Older people always moan about young drivers, but they don’t realise how hard it is to pass your test these days. I passed third time, and I’m not exactly a reckless driver.
And it’s not just the practical test that’s difficult, the theory test has got harder too. My mum told me at the end of her test she was asked five questions about the highway code, and that was her theory test, She didn’t even get them right but was told to read up the code and was handed her driving licence.
These days its 50 questions, of which you must get 45 right, and a hazard perception test with 14 clips. Exhausting. Luckily I passed the test, but I know many who haven’t.
The first practical test I took was a nightmare. I was a capable driver but I just couldn’t get past the nerves. I failed and didn’t have the money to do the test again, at £60 a pop, so went off to university without a driving licence.
However, four years later I realised most jobs want you to have a driving licence, so I had another go. I had some more lessons, and found myself able to drive as confidently as before. I was convinced this time nothing could go wrong if I just drove safely and stayed calm.
But it was staying calm that was the issue. When there’s someone examining you, and you’re trying to keep to the speed limit, check you’re mirrors every two seconds, and read road signs, the ability to operate a huge moving machine goes out the window.
Not only that, but they’d introduced an ‘independent drive’ into the test where they ask you to follow road signs, or show you a map with a route to follow. For me it was all too much, as the pressure of someone marking you down for errors meant that left and right went out the window.
I failed again, as when you know someone is watching you that closely, it’s hard to relax.
On my third try, I’d given up hope and because of this, the nerves seemed to disappear, and I passed!
But with roads being much busier, the test being tougher, and the theory test changing into a formal exam, other drivers should give us a break. It’s tougher to pass the test these days, and we aren’t all ‘boy racers’.