If you’re planning to take a driving test in Ireland, you may be wondering what are the do’s and don’ts that can help you pass the test and avoid common mistakes.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This guide today will help you understand the rules set by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and give you essential tips for a successful test.
Why do people fail the Irish Driving Test?
So, you want to pass your driving test in Ireland, right?
Passing the driving test is not easy. According to the latest data from the Irish Road Safety Authority, about half of the people who take their driving test each year do not pass it, and it varies depending on the test centre and the road conditions.
Here are some of the common mistakes that many aspiring drivers make:
- No proper documentation and car requirements
- Junction errors
- Reversing blunders
- Mirrors misuse
- Unsafe start-off
- Improper speed
- Signaling mistakes
- Steering issues
- Turning troubles
- Incorrect road positioning
- Disregarding signs and traffic lights
- Maneuvering unpreparedness
- Insufficient clearance to other vehicles
- Delayed or incorrect responses to hazards
- Slow progress during driving
- Neglecting road markings and traffic controls
How to Pass the Irish Driving Test
To pass the Irish driving test, you need to study the rules of the road, practice your driving skills, and follow some simple tips.
You need to observe well, control your speed, use the correct road position, follow the rules and signs, and be courteous to other road users. Additionally, stay confident, calm, and follow the examiner’s instructions for the test.
Now that you know some of the reasons why people fail the Irish driving test, let’s talk about what you can do to pass it.
1. Read the RSA guide book on road rules
Study the rules of the road guide book from the RSA. You have two options to get the book: either go to your local bookshop and buy it, or go to RSA.ie and download it for free.
The book will help you with the theory questions that your examiner will ask you during your test. You should also check out the list of Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 offences before your practical test and keep them in mind when you practice.
And don’t forget to download the official learning app from here. It will teach you all the important stuff, like road signs and driver hand signals.
2. Take driving lessons and pre-tests with an approved instructor
Make sure you do the 12 essential driver training lessons that you have to do by law with an EDT-approved driving instructor. Take more lessons to boost your confidence and get used to driving under pressure and with someone beside you.
Also, do at least one pre-test before the real thing. It will prepare you for the test, reduce your fear, show you your errors, and make you comfortable driving with a stranger.
3. Arrive early and wear proper footwear
Get to the driving test centre early so that you don’t stress yourself out more. And this might sound silly, but wear proper shoes. You can fail the test if you show up barefoot or in flip-flops.
4. Stay alert and cautious
When you drive on the test route, watch out for any sudden actions by other drivers – focus and be alert to what’s going on around you, not on the inspector. Pay extra attention so you don’t skip any stop sign, yield sign, red light, etc.
5. Ensure your car is test-ready with valid tax, insurance, and L plates, and roadworthy
You should check that your car has all the required documents and displays, such as a valid tax disc, insurance disc, NCT disc (if applicable), and L plates on both front and rear. You should also check that your car is in good working order and meets the minimum standards for safety and roadworthiness.
6. Before the test, inspect tires, mirrors, lights, and indicators
It’s a good practice to inspect the following items to make sure they work well and you have a clear vision:
- Tires should have enough tread depth (at least 1.6 mm) and be inflated to the right pressure.
- Mirrors should be clean and adjusted to give you a good view of both sides and rear of your car.
- Lights should work and be visible. This includes headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and indicators.
7. Know how to check under the bonnet and use secondary controls
Part of the driving test involves performing technical checks on your car, including inspecting under the bonnet and operating secondary controls. These checks consist of questions from the examiner about different car parts and their functions.
For example, you might be asked to identify where the engine oil dipstick is or how to turn on the rear fog light. You should familiarize yourself with these parts and controls before the test and be able to demonstrate how to use them if asked.
8. Obey traffic signs, signals, and drive at a safe speed
Following the traffic signs and signals and driving at a safe speed are essential to obeying the rules of the road and avoiding accidents or penalties.
Always heed road signs and signals, obeying red lights, stop signs, yield signs, and speed limits. Adjust your driving speed to suit the road, weather, traffic, and your abilities, avoiding both excessive speed and excessively slow driving.
9. Signal clearly and check mirrors frequently
Clear signaling and frequent mirror checks are essential for effective communication with other road users and preventing accidents or misunderstandings.
Prioritize signaling your intentions before making any changes in direction, speed, or lane, such as when turning, overtaking, stopping, or parking.
Additionally, always verify your mirrors both before and after signaling to ensure safety and that others have acknowledged your intentions.
Remember to promptly cancel your signal once the action is complete to prevent confusion among fellow road users.
10. Stay calm and focused during the test
Tell yourself during the test that you are a good driver and you can pass. You’ve already done the hard work so don’t let nerves ruin it for you.
If you feel too stressed, take a deep breath. Breathing deeply and slowly makes your body stop releasing stress hormones and start to relax.
What Not to Do to Pass the Irish Driving Test
There are some common mistakes and bad habits that can ruin your chances of passing the test, even if you think you are a good driver. Some of these mistakes are easy to fix, while others might require more practice and attention.
Don’t keep yourself up late the night before
You should be mentally sharp for your driving test. This means no fun or mischief the night before. Make sure to have a good breakfast on the day of the test and you may want to drink tea instead of coffee.
Don’t coast on your clutch
You should avoid coasting when you are learning to drive and when you take your driving test. Coasting happens when you push your clutch down too soon before you stop or when you don’t release it after you change gear.
Don’t just glance
Just glancing at the road can cause you to fail the test for poor or improper observation when moving off, turning right, turning left, on roundabouts, doing a turnabout, or reversing around a corner.
You should look around effectively and adequately while at a junction and while leaving it. You should also check clearly over the right shoulder moving off and make sure to do it visibly – just a glance is not enough.
You should also be careful with open and closed junctions in housing estates and take enough time to properly see the road before entering it. You should stop to look well even if it says “yield”.
Don’t get too close to other cars
When you have to stop behind another vehicle, make sure you leave enough space between you and the car in front of you. Look at the tires of the car in front of you – you should be able to see the entire tire and some pavement beneath it.
Keep a gap of 2 seconds or more between you and the car ahead when you are moving, and stay in a good spot on the road and follow the traffic flow. This will help you be safe and move forward on your way.
Don’t cross solid lines
Solid lines on the road mean that you are not allowed to cross them for any reason.
If you do so during the test, you will fail the test immediately and automatically. This is because crossing solid lines is very dangerous and can cause accidents.
Don’t hesitate to use your horn when needed
Your horn is a useful tool to warn other drivers of potential danger. However, you should not use your horn too much or for no reason.
If you encounter a situation where a car is too close to you or is trying to change lanes without enough space, use your horn and alert them. This can help you avoid a collision or a conflict.
Don’t let your mistakes bother you
If you do something wrong during your test, don’t let it bother you and keep going as usual. Don’t lose hope. The error may not be as bad as you think.
Always thinking of the worst possible outcome in every situation is a type of negative thinking that can make you more anxious and panicky. If you feel overwhelmed, try taking a deep breath to help you calm down.