When I passed my test at the tender age of 17, you could accompany learners immediately.
The law has changed since those far off days - you have to be at least 21 years old and have had a full licence for three years (for that type of vehicle).
There was also a time when anyone could be an instructor so long as they had passed the basic driving test. These days there are lots of exams to pass and continued testing.
- Be rude to the examiner
Examiners do seven tests a day, five days a week, and maybe more on saturdays. They've seen it all before. Red lights ignored, speeding, reversing up kerbs, it won't surprise them. So why not make their job even harder by being rude to them? Let them give the benefit of the doubt to all those candidates who are polite and show a little respect.
- Don't bother looking around when you reverse
Sure, you're taking your test, but why bother checking that there are no drivers or pedestrians around? Just keep going backwards regardless. That door mirror on the left is so useful...
- Approach junctions really fast, then brake at the last moment
The examiner knows you are going to stop, right? And that driver behind you shouldn't have been so close, should they?
- Don't get your eyesight checked
Before you get into the car the examiner will check your eyesight. But why bother making sure you can read a number plate at 20.5 metres? If you can't, you've failed before even turning the key in the ignition.
- Don't get any extra practice in
It's a difficult and demanding test. Why make the extra effort to practise all those little weak points of yours? So what if you haven't had a lesson for the last three weeks?
- Drive really slowly on national speed limit roads
Everyone likes to sit behind a learner doing 20 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph, the weather and visibility fine, and the traffic is light - don't they?
- Forget about checking your car
Yes, it's your instructor's responsibility. But some candidates use their own car. Any problems with the car - no test. So don't worry if a bulb has blown, the tyres are damaged, and the car isn't clean and tidy inside and out.
- Turn up at the test centre at the wrong time, or on the wrong day
You got an email telling you the date, time and place of your test. Why not delete it immediately, hope you can remember the time and date, and turn up the day after the appointment. Or, better still, go for broke, and go to the wrong test centre. Taking the email with you on test is for those candidates who want a chance of passing, isn't it?
- Don't worry about looking ahead
There may be traffic lights coming up, or a pedestrian crossing, or parked cars. Who needs to check their mirrors? Or lift off the gas nice and early? Maybe even brake a little? Those other people will get out of your way when they see you coming - won't they?.
- Why take your licence?
This has to be the top way to waste everyone's time, and your money. It says in the appointment email to bring your licence to the test. Don't bother checking that you haven't misplaced it well before the day, and don't bother on the day. When the examiner asks to see your licence, you will be able to get home and back again in about three minutes, won't you? Otherwise you only lose your money and have to book another test...
Remember the six "P"s
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that this post is a little tongue-in-cheek. As your instructor I'll make sure none of these things are likely to happen. But you would be amazed at how many times these things actually happen to other people. Remember the six Ps - Proper Prepared Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Meskel Square, Ethiopia:
Independent driving was introduced to the driving test in October 2010. For this, the candidate has to follow signs, instead of being given specific directions by the examiner. At the time, there was a lot of worry and uncertainty. I thought I'd put a spoof video online (I used an anonymous account). All my own work, except for the clip from the film "Downfall," of course.