Practical Driving Test

The United Kingdom Practical driving test is a test which drivers must pass to obtain a driving licence

What happens during the test?

When you get to the test centre, sit in the waiting room and try to relax. Your driving examiner will come into the waiting room at the time of your test and call your name. You will be asked to sign a residency declaration to say you still live at the same address.  You are also signing to confirm that your car is insured for the test (if using your own car check with your insurance company, some do not insure for driving tests!). All our driving Instructors cars are fully insured for driving test purposes. Once you sign the declaration your examiner will check your signature to make sure it matches the one on your licence.The driving test is the same for both manual and automatic cars and you’ll drive for around 40 minutes.

Your examiner will lead you out to your vehicle and give you an eyesight check, s/he will get you to read a number plate from a distance of around 20 metres. You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. You’ll then be asked the first of 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. You’ll be asked the tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving and the show me’ question while you’re driving.

General driving ability

During the drive you will also asked to complete a 20 minute Independent Driving section following directions from either Satellite navigation or traffic signs. You will be tested on your general driving ability and you will drive in various road and traffic conditions including residential and town roads, dual carriageways, but not on motorways. Your test will include various types of junctions including side roads, T junctions and roundabouts.

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including: normal stops at the side of the road, pulling out from behind a parked vehicle and a hill start. 1 in 3 test candidates will also be asked to carry out an emergency stop. If you make a mistake, it might not affect your test result if it’s not serious. The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Manoeuvring your vehicle

The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

Parallel Park at the side of the road

Park in a parking bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic.

Driving test faults and your result

There are 3 types of faults you can make.

A dangerous fault- this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property.

A serious fault- this is something that can be potentially dangerous.

A driving fault - this is not potentially dangerous, but if you keep making the same fault, it could become a serious fault.

You will pass your driving test if you make: No more than 15 driving faults (sometimes called ‘minors’) No serious or dangerous faults (sometimes called ‘majors’).

If you pass

If you’re successful, your driving examiner will complete a pass certificate and they will ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically. You will need to give the examiner your provisional licence if you want to do this. You must apply for your full driving licence within 2 years of passing your test if you do not want to get your licence automatically. You can start driving straight away when you’ve passed your test. You do not need to wait for your full licence to arrive.

.If you do not pass

If you’re unsuccessful the driving examiner will give a Debrief and go through the mistakes that let you down. We would advise you to have your driving instructor present with you to do the Debrief as at the time it will probably make more sense to them than yourself. You will have to book another test and pay again. You have to choose a date at least 10 working days away.

Booking your practical driving test

You can book your driving test once you’ve passed your theory test. The national standard for driving cars tells you everything you must be able to do to pass the driving test. Only take your driving test when you can do everything independently without instruction. There is no minimum number of lessons you must have done before you can book and take your driving test.

Change or check your test details

You can change the date of your test  up to 3 times after you have booked it. You can check the details if you have lost the email confirmation you were sent when you booked your test.

What to take to your test

 You must take your UK driving licence with you and supply your own vehicle most people will have use of their driving instructor’s, car but you can use your own car if it meets the DVSA rules.

If you do not have a photo card licence you can bring a valid passport and your paper licence.

If your test is cancelled or there's bad weather

Bad weather

Driving tests may be cancelled in dangerous weather conditions, such as snow and icy conditions or if there is flooding, fog, or high winds. You will need to call your local test centre if there are any of these conditions on the day of your driving test. The phone number for the test centre is on your booking confirmation email.

If your test cannot go ahead

The (DVSA) will automatically book you a new driving test on the next available date and send you the details within 3 working days please note it can take up to 7 days if there is a long period of bad weather. You can change the date  that you’re given if it’s not suitable for your schedule. You will not be able to claim for any out-of-pocket expenses if you’re driving test is cancelled by the (DVSA) because of bad weather.

Problems with you or your car

You will have to book another test and pay a fee again if your test cannot take place or be completed because of a problem with you, for example, if you feel unwell while taking your test. Your car, for example, if it breaks down during the test or does not meet the rules to be used.

If your test is cancelled for another reason

Sometimes the DVSA has to cancel driving tests for other reasons, for example, if the examiner is unwell. If this happens you will be sent a new date for your test. You can change the date if it’s not suitable. You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if DVSA cancels your test at short notice.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us and we will help with any questions you may have.

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