Driving misconceptions vs reality

Learning to drive

We asked our instructors to give us pupil intel on common mistaken beliefs about driving. Here are the most common misconceptions vs the truth.

Misconception 1
When slowing down, you should always go down through the gears.

Reality 1
When slowing down, you should skip gears out and simply go from what gear you are in, to what gear you need. This means less wear and tear on your clutch, gearbox, and also means more time with two hands on the wheel making you a much safer driver.

Misconception 2
Flashing my lights at somebody lets them know that I am giving way to them and they can go first.

Reality 2
Flashing your lights at someone is simply to alert them to your presence, nothing more.

Misconception 3
You will fail a driving test if you cross your hands.

Reality 3
As long as you are in control of the vehicle, and it is going safely where you want it to go, then crossing your hands is not an issue. It is advisable not to cross them because you are blocking the airbags path to your head, should it be deployed following a collision.

Buying a car before I pass my test will be a waste of money.

Reality 4
This can be one of the best investments you make. Having access to a car whilst learning allows you unlimited practice, and whilst on a provisional license your insurance is much cheaper. Assuming you simply convert your policy from a provisional license holder to a full license holder when you pass, this will also mean you get to your first years no claims discount much quicker, also saving you more money.

Misconception 5
I don’t need insurance to practice driving in a car park or on private land.

Reality 5
If members of the public can access the area that you are driving on, then you do need insurance. Being on private land or a car park doesn’t mean that insurance is not required...it is. Unless you learn to drive with Young Driver and then insurance is not necessary (we pay for it!).

Misconception 6
I need to make sure I move my head whenever I check my mirrors so the instructor or examiner will know I am checking them.

Reality 6
The instructor or examiner is looking for your eye movement in the interior mirror. Moving your head would simply imply that the mirror was not set up correctly (which is why you would have to move your head) and could mean you get marked down on the test.

Misconception 7
I have to put my handbrake on whenever I come to a stop sign.

Reality 7
The car simply needs to come to a total stop at a stop sign. The handbrake does not need to be on to prove it has stopped.

Misconception 8
Examiners are only allowed to pass a certain amount of pupils per week.

Reality 8
If you are good enough, you will pass!


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