Lucky pants, charms and superstitions to pass driving test

Wed, 14th November, 2018

Passing by the seat of their pants

A quarter of drivers resorted to extra measures such as lucky pants, superstitions or a long drive to get their nerves in check before their driving test, reveals the AA Driving School ⁕.

Young drivers aged 18-to-24 were by far the most likely to turn to extra measures (60%) such as wearing lucky pants (7%), carrying a lucky charm (6%) or taking herbal remedies such as rescue remedy (9%) before their practical test.

A long drive or lesson before the test was the most popular way of easing tension with one in five (20%) drivers saying they did this.

Drivers in Northern Ireland were the most likely to pay attention to superstitions in the run-up to their test with two per cent saying they avoided walking under ladders or crossing the path of black cats before the big day.

Only one in ten (13%) drivers said they felt no nerves before their test; falling to just 5 per cent of women. And nearly half of those nervous drivers (44%) said their nerves affected their test in some way although only 6 per cent said their nerves led them to make a mistake that meant they failed.

Women and younger drivers were the most likely to admit nerves affected them on their test day (52% and 77%).

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Passing your driving test and getting on the road is a real milestone for many people.

“An extra lesson or two to combat pre-test nerves is probably most effective, but if wearing lucky pants or charms helps confidence on their test day then good luck to them.

“Nerves can manifest themselves in a number of ways but it’s good that the majority felt their nerves didn’t lead them to failure.”

The top ways that nerves affected drivers on their test were:
  1. Made minor mistakes (but still passed)
  2. Woke up early
  3. Had a bad night’s sleep beforehand
  4. Serious mistake that meant I failed
  5. I couldn’t eat before the test
  6. Had a sudden ‘blank moment’ about something I knew how to do
  7. Said something silly to the examiner
  8. Couldn’t stop shaking
  9. Was physically sick
  10. Got lost on the way to the test centre
And spare a thought for these drivers who spent most of their test feeling sticky…

“I remember sweating so much that I had to pull over to wipe my brow and clean my spectacles! And put talcum powder on my hands!”

“Sweated profusely and the instructor had to open the windows to clear them!”

And the poor person who almost accidently bribed their examiner…

“Handed instructer 20 pound instead of my license looked like a bribe”

The AA Driving School has created a new advice page designed to help learners combat their test nerves and pass with flying colours:

⁕ Populus received 20,435 responses from AA members to its online poll between 13th and 20th March 2018. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.