During a driving test, among other things, the examiner will be assessing your use of speed and speed awareness. The correct use of speed falls into these categories, all of which the driving examiner will be assessing you on:
- Not exceeding the speed limit
- Not driving unnecessarily slow
- Appropriate use of speed given the conditions and situation
Driving in excess of the Speed limit.
This one is easy to understand! Keep an eye on the speed limit signs and obey them!
Driving test driving too slow
Driving examiners are of course aware that a learner driver is inexperienced and nervous and so may drive a little slower and hesitate a little more than experienced drivers. Although driving too slow during a driving test may be acceptable to a degree, there can be a point where it can become dangerous. Driving too slowly can result in drivers behind getting frustrated, impatient and will to take risks to overtake. To be honest, even examiners find persistent learners who drive to slowly an irritating and tedious test to conduct.
An example of driving too slowly during a driving test would be a clear and straight 30 mph road with little or no hazards where a learner may drive between 20 and 25 mph unnecessarily, not where hazards such as parked cars, cyclists or bends in the road may reduce the speed of a vehicle.
Persistently and unnecessarily driving too slowly can result in a serious or over 3 minors within the same category which also equates to a serious mark.
Inappropriate use of speed
Inappropriate use of speed is one of the major reasons for failing the driving test. This will typically involve a learner driving too fast for the circumstances or conditions although remaining within the speed limit. These commonly include:
- Approaching junctions too fast
- Driving past parked cars or cyclists too fast with no clear view of the road ahead
- Inappropriate speed for maintaining safe driving distance behind other vehicles
- Inappropriate speed for approaching a hazard
- Inappropriate speed for the weather conditions
Learning speed awareness
It's highly annoying for any learner to fail the driving test for driving too fast or slow, especially if they otherwise had an excellent drive. Learning speed awareness is of course requisite to achieving a driving test pass and to maintaining safe driving for life.
Your driving instructor will aid in you developing speed awareness. To become speed aware, a driver must first have a good ability and confidence to control their vehicle without the need to constantly focus their attention on car controls. Once this is achieved, greater attention can be devoted to observation such as road signs and developing anticipation and planning which will help to anticipate potential or developing hazards and plan an appropriate action.
Remember that any new road that has a change of speed limit will have a sign or signs (both side of the road) displaying the new speed. Remember in general that most urban areas with street lighting will have a 30mph speed limit. If in doubt, it's better to go too slow than too fast. So for example if you're not sure whether you're in a 40mph or 30 mph limit, you're better off going at 30mph. Though this has its own hazards associated with it and still has the potential for failing a test, you stand a better chance of passing than if you are speeding.
Always keep a sharp eye for road signs and speed limit signs so you know exactly what speed you should be travelling at, at all times. Ensure that you fully understand all types of speed limit signs and to also understand the difference between advisory and mandatory speed limits and signs.