††††††††††† THE DRIVING EXAMINERS

 

One very important factor in the driving test apart from your ability, and the instructorís ability to have got you to a reasonable standard, is of course the examiner. Let me try and put a few fears to rest about them. The great majority are very caring, open minded, sincere, and have a good sense of humour.

The position itself can be stressful at times and there is a lot of responsibility to be accurate with how you assess candidates, but on many occasions it is a very satisfying job. Every day is different because every single test involves a different person and different situations arise.

Human nature being what it is, you will never get the situation where every examiner will have the same effect on you.Some you will take to, and some you won't. However, one of the objectives of examiners is to put you at ease and bring the best out of you on the test; even to the point of having a little informal chatter if the opportunity presents itself.

There is no way you are going to get 1400 driving examiners doing a job to an identical level of assessment. However, it would surprise many people to see just how close they are over a period of one year (this can be in excess of 1700 tests each!).The reason for this is that the DSA have a structured organisation and approach to maintain uniformity throughout the country.Examiners are accompanied on test quite regularly with the SDE, to make sure that a uniform standard and correct level of assessment is maintained, along with the appropriate attitude and approach towards customers.

Another important point is when an examiner return to the office after a driving test, and something unusual has occurred, he will mention it to his colleagues in order to get a good discussion going.This is very important to maintain consistent marking; it fosters good team spirit and enables the SDE to hear how the rest of the team are thinking.

The SDE also has his work checked quite regularly; as he too conducts driving tests, and is accompanied on test by a Supervising Examiner: the latter having several centres under his control, thus maintaining uniformity over an even greater area. The overall picture is of regular close supervision, to maintain consistency of both assessment and approach to customers; which the DSA place very highly in their list priorities.

Don't believe all you hear about driving examiners.

Take the case of Mrs Jones down the street that tells you she took her test last Friday, she only had 12 lessons and didnít have any practice in between her lessons. She only failed because she touched the kerb whilst reversing round a corner.

"It was the stupid examiner's fault. I bet he had a row with his wife before setting off for work, or he fell over the dog when he was coming out of the gate or that he'd already passed his quota for that week.It isnít right you know, they shouldnít let things like that influence their decision".

The truth of the matter was more likely that she had 40 lessons, was nowhere near ready to take the test, and probably had about seven crosses on her failure sheet.The examiner was single and didnít have a dog and there is no such thing as a quota for the week.I have probably exaggerated slightly here; with the exception of the quota which does not exist at all.

Judge the examiner on how you find him / her for yourself, be impartial, don't believe all you hear.Remember that the examiner may be just like you, with a mortgage and a family.He may even have the same interests and hobbies. It is easier for the examiner after someone has passed his or her test. Not only is it a nice feeling telling someone they are good enough to take their L plates off, it also involves far less paperwork! And please donít believe Dolly Dreamgirl who tells you she passed because she turned up for test in a skimpy little outfit that showed a lot of leg or chest. The truth is she passed because she had reached the standard required, she may even have had a female examiner!

When an examiner, current or retired, is asked about his occupation; his reply always seems to cause a considerable amount of joviality. They are often asked to describe funny incidents that have occurred whilst on a test.They do not occur as often as you may think or maybe after being in the job a considerable length of time you become a little blasť towards various situations, but you might find the two following incidents, that I have witnessed, quite humorous.

The first incident was when I got into the car with the candidate, gave him the wordings regarding the test.He promptly closed his eyes, released the handbrake then put his hands together no doubt saying a short prayer. Unfortunately we were parked on a slight decline and the car started rolling down the hill and as the car was in the left lock it started to mount the very low nearside footpath.The candidate appeared totally unaware of the situation so I had to stop the car using the dual footbrake.

The second incident occurred as I was conducting a driving test and the candidate was trying to turn right on to a major road. The view to the left was restricted as the major road went round a left-hand bend, the road was clear to emerge onto and the candidate did so, unfortunately she drove far too slowly in view of the restriction to the left.As she started to emerge a builder's van came round the bend from the left, he had to brake considerably because the candidate was going so slow.I looked in the rear view mirror to see fall pipe and guttering shooting forward off the roof rack and finished on the road in front of the car.The driver got out of the van in the middle of the road and stood there scratching his head.The candidate continued along at a crawling pace totally oblivious to what had taken place. In this situation what she should have done was after making sure it was clear to the right, she should have emerged looking to the left and really got on with it to avoid the above situation happening.

Whilst there is a dangerous side to the above incidents I saw the humorous side at the time and I can still laugh at them.I will say neither candidate was successful on those particular occasions.

Then there are these incidents that do happen quite regularly. Getting taken around a supermarket car park by mistake, finishing very close to garden walls or fences during manoeuvres. I do know of one examiner that was in the car when the candidate lost control and the car did knock a brick wall down and end up in the garden.The candidate turned to the examiner and asked if he was alright, as she could see he was a little shaken up, then went on to say ďdonít worry I'm a nurseĒ!Wing mirrors get clipped as you pass parked vehicles. Candidates want to go down one-way streets the wrong way or go the wrong way along dual carriageways. Motorcyclists sometimes fall off when carrying out the emergency stop exercise but only rarely do they hurt themselves. As I said earlier you become a little blasť after a while regarding these happenings.

 

To Summarise: -

Don't believe all you hear about examiners.

The Examiner will not be laughing at you if you do something 'wrong' as no doubt others have done the same thing. Take a look at ĎThe Driving Testí section, this will make you aware of what is expected of you and which procedures cause the most problems on test.

 

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