Driving tutorials and advice to help you to pass your Driving TestDriving tutorials and advice to help you to pass your Driving TestThis section contains useful tutorials and advice for learners and the people who help them learn to drive.

Tutorials will include driving test advice, the exercises expected on your driving test, dealing with nerves, how to practice even when you don't have access to a car, getting the most from your lessons and more.

You can feel free to contact me to request or suggest an article on any topic you choose and I'll include something that may help you.

As always, please speak to your instructor for guidance on any aspect of driving.

Try to get as much practice in the car as you can but don't stop reading and questioning everything.

It's by far the best way to learn. The more you understand the better you'll be able to deal with any situation and the easier it becomes to learn new skills.

Always keep in mind that driving is a skill that requires knowledge, decision making and physical coordination.

Psychologists refer to this as a 'psychomotor' skill. You can learn and understand many aspects of driving from the thousands of tutorials you'll find on the internet, but a big part of the skill is the coordination.

Make sure you get plenty of practice and try to make the most of your driving lessons.

Go through this simple cockpit drill each time you get into the drivers seat of any vehicleGo through this simple cockpit drill each time you get into the drivers seat of any vehicleThe cockpit drill is a simple routine that you can learn very quickly, it takes next to no time to go through in the car and it keeps you safe by eliminating common causes of collisions.

As is normal with these routines, it looks quite involved with lots to remember, but the truth is that you'll go through the entire thing in about 10 to 15 seconds once you're used to it. Your instructor should give you plenty of practice at this. Actually, it should be done at the start of every lesson.

In reality, you'll probably have already been driving the car just before your driving test so you'll know most of this is done.

The Police system of Advanced Driving was the first fully complete system of driving and the cockpit drill learnt and routinely used by Police drivers is far more involved. It still takes no time to do in the car.

The simple drill outlined here is the one commonly used by Driving Instructors and is totally adequate for most drivers. Let's be honest, most drivers don't go through any form of safety routine when they enter a car, so any additional safety steps can only be a good thing. Most drivers have no idea of the number of collisions caused by missing out this vital step. Just a few seconds going through this routine can save you £1000's of pounds and an awful lot of inconvenience if you put your car out of action.

The basic routine can be memorised quickly by recalling the letters "DSSSM"

Finding the biting point quickly is an essential skill to make your driving easierFinding the biting point quickly is an essential skill to make your driving easierThe bite point is the point at which the clutch is raised just enough that it allows some transmission of drive power to the cars wheels so that the car is just on the point of moving. Read the tutorial on how the clutch works and you'll understand what the bite point is and you'll know why it's so important.

Where the bite point can be found is different on different cars. Even cars from the same manufacturer can be very different. There are so many factors that can change the position of the bite point, such as how old or worn the clutch plates are. You'll find as you get more driving experience in a variety of vehicles that the biting point is often completely different in all of them.

Finding the biting or 'bite' point is a routine that all learners have to go through. As time goes by and you get more and more practice at driving, you'll find that you don't have to think about it and you just do it. Eventually it really does become second nature, but often learners have difficulty with this longer than they really need to.

You need to find the bite point every time the car is moving off from a stationary position or even when you're having to control the car at slow speeds such as entering a roundabout in a traffic queue. Hill starts, stopping at stop lines then emerging from junctions, joining a queue of traffic for any reason, these are all examples of when you'll need to be able to find the bite point.

Learn how the clutch works and driving becomes easierLearn how the clutch works and driving becomes easierWould you like to know how the clutch works? What exactly is ‘the biting point'? How does clutch control help you to perform all those driving manoeuvres?

This page will give you a very simple explanation of how the clutch works, but don't be fooled, the basic principles of the clutch really are very simple. Let me show you how the clutch works and you'll understand what ‘clutch control' and ‘biting point' actually mean.

You don't need to know any technical information about the engine or the clutch to learn to drive. Many people have been driving very safely for years and yet they don't have the slightest clue about how the car works

Can you send a message or call someone on your mobile phone? I bet you can, but very few people know how all the electronics inside works. You don't need to, you just need to know how to push the buttons, not how to put together all the parts or how they work together.

So, you don't need to know about the inner workings of the car, but if you take the time to read this section and to study the diagrams, you'll find that a basic understanding of the clutch will help you to understand the finer points of car control enormously.

Controlling the car at low speed is an essential skillControlling the car at low speed is an essential skillThe coordination required and the skills to control the car at very slow speed are essential to almost all aspects of driving. Slowing to a stop, or almost a stop, finding the bite point and then moving again are skills you'll need to use time and time again. You can't drive anywhere without doing it and it's a skill you'll use over and over again. Even as you start your driving test on the test centre car park, you'll need just this skill as you leave and enter the main road.

This is an area that many learners worry about, sometimes without even realising what it is that they're really scared of.

For instance, many are afraid of dealing with busy roundabouts. To them, it's the roundabout that's the problem. The reality is that it's often controlling the car at low speeds and the fear of stalling that's the real issue. Similarly with emerging from junctions. Often the junction isn't the issue, it's the slowing down and crawling up to the line before getting going again that's the real problem.

Stopping on the left is an important exercise and  the examiner will want to see you do it safelyStopping on the left is an important exercise and the examiner will want to see you do it safelyIt's important to read this page along with moving off from the left. Stopping and moving off are extremely important exercises and many learners, even some instructors, don't give them anywhere near the attention they deserve.

That's a mistake because a lot of driving tests have turned into disasters because the learner didn't get these two routines right. There's no need for that, the routines are easy but they do require some thought and decision making.

Get plenty of practice because I can assure you you'll be tested on this when the examiner watches you do it on your driving test.

During your test the examiner will ask you to pull over on the left, often more than once. It's always amazed me that some learners who've had lessons elsewhere are surprised by this. Stopping on the left is an entirely normal thing to do and your instructor should ensure that you are fully trained, ready and able to deal with it.

Stopping on the left or right and then moving off again are so important that they should be regarded as driving manoeuvres like the dreaded turn in the road or reverse left. These are no longer included on the learner test, but they are essential to know and they can still form part of the driving instructor test.

Stalling the car on your test may happen. It's what you do next that's importantStalling the car on your test may happen. It's what you do next that's important

This information is critical. Make sure you learn this well, as mistakes that are easily avoided can cost you your driving test.

Stalling happens to everyone. We all have moments when we make a mistake and stall the engine. It shouldn't happen, or at least it shouldn't happen very often, but it does. None of us can claim to be perfect, we will all stall at some point.

Learner drivers seem to think that stalling is the end of the world. It's perhaps embarrassing, it might mean that other people don't think they're very good at driving, and if it happens on their driving test it must mean that they've failed.

If you feel like this and you're worried about stalling the car and failing your test because of it, not only do you run the risk of stalling even more because you're so afraid of it, but you're worrying without any valid reason for doing so.

Many, many learners stall the car at some point on their driving test. Many, many of them still pass. The reason is because stalling the car does not mean that you've automatically failed your test, it simply means that you've made an error with the controls of the car and not quite managed to get things right. It's often a problem with clutch control and it's easy to fix with practice.

I've had many learners who'd previously been with other instructors who had no idea how the clutch works. Worse, their previous instructor had helped them by using the clutch for them on the dual controls. That's not teaching you anything and if your instructor does this I suggest you look for a new one immediately. I can absolutely 100%  guarantee that the examiner will not help you on your test, so learn to do it yourself and make it easy to pass.

However, read this carefully and take note of what I'm telling you. If you stall the car at any point during your driving test, the act of stalling is almost irrelevant compared with what you do next. Read on to find out how to react.

It's critical that you learn to move off safelyIt's critical that you learn to move off safelyMoving off from the left is one of the most fundamental exercises you'll ever have to do as a driver. You'll probably do this exercise throughout your driving life more times than just about anything else.

Every time you nip into town, you'll usually park on the left unless you pay for a car park. Going to a friend's house down a side street? Chances are you'll have to pull over on the left to park up.

Along with stopping on the left, moving off from the left is so common that the examiner will watch you doing this on your driving test. It's certainly not unusual to have to do this manoeuvre 3 or 4 times on test.

Quiet often the examiner will simply ask you to "find somewhere to pull over on the left hand side please?", and then as soon as you're parked they'll say something like "thank you, now move off again when you're ready"

Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre is the foundation of everything you doMirror, Signal, Manoeuvre is the foundation of everything you doThe DVSA and Highway Code system of driving for any hazard is normally referred to as Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre (MSM).

MSM is a systematic and step by step method of the stages you should go through on the approach to anything.

Put simply, a hazard is anything that could make you change speed or direction.

The hazard could be an actual danger that you have to avoid like an obstacle in the road, or something that could potentially develop into a dangerous situation, such as a pedestrian ahead who looks like they might step out into the road in front of you.

No matter what the hazard, no matter what the situation or circumstances in which you're driving, the routine to deal with anything you come across is MSM.

It is impossible to overstate just how important the MSM routine is. Everything you do, in every situation, should be based on MSM.

What this means in effect is that a Mirror check always comes first, followed by an appropriate signal and then the manoeuvre. It's very important to get the sequence right and to do it in the right order.

MSM is so important that the result of your driving test depends upon it. The examiner will be watching you for any driving faults in applying the routine and will mark the test sheet accordingly.

Learn about Driving Test errors. Avoid Serious and Dangerous faults at all costsLearn about Driving Test errors. Avoid Serious and Dangerous faults at all costsThere are three types of faults that driving examiners look for on a driving test and mark on the test marking sheet. They are Serious Faults (S on the test sheet), Dangerous Faults (D on the test sheet) and Driving Faults which are often referred to as 'minors'.

On a learner driving test you are allowed up to 15 driving faults but you must not make a single serious or dangerous fault. If you do, the test will be marked as a 'fail', regardless of how skilful the rest of your driving is.

On your test you must avoid serious or dangerous errors at all costs. I would rather you risk taking a mark for a minor error than rushing into something and failing your test through a serious or dangerous error. In any circumstance, if you are unsure, don't risk the serious or dangerous error.

Driving Test reportDriving Test reportThat's a strange title for an article about your driving test.

What exactly do I mean when I say "you've passed before you start"?

When the examiner comes out to meet you at the test centre and takes you out on your test, she or he will have with them the commonly feared test marking sheet.

As you drive the examiner will watch you and assess everything you do, that's what they have to do to decide whether or not to give you a full driving licence.

You'll be assessed on various aspects of your driving, particularly your use of the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine and the exercises you'll be asked to complete.

So, how does the marking sheet work? Do you have to come up to some pre-determined standard?

Choose your position to pull over carefullyChoose your position to pull over carefullySelecting the wrong place to pull over at the side of the road causes danger to other road users and is a major cause of traffic flow problems and minor collisions in town and city centres.

I'm confident that you've been a passenger in a car or even the driver during your lessons when you've come across a car parked in an unsafe manner. It's inconvenient for everyone, it's selfish and it's unnecessary. It's essential for the examiner to see that you have the skills to avoid parking like that, and that you can use your intelligence and your 'road sense' to pick an appropriate stopping place.

During your Driving Test it's completely normal for the examiner to ask you to pull over at some point, either to do one of the required manoeuvres, or simply to see that you can pull up and move off again safely.

I've sat in on many learner driver tests and quite often this happens more than once. On Driving Instructor tests I've been involved with I've seen this done no less than 6 times.

Driving Test nerves affect everyone. You're not alone.Driving Test nerves affect everyone. You're not alone.Learning to drive is great fun and the reward for passing the test is your freedom and ability to drive unaccompanied, hopefully for the rest of your life.

When you first start your lessons the Driving Test is probably the furthest thing from your mind, but as you progress, the prospect of sitting with an examiner begins to creep up on you.

I haven't seen the DVSA figures for a while but the last statistics I saw were that there are well over 5,000 driving tests carried out each and every day.

Reference Points are extremely useful in helping you to develop spacial and positional awarenessReference Points are extremely useful in helping you to develop spacial and positional awarenessHave you ever struggled to get your car into the correct position for a bay park? Do you sometimes wonder if your car is in the correct position for turning right into a junction? 

It's completely normal for learners who've just started out to have difficulty knowing exactly where the bonnet of the car is with regards to the give way lines at the junction they're driving up to. They don't want to overshoot the junction, but stopping too far back makes it difficult to see into the new road and get moving again.

All of these are examples of situations in which a reference point can be very useful, but what do I mean by a reference point?

Take the example of being unsure where the front of the car is with regards to the give way markings on the road. It's normal for there to be double white dashed lines on the left side of the road and single dashed lines across the other side of the carriageway.

Getting practice with parents or friends can be usefulGetting practice with parents or friends can be usefulThe best advice for parents and those who want to help others to learn to drive is to make sure that the learner has as much experience as possible with a qualified instructor.

I cannot and will not advise you to supervise any learner driver. You can so long as you follow the relevant laws, but the choice is entirely one for you to make.

It's quite normal for you as a parent and friend to want to help, but even as a very good, safe driver, it's highly unlikely that you'll have the knowledge, skills and experience to make sure that your learner is doing things correctly.

There's no need to worry about Driving Test pass ratesThere's no need to worry about Driving Test pass ratesThe DVSA sometimes publish average pass rates for their test centres. The fact that they do this leads many people to make the mistake of thinking that examiners have to stick to a certain pass rate.

Pass too many or too few and they move out of the accepted 'normal' range and stand out as unusual.

I've met many examiners and senior examiners across the UK, and in all my discussions with them it's quite clear that this is not the case at all.

Unfortunately, I've also met quite a few driving instructors who are only too keen to tell their learners that they failed because the examiner had to stick to his figures.

Practice your driving by developing coordinationPractice your driving by developing coordinationGetting as many driving lessons as you can and as much experience in the car as possible is the sure route to success.

But what if you can't have more lessons and you don't have access to a car to practice?

Can you really practice driving without being in a car?

Is there anything you can do to learn even faster without actually driving?

There certainly is.

And it's easy.

Not only that but you could save money on lessons and pass your driving test faster.

Do you need any better reason to at least consider practising in private?

Being watched on test is completely normalBeing watched on test is completely normalIf being watched whilst you're driving doesn't bother you, or if your instructor has prepared you for this, this article isn't for you.

If the thought of being watched does bother you, feel free to read on.

Here's a strange thing I hear very often, always from learners who've previously been with other driving instructors. This is far more common than you may think, and if you've already taken a driving test, being watched closely by the examiner may have surprised you.

Here's the low down.

It's going to happen so you just have to learn to deal with it and accept it.

The examiner on your driving test will watch you like a hawk. Some of them literally. They'll often turn their head towards you and you just may feel their eyes burning into you. Spooky!

Get the most from your driving lessonsGet the most from your driving lessonsYou pay good money for your driving lessons, so it's important that you get the most from them.

It takes time and effort to get to driving test standard and you want to give yourself the very best chance of success.

I work hard for my learners to keep them on track and make sure they have all the help and support they need.

I've been asked many times if there's anything that can be done for learners to help themselves to get the very best they can from their lessons.

Here are some tips to help you accelerate your learning and get to test standard quicker.

Driving Test directions - No need for confusion, it's easyDriving Test directions - No need for confusion, it's easySo many learners get confused about the independent driving section of the test.

It's important to get this straight from the start - you are not being tested on your ability to follow a sat nav or to take the correct directions, you are being tested on your driving, no matter what route or direction you take.

That's why it's called a Driving Test.

If you were being tested or assessed on your ability to follow a sat nav they'd have to rename it to the 'follow a sat nav' test.

The examiner will mark your test to reflect any driving faults they see. There's no check box or anything else on the form at all to record your ability to follow a sat nav.