Taking your driving test is a daunting task for all West Australian Learners. It is shrouded in myths, gossip, bad advice, and scary stories. There a few professionals in the field that match the expertise of seasoned Kelmscott Driving Instructor Mike Anderson from Affordable Driving Lessons Kelmscott (www.drivinglessonsperthwa.com.au). Aside from having one of the highest pass rates and having guided learners in West Australia through countless successful driving tests, his driving school is still ranked first on The Best Driving Schools in Perth website (www.bestdrivingschoolsinperth.com.au).
We phoned Mike for a telephone interview to discuss the driving test process and any tips he has for passing the Driving Test in Kelmscott WA.
Why are people so scared of their driving test?
Well, you have a complete stranger sitting next to you with an iPad judging everything you are doing. I’d be nervous too. But they aren’t grumpy old dinosaurs, just regular people, probably thinking about what they’re going to have for lunch after your test, a sandwich or a sausage roll.
I heard that you will fail if you take your hands off the steering wheel, is that true?
Course not, imagine trying to turn the demister on while holding the steering wheel, you would need to have fingers like E.T. I even recommend my customers take their hand right off the wheel to apply the indicator, it stops them tugging on the wheel with their thumbs to reach it, and it stops them pushing the high beams on by mistake.
Is it true that you can’t cross your hands when you are steering?
Not at all true, I recommend my customers steer hand-over-hand instead of the outdated push-pull method, it is more fluid and a lot faster for parking and other low-speed maneuvers. I am not sure why some driving instructors still spread this misinformation, it makes the simple task of driving quite difficult shuffling up and down the wheel like they’re milking a cow.
Have you ever milked a cow?
No, but if I did I would definitely use the push-pull steering method to do it.
Do you need to stop for 3 seconds at stop signs?
No, never did. You have to stop Completely until your wheels aren’t moving. After that, you see if it is safe to proceed.
What about all the complicated blind spot checks to remember? Do you need to signal and check your shoulder after you reverse out of a driveway or a parking bay?
No, again. Not unless you stop significantly to the point where other vehicles would misinterpret your position thinking that you were parked. Just check behind and during reversing, put it in gear, take off. A lot of driving instructors will make your signal and check your blindspot however, I am not sure why. It seems strange to me.
What are the biggest problems that learners have causing them to fail their driving tests?
They think they’re going to slow all the time, so they approach everything too fast… traffic lights, roundabouts, t junctions, and that causes them to check late instead of planning ahead, brake harshly, miss opportunities that they could have slid into if they had have slowed down and checked earlier.
Looking straight ahead while reversing. Like they are watching a T.V. show out the front window. Turn your head around, have a look over your right shoulder, left shoulder, take your left hand off the wheel so you can turn right around and look at the back window… you will see your parents doing this. Do the same.
Do you need to be steering with both hands?
It is impossible to steer effectively with two hands. You are either moving the steering wheel with one hand or the other while the other waits to take over. You will need to hold the steering wheel with two hands driving forwards, alternate hands when turning, you can steer with one hand in reverse if it makes looking behind easier.
What are the driving assessors like?
In my day they were very stern, strict. Friendly mostly, some will go above and beyond to make you feel at ease. Some are really funny and will make you laugh. Just regular people.
A lot of learners fail their tests for speeding. How are they expected to memorize the speed limits of all the different roads?
They aren’t. If it is a single lane road you assume that it is 50km/h until you see a sign saying otherwise. If it is two lanes you assume that it is 60km/h until you see a sign saying otherwise. If there are two-speed signs side by side it means that the posted speed begins from that point so don’t increase your speed until you are through.
It all doesn’t seem too hard Mike, are you sure it is this easy?
Yes, but family, friends, and some Instructors make it hard. They make up a lot of rules and things that don’t exist. I recommend parents teach their kids to drive the same way they do, don’t try to teach what you think the test rules are or used to be back in the day.
Where do you recommend to sit your driving test in Perth West Australia?
I recommend Kelmscott, but just because I know a lot of the assessors there from working in the area for many years. A lot of very fair, reasonable nice folks work at Kelmscott Department of Transport.
How difficult is it to get a test booking at Kelmscott?
Kelmscott is the main hub for Driving Tests now, so it is relatively easy. The dates and times are released on business days on a timer. So if you haven’t found one, keep refreshing the search until a suitable date and time pops up.
What recommendation do you have in finding a driving instructor to show you the ropes?
I recommend staying away from franchises and going for an instructor that has been tested by the Department of Transport. The others remain untested and have merely completed a certificate where what they learned in the classroom might be a bit outdated (hence all the don’t cross your hands nonsense).
Any last words of advice for learners taking their driving tests?
Don’t be scared of the assessor, just pretend it is a GPS giving you directions, enjoy the feedback. They are there to help. Mike is available for driving tests in the Kelmscott and surrounding areas by calling or booking through his website at www.drivinglessonsperthwa.com.au