For many years, the practical driving test has been shrouded by myths, with tales being told from candidates of past. Due to the driving test often being conducted by only the examiner and the candidate, this somewhat isolated experience, charged with heightened nerves and adrenaline often results in exaggerated claims.
It was way back in 1935 that would see the very first UK driving test conducted. A good few myths have been created since that time – though some do have an element of truth behind them.
Examiners Have a Weekly Quota
Most of us have heard the old quota myth. Also, ‘you stand a better chance of passing the test if you don’t book for a Friday’ – supposedly that’s if they haven’t failed enough candidates to meet the quota by the end of the week.
Examiners don’t have a quota that they must meet, but they are monitored by the DVSA to ensure they fall within an acceptable ratio of pass and fails. Let’s say for example, there’s five examiners at a test centre, four have an average pass rate of between 40-45% and one examiner has a pass rate of 60% with an equal number of tests conducted. The DVSA would look into this examiner to establish why the pass rate is so high. A variance of 10% or more either side of the test centres average pass rate is likely to get the DVSA involved.
You Can Fail for Crossing Your Hands
Though this rule doesn’t apply for the modern driving test, years ago there was much more emphasis on how learners held the steering wheel. These days you can hold the steering wheel more or less how you like (within reason of course), because it’s about how well you control the car. But years ago you’d be expected to hold the wheel in a strict ’10 to 2′ placement and to avoid crossing your hands at all costs.
You Can Fail your Test on the Show Me Tell Me
This is a question frequently asked by learners – Can you fail the driving test on the Show Me Tell Me questions. You’ll receive a minor fault if you fail to answer the Show Me Tell Me questions correctly, but you wont fail the test for it.
You Can Fail Your Test For Stalling
Somewhat a paradoxical ‘myth’. A couple of stalls during the test is generally fine providing you recover from them in a controlled and safe manor, but consistently stalling and / or if you stall in a hazardous location, then it’s probably test over.
You Can Fail For Going the Wrong Way
The driving test is an assessment of your ability to control a car and to use it to a safe standard and to convey courtesy to other road users. It’s not a test of your navigational abilities. It’s generally fine to get lost – just do it safely.
Driving Examiners are Grumpy, Rude and Hate Their Job
That’s probably true. No, in reality, you get the odd grump in any profession, but most examiners are professional and courteous. They might come across a little cold, but that’s generally because they want to remain impartial and neutral for testing purposes.
Learner Drivers Cannot Receive Penalties
Unfortunately the fact that you’re learning doesn’t allow exemption from speeding fines, penalty points and any fines that a full licence holder can receive.
Worse still is that any penalty points placed on a provisional licence will get carried over to the full licence upon passing the test (if they haven’t expired by then). Six or more penalty points on a full licence within two years of passing the test will see the licence cancelled.
Moving Your Head to Check Mirrors
It’s a myth that you have to make obvious head movements for checking mirrors so that the examiner knows you’re checking them. Just drive naturally, the examiner knows if you check the mirrors or not.
Bribing the Driving Test Examiner
In the UK, bribing the driving examiner has an almost zero percent chance of working. Examiners accepting bribes face jail in the UK. However, you could move to somewhere such as Pakistan. Driving test bribery is pretty much guaranteed along with a nice shiny new driving licence.
The UK Driving Test is Too Hard
This is of course relative to the individual. Whilst many pass the driving test first or second attempt, a certain individual had to take the practical test 39 times in order to pass – now that’s commitment.
There are however countries such as Denmark, Finland and Japan that have much tougher tests than the UK. Some of these tests also involve physical aptitude tests, skid-pan / slippery track driving, night driving, first aid training etc.
Then to the other extreme, moving to Mexico at the age of 18 will see you handed a driving licence without the need to take a test at all.