After about 4 months of driving practice and a theory test, I had to take the plunge today as I had booked for the Driving test more than 9 weeks in advance.
The test was scheduled at 3:27 pm and I had taken half a day off from work. My driving instructor picked me up from home at around 2 pm and I practiced driving around for about 90 minutes before the test. Everything went really well in the practice and that was exactly what I wanted. After a brief wait at the DVLA office, the examiner came out at 3:30 pm and called out my name. He asked me to sign a form to confirm that I am happy to undergo the test.
Coming out of the office, he pointed at a car about 75 metres away and asked me to read the number plate. Satisfied with that, he went to my car (well, my instructor’s) and asked me how I would check the oil level. I opened the bonnet and showed him how. Then he asked me how I would test whether the indicators are working fine.
Then we jumped in to the car and asked me to drive along. Once he asked me to drive, I was quite casual. After about 10 minutes of driving, we reached a slope and we were driving downhill. He asked me to pull over to the left and stop in parallel to a car which was parked near the kerb. I knew what he was about to direct. I was like “Of all the places, why here – in this hilly road?”. As expected he asked me to reverse park behind that car, which I managed to do without any problem. Having gained confidence, I continued to drive.
Although the roads were empty, I deliberately drove slow so as not to breach the speed limit. On a 30 mph empty road, it was hard to resist the temptation of driving fast. Two cars overtook me and I was 100% sure that they were driving at more than 40 mph.
As we were approaching a four road junction, the examiner asked me to turn left at the signal. After the necessary precautions, I moved over to the left most lane, signalled left and as I was approaching the turn, the light turned red. I stopped the vehicle and remained calm. I had a peek in to his marking sheet scanning for backward slashes and found that there isn’t any, which meant that till that point, everything was going well. The signal was still red and I was expecting it to turn green any moment. It was then that the guy in the card behind me honked. Probably, he wanted me to move forward. Getting impatient, he honked again. The light was still red. It was at this point I thought that I might be standing at a wrong lane or something. I turned back and had a look. At this moment, the light turned green and the examiner prompted me to start.
When I went past a residential area, the examiner asked me to reverse around a corner. He didn’t single out any particular corner, but it so happened that the corner I stopped was an irregular one. It didn’t have the smooth turn but a double turn. While reversing, I hit the kerb once and managed. Although, I didn’t glance at his sheet after that, I knew that is the end.
After about 45 minutes of driving, we returned back to the starting point. The result was on predictable lines. I failed the test. The examiner was bound to explain the reasons and he said that I was not alert to the signal change that a vehicle had to honk and he had to prompt me to move the vehicle. I said that I am sure that the signal was red when the guy behind me honked. But he said that I shouldn’t have turned back. Fair enough. I cursed the driver who honked. This, he considered a serious mistake of blocking the traffic.
Another one that did in was hitting the kerb. But for some reason, he took a lighter view of that and had classified it as a minor mistake (a candidate would pass the test if he/she does less than 16 minor mistakes, but would fail even if one serious mistake is done).
To my surprise, there was another serious mistake. The examiner said that I was deliberately driving at a slower speed when the road was clear. Other road users had to overtake me to get along, which in the examiner’s view was very serious.
At the end of it, I am back to square one. I have picked up the right lessons and I would make a better try. Agonising part of this is, I would have to wait for more than 10 weeks for getting the next appointment. 🙁