Changing Gears and the Driving Test
By the time you take your driving test, you should be competent at changing gears. This includes a good understanding and ability of:
- Changing up through the gears
- Changing down through the gears
- Block gear changing
- Selecting the correct gear given any situation
- Changing gears smoothly
- Changing gears without looking at them
Will Changing into the Wrong Gear Fail a Driving Test?
The driving test examiner expects a reasonably high standard of proficiency when it comes to a test candidate operating the gears. Equally, they’re also aware that at the time of the test, the candidate is still a learner driver with little driving experience.
If you change into the wrong gear during a driving test, whether this mishap constitutes as a test failure or a (minor) fault depends on how your action affects the control of the vehicle, what impact it had on other road users and how quickly you recognise the fault and correct it.
For example, if from 4th or 5th gear you were to accidentally change down into 1st gear rather than 3rd gear and released the clutch pedal, this would abruptly cause the car to slow down, potentially causing a significant hazard – not to mention likely damaging the clutch. This would probably fail a driving test as it would result in a serious or dangerous fault.
Whereas if you were to accidentally change into 5th gear when you meant to change into 3rd from 2nd gear, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem providing you realise the error and correct it.
However, if you keep changing into the wrong gear and the (minor) faults accumulate in the same area, you may still fail the test.
Do You Have to Block Gear Change on the Driving Test?
Block gear changing is the recommended method for changing gear as it allows for greater attention on the road ahead and keeps both hands on the steering wheel more of the time. However, block gear changing isn’t a driving test requirement and providing the test candidate demonstrates good vehicle, they can still expect to pass the test without block gear changing.
Other Gear Related Issues
Typical gear related issues on the driving test usually involve stalling the car (attempting to move off in a gear other than 1st), selecting the wrong gear for a particular junction and struggling to find the gear you want (those 5 or 6 gears can sometimes feel like there’s 100 of them when under the stress of the driving test).
The good news is that driving tests aren’t usually failed for gear related issues and any faults incurred are usually minor, of which you can amount a maximum of 15.