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The practical driving test

All those driving lessons have been leading up to one thing…your driving test.  But what will it involve? 

We have prepared a guide to what to expect on the day of your driving test allowing you to concentrate all your efforts on your driving.  Your Roadwise driving instructor will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

On your arrival to the test centre you will be introduced to your driving examiner.  They will take you to the car you will be using for the test. Your test starts with an eyesight check.  (See our section on learner drivers and the law for more information).  If you fail the eye sight check you will not be allowed to continue with the test and will fail.  Once you have completed the eye sight check your examiner will ask you 2 questions about carrying out vehicle checks.  Following successful completion of the eye sight check and the vehicle check questions you will be ready to begin the driving section of the test.

The practical driving test last for around 40 minutes and takes part on public roads.  The driving test is designed to establish whether you as a driver can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions and whether you know the Highway Code and that you can demonstrate this through your driving.    During the driving test you will be examined on your general driving ability and your ability to reverse your car safely.  You will be asked to undertake 2 exercises from the 3 below, only one of which will involve reversing.
  • Reversing around a corner
  • Turning in the road
  • Reverse park
You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Independent Driving
The driving test changed on 4 October 2010.  The Government’s commitment to reducing the number of collisions involving new drivers has led to the introduction of an independent driving section of the test.  During a 10 minute period of your driving test you will be required to drive on your own without continual direction from your examiner.  You will be required to drive either by following a series of directions or following traffic signs, or a mixture of both. 
For example, your examiner might say, “I want you to take the 2nd right, then the 1st right, 2nd left and finally the 2nd left.”  Confused?  Don’t worry.  If you forget the instructions when you start driving you can always ask your examiner to repeat the directions.  You may even be shown a simple diagram of the road layout which should help you picture what you are being asked to do.  An example of driving while following traffic signs might include you being asked to drive to the nearest bus station.  You don’t need to have a good geographical knowledge of the area.  You simply have to follow the sign posts directing you to the requested location.  Finally, your examiner may use a mixture of the two methods outlined above during your independent drive.  Remember you are not being examined on your knowledge of the area.  It’s about demonstrating that you can make important decisions by yourself and more importantly, make decisions safely.  
Your Roadwise driving instructor will make sure you are well prepared for this part of the test.  For more information on the independent drive section of the driving test click here.

During your test try and remain calm.  Just drive as you have been taught to do by your instructor.  Concentrate on what the examiner is asking you to do.

Tip:  If you worry about remembering which side is your left or right why not wear a bracelet or a ring on your left hand.  All you have to worry about know is remembering if the bracelet or ring is on your left or right hand.  If you make a mistake during the test try not to worry about it.  You are allowed 15 minor faults during the test and it may be that you have simply committed a minor fault.  If you accumulate more than 15 minor faults or commit a serious driving fault during the test you will fail. 

Taking someone with you
You are allowed to bring someone with you during your driving test.  This can be your driving instructor or a friend/relative.  Some people like to take a friend or relative for support but it’s entirely your choice.  If you take your driving instructor with you they will be able to advise you on areas for improvement whether you pass or fail your test.  Once you have made it back to the test centre the driving examiner will advise you whether you have passed or failed your driving test.  They will also provide you with feedback on your drive.  Try not to be too disheartened if you fail.  Many learners fail first time.  Learn from the mistakes that you made.  Your Roadwise instructor will work with you to sort the areas which have been identified before you take your re-test.

Using your own car
If you use your own car to sit your practical driving test, be sure to check with the DSA that your car make/model is not subject to restrictions due to manufacturer re-calls.