WHAT’s THE EXAMINER THINKING WHEN SITTING NEXT TO YOU?
As you are driving, the examiner is observing. He is observing if you are scanning the road. If you are scanning the intersections as you are driving through intersections (junctions). The examiner can feel how fast you are driving. Always remember that the examiner has been doing this same routine for many years and they know how fast you are driving. They also can glance at your speedometer to make sure you are driving by the speed limit. You don’t have to drive slow, because that could impede traffic. And you cannot drive over the speed limit, because that is illegal. If you go over the speed limit by few i.e. 3 or 4 they are ok, they may not penalize you, but if you go over by 10 you can fail the test.
Remember, when the examiner is not talking to you, he or she wants you to concentrate on the road. Being silent does not mean they are scaring you or may be you have done something wrong. They just want you to see if you know the rules of the road and being observant of signs and potential hazards. They are there to evaluate your driving. I know, it is intimidating, but no, just calm down and have a positive mindset.
Sometimes you will see the examiner writes something on the sheet. Don’t focus on what they write. They may just be correcting the date or the spelling of your name. Don’t worry. The examiner can tell if you are looking over to his sheet. They have ways rolling their eyes, Sometimes, the examiner may be looking out of the window, may be looking at those kids playing in the park on the side, but the are paying attention on what you are doing; if you are scanning the road and they can feel if you are speeding . They take you to the same route, therefore they know what’s coming ahead and what, if a reduced speed sign, is coming. They know which sign candidates don’t observe because of not observing adequately.
Remember, the examiner will not be starring at you as you are driving. They can see with their peripheral vision and have the experience to see if you have seen that pedestrian at the crosswalk or if you are prepared to slow down because the green light is going to turn to amber and then red. Always remember that the examiner does that same route for many years. They know what is coming along the corner, or if a stop sign is approaching or may be pedestrians are commonly found in that area, or if that approaching street is narrow and maybe lot of cars parked around that area. So, they are aware and have mastered that same route you are driving on. They know almost everything on those streets. They are paying attention at every maneuver you make. They keep their focus straight but they can tell if you did observe over that intersection or if you have covered your blind spot.
Examiners are keen and always pay attention to these:
- Your speed. Drive by the speed limit. However, if the road condition does not permit, because may be it is narrow, there are so many parked cars along the sides, there are curves, there are holes or speed bumps or etc.., then drive slower than the speed limit.
- Your observation of signs. Make sure you are focused and observing signs. As you are driving, lean forward and make your eyes rolling and tilt your head a little bit – showing the sign of a driver who is in fact observing the road for signs.
- Your knowledge of the signs and the rules of the road. The examiner can tell if you have no confidence on the rules. They know this by your hesitations or violating the right-of-way rule without any caution. They can tell if you kept on driving on that same lane and there’s a lane narrow sign in front of you, but you have no clue! Then you find that oh my god, the lane just finished! They know that you are coming to make a full stop, but that is a yield sign and the intersection is safe and clear to proceed.
- Your awareness of potential hazards at intersections. The examiner wants to see that you are ready for any potential hazard ahead. You have seen that the traffic lights are changing to Yellow or red. You are aware of those pedestrians wanting to cross the intersection. Your adequate observation at the intersection to making sure that there are no approaching vehicles and that the road is safe before you turn or go through the intersection.
Examiners always are ready if you are going to do something unpredictable. They are there to intervene should they feel that you are not able to slow down before the upcoming corner. They are ready to intervene if you are not backing up properly and you are not observing adequately because maybe there are pedestrians walking behind your car. Examiners are ready to intervene if they know that you have not seen the traffic lights has just changed to red. They are there to intervene if they feel that you don’t have the proper steering skills. And so forth. The way they intervene is by instructing you: to stop, or to slow down, or to look because a pedestrian is crossing or a vehicle is in your blind spot. If they intervene most probably you have failed the test. Usually if the intervention is about your speed or any other potential hazard or interfering with traffic, you would definitely fail your test. If the intervention is about alerting you to proceed because you are just too cautious, they may tell you to proceed and they may just deduct some points from you. Remember, examiners are judges and if the area is grey, it may be 50 / 50 call. If in overall you have expressed good judgment and cautious driving and not infringing the rules of the road, the examiner will rule in favour of you. You just need to focus on your driving and not the mistakes you just did and the worry of what the examiner is going to write on his sheet.