The period after the RSA driving test is probably the most important period in a drivers’ life. There are certain things happening that need to be prepared for.
It’s normal for the Euphoria (see above) which follows passing the Driving Test to continue for a while as the new found freedom becomes evident.
The sense of achievement in passing the driving test can then be replaced with a sense of invincibility and a feeling that … well I have done it all now what else is there to do?
Actually rather a lot if you delve deeper!
The Irish Driving Test and the training that most drivers receive when learning to drive are in about division three in the European League Table so passing the Irish Driving Test is not really something to shout home about.
It is a good achievement to pass your driving test first time but unless you come in with a pass with distinction which would be three grade two faults or below, (this is very rare!) you are no more than a low to average skill level at this stage.
Yes you may have great potential but without the experience you are very, very vulnerable!
Many drivers get so caught up in the moment and in the days after passing the test that they tend to forget that they are only at the beginning of their driving career and are still very inexperienced.
Skill will come with time and an understanding of the potential pitfalls!
It will take an average driver travelling an average mileage per month approximately two to three years to experience many of the common driving emergencies and day to day situations that can lead to disaster for a rookie driver.
Even when you are trying hard to toe the line, and many drivers don’t; things can happen which get out of control very easily. There are certain things that a new driver must be aware of and avoid if they are going to stay accident free.
We explore the list of circumstances that can catch out an inexperienced driver and covers You, Your Car, the other Driver, Road and Weather conditions and certain characteristics that are somewhat unique to Ireland.
Passing the Irish driving test, while a milestone for all new drivers, cannot be equated with good driving skills! Adequate performance on the day? … Yes… but Good Skills Level? No absolutely not!
Clearly you have to have a certain basic level of expertise to pass the driving test in Finglas or any other test centre and demonstrate this on the day, which as we know by the statistics is very often lacking!
The next three years will be a steep learning curve for all novice drivers, indeed the first year or so after passing the driving Test is the time most likely for you to have an accident. Statistics show this …so be very careful and act sensibly!
One of the reasons for the introduction of the new test marking sheet years ago was to highlight to all candidates pass or fail, the areas where more practise and experience was required!
This is an excellent document and one used by driving instructors to not only prepare their pupils for what is ahead on the test, but to help them and highlight the extent to which their competence needs to be raised in order to pass!
If your Driving Test Marking sheet shows more than 3 or 4 Grade two Faults (50 % of the maximum allowed) then you should take the facts from within this sheet and realise that while you may have passed the test you still have a very long way to go before becoming a skilful, safe and competent driver.
If your driving test was carried out in one of the pre accession European States then your standard is likely to be much higher after passing the Test than here in Ireland. The Irish Driving Test, while much improved in recent years still lags behind the rest of Europe as does our training regime.
7 Tips for After You Pass Your Driving Test
Here are some of the areas that a new driver should be aware of after Passing the Driving Test:
1. Excessive speed in the wrong place will lead to all kinds of problems from minor to very major!
2. Noise in the car creates a good deal of distraction for any Driver; not just a Learner…so stereos and young children are a No…No. Mobile (cell)phones should be switched off and messages checked at the end of the Journey! Passengers, particularly after celebrations at night or coming back from the Beach will create far too much distraction for a Novice Driver and should not be carried.
3. Emotional upheaval such as Family crises, job problems, relationship problems and so on, all deposit a Crisis Chip in the Brain which makes the driver much more vulnerable to making serious mistakes because of distraction! If you have a serious situation to contend with it is better not to drive!
4. Poor car maintenance and absence of a regular weekly check routine will often create an emergency on a trip which can lead to an accident as you get distracted with what is going on under the bonnet or elsewhere! Quite apart from the financial implications of car breakdowns and the ensuing repairs, a car left unattended after a breakdown is vulnerable to theft of parts of the vehicle, particularly wheels and if left in a dangerous spot impeding the road can be the cause of serious accidents. Worth pointing out here that where you park outside your house (if the driveway is already occupied) also has an effect on other drivers and can cause accidents if the car impedes the roadway needing a tow truck. Don’t park opposite junctions or near junctions even if you live opposite one!
5. Even having a Puncture on a dangerous stretch of road requires good judgement in deciding where to stop the vehicle to change the tyre. Many motorists over the years have been killed changing tyres, particularly at night because they have not taken the trouble to assess the danger level at the spot they park the vehicle.
6. Weather conditions play a big part in what will happen to you if you make an error of judgement! Windy weather is particularly hazardous if you are on an exposed carriageway or driving too fast on any other road. Most new drivers (but not all) will be driving small light cars often with no load. These are very susceptible to being whipped up by an extra strong gust and taken across the road, with disastrous consequences.
7. Wet weather … Since we should all be used to this special Irish phenomenon by now (and lots of it!) this is a regular occurrence and can cause serious accidents in certain situations. In the Autumn months with leaves on the road and of course mud from your neighbouring farmer, if you are travelling in the country, driving too fast will soon cause you to lose control, especially rounding a bend!