How The ADI Part 3 Test Pupil Will Drive

Driving Too Fast

Driving Too Fast

On the ADI Part 3 test in the Phase 2 exercise the SE will role play either an experienced driver or a learner who is at or near to test standard – but what does this mean and what can you expect when the lesson gets under way?[private_registered]

Firstly let me remind you that the SE will not do anything dangerous on an ADI Part 3 test – but they are very likely to something unsafe and if you’re not aware of the difference between dangerous and unsafe you can find out what they mean here.

Let’s consider the experienced driver first; the ADI Part 3 test experienced driver will be like any other experienced driver – not very good! They will be prone to:

  • Driving too fast for the situation that they’re in.
  • Driving too close to other road users.
  • Making other road users change speed or position unnecessarily.
  • Have “attitude” problems
  • Lack awareness of what’s happening around them.
  • Not use the MSM routine to plan and deal effectively with hazards.

When the SE is trying to portray this experienced driver though they have to be very careful – many of the errors that an experienced driver makes are related to specific subject areas and if made could encourage an instructor to “change the lesson” and that’s not what the SE wants to happen. The thing that’s easiest for the SE to use to demonstrate an experienced drivers’ weakness on the Part 3 test is probably the thing that most candidates fear most – they’ll drive too fast.

It’s not something that you should be too concerned about; if your control skills are good and you tell the pupil exactly what speed they need to be driving at and keep reminding of them that speed, why they need to drive at it and when to do it they’ll soon get the idea and drive at a speed that won’t seem like things are going so fast you can’t cope. You also have the option to pull over and deal with speed issues in “slow time” – and if you’re caught by surprise, flustered or for any reason think that things will go “downhill” you should take some “time out” at the side of the road.

Speed will play a part on most ADI Part 3 tests at some point and I certainly believe that you should be ready for the Phase 2 pupil to drive too quickly and be prepared to deal with speed issues before trying to deal with anything else – once you have the speed under control you’ll have the lesson under control.

The “test ready” learner can also present speed as an “issue” for you to deal with on the Part 3 test – but they won’t necessarily be prone to driving too quickly! Many learner drivers attending for their driving tests fall into the “trap” of showing the examiner how “safe” they are – they drive slower than they would if an instructor were with them and apart from achieving the opposite of what they desire – it’s less safe rather than “extra safe” they do it because they lack confidence in what they’re doing.

So the Phase 2 pupil on the Part 3 test is likely to have “speed issues” and it’s important that the instructor realises that too fast or too slow are equally bad in terms of the effect that they can have on the test marking sheet! I’ll describe what happened to one of my Part 3 Recovery students on a Part 3 test to illustrate what I mean:

The Phase 2 subject was Approaching Junctions – and at the first junction the pupil drive too quickly when preparing to turn right – they failed to arrive at a suitable gap in the traffic that would allow them to make the turn without stopping and (as I found out later) the instructor had been expecting them to attempt to cross the path of the oncoming traffic unsafely. Having been forced to give way and stop everything then went into slow motion – by the time the pupil “got ready” to go again several more gaps in the traffic had come and gone; it took far too long to negotiate the hazard.

The instructor asked the pupil to pull over once they were round the corner and explained all about the dangers of driving too quickly towards junctions, and at the next right turn “talked the pupil through” it – they made sure that the pupil changed down in good time and had plenty of time to assess what was happening to they could co-ordinate their arrival at the point of turn with a safe gap. There was a lot of explaining to do as they drove towards the junction so the instructor got the pupil to change into 1st gear and drive a bit slower than they normally would so that there was enough time to explain what the pupil had to do. Everything went well and the junction was successfully negotiated without any drama.

At the next right turn the instructor pretty much left the pupil alone – they simply gave a reminder of the need to change down “nice and early” so that the junction could be properly assessed – and the pupil duly changed down into 1st gear about 20 metres short of the junction and although it took a “bit long” everything was managed well. At subsequent junctions the pupil got even slower and was eventually changing down into 1st gear a long way back from the junction and almost creeping to the point of turn.

The Phase 2 result was a grade 3! In the debrief the SE explained that the instructor had never “got to grips” with the speed issue and it had been a factor throughout the whole of the exercise.

When I had my discussion with the instructor later I discovered that they had got a “bit of a shock” when the pupil had raced up to the first junction and had felt much more comfortable when they’d got control by the time they’d arrived at the next right turn – so much so that even when the SE was demonstrating repeatedly that their speed needed some attention by slowing down more and more and earlier and earlier they instructor hadn’t done anything about it because when the pupil was “driving like a learner” it felt much more comfortable!

So – what’s the SE going to drive like on your Part 3 test? It’s likely that you’ll encounter speed issues and when you do it’s important to remember that speed too slow is the same fault as speed too fast – we have to get the Part 3 test pupil driving at the correct speed.

What is the correct speed? That’s simple – it’s the speed that you would drive the car at in that situation and if you’re consciously “driving the car” from the passenger seat and consciously aware of what speed you’d be driving at when it comes to the speed phase of the routine you’ll know when your pupil has made an error. There’s nothing wrong with making the pupil go slower than you’d go to show them how to do it at first – but the pupil has to be told why they’re doing it slowly at first and what speed you’d expect them to do it once they’d been shown how.