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Where is the best place to take your driving test?

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Many learner drivers ask this question so they can have the best chance at passing their driving test. Across the country the pass rates of each test centre can fluctuate massively, and is dependent on a variety of factors. Statistics show that only 48% of the 1.3 million tests taken in 2017 resulted in a pass. At £62 a test, that’s immense £42 million being spent on failed driving tests.

City or Country side?

The general consensus seems to be that it’s easier to pass in less busy areas. London appears to be the worst place to do the test, with half of the city’s test centre among the lowest for pass rates. This is because when it’s more congested, there’s a far high probability of coming into contact with a challenging situation. In London, there are much more challenging moments, therefore, more potential for mistakes. These include heavy traffic and complicated roundabouts where making sure you’re in the right lane can be an ordeal. For example, centres in London such as Erith have a pass rate of 29%, followed by Belvedere at 34%.

The West Midlands

In more general areas, the West Midlands seems to have the lowest average pass rate, at only 40%. Other difficult areas include areas with large and busy cities such as Greater London (41.2%), Glasgow City (42.2), Merseyside (42.7%), and Greater Manchester (44.4%).

On the other hand, it’s often impossible to avoid booking your test at a city or busy area. If this is the case, consider practicing during rush hours with your instructor or with a family member. This will help you become accustomed to the business of cities and the different problems and scenarios you may be forced to face. This is especially important as most people after they pass, will often be driving in rush hour to work. Diving straight into this is a recipe for disaster as the conditions can be wildly different, and without practice, could result in accidents.

The Rural Areas

In comparison, statistics from the DVSA show areas with the highest pass rates often include rural areas. Rural areas are quieter and there are fewer potential hazards that a person is likely to encounter during their test. Usually, motorists get more time to prepare for developing situations, and road layouts are far simpler. Yet quieter roads also have their fallbacks. Country roads are often extremely narrow and some cannot fit two cars at the same time, therefore anticipation is incredibly important, regular checking of mirrors and reacting well to hazards are all emphasized.

For example, Haddington has a 65% pass rate, followed by Dorchester with 64%. These are both relatively busy test centres with more than a 1000 tests per year. Quieter test centres such as Golspie and Pitlochry have pass rates of over 75%. Areas in England include Whitby and Malton in North Yorkshire which both have test centres which saw 70% of driving tests end in success.

Taking country lane lessons is also feasible and would be good practice in getting accustomed to the narrow roads, sharp turns and difficult road surface.

Women Verses Men

Quite surprisingly, women are less likely to pass their driving test than males, with the average pass rate for men being 7% higher than women. Yet females have the advantage during the theory test, with the theory test pass rate in women being 4% higher than men.

Overall, pass rates do vary on a massive variety of factors. But it’s important to remember that centres with a seemingly low pass rate often have less bookings in the first place. Therefore, the pass rate alone may not be enough to determine whether the driving test is actually easier there. Conversely, the London test centres often conduct more than 3000 driving tests a year, giving a more reliable statistic for the pass rate.

Driving Test Routes

Each driving test route has its own difficult areas which learners often trip up at, regardless of the area. Furthermore, country roads can often be just as challenging as urban roads if you are unprepared for the unique types of hazards you will face. Therefore it’s best not to book your driving test simply based upon the pass rates or the area they’re in. Ask your instructor which driving test centre they’d suggest, as they would have local knowledge on the in’s and out’s of the routes for each test centre, and the area where you’re more likely to make mistakes.