Driving Test Explained

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The Practical Driving Test Explained


Taking your practical driving test: The practical test makes sure you can drive confidently and safely in different road and traffic conditions, and that you know The Highway Code (and can show this by the way you drive). It lasts about 40 to 48 minutes. Before you begin the driving part of the test, the examiner will do an Eyesight Check and will ask you a Tell Me Question about safety checks on your car. You’ll be asked a second Show Me Question (for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls) later, while you’re driving. Almost everyone gets nervous about their driving test: you’ve done months of preparation and you really want to pass. Here are some tips to help you: It might sound obvious, but don’t take your driving test until you’re ready. Lots of people fail the driving test just because they haven’t taken enough lessons to pass. There’s no point in taking the driving test until you’re driving instructor says you’re ready. You’re likely to waste your time and money if you take it too soon. Don’t worry if you think you should be making faster progress.


On average it takes people 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of practice with relatives to learn to drive.


Almost everyone gets nervous about something and everyone gets very nervous about their driving test. Who wouldn’t? The driving examiner knows you’ll be nervous and will do their best to put you at your ease. Remember, your examiner wants to make sure you’re safe on the road that’s all. They’re not trying to catch you out or they will not ask you to do the thing that will fail you. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, just ask. To pass your driving test, you’ll need to keep your nerves under control. Try these things to help: Don’t book your driving test at a time when you know other stressful things are happening, such as school exams. Make sure you try and get a few good nights’ sleep before your driving test you’ll feel more stressed if you’re tired. Avoid too much caffeine before your driving test: it might make you feel jittery and nervous. Arrive at the test center about 15 minutes before your driving test is due so you’re not hurried but you’re also not waiting too long. Talk to the examiner during the driving test if you want to but remember that they might not say much because they don’t want to distract you from your driving.


Be positive and be yourself: focus on passing your driving test rather than worrying about failing it.


Please remember to take the right things to the driving test. Imagine you’ve been preparing for months, the big day has finally arrived and you get to the driving test center only to realise you’ve left your driving licence at home. Over 4,500 driving tests didn’t go ahead between April and March because people either didn’t take the right documents with them or took an unsuitable car. Not only will your dreams of being able to drive later that day be dashed, but you’ll also have to wait again for another driving test. Make sure you’ve checked the list of what to take with you and that you’ve got everything with you on the day. If your examiner sees more than 15 driving faults during your driving test or one serious or dangerous fault, you’ll fail your driving test. If you fail, you’ll be sent by email a driving test report showing the faults you made, and your examiner will also explain to you why you haven’t passed. Although you’ll probably feel disappointed, listen carefully to the feedback because it will help you get things right next time. You can’t retake your driving test for at least 10 days, so make the most of this time.


When you pass well done! You can now get your provisional licence changed to a full licence. Your examiner will usually send your details to the DVLA so an upgraded licence can be sent straight to you by post. For more details about how to claim your driving test pass, see GOV.UK. Your examiner will give you feedback on your driving test. Remember to listen carefully to this.




There are 5 parts to the driving test:

1 = An eyesight check

2 = ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions

3 = General driving ability

4 = Reversing your vehicle

5 = Independent driving

The driving test is the same for both Manual and Automatic Cars



You’ll drive for around 40 to 42 minutes.



You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

20 meters for vehicles with a new-style number plate

20.5 meters for vehicles with an old-style number plate

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.



You’ll be asked 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 driving test, before you start driving.

‘Show me’ question while you’re driving.



You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.


The driving examiner will give you directions that you should follow.


Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.



You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:

Normal stops at the side of the road on the Left or Right

Pulling out from behind a parked vehicle and a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop



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

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



You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

Directions from a Sat-Nav

Directions from following traffic signs

The examiner will tell you which you have to follow.

They’ll set the Sat-Nav up for you. You cannot use your own Sat-Nav.


If you cannot see traffic signs

If you cannot see a traffic sign (because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.


Going off the route

The examiner will not give you a fault for taking a wrong turning.

They’ll help you get back on the route if you do.



You can carry on if you make a mistake.

It might not affect your test result if it’s not serious.



There are 3 types of faults you can make:

1 = A dangerous fault – this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property

2 = A serious fault – something potentially dangerous

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


Pass mark

You’ll 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 your test

The examiner will:

Tell you what faults you made, if any

Give you a pass certificate

Ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically


When you can start driving

You can start driving straight away when you’ve passed your test. You do not need to wait for your full licence to arrive.



You’re driving examiner’s supervisor might sit in on your test to watch your examiner’s performance.


If you refuse, your driving test can be canceled and you’ll have to book another driving test and pay again.



You can apply for your full driving licence as soon as you’ve passed your practical driving test.


If you have a photocard provisional driving licence, and you haven’t changed your name, your examiner will send your driving test pass certificate to the DVLA straight after you pass your practical driving test. Your examiner will also go through it.


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