I agree, just practice as much as you can. Sometimes, I think the test instructors often judge you by your confidence alone, and a nervous driver definitely makes them more critical. However, over confidence is not the answer either - I think a good mix of focused, controlled and confident movements should leave a good impression, along with ofcourse, good driving! And all this comes with the amount you invest in practicing how to drive.
Best of luck with your test and let us know how the practice sessions are going
A few things to dwell on before, during and after the test:
The driver's greatest enemy -- is himself. YOU get in your own way of becoming a better, YOU are the greatest hazard to yourself. This is important to know. We can protect ourselves from other drivers, from the changing situations on the road, by use of techniques learned via personal instruction, either as preventive techiques or as emergency-handling. The way to protect us from ourselves is to understand cars and driving.
Yes, this sounds more boring than learning practical driving skills, but listen for a minute, it's nothing too complex and once you got it to sink in, you are ready for learning driving habits:
When I say "Driving", what comes into your mind? Most people mistake driving for being easy, trivial or natural, it is NOT! Driving a car is a complex task that requires concentration, skill, knowledge, awareness, patience, responsibility etc...If it was so easy, we would all start to drive at, say, 13 -- no need for a test, law enforcement, rules, safety installements on the road and in the car, etc... Reality is just the opposite, and still there are plenty of collision.
When I say "Accident" what comes up in your mind? The term accident indicates something that occurs as a ACCIDENT, the result of misfortune or perhaps the mistake of another person, unfortunate cases of damage to cars and people that just HAPPENS. In reality, accidents don't just happen, they are created by something, normally a driver's mistake (which occurs in the average of once a minute!). These are not accidents, they are COLLISIONS.
Why am I saying this? Am I trying to scare you off, like in commercials against speed or for wearing seatbelts? No! I am simply trying to get you to think about driving in a better way, when you are so early in your driving "career". Instead of getting into the car and putting your mind into "auto pilot", you need to think about your driving, invest some concentration into it.
To some people, what I just said seems to be very tiring or redundant, but with the right skills acquired, it gets very easy. Easier than the former way of driving! "Effective driving" is not safer driving per se, it's all just about driving BETTER. Why? In order to drive better! Surely, this breeds benefits of safety, increase of speed, more comfort, less effort and less physical pain or rattle, more confidence, better impression on others, better milleage for gas and for the car mechanical parts, etc. but these are all side effects.
Treat driving effectivelly as a value to live by. Anyone who neglects it, is hurting values! Once you percieve effective driving as a value or even ART, than you can get into it really.
Guidelines for the mentality of the "effective driver":
1. The effective driver is responsible. He is not taking blame or blaming others for what happens, neither does he consider himself a victim of misfortune or of another driver, nor does he pets his own back about his excelent driving all of the time. He takes responsibility. He knows he is the only one responsible for how he acts/reacts in his car.
A responsible driver is not thinking about driving good. Like I said, he thinks about driving BETTER. Everything he does, whether it goes well or badly, is used as a lesson: "HERE I can improve", "THAT is what I need to change"
2. The effective driving is aware. Awareness is about being aware of what I said before: About how complex and even dangerous driving really is. Awareness also connects to focus and concentration. Concentration is achieved by avoiding both bordom, distractions and confusion.
We avoid bordom by being fascinated by driving and by the car/road. We avoid distractions first by trying to eliminate/minimize them. If you can avoid picking up the ringing phone when you drive, do it. Even when we do deal with distractions, just imagine a red light, or "red alert" in your mind, untill the very moment you regain full safety/concentration.
Confusion is avoided by planning. Planning is made by keeping your eyes up and by "imagineering". Don't be insecure, don't focus your eyes forcibly, get used to drive with the eyes open, sort of sunk in their sockets. This keeps you more alert and with a wider field of vision. Now, keep your eyes up, towards the furthest point of the road that you have an unbroken eye-contact with.
This sounds wierd, but you will keep getting all of relevant information from what is near you through your peripheral vision (corner of your eye). Simultanously, by looking up, you detect hazards earlier, and you can plan your moves and devote the attention to every hazard. How to plan?
a) Consider everything that might happen, and will require you to change your position on the road and/or change your speed, as a "hazard".
b) When you have all hazards "mapped", imagine your way around them. The faster you get the mental image of the drive, the more effectivelly are you driving. The closer you stick to it, the better you drive.
3. Besides being responsible and aware, an effective driver has patience when he "meets" other road users, and has knowledge. He always learns new things about driving.
A mental template for improvement
When you want to improve from where you are to a BETTER place, there is a way to get over any feeling of fear, or of being STUCK. This is simple, but powerfull process:
1. Imagine your desired outcome: Just imagine how you want to be driving. Rehearse your imagined drive from various angles and focus on as much detail as you can capture. Write down references that seem to suddenly pop into your mind in relation to something you imagine.
2. Know the current reality: Take an objective, responsible look on how you do drive, compare it to the written references.
3. Take action to bring 2 closer to 1.
This might sound very trivial, but without having this template in mind, you might skip a stage (like wanting to improve without having a clear image of the desired outcome) and get stuck.
1. We must first engineer ourselves as drivers, only than do we shape driving habits.
2. Effective driving is a value. Drive effectivelly in order to...drive effectivelly! Safety or any other result you want, would appear as a by-product.
3. Driving is not automated. Don't get into the car and put "auto-pilot" mode on. Think about your driving. Focus.
4. Be responsible, aware, patient and knowledgable. Always think on improvement. Do not think of being good, having bad luck, do not dwell on fear or on blame, just think about getting better.
5. Create a safe and comfortable enviornment before you drive: Set your driving position and mirror adjustment, check your tires and your fluids. Make sure you are aware enough to drive.
6. Keep your eyes open and relaxed, and look UP to a distance. This gives you more time to deal with things, there suddenly are no surprises. Plan your route by drawing an imaginary line you want the car to go through and picture driving through that line. Than try to drive like you planned.
Plan to drive like you drive, and than you will drive like you planned.
7. Treat anything that might cause you to change your position and/or speed as a "hazard". Treat any distraction or anything that gets too close for comfort around you, as a danger and put on a mental "red alert" untill the danger is over.
8. When you want to get better, think about and imagine in detail, how you want to drive, than compare it to how you do drive, and now you will naturally move from the latter to the former.
Remember: "Practice doesn't make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect".
loved the lines:
'Treat driving effectivelly as a value to live by. Anyone who neglects it, is hurting values! Once you percieve effective driving as a value or even ART, than you can get into it really. '
Every driver, not just beginners, can benefit from reading this post...
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