words Alexa Wang
While Birmingham is currently in Tier 3, you will be glad to know that driving lessons and tests have been given the go ahead, although you are likely to see some changes to the norm due to the coronavirus pandemic. Face masks will be required and the number of tests that can be carried out during one day has been reduced, which means some learner drivers may have their test postponed or cancelled.
You can always check out the government guidance and updates on how you will be affected by the coronavirus and what changes to expect when you take your driving test. In the meantime, you may have a bit of a wait on your hands, so here are the best ways to make the most of this time and keep yourself prepared for your driving test.
Learn about the different stopping distances in different weather conditions
The British weather is always unpredictable, and so it’s never guaranteed to be pleasant on the day of your test, especially in the West Midlands. It’s a good idea to make sure that you know the basics about how to drive in different weather conditions, particularly for the typical type of weather in your region. It’s also worth knowing the different factors that can affect your thinking and braking time.
You can begin by learning the difference between stopping distances for adverse weather. Stopping distance is the total of thinking time and braking distance. The thinking time can be calculated as a distance, and it is how long it takes for the driver to react to a hazard and apply the brakes, which varies depending on the speed of the car. The braking distance is how far your car travels while you’ve got your foot on the brake.
When there are poor weather conditions the thinking time and distance can be affected by limited visibility, as the driver takes longer to react, and the braking distance can be doubled or ten times more than in normal conditions, if the road is slippery from rain or snow. Check out your driving school website, as they may have guides on stopping distances and offer some more advice.
Try to improve your reaction times and reflexes
During your driving test, you have to make sure that you’re alert, aware and react quickly to any hazards or obstacles. One of the best ways to improve your reflexes is to practise a sport – any sport of your choosing. Continuous practice in a sporting activity will develop the muscle memory of quick reactions, and improve your reflexes as an involuntary action. All of which can be transferred into skills for your driving test, and future driving adventures once you’ve passed.
Having enough sleep keeps your mind and body healthy, and has a huge positive effect on your reflexes, reactions and decision making. Which goes for the night before your test date too, as you should be well rested before you take your driving test. As mentioned, it is proven that getting the required amount of sleep will help you with your reaction times. Make sure that your body is fully functioning, without after effects of alcohol, lack of sleep or too much caffeine, so that you can have the best reaction times in your driving test.
Take a mock driving test
Some driving schools in Birmingham give you the opportunity to carry out a mock driving test – sometimes at the exact same price as what you would pay for a normal hour’s worth of driving instruction – and include pretty much all the aspects from the real deal. It’s a great aid in familiarising yourself with test conditions, and can help to make you feel more comfortable and confident for the real test. It’s also a good way for you and your instructor to see where you’ve gone right and wrong, and if you are at the correct stage to pass your test. You can then go over any mistakes in future driving lessons and increase your chances of passing first time.