Sheffield driver passes test...at 23rd attempt!

James Whitworth
James Whitworth
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TWO women who each failed their driving tests a traffic-stopping 22 times top the table of Sheffield’s would-be motorists who flunked the most.

One of the women – a 35-year-old – passed finally at the 23rd attempt, at the test centre on Middlewood Road near Hillsborough.

But the 38-year-old wasn’t so lucky – and ground to a halt yet again at the Parkway test centre in Sheffield.

It is estimated she must have spent around £1,300 just in exam fees trying to pass.

The figures, revealed by The Star and covering a period of eight years from 2004 to this June, highlight a similar tale of woe relating to the driving theory exam.

A 70-year-old woman was the oldest candidate to fail the computerised written test in Sheffield in the last eight years – before passing finally on her 15th attempt.

But it was a 48-year-old woman who topped the table of candidates taking their theory test on more than 10 occasions.

She stalled 25 times – before finally managing the pass enabling her to move on to her practical test.

She was followed closely by another woman, aged 29, who failed her theory test 23 times.

A request from The Star to the Driving Standards Agency, via the Freedom of Information Act, exposed the dossier of data about driving tests in Sheffield.

A total of 89 candidates – three quarters of them male – had more than 10 theory test attempts.

Mark Peacock, head of the British School of Motoring, said: “While these examples do highlight an unusually high number of times for someone to take their practical and theory test, it is important to remember everyone learns at different rates. For some people the pressure of a test is greater than for others.

“Learning to drive and passing your test is a key life milestone for most people and, with the right instructor, everyone should be able to get there.”

Figures also show there were 10 cases of suspected identity fraud or ‘candidate impersonation’ at theory tests in Sheffield in 2010 and 2011.

1) Find a driving instructor you are comfortable with. Ask friends and family to see who they recommend.

2) Be prepared. Know your area and make sure you are comfortable with the roads around the test centre.

3) Always be aware. The manoeuvres in the exam are there to test observation so make sure you are 100 per cent safe before attempting them.

4) When performing manoeuvres remember they do not have to be done on their first attempt. You can make adjustments if needed.

5) Treat your exam like a driving lesson and not a test.

6) The exam is not over until it is over. Everybody makes minor mistakes so do not panic.

7) Take no notice of what the examiner is writing down. Anything written down doesn’t mean you have failed.

8) Private practice is key. It can help you with anything you are unsure of, and the more experience on the road the better.

9) Drive how you would normally drive with your instructor. Don’t be flustered by having someone with a clipboard in the car.

10) Warm up before the exam by having a driving lesson. This will calm the nerves and get you comfortable in the car.

(from Dave Ward, of Dave Ward School of Motoring, Manor, Sheffield)