I stumbled onto this thread while looking for something else and thought I'd add my experience to the original topic of discussion. While I passed my test first time, it was with the maximum number of allowed deductions (5 as I recall) - three of which I can accept but a couple of which I would question.
One in particular was during the reversing around a left hand turn manoeuvre; I had come all of the way around the corner and was part way through reversing the required distance up the road for the manoeuvre to be complete when I (having been doing my observations) saw a van coming down the road to my rear. Continuing to reverse straight at him seemed unwise so I pulled up at the side of the road, applied the handbrake and allowed him to pass before completing the distance. I explained this to the examiner as I was doing it, having been warned by my instructor to talk them through everything I did as they are liable to mark you down if you do something they can't see a reason for. Afterwards the examiner told me I had received a deduction for stopping during that manoeuvre and that I should have simply left the van driver to his own devices and focussed on the test requirement. I couldn't believe that he'd basically said 'just trust the other guy not to hit you' and nor could my instructor when discussing it afterwards.
I don't actually think this is entirely the examiner's fault. I think they are forced to stick to rigid requirements during the tests that don't always allow room for common sense. The DVLA should definitely consider reviewing the testing policies (if they haven't done so already since I took my test in 2004).
Yap Santa ! Thats what Iím doing move on. At least Iív got a good experience to not expect FAIR play anymore...:-(
Highway Code - 6.Reversing (200-203)
Originally Posted by justsomeguy
Rule 202 includes: "check there are no pedestrians (particularly children), cyclists, other road users or obstructions in the road behind you".
I think this rule clearly puts the onus on the reversing driver to respond to the presence of a vehicle approaching from his/her rear. Safe driving would definitely preclude the reversing driver from ignoring the approaching vehicle, therefore to stop is the only logical alternative. All instructions given by an examiner are on the basis that it is safe to proceed as instructed. If, following that instruction, a situation arises that changes the status from 'safe' to 'unsafe', then the driver under examination must react accordingly.
So the examiner was wrong to mark you down for this. If you had continued to reverse, and the van hit your rear, would the examiner have commended you for showing your resolve to carry on regardless? I doubt it!.
Of course a learner and an examiner may well see a situation differently. This is exemplified by people who complain of being marked down for hesitation at a junction. The 'experienced' examiner sees a big enough gap, but the 'inexperienced' learner does not.
In the case above, the learner sees an approaching van and stops. The examiner see the van and notes that there is plenty of room for it to pass safely, so does not consider that stopping is appropriate.
The point is, Santa, the examiner is testing a new driver who is yet to achieve experience, and should be expecting the driver under test to be exercising due care. After driving for over 60 years, it would be normal for myself, if reversing on a public highway, to stop if a vehicle was coming up from behind me. How could I be sure that, if I continued backwards, that the driver of the approaching vehicle would not make a mistake, misjudge pulling out, and collide with my vehicle? In that event, what percentage of blame would be applied to me? At least 50%, perhaps more.
During my own test, the examiner took me into a ridiculously narrow road for my 3-poit turn. I knew that touching the kerb would be disqualification, so I did a 5-point turn. Result - not even a comment.
My emergency stop was real. A small lad on a trike came out of a side road and straight off the pavement and in front of me. I beat the examiner to the brake and clutch (dual controls), and all his paperwork shot into the floor well. The examiner was so furious he wound down the window and swore at the lad, and was grumpy for the remainder of the test. But I passed.
I know from discussions with examiners that a common problem is over-caution on manoeuvres, with candidates stopping whenever another car appears no matter how far away it is, rather than exercising their judgement.
For example, when halfway round a corner, the learner will stop if a car appears from behind, even when there is time to continue safely. As a result, the approaching car either has to stop and wait, or try to negotiate the junction which is obstructed by the learner car. This is at best inconveneint and at worst dangerous. It may well be safer for the learner continue to reverse - very slowly, looking directly at the approaching vehicle, and being prepared to stop.
In response to other comments:
You are allowed 15 (fifteen!) non-serious faults.
The test manoeuvre is deliberately called a "turn in the road", not a "three-point turn". Although the road chosen is normally wide enough for three, taking five steps is acceptable.
Touching the kerb will not automatically fail you.
I suppose at the end of the day one of the main problems of driving tests is that they rely on the examiner's opinion, which given his/her job and as an experienced driver will most likely be correct most of the time - just not 100% of the time.
@Santa: That certainly seems to have been the case here. In hindsight I probably could have continued and the van could have come past on the relatively quiet road quite easily. That said, I was inexperienced at the time and so did the safest thing I could: stopping, waiting, then continuing. I'm not sure you should be marked down for being over-cautious in this type of case, where it's basically a judgement call as to whether you, the driver, can safely do what you're doing and where not doing anything (stopping and waiting) for a few seconds will not harm the situation and will likely leave it improved.
@Snowball: Your examiner sounds to be disturbingly affected by road rage. Perhaps he was in the wrong profession?
@Beelzebub: I could have sworn it was fifteen errors allowed in the theory test and five in the practical but I'll take your word for it. I'm far from an expert. Thanks for the correction. Like Snowball, I was also told by my instructor that touching the kerb during manoeuvres would be an automatic fail, though it's common practice in 'real life' driving. Maybe this has changed over the years?
Quote....."requirements during the tests that don't always allow room for common sense."That's probably why I got failed for stopping, to allow a woman with two toddlers and a baby in a push chair! which was weighed down with bags of shopping? To finish crossing the road, as she was already half way across when I came upon her.
Hows this for common sense my granddaughter took her theory test pass part 1 and got 0 zero on part 2 she asked why 0 zero they told her that the computer was faulty 3 other people had the same result now she has been told to retake the test and pay all fees can anyone help with good sound advise on a appeal we are in Northern Ireland.