Driving Test Jitters: How to Calm Your Nerves before Your Road Test
Getting your driver’s license is a big step. It’s important to consider the responsibilities that come with passing the road test, but you don’t want your nerves to get the best of you! Your nerves can affect your driving performance which could lead to a failed test. Here’s some tips on how to combat those anxious feelings before and during your test:
1. Sign up for driving school
A qualified driving instructor is an invaluable resource to have when learning how to drive. Not only can they help you with the basic techniques of driving, but they can also properly educate you on the rules of the road and the requirements for passing a road test. Our driving instructors are re-certified on an annual basis and are consistently notified of any changes to the Ministry of Transportation’s requirements. Not to mention our courses offer both a theoretical and practical approach to drivers’ education, meaning you have a combination of all the necessary knowledge and skills to pass your test.
2. Practice makes perfect
Driving a car is not something that can be crammed and learned overnight. Passing a road test requires a long-term commitment to learning and practicing. Becoming a licensed driver also bears a huge responsibility to your safety and the safety of others – so, it’s best to take it seriously. Be sure to practice all driving manoeuvres (turning right on a red light, stopping at a stop sign, checking blind spots) and parking styles (parallel, backing in, pulling in). If you feel comfortable with all driving manoeuvres, you will be ready for anything your examiner may test you on!
3. Consult with your instructor
Your instructor is qualified in assessing your learning needs. They may already know when you need more practice in a certain area, but should you feel uncomfortable or anxious for a particular part of the test, just let them know! They’re there to support you through this experience and can develop strategies to help you feel more confident going into your examination.
4. The day before your test
It’s the day before your test. What can you do to prepare for the big day? Start with getting some exercise to boost your mood and get a good night’s sleep. Keep a positive mindset throughout the day and, if there’s time, book one of your lessons the day before for some extra practice closer to your test.
5. The day of your test
Try to book your test for the morning if you feel like you’ll be anxious throughout the day. If your test is taking place in the middle of the day or the afternoon, treat the day as if it is any other day! Stick to your normal routine and stay focused. Many people choose to book a lesson with their instructor for the hour prior to the test. This way, everything you’ve learned is fresh in your memory! Steer clear of excessive amounts of caffeine and opt for water instead. Also remember to eat a healthy breakfast and dress comfortably.
It’s easy to say, “Don’t be nervous!” The reality is that nerves affect people differently. Should you find yourself getting overwhelmed before your test, take deep breaths and try to clear your mind of the “what ifs.” Studies show that breathing techniques can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Start by taking a long, slow breath in through your nose and hold for three seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth and relax the muscles in your face, hands, jaw, shoulders and stomach. Repeat these steps as many times as necessary.
7. During the test
The start of your test is crucial because it’s the first impression you give your examiner. Focus on starting the engine and looking around the car for any hazards or obstructions you might need to consider as you move from your parking spot. Also remember to listen to your examiner. They will give you necessary instructions during your test and will be sure to give you enough notice for any turns or manoeuvres coming up. Most importantly, whatever might happen, don’t panic. Should you encounter sirens, a collision, or any other new developments during your test, remain calm and assess your approach before you continue. Even though a perfect test is the goal, don’t assume you’ve failed if you make a mistake. You’re entitled to a certain number of minor faults, so it’s important to continue the test to the best of your ability.
8. Don’t be discouraged
In any case where you don’t pass your test, try not to beat yourself up. You may have done everything you can to prepare for your test. Mistakes happen and a failed test is an opportunity to work on areas where you may have been struggling before. First, try to maintain a positive attitude. Then book an assessment with your instructor and have them go over the details of the test to see where you might need more practice.
9. Get back up and try again!
Re-book your test when possible and repeat these steps as needed. Remember, some people don’t pass their first test and this is completely fine. Your examiner is not your enemy – their job is solely to ensure you are licensed only when you are ready. Keep pushing and practicing and not only will you be ready for your test, but for a future full of safe driving!