Driving test nerves

Five things to do (and NOT to do!) if you fail your driving test

The first thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Research shows that over half of learners fail on their first attempt and many people take several attempts before they pass their driving test. Any driving instructor will tell you that it's often the best drivers who take more than one attempt at their driving test.

So don't waste time fretting over what's in the past - instead you should focus on what you are going to do differently next time!

To find out what steps must be taken, use this five point guide to get yourself back on the road to success.You may also want to check out the ten most common ways to fail a driving test - and how not to do them!

1. Don’t give up. You failed and feel terrible about it – but don’t get angry or give yourself a hard time. The fail could be for any number of reasons - a simple, uncharacteristic error or perhaps nerves getting the better of you.

But there is an upside to not passing: you’ve been through the process so you know what to expect the next time. Second (and subsequent driving tests) are always easier than the first one.

2. Do listen to your examiner. The examiner will always tell you clearly and openly why you failed plus you will get a copy of your driving test report emailed to you or your instructor.  It’s essential you discuss the reason (or reasons) for your fail with your driving instructor as soon as possible so they can be put right straightaway.

3. Don’t stop driving. The worst thing you can do after a fail is to stop driving. Instead, head out on to the roads with your instructor, family member or friend as soon as you can to start rebuilding your confidence. Also remember that research has shown that those who pass their test the second time round are statistically more likely to be safer, better drivers once they qualify. Second time passers appear to fare better, especially when it comes to driving safely and considerately. Perhaps this is down to concentrating more and taking into account different road conditions and other drivers.

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"First time passers know how to handle a car but some might be over-confident and that can quickly lead to recklessness.”

– Guy Frobisher, Director of Safety, Continental Tyres

Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance

4. Rebook your driving test. Rebook your driving test as soon as possible if you and your instructor feel that the fail was down to a mistake that can be sorted easily with a little more practise. If you delay booking a fresh test, worry and nerves can fester making the challenge of taking another test seem insurmountable.

Remember that your new test can only be booked a minimum of 10 working days after the last one. If you do book a test that you feel is too far away use the official ‘Change your driving test appointment’ to see if you can snare yourself a slot that has been cancelled at the last moment. Alternatively, you can use a test cancellation service that will find an earlier test date for you.

5. Don’t fear the second test. It is actually healthy to be a little nervous about a test. It can mean you’re fully focused on the big day – but too many nerves can be distracting and detrimental.

How to deal with driving test nerves

Some of us also fret that the examiner will be waiting to pounce on us if we make the same mistake again during the second test. That couldn’t be further from the truth; examiners don’t actually have a record of what happened in your previous test and even if it is the same examiner, they carry out seven tests on average a day up to six days a week so there’s a very good chance they aren’t going to remember you anyway!