There’s very little that can make me nervous enough for my knees to knock or hands tremble. But I was amazed by how swiftly my “teenage” nerves resurfaced when I started to retake my driving test 18 months ago.
I’d been full of confidence watching my Which? Car colleagues head out onto the streets with the examiner, but the moment I pressed the accelerator and turned the steering wheel to start my test, I had to grit my teeth to stop my limbs from violently shaking.
Although the examiner was calm and polite, I was so nervous of making a mistake in my road positioning, speed and blind-spot checking, that I actually didn’t hear the instructions he gave me as we headed towards one junction.
In spite of my nerves I passed the test. However, four of my five colleagues who also took up the challenge on that day didn’t pass.
Many drivers don’t think they’d pass a retest
So yes, I can completely understand why three million UK drivers think they’d fail a retest. This figure was worked out from a survey by the AA and Populus.
They asked almost 17,000 AA members if they thought they’d pass if they had to retake, and 11% thought they were either quite unlikely or very unlikely to pass. And it was the younger drivers who were the least confident – 15% of 18-24-year-olds thought they’d fail.
The results highlight just what an important and demanding skill driving is – most of us do it, but few of us do it well. That’s why, in spite of my own trepidation, I believe there should be regular “refresher” courses for drivers. Every five to ten years, they would help us un-learn bad habits and update us on the latest driving techniques.
When I last talked about this on Which? Conversation, quite a few of you argued that it should be compulsory for drivers to retest, like Dave:
‘The test is all we have to judge a person’s competence on the road, and I feel that everyone should undertake it every ten years to maintain the minimum standard.’
Gloria Edwards agreed:
‘Yes, drivers should be made to take retests, particularly if they break the law and if they are involved in an accident for which they are to blame.’
Although I’m behind refresher driving courses, I’m not sure we need people to retake the full driving test. But maybe you do? If you had to retake your driving test, do you think you’d pass?