Learning to See Risks like a Driving Test Examiner: Driving Test Tips




Affiliate Links
Driving Test Experts posts contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

Understanding the Driving Examiner’s Perspective

As the saying goes, to truly understand someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. The driving test examiner might not be our nemesis, but if we want to ace our test, we should understand their perspective. Let’s learn to think like a driving test examiner.

Driving Test Examiner

Driving test examiners are not looking for perfection. They’re not expecting you to drive like you’ve been on the road for a decade. They simply want to see a safe and responsible drive, and that’s where the real challenge lies. What does a ‘safe drive’ look like to an examiner, you ask? Allow me to enlighten you.

The Art of Understanding Risk and Danger While Learning To Drive

We all make mistakes while driving – that’s a given. It’s so common that if we didn’t err on the road, road rage wouldn’t even exist. As a qualified secondary school teacher and a qualified driving instructor, it’s very important to me that I find a way to help people learn to pass their driving test and understand actually how they will be marked by a driving test examiner. So I found this method of risk scaling worked a treat. The trick here is to differentiate between a serious fault (think Godzilla-level catastrophe) and a minor fault (more like a mischievous gremlin).

Using the Risk Scale to Understand Your Errors

The key to understanding your own driving mistakes and thinking like a driving test examiner would is to get familiar with them. Whether you’re practicing with your parents or a driving instructor, assess each mistake using a risk scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is bad, and 1 is not so much. If a mistake ranks as a 1, it’s not a major issue but something you should still work to eliminate. If it’s a 5, well, you might need more practice before hitting the road solo.

One of the biggest gremlins on the driving test often relates to the driving test maneuvers mainly because people can’t see properly. This is often because they struggle with how and where to adjust the mirrors. This then leads them to not look around enough which eventually leads to a high-risk situation and a failed driving test. My BIGGEST bit of advice for this is to get a set of these blind spot mirrors. They mean you won’t ever have to adjust your mirrors again for any reversing and they give you a far better view when driving. They are also as cheap as chips.

If you are in the process of trying to get a driving test and finding you are hitting a brick wall so to speak check out our other blog on Tips to get a driving test fast!

Evaluating Mistakes Like a Driving Test Examiner: Examples

To give you a clearer picture, let’s look at some examples. Suppose you forget to check your left mirror while turning left. That’s a 1 on the risk scale – not a major issue, but definitely a habit you need to kick. Or imagine forgetting to check your blind spot when pulling off; that’s a 3, something you really need to rectify before you take the test. Rolling over a stop sign without stopping would be a 4 or a 5 – a serious fault that could result in test failure.

By categorizing these errors like an driving test examiner, we can better understand how our driving impacts our test results and safety on the road. Feel free to discuss any specific mistakes or queries you have in the comments below, and I’ll gladly provide feedback.

Your Driving Test Examiner Mistake Cheat Sheet

To make this process even easier, I’ve created a handy cheat sheet, which you can download for free in black and white from my website or in full color as part of my online driving course. Please remember, this sheet isn’t a challenge to find a mistake that doesn’t fit any category, nor is it gospel. It’s a tool designed to enhance your understanding of safe driving.

Questions and Doubts: Let’s Discuss

Should you have any questions or doubts, don’t hesitate to comment, and I’ll get back to you ASAP. For more detailed information, visit my youtube channel for expert driving advice.

Remember, driving is not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about doing so safely and responsibly. Keep practicing, keep learning, and you’ll soon be ready to ace that test! And hey, if you see me on the road, don’t forget to wave!

Thinkin Like A Driving Examiner Final Thoughts 💭

As a driving instructor, my biggest pet hate is people wasting money! So I try to maximize the value people get from their driving lessons and any time I think something hasn’t worked how I wanted it too I look for a better way for the future. Of everything I have learned using this risk scale has been the most effective way for people learning to understand the level of danger they create in driving situations. It also gives people confidence and helps them not panic so much in every given situation once they understand they aren’t always worth panicking about.


How can I see risks like a driving test examiner?

Driving test examiners are trained to identify potential hazards and risky situations. Developing this skill requires practice and conscious effort. Always scan the road ahead and use your mirrors frequently to be aware of the traffic around you.

2. What are the common risks that examiners look out for during a driving test?

Examiners look for risks such as not observing adequately at junctions, failing to maintain the correct speed, not keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, incorrect or unsafe manoeuvres, and not reacting properly to road signs and markings.

3. How can I improve my observation skills for the driving test?

Regular mirror checks, scanning the road far ahead, and being aware of your surroundings can improve your observation skills. Also, learn to anticipate the actions of other road users and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.

4. How can I maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of me during the driving test?

Use the “two-second rule.” When the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, such as a road sign or lamp post, there should be at least a two-second interval before you pass the same point. In wet conditions, double this to four seconds.

5. How should I respond to changes in traffic lights during the driving test?

Anticipate changes in traffic lights. If a light has been green for a while, it might soon change to amber. Don’t rush through an amber light – stop if it’s safe to do so.

6. What should I do if an emergency vehicle approaches during my driving test?

Stay calm, assess the situation, and decide on the safest course of action. This may be pulling over to the side of the road when safe to do so, or continuing at a steady speed if pulling over isn’t immediately possible.

7. How should I deal with pedestrians during my driving test?

Be patient with pedestrians and give them the right of way when required, such as at zebra crossings. Be especially cautious around schools, parks, and residential areas where children might be present.

8. What is the importance of mirror checks during the driving test?

Frequent mirror checks help you stay aware of your surroundings, including the speed and position of vehicles behind you. This is especially important before changing direction or speed.

9. How can I ensure that I manoeuvre safely during the driving test?

Always check your mirrors and blind spots before manoeuvring. Signal your intentions in good time, and be aware of other road users and pedestrians.

10. How should I approach roundabouts during my driving test?

At roundabouts, remember to give way to traffic from the right. Look out for traffic signs and road markings, and use the correct lane for your intended exit. Always signal your intentions clearly.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts