Friday, 28 August 2009

I had taken herbal Nytol the night before, hoping to avoid nightmares. It worked really well, and I slept from 9.30pm to 6.30 the next morning. I woke up the morning of my driving test feeling well-rested. I got breakfast and got Derek off to work, feeling calm. (What I hoped was calm. I wasn't sure if it was calm or numb...)

After Derek left, I went to brush my teeth, and just said out loud, 'This is the day I pass my driving test. Today is the day I pass my driving test.' I said it a few more times, then kept repeating it in my head as I went about finishing getting ready, assembling my paperwork, writing out a cheque for my driving instructor, etc. I put on a smoky quartz pendant (which I had been wearing daily and exclusively for the last week) and a citrine bracelet. I drank a glass of water with a combination of flower essences selected for the occasion. I had a squirt of Rescue Remedy. :)

Then I went and set up the CD player and lay down to listen to the hypnosis CD 'Pass Your Driving Test'. I lay on the bed and listened, checking my watch now and then to make sure I wasn't running overlong. Wendy, my instructor, would be round to pick me up at 8.37 (one hour before my test). I put in my hearing aids and met her outside.

The very first roundabout we took, I took the second exit when she had told me to take the third. However, I did not panic. I just laughed. We drove around for an hour, practising turning in the road, reversing round a corner, reverse parking and the emergency stop. We went round the Griff Roundabout, which has work being done it so the lanes are all different from how they usually are. She was her usual nitpicky self, but gentler about it. When we pulled up outside the test centre, she told me, 'If you drive like that on the test, you will be fine.'

We then sat and waited for the examiner to turn up. A woman came in who looked like an absolute harridan--tall, thin, pointy features like a witch, very severe short haircut. I thought, 'Oh no!' But she walked right past me to a little Asian girl, and a plump, sweet-faced little woman with gray-streaked blonde hair came up to me and said, 'Carla?' That was my examiner. She looked at my paperwork and we went out. When I answered her questions about how to check the oil and tyre pressure, she maintained strong eye contact with me and smiled a lot.

We got in the car and I told her I have hearing aids and might need to ask her to repeat herself. Her instructions to me were nice and loud, and very clear. She didn't just say, 'Take the next left, please.' She said things like, 'Now Carla, we're approaching a junction. I want you to stay in this lane and follow the road all the way around.' She pretty much made it impossible for me to mess up, if I were paying any attention to her at all. So I never took a wrong turn or left a roundabout at the wrong exit.

I didn't drive entirely perfectly, though. I made 6 minor faults. In the UK, you are allowed to make up to 15 minor faults and still pass, but one serious fault is an automatic failure. A serious fault is one which might endanger yourself or others, so any minor fault could become a serious fault, depending on the circumstances. Here are the areas you are assessed on (with the number of minor faults I made):

Highway Code
Controlled stop
Reverse left/right
Reverse park
Turn in road
Vehicle checks
Control of accelerator, clutch, gears (2), footbrake, parking brake, steering (1--I nipped a kerb, can you believe that!)
Move off safely (1), controlled (1-I rolled back slightly on a hill start)
Use of mirrors and signals when signalling, changing directions, changing speed
Dealing with obstructions
Response to signs/signals: traffic signs, road markings, lights, controllers, other road users
Following distance
Progress: appropriate speed, undue hesitation (1--I hemhawed a lot trying to decide if my car would edge round a bus--I think that's the time she meant!)
Junctions: approach speed, observation, turning left/right, cutting corners
Judgement: overtaking, meeting, crossing
Positioning: normal driving, lane discipline
Ped crossings
Position for stops
Ancillary controls

When she told me I passed, I said, 'Oh you angel!' And that's the whole story!


Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

How exciting! I have to tell you that it's a lot easier to pass the driving test in the U.S.!

When my daughter took the test, she literally had to make 1 left turn, and 3 right turns. All on country roads. That was it!

Congratulations to you.

Tara said...

Congratulations! You must be so proud and relieved!