When The World Spins

When the world is spinning out of control - get off

When the world is spinning out of control – get off

I’ve talked elsewhere about deciding when to pull over to the side of the road to deliver your instruction in the Phase 2 exercises, and as a general rule the more instruction we can deliver “on the move” the better. In some subjects the driving environment simply isn’t suitable for pulling over, but I still think that there is value in some tactical planning in relation to pulling over in order to deal with those times that your pupil appears to make lots of faults in quick succession or simply to take a short “time out” in order to gather your thoughts and focus your concentration before re-entering the fray. [private_registered]

When the world spins

There’s no doubt that the Phase 2 exercises can appear to be much faster moving than the Phase 1 exercises – that’s due in part to the nature of the subjects, the types of roads that those subjects are examined on but also because where possible Phase 2 faults are dealt with “on the move” and this increases both the pace and the pressure; you simply don’t get those moments of respite that delivering your instruction at the side of the road provides! Let’s look at three situations when pulling over might be the best thing to do.

So it might be that you find yourself in the situation where the world appears to be spinning out of control and if you do – pull over.

The SE might not like it – and it may not be what you’d planned to do but if you lose control of the situation the chances are your instruction will not be effective and that means you cannot pass the test. Taking some “time out” at the side of the road means that whatever fault has been made can be properly addressed, you can gather your thoughts and compose yourself before moving on. It’s possible of course that the world was spinning so fast because your skills simply aren’t up to coping with the pace of the test – but at least if you pull over you have some chance of getting things right – if you don’t there’s no chance of success.

When it rains

I’m not talking about the weather! It can seem like the SE is raining faults on you sometimes and that can be because your instruction hasn’t been effective and whilst you’re still trying to deal with one thing your pupil makes another mistake, it could simply be the nature of the subject – when you’re instructing the MSM group of subjects and your pupil decides to show you that they can’t use the MSM routine the result can be a series of faults happening in quick succession, but it could simply be that the SE has been a little “over enthusiastic”.

Whatever the reason for it raining doesn’t matter – the chances are if you don’t pull over you’ll be jeopardising your chances of passing if you allow things to continue – you need to take control and deliver some instruction and the best place to do that is probably at the roadside.

When you do pull over it might be useful to tell your pupil something like “we’ve pulled over because I’ve noticed you making several faults in quick succession – it seems as if you’re a little flustered so I thought it might be a good idea to pull over, discuss what’s gone wrong and then we can try it again”

I’ve never met an SE yet who is a fool! They will know that this translates to “I’ve pulled over because I’m a bit flustered – give me a break please” – but the fact will be that you will be at the roadside for a few minutes fixing what has gone wrong and the SE knows that if it continues to rain you’ll probably do the same thing again – they have no real choice but to ease off a little because they want the majority of the exercise done on the move.

If your skills really aren’t good enough it won’t really matter – no matter how “easy” the SE goes it will still be too much for you – but if you’re good enough and simply needed a respite from the rain you’ll be giving yourself a realistic chance this way.

If there’s nowhere to pull over

In some subjects (particularly Progress and Pedestrian Crossings) and some environments the road layout and conditions may make pulling over difficult – but if things are in danger of getting out of control and you don’t do something about it could be disastrous. You could consider informing your pupil that you intend finding a quieter road because there are a couple of things that you need to discuss with them.

The SE will know what you want – and they’ll either take the hint and ask you to turn off the main road, ease off the pressure or continue as they are.

If either of the first two things happens you’ll get the breathing space that you were looking for – if the SE refuses to “play ball” it will be unfortunate; but if you really need a break and don’t try to engineer it it’s unlikely that your instruction could be good enough to get the result you’re looking for.


Most of us will feel under pressure during the Part 3 test and if you’re “hanging on” I’d still consider stopping once or twice in the Phase 2 exercise. The Phase 2 lesson will last about 20 – 22 mins – that’s a long time to maintain the concentration levels that are required to ensure that you maintain control of the situation, focus on each of the Core Competencies when you’re delivering your instruction and maintain an awareness of your plan.

Do you think it would be easier to maintain your level of concentration for about 15 mins? How about 10 mins?

Of course it will; if you can split the lesson down into more manageable “chunks” you’ll be making it easier to maintain your concentration levels, be able to deliver at least some of your instruction in a relatively relaxed manner and subsequently enhance your chances of success.

It’s wise to pull over to deal with errors that have the potential to compromise safety, and if your pupil makes safety related errors that might be enough for you to maintain the level of self-control that you need but you should consider planning to stop once or twice at about 7 and 14 mins – it will make life much easier for you and reduce the chances of the world spinning or faults raining down on you.