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This is actually a really interesting point and one I hear very often mentioned on Learner Driving Sites. It raises a few questions: Why are students making mistakes on their driving test they would not do on their lessons?

What are the fundamental reasons this may happen?

What can change to stop it happening in the future? As a driver trainer I'm very aware that we can get sucked into what I would call 'Test Focused Training'. There can be no problem with this after all the test in the minimum standard and if you reach that standard, you are seen fit to drive independently. Should we aim higher? What if our standards were set above the driving test, does that not mean a lower level of driving and understanding should be achieved with ease?

Test Focused Training I'm not suggesting this is the only cause, but my point above highlights that if the training is set at the minimum standard then it's likely the candidate when given a pressured scenario may not cope in the same way they would have done during lessons. Example: During a driving test an examiner will pull a client over and explain a reverse exercise. This is completed generally in an area that is busy but will not cause too many problems so the task cannot be completed. The test does not have that flexibility. If the training is focused purely around the test the candidate is not gaining the skills, they need to complete the task in all situations.

1. There are other reasons, but lack of preparation is key to being successful. It's up to the trainer to recognise what the student is thinking and feeling so they can challenge what would happen in different scenarios. What would you do if there was nowhere to stop? How would you manage an emergency vehicle here? Why do you think you forgot to signal? What made you decide to go then?

All these questions open up an understanding of what you may be thinking but not solely related to the task.

2. It's about variety. Experiencing enough of the drive but with an independence right from the start of the clients training. It could be a simple task like asking the student to assess how they move off. What mistakes did you make? Did it feel safe? Why? Could it be safer?......Challenging a student into why they do things. I often cringe when a client says. ' Because you told me' . This just tells me I'm doing my job badly.

3. Assessment and self-awareness. If you have followed my other blogs, you would have noticed that their is a link to being self-aware of our actions and why.

Students and Instructors need to work towards a truly independent drive, one that covers a variety of road and traffic conditions and is free flowing.

Letting the handles go and giving the students a chance to actually practice on their own and make mistakes. Now I could get into other points about driver training, because believe it or not our governing body the DVSA don't like us letting go, in fact they positively dislike it and encourage us not to let any situation occur which could potentially be seen as Serious or Dangerous without us taking action. Thats possibly for another blog. Driver Trainers are skilled in knowing what can and cannot be accepted. You cannot always be self-aware if you are not led into situations, you may not always be comfortable with.


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