Some driving tests are tougher than others…

Some driving tests are tougher than others…

…but you’re better off in the long-run if you take a tougher test.

Every driver remembers the terror of taking their driving test, but it would seem that some of us have it worse than others. The test requirements are the same no matter where you take your test, and examiners receive the same training. But it turns out that you’re more likely to pass your test if you live in a quiet rural area than you are if you take your test in a busy urban centre.

The hazards of inner-city driving

Anyone who’s experienced the stress of driving in a big city will be unsurprised to learn that the country’s lowest driving test pass rates are almost all to be found in London and Birmingham, with Leeds and Luton also featuring.

According to DVSA statistics, the average pass rate across the UK is 47.1%. That falls to just 32.2% if you take your test in London’s Belvedere, with other parts of London and Birmingham scoring similarly low pass rates. For comparison, Scotland’s sleepy Isle of Mull has the highest pass rates, at 80%, with other Scottish islands doing almost as well.

This big discrepancy probably has something to do with the fact that driving conditions in cities change constantly. Buses stop in front of you, pedestrians walk out into the road without looking where they’re going, the traffic lights seem never-ending, and there are plenty of confusing roundabouts and one-way systems for the novice driver to negotiate. Add a scary driving examiner into the mix and you have a recipe for a bag of nerves and a failed test.

Why a tougher driving test may be better for you in the long-run

Most people want to get their hands on that much-coveted driving licence as quickly as possible – after all, it’s a ticket to freedom. They may therefore be tempted to try to take their test at an ‘easier’ test centre. However, while it may seem a faster route to ditching the ‘L’ plates, it’s not a necessarily a good idea to decamp to a Scottish island to learn to drive and take your test. Learning in such quiet conditions, without so much as a roundabout to worry about, you won’t develop the skills necessary to drive in trickier conditions elsewhere.

By contrast, drivers who learn in congested urban areas may take longer to pass, but that’s because they’re developing superior judgment skills that take longer to hone than those needed for quiet rural roads. To succeed in challenging urban conditions you need to be quick-witted and observant, and ultimately that makes you a better driver. And that can only be a good thing!