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Try a Simulator to practice your Driving Test

Out of this world: driving simulators

  • Practice for your test on a driving test simulator

Not many people know about driving simulators: they sound suspiciously like something you’d get at an arcade in Blackpool.

But don’t be fooled. The driving simulators we’re talking about are far more high-tech, not to mention being both educational and enjoyable. And yes, they’re also more expensive, but when the originals only cost £2 a game, it’s hard to be beaten on price.

What can you expect from a driving simulator?

Driving simulators, in the world of provisional driving, are computerised driving experiences, which put you in behind the wheel and give you a taste of driving - without actually letting you loose on the roads.

A session in the simulator will allow you to sit in a replica car, with all the standard controls, switches, flaps, pedals and gearstick that a normal car has. A qualified instructor explains everything and gives you a chance to find your way around. You get a feel for where everything is, how it moves, what it does.

Then, through your virtual windscreen, the simulator shows a road scene – and this is where the fun starts. You’re taken through your paces, learning how to control the car, how to cope with junctions, gear changes, braking and accelerating – in short, everything a new driver needs to know.

Short instructional videos explain what to do, and there’s a different focus in each section, so you’re not being bombarded with a ton of new information all at once. The simulator will even help you out until you get the hang of the exercise. Plus, you can redo each exercise as many times as you like, until you can do it without any help.

Because you’re not on actual roads, you’re posing absolutely no threat to other drivers. Yet the technological standard of the simulators means that you’re getting a driving experience that’s as close to the real thing as can be. If you don’t get your steering quite right and you hit a tree, well, it’s not a real tree. If you stall the engine at a junction, don’t worry, because there’s no one behind you to get impatient.

Fundamentally, a driving simulator gets that nerve-wracking first, tentative lesson out of the way by giving you practice in a completely pressure-free and hassle-free environment. It prepares you for what awaits you in an actual driving lesson, making the transition from novice to learner to qualified driver that bit smoother.

Benefits of a simulator

You can see the benefits. Driving simulators are great for nervous drivers, those who are completely new to driving and want a little experience before they jump straight into a car, and those for whom the prospect of going on open roads has so far been too daunting to consider.

There’s an added benefit, though: because the simulator doesn’t take you on real roads, the age restriction of 17 years doesn’t apply. From age 16, you can buy and take a driving simulator session – so if you’re a late birthday, and you can’t wait to get started, a driving simulator class might be just the thing.

Prices are reasonable as well, with most simulator lessons costing less than the average £22 ‘full experience’ driving lesson. Sessions can be bought as gifts for friends, family, children, and you can always go back and buy another session if you want more practice.

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