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How To Overcome Driving Test Nerves

Updated on November 4, 2014

How To Beat Driving Test Nerves!

Driving test nerves can be a big problem for learner drivers...getting nervous and stressed out is the reason that many people fail their driving test!

"How can I control my driving test nerves?" As someone who runs a driving school in the UK, I regularly come across learner drivers wanting to know how to stop anxiety and nerves affecting them when they take their driving tests!

No matter how well prepared they are, nearly everyone gets nervous at the thought of taking their driving test! Even people who are normally cool, calm and collected no matter what life throws at them, can find themselves reduced to an anxious, stressed-out jelly as the day of their driving test gets closer and their nerves start to work overtime!

Overcoming driving test nerves involves understanding WHY you're so nervous. Once you understand the reasons for your anxiety, you can look for the best ways to help you reduce and maybe even eliminate driving test nerves, anxiety and stress! You'll find lots of hints and tips on this page for self-help strategies to combat test day nerves, along with videos and a range of stress-reduction techniques to help you stop your nerves affecting you when you take your driving test!

The content of this page is copyright of the author. Created on 12/08/2008. Please DO NOT copy or reproduce elsewhere either in print or online.

The advice given on this page is intended only for UK drivers and those taking the UK Practical Driving Test.

Please be aware that road traffic legislation and what is considered good driving practice varies throughout the world!

Uncontrolled "nerves" can seriously affect your chances of passing your driving test
Uncontrolled "nerves" can seriously affect your chances of passing your driving test | Source

Are driving test nerves affecting you?

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Why Do People Get So Nervous About Taking Their Driving Test?

"I'm really nervous about taking my driving test"..."I'm so worried about my driving test"..."I'm taking my driving test soon and I'm dreading it"...

Given that you're reading this page, the chances are that you've got your driving test booked and you're more than a little nervous at the prospect! You've got permanent butterflies in your stomach, your driving test is all you can think about and you're worrying yourself into a right old state...

I own a driving school and I'll let you into a little're not alone! Driving test nerves are extremely common - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that to an extent, everyone who takes their driving test experiences a degree of anxiety beforehand. But there's a difference between being a bit concerned and being so nervous about your driving test that worry starts to make you unwell and/or actually affects your performance on your driving test.

Like any test or exam, it's natural to be concerned about failing. Starting from when we are small children onwards, life seems to be full of tests. We are actively encouraged to get stressed about tests and if we don't, accusations of "not taking things seriously" will probably follow.

By the time most people get around to taking their driving tests, stressing out about any form of testing process is the norm.

The driving test is a very different kind of test to the academic kind doesn't involve sitting at a desk with an exam paper hopefully regurgitating previously learned knowledge. The driving test obviously does still require previous knowledge, but it's a practical application of this knowledge in a testing environment which is completely new to most people, which makes it somewhat alien and scary.

Couple that with the fact that learning to drive is a modern "rite of passage" - a "coming of age" process in which the successful outcome can often mark entrance to "grown-up" life.

At school, college or university, people take a variety of different subjects, some academic, some vocational. It's pretty much accepted by most people that everyone is different and each individual has specific skills and aptitudes. Not so with driving. Everyone takes the same driving test...

It can seem like everyone you know has passed their driving test except you, and as with subjects such as the weather and health, most people need little or no encouragement to enthusiastically talk about their experiences of learning to drive and what happened when they took their own driving test.

The fact that "everyone" else can already drive, puts (often self-imposed) pressure on those who can't. It's a fear of failure...fear of being the odd one out...fear of being denied access to the "tribe" of qualified drivers...fear of being the only one in a group of friends who hasn't passed their test...fear of seeing people who aren't as "clever" as you driving a car, when you can't...comparisons with others who passed first time or took fewer lessons...the negatives go on and on...

The unwritten expectation seems to be that everyone, by default MUST want to drive, be a natural driver and pass their driving test with ease...

The importance of passing a driving test can so easily get exaggerated and can assume unjustified and unrealistic proportions - and this can lead to a great deal of unnecessary pressure upon those learning to drive which results in stress, nerves and anxiety. This, in turn can adversely affect performance on the day of the driving test and all too often results in mistakes which are directly attributable to sheer nerves, rather than an indication of a deficiency or lack of driving ability on the part of the test candidate.

Are You Nervous About Taking Your Driving Test?

You're certainly not alone...but there are LOTS of ways to stop test nerves getting the better of you!

Why do people suffer from driving test nerves?
Why do people suffer from driving test nerves? | Source

Reasons For Driving Test Nerves, Worry, Stress And Anxiety

There are many reasons for driving test anxiety, including:

  • Peer pressure - friends who have already passed...relatives who say unhelpful things like "I passed my driving test first time after only 5 lessons". Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster. Everyone is different and learns to drive in their own way and in their own time...what other people did is completely irrelevant to're an individual - never forget that fact!
  • Fear of failure - no-one is perfect. No-one gets it right first time, every time. When they start to learn to walk, babies fall over...when toddlers learn to ride a bike, they fall off. There may be tears and hurt pride, but mistakes and failures are good sometimes because we learn from them...driving tests are essentially no different...
  • Self-doubt and lack of confidence in your driving ability - if you've taken driving lessons from a professional driving instructor, (and more to the point, if your driving instructor is letting you use their car to take your test in), then trust me, they wouldn't be letting you do that if they didn't know that you can drive independently to the standard required for the practical driving test. Your driving instructor believes in should therefore trust their professional judgement and have faith in your own abilities as a competent driver
  • Knowing in your heart of hearts that you're not really ready to take your driving test - this one is a bit different from the previous items in this list and it's one that you can easily do something about if it concerns you. There are very few people in this world who are "natural" drivers. Driving is a skill requiring many different simultaneous mental and physical processes, which don't necessarily come naturally and which require learning in the first place and then honing by means of consolidation and practice. If you have a test booked and you do not feel confident about EVERY aspect of what you may be required to demonstrate, then my advice is do not take the test without further training.
  • Previous test fail/s- having failed a test previously adds a lot of extra pressure. It's important to remember that the overall national driving test pass rate is only around 45%, so statistically more people fail the driving test than pass it!

Furthermore, more often than not, it's nerves themselves that play a big part in most test fails rather than a lack of skill. It's a cliché, but "putting it down to experience" and learning from whatever you did wrong can turn a negative into a positive...dwelling on a fail results in demoralisation and can be the start of a vicious circle.

Tips for overcoming driving test nerves
Tips for overcoming driving test nerves | Source

10 Easy Ways To Reduce Driving Test Nerves!

Easy ways to help yourself keep driving test nerves to a minimum.

Here's ten simple self-help strategies for coping (and hopefully avoiding!) minor or short term driving test nerves, stress and anxiety.

For advice and suggestions on dealing with more serious or longer term stress please see the section on Coping With Severe Or Long-Term Driving Test Nerves further down the page.

How to stop stressing about your driving test!
How to stop stressing about your driving test! | Source

1. Work Out EXACTLY What You Worrying About!

Reducing stress can be achieved by identifying what you are actually worrying about!

I'm pretty sure that most of you are thinking to yourselves, "Daft's obvious what I'm worried about!"

Not necessarily...stop for a minute and try to define EXACTLY what it is that's making you nervous...try to be as exact as possible.

Identifying the root cause of why you are nervous about taking your driving test, is the first step to overcoming your nerves.

Are you worried about what's going to happen on the test itself?

Your driving instructor can (and should) go through what will happen at your driving test appointment with you in detail so that you know what to expect.

In case they don't, or you're unsure of anything, one of my other learner driver webpages tells you everything you need to know about the Practical Driving Test, including the various parts of the test and the proceedure during the test itself - What Happens During The UK Practical Driving Test?.

Are you scared of failing your driving test?

More people fail their driving test than pass, so you'll be in good company!

The standard required for the UK practical driving test is very high. It's one of the most exacting learner driver tests in the world and the overall national average pass rate is around 45%. I passed my own driving test on the third attempt and look at me now!...I own a driving school, co-ordinate a team of qualified driving instructors and tell other people how to pass their driving test.

Failing a driving test does not mean that you're not going to be a good merely means that on the day of your test you didn't meet all the necessary requirements. It doesn't mean you never will...

Are you worried about the driving examiner?

You might have heard tales of miserable, moody driving examiners who take a sadistic pleasure in failing test candidates.

It's a myth - I'm not going to promise you that every examiner in the country is going to have a sunny personality, but by far the overwhelming majority of driving examiners are perfectly normal human beings, who know that people taking their driving test are nervous and who will try their best to put people at their ease and not to make things worse for them.

Are you worried about driving independently without your driving instructor?

OK, on your test, your instructor won't be sitting next to you in their usual reassuring position and so you'll be out of your comfort zone...but once you pass your test your instructor isn't going to be sitting in the passenger seat every time you drive your car and you'll have no option but to trust your own judgement!

If you've been thoroughly prepared for your test (and by that I mean, you've had as many hours of professional tuition and practice as you as an individual need), then you should be fine. If, on the other hand , you've cut corners and saved a bit of money by not taking enough driving lessons, then your anxiety is probably telling you that this course of action may have been a false economy...In my own experience, I found that the first time I drove on my own, it was much easier than I thought it would be, and the fact that my instructor wasn't there bothered me a lot less than I had anticipated.

Are you worried about what other people might think if you fail?

A natural enough feeling...but most people will be supportive and sympathetic. Anyone who isn't, is probably worth avoiding in future...

Are you worried about the cost of learning to drive?

I've said this elsewhere on this page, but I'll say it again here - it seems like most people don't bat an eyelid about the cost of nights out with their mates, or going on an expensive holiday, but often moan about the cost of learning to drive, which, in comparison, is a valuable skill that will last you a whole lifetime...learning not only how to control a car (in terms of knowing where the pedals and switches are and how to make it stop and go), but how to drive one safely and considerately and anticipate what other road users are going to do, can quite literally save your life.

Skimping on good driving tuition is a false economy. Taking a test before you're ready is a false economy. Both of these can end up costing you more money in the long term. If you're worrying about cost, put off learning to drive until you can afford it...

Are you worrying about passing your test within a deadline?

As I've already said, I own a driving school. I get lots of people who ring me up and say things like "I'm starting a new job and need to pass my test by such and such a date", or "I've booked a week off work and want to learn to drive and pass my test in that time" or "I want a guaranteed pass course because I need to be able to drive by next month/July/Christmas etc".

Three things:

  1. Learning to drive is a skill that doesn't necessarily suit being rushed. You need time to consolidate what you learn and to do lots of practice,
  2. Some people find learning to drive to be much harder than they anticipate,
  3. Passing your driving test isn't guaranteed. You can be taught everything you need to know over a shortish timescale...but how YOU apply that knowledge on your driving test is beyond anyone's control but your own.

Imposing deadlines on yourself is an almost cast iron guarantee of stress. My advice is simple...preferably avoid tight deadlines and expectations in the first place, but if you find yourself in this situation, then give yourself the best chance possible by using what time you do have very wisely by clearing the decks of all non-essential things in your life and applying yourself to the task of learning to drive with diligence...but be realistic and don't make plans based on an assumed test pass!

Driving test nerves can be reduced by choosing the time of your driving test carefully
Driving test nerves can be reduced by choosing the time of your driving test carefully | Source

2. Schedule Your Driving Test Wisely

Don't take on too much...take your driving test when your life has few other distractions.

Many people start learning to drive when they're 17.

Lots of Important Things happen when you're 17 or 18. Exams, college, university, job interviews and so on.

Trying to meet coursework deadlines, study for exams etc at the same time as worrying about your driving test looming on the horizon is likely to result in not doing justice to some or all of the Important Things.

The same goes for others. If there's some kind of important deadline or project involved with work or anything else, then why complicate your life by scheduling your driving test right in the middle of whatever else is going on?

Driving tests can be booked to suit YOU. If you have a test booked and something important has cropped up, then the test date can be moved or cancelled. Exams and work deadlines on the other hand, can't be moved...

Don't give yourself unnecessary stress by trying to do too much at once!

Driving test nerves can be reduced by choosing a test centre situated in an area you know well
Driving test nerves can be reduced by choosing a test centre situated in an area you know well | Source

3. Take Your Driving Test At A PLACE That Suits You

Choose where you take your driving test carefully.

Taking your test in a place you aren't familiar with can add to the stress involved.

You can book a driving test at any test centre you like. The routes used for driving tests are intended to be as uniform as possible throughout the whole country, and if you're at test standard, theoretically you should be able to drive anywhere.

In reality however, most people are happier when they feel they know what to expect to an extent and so, if test nerves are an issue, then it makes sense to take your driving test on "familiar territory". I don't suggest that you just "learn the test routes" but being familiar with the roads you may be asked to drive along on your test means that you're not worrying about what might be around the next corner - one less thing to worry about means less stress for you!

You can reduce driving test nerves by taking your test at a quieter time of the day
You can reduce driving test nerves by taking your test at a quieter time of the day | Source

4. Take Your Driving Test At A TIME That Suits You

The time of day you take your test can help you!

Some people are wide awake and raring to go first thing in the morning whereas others aren't at their best until later in the day.

Think about the time of day that suits you best when taking your driving test, both in terms of yourself and the possible road conditions.

Early morning tests may suit those who like to get on with things, but usually coincide with rush-hour traffic. On the other hand, a test early on in the day, means there's less time to spend fretting.

Lunchtime tests also coincide with the roads being a bit busier as do tests taken between 2:45pm and 4pm when pupils are going home from school.

Choosing the time of your test wisely can reduce driving test nerves!

Reduce stress by not telling other people the date of your driving test
Reduce stress by not telling other people the date of your driving test | Source

5. Don't Tell Other People You've Booked Your Driving Test

Reduce stress by being choosy about who knows when your driving test will be!

Not telling people that you've got a driving test booked is a simple way of reducing the pressure on yourself!

"Helpful advice" from those who have already passed can be exactly the opposite when you're on the receiving end, and the nearer you get to the day of your test, the more "advice" you tend to get.

You'll undoubtedly be given all sorts of contradictory advice and be subjected to all sorts of irrelevant stories about other people's test experiences. Most of the time, NONE of this will be of any value to you whatsoever.

The driving test of the present day bears little resemblence to the one that your Uncle Fred took 20 years ago! The test itself is different, cars are different, the roads are different, traffic conditions are different.

Unless your advice-offerers have taken a driving test within the last 5 years or so, their experiences are no longer relevant or helpful to your own particular circumstances and comparisons should not be made.

Even the most well meaning of relatives, friends and colleagues can have a detrimental effect on your self-confidence or unwittingly (or sometimes intentionally) make you feel that you have to live up to their expectations.

If this is the case, then do yourself a favour and either don't tell anyone when you're due to take your test, or tell ONLY those people you feel will be GENUINELY supportive and helpful, rather than putting you under any unnecessary pressure!

Try not to take too much notice of other people's stories about awful things that happened on their driving test - listening to tall tales will only make you more nervous!
Try not to take too much notice of other people's stories about awful things that happened on their driving test - listening to tall tales will only make you more nervous! | Source

6. Driving Test "Horror Stories" - Ignore Them!

Other people's scary driving test stories are usually exaggerated and are best ignored!

Whether you like it or not, you'll probably have people queueing up to tell you about their own driving tests in minute detail as soon as they get wind of the fact that you've booked your own test.

Take all such stories with a liberal pinch of salt...for the most part, they'll bear little or no resemblance to actual events anyway!

Exaggerated details about "horrible" examiners and "awful" test routes are far more interesting than what really happened and tall tales of driving test dramas abound. The reality is that most driving tests are pretty mundane events!

If you let other people's "driving test horror stories" influence you, it can lead to a scary story of your own, so let any such tall tales go in one ear and out the other without pausing on the way ;)

Tales of other people's driving tests are irrelevant to your own...concentrate on the reality of your own test, not on the exaggerated "experiences" of others...

Horror stories aside, people often seem very willing to offer "helpful advice" about what to do (or what not to do) during your driving test. Some of the "advice" can be very strange indeed!.

The one that crops up most often is "you need to move your head around a lot to let the examiner know you're looking in your mirrors". The examiner will know whether you're checking your mirrors without you doing that, so save yourself neck strain and just act normally.

The same goes for advice about talking (or not talking). I've come across "advice" stating that you shouldn't say ANYTHING during your test...and conversely "advice" that suggests test candidates should provide a constant verbal commentary about everything they do during the test and why they are doing it!

The examiner won't routinely "chat" during the test as they will be expecting you to concentrate. The fact that the examiner may not saying much, should not be taken to mean anything significant. They'll talk before and after the test, but during the test, they'll restrict themselves simply to letting you know what they'd like you to do.

In the same way, YOU don't need to keep up a running commentary of what you're doing either and trying to make small talk may affect your concentration. You can of course, ask for clarification of anything the examiner has asked you to do, but avoid talking about anything not related to the test itself while your driving test is in progress as it won't help your concentration.

I've even come across so-called "advice" that female test candidates should wear "revealing clothes" in order to "impress" the driving examiner and influence a test pass!!!

Following this type of suggestion will have NO effect on the chances of you passing your driving test. It's a test of your driving, nothing more, and who's to say your examiner will be male or even heterosexual anyway? (see the video below for a tongue-in-cheek example of what I mean!) Wear clothes and shoes that you feel comfortable in and which don't restrict your movement - it's your driving which is under scrutiny, not your appearance!

Video: How NOT To Impress The Examiner On Your Driving Test!

Classic comedy video clip from the late, great, British comedian, Dick Emery.

Made in the days long before "political correctness", Dick Emery takes his cast of characters through their driving tests...the young lady at 2mins 42seconds into the video clip is a humorous example of why "dressing to impress" a driving examiner may not achieve the intended effect!

Proper preparation is the key to feeling confident about taking your driving test!
Proper preparation is the key to feeling confident about taking your driving test! | Source

7. Don't Take Your Driving Test Before You're Ready

Don't rush in to taking your driving test before you're properly prepared and confident.

Learning to drive costs a fair bit of money, but it's money well spent.

Most people don't bat an eyelid about the cost of nights out with their mates, or going on an expensive holiday, but often moan about the cost of learning to drive, which, in comparison, is a valuable skill that will last you a whole lifetime.

Driving can be a dangerous pastime and a car can be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands. Driving tests should be taken seriously and not approached from a "let's have a go and see how I get on" angle. If you manage a "lucky pass" but you're not properly prepared for the realities of driving unaccompanied without the safety net of a dual controlled car and a driving instructor who can get you out of trouble, then the consequences could be serious.

If you don't think you're ready, then don't take your driving test until you know you are fully prepared and confident about the thought of driving unaccompanied.

It's better all round to have a few more driving lessons and/or a bit more practice, than waste money to take a test you're unlikely to pass and have your confidence dented in the process.

A mock driving test is a great way to get yourself ready for taking your driving test and will make you less nervous about the real thing
A mock driving test is a great way to get yourself ready for taking your driving test and will make you less nervous about the real thing | Source

8. Have At Least One "Mock" Driving Test

A mock driving test with a professional driving instructor will give you a good idea of what taking your driving test will be like.

A "mock" driving test is a practice run at taking a driving test. It's conducted by a driving instructor and aims to reproduce a real driving test as closely as possible.

Mock driving tests can be very helpful in getting a learner driver used to what they will be required to do during their driving test and they can help build self-confidence and reduce pre-test nerves!

Your driving instructor may even be able to arrange for another driving instructor to take you for a mock test - this can get you used to driving with someone you don't know which is even closer to the real thing!

Often just having sat next to a stranger and driven the car, taking all the decisions yourself and getting home in one piece can be an immense confidence booster!

If you don't have confidence in your own ability to drive this will make you more nervous about taking your driving test
If you don't have confidence in your own ability to drive this will make you more nervous about taking your driving test | Source

9. Be Confident In Your Own Abilities

Self doubt and taking your driving test.

While it isn't compulsory to take any professional driving lessons at all, a fully qualified driving instructor really is the best person to assess whether you can drive at the standard required for the Practical Test!

Parents and friends, may well be competent drivers, but not necessarily good teachers!

Even excellent drivers can pass on bad habits and bad driving practice. In my opinion, in their own interests, everyone should have at least a few driving lessons with a professional driving instructor to make sure that their driving is both safe and up to the standard required for the driving test.

If you have taken lessons with a fully qualified driving instructor and they have advised you that you are at test standard, then you really have no need for any self-doubt or worry about your ability to pass your driving test! If your driving instructor (who after all is an "expert" driver) has confidence in your ability to drive, then you should to!!!

All you then have to do on your driving test, is simply drive like you do during your driving lessons...

If you haven't taken lessons from a professional driving instructor, then at least consider getting a fully qualified driving instructor to assess your driving before you take your could save you a lot of money and stress!

Be positive about your driving and banish your driving test nerves!
Be positive about your driving and banish your driving test nerves! | Source

10. Think POSITIVE - But You Don't Need To Be Perfect!

The power of positive thinking can make a real difference to overcoming driving test nerves!

Your instructor thinks you can pass your driving test, your friends and family are probably rooting for you too, even the examiner wants you to pass - so don't be the odd one out.

BELIEVE IN CAN pass your driving test...look at all the idiots out there driving round in their cars...if they can do it, there's no doubt that YOU can too!!!!!!

Negative thoughts and defeatism tend to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. it's nice to be proved right, but not at your own expense, so think positive thoughts, get behind the wheel and show that examiner what you're capable of but understand that you DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

Set yourself high standards when you take your driving test - but not too high!

It's very rare to get through a whole driving test with no faults.

All the driving examiner will be looking for is a safe, accurate drive, no more and no less. They are NOT looking for perfect driving...

Driving examiners are human too, and they understand perfectly well that driving test candidates are likely to be nervous. Most driving examiners will do their very best to put candidates at their ease and make allowances for test day nerves.

You don't need to do anything "special" or out of the ordinary on your driving test. Just put into practice what you've learned on your driving lessons, listen carefully to what you're asked to do, stay focused and don't let your concentration lapse!

If you think you may have made a mistake, move on - don't dwell on it, put it to the back of your mind and focus ONLY on what you're being asked to do, not what you've already done - the chances are that whatever you've done wrong may not be as bad as you think, but letting worry about what may have been a minor mistake affect the rest of your test may be the difference between a pass and a fail.

Coping With Severe Or Long-Term Driving Test Nerves

How to overcome severe cases of driving test nerves and anxiety

Positive effects of stress, nerves and anxiety
Positive effects of stress, nerves and anxiety | Source

Driving Test Nerves Can Actually Work In Your Favour...In Small Doses!

The positive effects of stress!

We hear so much about stress being bad for us, that it's easy to forget why the human body gets stressed in the first place.

Stress is actually a survival mechanism. Too much stress over a protracted period of time, can be detrimental to health and wellbeing, but in small doses stress can be very positive!

When humans get stressed, a hormone called adrenaline is released. Adrenaline (also referred to as epinephrine) increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, making you alert and both recepetive and perceptive. You have a temporary increase in energy and motivation.

All this is pretty much exactly what you need immediately before your driving test, so this type of positive stress can actually help you...but days or weeks spent in a state of severe stress in the run-up to your test, will certainly have a negative effect both on your health, mental state and the chances of you passing your test.

Drugs, medication, hypnosis and other ways to overcome driving test nerves
Drugs, medication, hypnosis and other ways to overcome driving test nerves | Source

In the next few sections, I'm going to look at strategies for coping with, and hopefully reducing or even eliminating, severe or longer term stress, worry, anxiety and nerves associated with taking a driving test.

Drugs and medications to reduce driving test nerves
Drugs and medications to reduce driving test nerves | Source

Drugs And Medications To Relieve Driving Test Nerves

Medication and drugs to relieve the symptoms of stress

There are a wide variety of both homeopathic and over the counter products you can buy from a homeopath or a chemist or pharmacist which claim to help allieviate the symptoms of stress (e.g. Kalms, Rescue Remedy etc).

It is advisable to consult a qualified pharmacist and ask for their advice before taking any form of non-prescription medication.

For more severe cases, a visit to your GP may be necessary. Some doctors are willing to prescribe a short-term course of prescription drugs (usually beta-blockers)...but some aren't!

Some GP's will offer practical advice on how to deal with severe stress.

While we're on the subject of drugs, PLEASE REMEMBER - many readily available drugs are either illegal and/or will have a detrimental effect on your driving.

For instance, alcohol and cannabis will probably relax you, but not only is it illegal to drive whilst "under the influence" of drink or drugs, but doing so could well be lethal...don't even think about getting behind the wheel of a car if you have taken drugs or drunk alcohol - no matter how small the amount it WILL affect you.

Even something as "normal" as caffeine can affect judgement...don't believe me? Have a look at the effects of several recreational drugs on a spider spinning a web.

I'm not suggesting you don't drink coffee or have a cigarette if that's what floats your boat, but it's easy to forget that alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and tea ARE drugs (albeit socially acceptable ones) and they DO have an effect on your brain and (especially alcohol) WILL affect how you drive - please DON'T be tempted to "calm yourself down" before your driving test by having an alcoholic drink, smoking a joint or anything along those lines.

Rescue Remedy for driving test nerves
Rescue Remedy for driving test nerves | Source

Rescue Remedy - A Herbal Product

Bach Rescue Remedy has been widely used to help with driving test nerves and other stressful situations for many years.

Rescue Remedy is a well-known herbal product made from natural flower essences and is widely used to promote calmness and ease nervous tension.

Rescue Remedy is available in the traditional form of drops which you simply add to a glass of water as well as a handy mouth spray to keep in your pocket or handbag and easy to use pastilles and chewing gum, so you can take it with you wherever you go, for use whenever you feel your nerves starting to get the upper hand! - please click on the product link above for more details of Rescue Remedy.

Get "instant" hypnotherapy in your own home with an audio download or CD audiobook
Get "instant" hypnotherapy in your own home with an audio download or CD audiobook | Source

Can Hypnosis Help With Driving Test Nerves?

Many people have found that hypnotherapy can help them learn how to control negative thoughts to improve concentration and maintain focus and reduce anxiety.

Pass Your Driving Test Audio Download or CD Audiobook

Glenn Harrold is the UK's best selling hypnotherapist. He has provided two 30-minute hypnotherapy sessions specifically to help drivers overcome driving test nerves and anxiety which are obtainable via as an audio download file or audiobook CD.

Please click the product link on the right for more details and full customer reviews.

Relaxation techniques can reduce stress and anxiety about your driving test
Relaxation techniques can reduce stress and anxiety about your driving test | Source

Relaxation Techniques For Your Driving Test

Learn to relax to combat stress and anxiety associated with your driving test

There are lots of different techniques which will help you to become calmer and more relaxed and in turn reduce your levels of anxiety

Some techniques can be done in your own home, such as the simple, calming relaxation videos featured below and others involve professional practitioners.

Relaxation Video

Video advice on how to combat stress and anxiety by relaxation and deep breathing

Stress Relief Video

Stress Relief: Progressive Relaxation For Stress Relief & Management

Your Driving Test And You!

If you fail your driving test, it really isn't the end of the world!

Lots of other people have failed before you and often failure is more the result of nerves than a lack of skill!

So don't be too hard on yourself...

As the old saying goes;

"If at first you don't succeed, try again"!

Did you suffer from nerves before your driving test? How did you deal with your feelings? Please share your experiences and solutions in the comments section at the foot of this page you might be able to help others!

© 2008 LouiseKirkpatrick

Driving Test Nerves - Comments And Feedback - How did YOU deal with driving test nerves?

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      lawrencealcala 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for the tips. I am going to it next week. :)

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 3 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      @mandy1967: Hi Mandy - I am absolutely delighted to hear your good news! A HUGE "well done" and I'm so pleased that my words were able to play a part towards helping you to achieve your goal. You are absolutely spot on with your advice - it's fear itself that is the real problem, not really the driving test itself! I hope you can now relax and enjoy driving and all the freedom and independence that it will bring you :)

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      mandy1967 3 years ago

      I passed my driving test a few weeks ago, at the age of 47! I learned to drive originally when I was 25, but after 3 failed tests, I decided to have a break. However that break lasted 20 years! I decided to take lessons again. I felt so old and useless, especially when I heard of 18, 19 year olds passing their test first time! I felt like I had been learning forever, and my confidence couldn't have been any lower. However, reading this website (and others, but this was my favourite one), it really helped me put things into perspective. It changed the way I thought about the dreaded test, and my opinion of myself. I started reading this website long before my test. I had to keep reading this website every now and then to calm myself down. It has some really useful tips, and boosted my self esteem no end! I wish I'd had this helpful advice 20 years ago, then I would have passed no problem. I only told my nephew that my driving test was coming up, as he had passed his test just 2 years prior and knew the score. He was a tower of strength for me and kept telling me I could do it. Him and this website really helped. I bought hypnotherapy cds but in all honesty they had little effect, but I do believe they work for some people. What worked for me was listening to my favourite tunes. It gave me the feel good factor. I listened to them in the run up to my test and on the morning of the test before leaving the house. I stopped feeling nervous about two days before my test which was a miracle, as there was a time that I very nearly burst into tears at the thought of it. My advice would be to do whatever relaxes and calms you. And try not to think about the test. Don't worry about what might happen. Put it to the back of your mind, fretting about it won't help believe me! The part of the test route I was dreading I never got taken on, so put it out of your mind. I passed my test with just 3 minors. So believe me you can and will do it!

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      stellacorona84 3 years ago

      Failed a month ago for mounting the curb on a reverse around the curb maneuver. Failed yesterday for 3 major and ONLY 2 minorsâ¦.because of being nervous. I was actually crying right before the test and could not breathâ¦the examiner was a little scared of taking me out and that AFFECTED my test as everything I did she would be extra careful about. Now I know that if you show an examiner that you are too nervous they will be very careful with you, even more careful than they would normally be. That is because of safety. Well, for me driving is now something I hate more than anything. I am now trying to pass only because I have spent so much money that quitting now would be like wasting over £1,000. But I swore on my life that once I pass I will never and ever drive a car for the rest of my life. It is one of the scariest things I'eve ever had to do. It is so scary and so stressful. It is affecting my life. The tests are scary with these people writing on a chart, marking every single movementâ¦man it is so scary. I started to learn back in July and I got into this because I truly wanted to learn and now I just hate it. I hate it. I hate it more than I hate everything else. I am now at a point where every test doesn't make me less anxious. On the contrary, it is making me worse and worse. Cuz very failure is a knock on your confidence. Cannot wait to get it per with. And yes I may have PTSDâ¦last night my roommates heard me screaming in my sleep. Three times. I remember I drove of the exam I had the same morning. Scary.

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      Ann_Axolotl_Things 3 years ago

      I passed the third time round, but was so nervous every time, I always ended up getting a major fault despite relatively few minors. It was the best feeling in the world when I thought "thank God I never have to do THAT again". Well two years later (and having not driven since!) I've moved to the US and I've got to take my test again on Monday :-( Even though I know the American test is much easier and I'll be doing it in an automatic all the nerves are coming back! I KNOW I can drive, but I'm just so nervous about making silly mistakes like missing a stop sign. Argh. Hopefully venting like this will help :-)

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 3 years ago

      Yars ago I was a driving instructor. I noticed that wherever your student's eyes went, that is where the car went, even if they did not want it to go there. So I spent time teaching them how to use their eyes when they drove. Also I encouraged them to be very familiar with the car they were going to use at the test.

    • amosvee profile image

      amosvee 3 years ago

      Good advice, I have a teen who will be facing this in the coming months.

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 3 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      @anonymous: Hi HThom - glad to have been of help! It's true that driving doesn't necessarily "come naturally" :) If it's any consolation, the first time I tried learning to drive, I was TERRIBLE! Having a Neanderthal as a driving instructor didn't help, but still it has to be said - I was awful. I just didn't understand what I was doing, let alone why :( I failed my first driving test miserably, thought I'd never do it so gave up learning for 10 years...when I started again, I was more mature, my instructor was much nicer and things eventually "clicked". I was academically bright, had passed every exam I'd ever taken, but when it came to driving, it was a shock to find it wasn't as easy as I'd thought! But I got there in the end...and so will you! Don't be too hard on yourself - and I wish you the very best of luck for Wednesday and please come back and let me know how it went :)

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      This is a fantastic resource, thank you for uploading! My first driving test is on Wednesday- I just had a lesson today where I made lots of stupid mistakes which messed up my confidence and my drive and it totally freaked me out, but reading this has helped calm me down. I've just finished law qualifications so am totally used to academic exams, but have found learning to drive very unnatural and difficult. I seem to get nervous before I even get in the car, and then I forget to process things properly and make stupid mistakes. When I've felt happy and confident about drives I don't mess up anywhere near as much. Hopefully with these tips I can keep relaxed and positive, and this will help me pass! Thank you!! :-)

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      My test is in 2 hours, this is my 2nd attempt this year... I am feeling very relaxed now thanks to one of the videos. I will post my results later today, Thank you for the help. :)

    • garagerob profile image

      garagerob 4 years ago

      Very very helpful tips for beginners. Great lens!

    • Ash2013 profile image

      Ash2013 4 years ago

      What a fantastic resource! I passed my test the second time round, and I was less nervous by then. I took the philosophy "what's the worst that can happen?". One of the best days of my life...

    • jemacb profile image

      jemacb 4 years ago

      The human mind is a very powerful thing. I am glad that you discussed hypnosis as this is a very powerful tool in one's toolbox.

    • ThisisMissyMiss profile image

      Mommy 4 years ago from The Fabulous Midwest

      It took me 4 tries to get my license because I was so nervous. I wish I had seen this lens years ago. Nice job!

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 4 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      @anonymous: Oh no - how frustrating! The wait for another test when you didn't fail by much and are all geared up and ready to have another go is awful :( You could try looking for a cancellation (with your instructor's agreement) - it's quite labour intensive checking the DSA test booking website several times a day, but you may be able to get an earlier date. Best of luck for your next go (and again, please let me know how you get on) :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @LouiseKirkpatrick: Hi I done so well on my test but failed at the end because i went a tiny bit over the 20 mile zone was so gutted because i had 9 minors and done everything else so well the examiner even warned me to say i am on a 20 mile zone he was hinting and i slowed down but went back up again and didn't realise :( been so down all day i booked my test again not for another 6 weeks argh :(

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 4 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      @anonymous: Good luck candi - hope it goes well...believe in yourself! Let me know how you get on (fingers crossed for success!)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @LouiseKirkpatrick: Hi i read the article and it has been very helpful i also bought the Nelsons back remedy spray and i feel relaxed already i have got my test tomorrow and i am so nervous but been learning for a long time so i should be okay but this is ever test and i am so nervous

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 4 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      @anonymous: Glad to hear this page helped you zamhaf and I hope you enjoy driving!

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