Tips to Pass your learners and drivers license
Finding a good driving school or instructor and making the best of your driving lessons.Obtaining a driver's license is part of life, it's an absolute necessity that very few can do without. If you're an upright citizen with sound principles it becomes a requirement if you want to live a normal life without having to take back roads and feel like a criminal every time you run an errand or hit the road. Unfortunately it comes with a fair amount of effort and stress, fortunately though, the hassle is very quickly forgotten after you pass. The sense of achievement is overwhelming and walking to the teller to pay for your temporary license is a victory you can't take without smiling.
This article discusses some of the important things to consider before you start your journey in becoming a licensed driver.
Passing your learners test is considerably easier, with a K53 handbook, downloadable PDF or now a days, an online practice test, your learners is much less challenging than your drivers test. It's also different for every learner. Unlike your learner's test where the
questions and answers are almost identical, Things like weather, the traffic department, the test route, the vehicle and the examiner all affects your driving test. No two tests are the same.
I have personally met people that have failed their test several times. Just recently I met someone that failed their drivers test a total of 8 times only to pass on the 9th attempt. The fact is, more people fail than pass. Very few manage to pass on the first attempt and those that do are not likely to pass the same test if taken with a different vehicle, a different examiner or a different test route.
Many that fail their drivers test complain about the procedure and accuse the traffic department and testing stations of running a money making scheme but bear in mind, the driver's test is not supposed to be easy. Having been driven around for 18 years by your parents has you blinded to the responsibilities of driving. It's risky, it requires good etiquette, sound judgment and a fair amount consideration for other road users. The K53 driving standard, although frustrating is there to prepare you for the harsh reality of inconsiderate road users, drunk drivers, bad traffic and poor driving conditions. It might not be a perfect system but it's an attempt to improve the quality of licensed drivers.
Before you book your driver's test its advisable to have a good grasp of driving. If you can move a vehicle safely from one point to another and you can apply the rules of the road as you have learnt when you studied for your K53 learners test then you are ready to make a booking where you have enough time to practice.
You can always improve your driving technique once you have acquired a test date. This might seem premature but with more and more learners booking for the driver's test, available dates are getting further apart. If you have the basics of driving and you book your test, you are then able to plan and structure your lessons with a goal in mind.
I have noticed then when learners book their drivers test after perfecting their driving technique, they tend to lose the habit of using the K53 observations and by the time their test is due they have gotten rusty and need to take refresher lessons.
The K53 driving standard is composed of safety checks, road rules, observations and certain maneuvers. This skill is not obtained overnight and takes a little bit of supervision and alot of practice. You have 3 options to acquire this skill.
Teach yourself how to DriveThis is obviously the cheapest option, there are video lessons freely available that does a fairly decent job of explaining the driving techniques and requirements of passing the driving test but it doesn't really do justice and it shouldn't be your only source of preparation. I would say, use it to recap and as an introduction to a particular driving or parking maneuver.
If you do opt to teach yourself the K53 driving standard, you need to consider the vehicle you use on the test day. It's preferable to do the test with a smaller car. All driving schools use an almost fool proof system of parallel parking that involves turning your steering at set points and reversing to certain markers. This system only works well on smaller cars.
If you are confident that you can retain all the driving rules and observations by learning yourself through videos and how to articles and you are comfortable in the vehicle available to you then this is a good option for you to try. It will certainly save you some money if you pass.
Take lessons from a friend that recently passedThis is actually a good solution. If you know someone that just recently passed their driving test and they are will to give you an hour of the time every other day then you could be set. Let them teach you the correct driving method. It would cost you much less than a driving school and if you want to double check you are on the right track, you could hire a driving school instructor for one or two lessons.
Here also you would need a roadworthy vehicle to use on the test day. You also need to make sure that the transmission matches the type that you want to be licensed for. If you pass out on an automatic vehicle, you won't be able to drive a manual car.
Choosing a Driving School or Driving InstructorIt's always better to take driving lessons with a driving school opposed to the self-taught method.
Some advantages of a driving school or driving instructor:
- They are familiar with the K53 driving standard. For them, The K53 observations and rules are a hard habit.
- Driving schools have the most suitable vehicles for learner drivers.
- Their vehicles are roadworthy.
- They have the right insurance.
- They know the traffic departments test routes.
- They can advise you where to book and tell you which testing station would have closer testing slots available for you.
You could check online for reviews but this is not a reliable way of filtering the good from the bad. Most times you will find a driving school with excellent and terrible reviews at the same time. Worst of all, google reviews are the most unreliable. Anyone can post a fake review and with the competition being so high, we have seen a number of false reviews being added by competitors under false aliases. A more reliable option would be to consider genuine reviews that are moderated and can only be added by clients that have actually used the service first hand.
The best option is to ask around, ask friends or family that have been down this road recently, if they give you a referral then put this at the top of your list of driving schools to consider. But keep in mind, if they received good service or had a good experience with a particular driving school it doesn't mean you will too.
If you don't have a lot of luck with recommendations then your next best thing would be to check online or if you happen to spot a driving school car at the robot, take down their content number.
Doing an online search will return endless results. Pick 2 or 3 that catches your attention and call them.
What to ask a driving school or driving instructor?
- Are your instructors qualified?
- This is an important factor, you want to be taught by someone who is qualified in teaching. Although you can get top lessons and advice from a friend or non-qualified person, it's better to know for certain that the person you are paying is fully informed and competent. In South Africa, being a qualified instructors doesn't really say much as the standards are low and not very strict but this brings across your next question
- How much experience do you or your instructors have?
- You want to take your lessons with an experienced instructor. The amount of experience your instructor has with teaching different types of learners will affect your learning and the amount of lessons you need to take to become competent. An experiences instructor will be patient and know how to prioritize your lessons based on your level of driving experience and the type of learner you are. The latter is important because no two learners are the same and what worked you the one, might not work for the other.
- Will I be allocated the same instructor for all my lessons?
- You don't want to explain yourself to different instructors every time you start a lesson. It takes a whole lesson for to get comfortable with an instructor and to do this for every lesson greatly impacts your learning. If the instructor doesn't know your weaknesses and progress you will find yourself redoing the same lesson over or spending a substantial amount of time redoing part of a previous lesson just as an evaluation so he or she knows what to tackle next. There are a few well-structured driving schools that keep a record of your progress and monitor your lessons for a number of reasons that benefits you as a learner, this does eliminate the inconvenience of changing instructors as your progress is centrally recorded but they have this monitoring system in place to keep track of the success rate of the instructor and to optimize your lesson and not necessary swap and change instructors. It does help greatly if you preferred instructor is unavailable one time for a genuine reason.
- Are all my lessons done with the same vehicle?
- It's advantageous to the learner that all the lessons and the driving test be done in the same vehicle. If you are comfortable in a particular car, try to take your lessons in the same vehicle. It adds less pressure on learner. Usually one car is allotted to an instructor so if you are booked with the same instructor, you should be driving the same vehicle. If not, don't let it bother you too much. As long as your last 2 lessons are with the same vehicle that you would be taking your driver's test with then you should be fine.
- Is the instructor familiar with tests route in my area or at the traffic department I have booked at?
- Your very last lesson should be done on the actual test route that the traffic department uses. It's crucial that the instructor is familiar with these test routes as the traffic department will likely have 2 or more preferred test routes. If you know what lies ahead on your actual test, you will feel more confident on your test day.
Throughout your considerations you would have to choose between a larger driving school with several vehicles and instructors and smaller one man operations, here is a list of pros and cons for either:
Advantageous of a driving school
- A driving school would have an established track record
- A driving school has a selection of instructors and vehicle, if you aren't happy with a vehicle or method of teaching from your instructor, you can request another.
- They usually offer package deals that can save you some money
- They have a manager or owner that you can complain too
- There's always a backup, if your instructor is running late or unavailable, they can quickly send someone else. The important especially on your test day
- A driving school has several vehicles and several instructors, if you aren't happy with a particular vehicle or instructor you can voice your complaint and request a substitute.
Disadvantageous of booking through a driving school
- You aren't able to negotiate lesson prices, their prices are usually firm.
- You don't deal with the owner, your bookings are done via the owner/manager and the lesson is provided by someone else. This can cause some communication problems if the driving school doesn't have a solid system in place.
- Some driving schools employ inexperienced instructors to save on costs, ask before you book and make sure they are giving you an instructor that has enough experience to teach or has a good track record. If its new instructor they should have effective teaching methods.
Advantageous of Private Driving Instructors, owner operators.
- You deal directly with the owner, there is no middle man
- They are more open to negotiating a good deal if you are taking a few lessons
- The lessons are more personal and concentrated, with a driving school you aren't always allocated the same instructor
- You will always use the same vehicle
- Private instructors usually concentrate on a particular area. There's a better chance that they will always be on time and they will be familiar with the test routes and examiners at the closest traffic department
Disadvantageous of Private Driving Instructors
- You can't complain to anyone.
- If you aren't happy with their service you can't change instructors
- They tend to handle business and bookings during their lessons.
- You rely on that one individual to always be on time and to be available on the day of your test. If they are late and you do not make your test slot, you fail automatically.
very well written and thought of post.
guest guest on: 12 Mar 2018
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