neither here nor there. She has still learnt and learning to driving is one of the things that binds us together as a people. A common experience that is shared by all.
From Governments point of view?
The DVSA who are the people who run the The Driving Tests and they want you to be consistently safe with a bit of confidence in your driving. As we are all equal in the eyes of the law, all driving tests are as far as possible are similar. Obviously we can't all do the same test route with the same examiner but all tests will be to the same standard over similar routes. Back to that common experience shared by all.
The Examiners point of view?
These are the people who conduct The Driving Test. What might they be thinking? Their job is to see that you are consistently safe with a bit of confidence in your driving. But how? Questions I think a examiner might ask themselves of a pupil are: would I want them driving my car or would I want them driving near my car? But above all is the pupil safe.
From The Pupils point of view?
The Driving Test is easy, it the examiner that makes it difficult. It is a pressure test. The presence of the examiner is the pressure. The way to cope with the pressure is by being consistently safe with a bit of confidence in your driving. If you would be happy for your instructor to come out on your test, you are probably able to cope with the pressure of the test.
From The Instructors point of view?
The bitter sweet moment when your pupil passes. You have grown to know and love them, and then they leave you! The knot in your instructors stomach becomes a feeling of joy when they pass. If your instructor has come out on test with you , the longer the test has gone on, the more nervous they are in case The Pupil cocks it up at the last moment. But so long as you drive consistently safe with a bit of confidence in your driving you should pass.