Is it scary like a horror film? No! Is it scary like you really REALLY want to pass this and the person sitting next to you will decide on your fate Yes for sure.
Check out our YouTube video about the driving test.
Why are Driving Tests Scary?
So what actually makes it scary? Well there’s a huge number of reasons that will be different from person to person.
Let’s start with the basics:
- You have spent lots of money over £1000 on driving lessons.
- You spent lots of time maybe 40 + of your precious hours.
- you have used lots of motivation because lets face it when you start learning to drive its hard.
Then you start hearing horror stories about the driving test and the driving test examiners which adds more pressure.
So is the driving test scary, yes it is and why is it scary well there are a huge number of reasons but the long and short is we really really want to pass it and the world seems like a dimmer darker place if we don’t.
Other reasons it can be scary
I’ve met some people who needed to pass this drive test or they would not get there dream job. Talk about pressure.
Others like myself just live rural and mum and dad cant keep running round so we need to take the pressure off them and giving you massive pressure as a need to pass..
On top of all of that everyone around you is expecting you to pass. More pressure., And that’s without mentioning the cost of over £120 to pay for the test and lesson and even actually getting a driving test in the next 6 months.
Am I the only one scared of the driving test?
No according to AA around 87% of people going into the driving test feel scared or nervous
What are the driving examiners like?
Honestly they are just people like you, me, mum and dad. They work then they go home eat,watch TV, spend time with family and sleep.
Some are chatty, some are quiet but they are all just people at the end of the day. They are people who are trying to do their job.
What is the most nerve wracking party of the driving test put it in comments below?
The lack of control?
Fear of driving?
And what is the driving examiners job?
To make sure you are a competent and safe driver on the road and they will take that job very seriously because they need too. They are putting peoples lives in there hands by allowing you onto the road.
It’s not their jobs to be your friend, its their job to make sure anyone they passes is safe and competent driver.
With this in mind try not to focus on the examiner and instead focus on your driving. You don’t really need a new car friend and neither do they. You need a driving license and they need a coffee so you focus on the road and not trying to please the examiner and you are far less likely to make a mistake in your driving.
I say this because I myself am a people please and find it hard to sit with someone and not talk away. My brother is the same and he failed 2 driving tests before he realized he needed to stop trying to be best friends with the examiner.
Are nerves a bad thing?
Being nervous can help to some extent as it releases adrenaline which can help you focus and alert, prepare, better faster decision making and peak performance.
Lots of famous stars and politicians and even astronauts have claimed to have used nerves to help them through tough citations at some point.
But there is a point when nerves turn into anxiety, distract us, cloud our judgment, make us confused can take over and actually start reducing our performance and even lead to a failed driving test.
The question then is how can we help control this?
We can but first we need a basic understanding of ourselves and being a science teacher in my past life :
- Your nervous system has 2 parts. The fight or flight part called sympathetic nervous system SNS – This is the nervy bit the part that takes over when you get into a scary situation. Really useful when in danger or we need super focus but if over active, anxiety, negative thoughts bad decisions. We are going to call this the fight or flight part.
- 2nd part is the parasympathetic nervous system PNS and this is the part that keeps us feeling calm relaxed and in control. This we are going to nickname the calm part.
- Our sweet spot is to be able to switch off the SNS when it starts going crazy before or during our driving test. Because at this point its not going to help keep control, focus and making good decisions.
3 Ways To Help control our Nerves
1.Tactical breathing, mindful breathing It has many names but all mean the same thing. Its controlling your breathing and its a great way of turning off your fight or flight nerves and switching back to your calm nerves. When the fight or flight part takes over you breathing will become more shallow and rapid which further delves you deeper into fight or flight nerves. To signal to your body and brain that you don’t need fight or flight nerves you need calm nerves you have to show it by controlling your breathing. Deep long breaths. There are lots of exercises out there if your search mindful breathing but here is one that always worked for me. In the description below.
- Inhale of the count of 2, exhale for the count of 2. Repeat.
- Inhale for the count of 3, exhale for the count of 3. Repeat.
- Inhale for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4. Repeat.
- Inhale for the count of 5, exhale for the count of 5. Repeat.
Does it Work?
Some people might think the idea of controlling your breathing sounds like mambo jumbo and I thought that years ago but once i started doing it in those stressful situation i found it was actually a massive helpful technique. The longer your breathes the less fight or flight and the calmer you will feel. The more you practice the better you will get
2. We have to focus on the way we are thinking. We get anxious we sometimes get trapped inside our own minds focusing on the worst case scenario and believe that’s whats going to happen. In this case it might be that you are going to fail your driving test. The more you think this the more you fight or flight nervous system kicks in and messes you are even more. If you actually recognise you are doing this and try and introduce some positive outcomes like passing into your brain this is going to help.
3. The other obvious symptom of being nervous is the speeding up. When you get into that fight or flight feeling everything starts to be done quicker, frantic even, panicky. This is when we start going in the wrong gear or using the wrong lane on a roundabout. The best way to combat this is to consciously slow everything down. Recognise everything is getting frantic and tell your brain to slow down. As you start to slow down this will send signals to the brain to switch off panic mode mode and go back to calm move.
Practice Makes Perfect
All these techniques do take practice so don’t expect to try them once and everything is awesome but if you do stick with them they can very effective ways of dealing with anxiety and those dreaded driving test nerves making the driving test less scary and if you choose to use just one that’s going to help if you choose to use all of them that’s going to help you level up! If this has helped you please share it with your friends. Best of luck Josh out!