Practical Driving Test
help and infromation on the practical driving test
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And so to the big event, the practical driving test.

You can book the practical driving test in 3 ways

  1. You can book online [Click here] to go to the web site. To do this you will need your provisional driving licence number, your theory pass certificate number and the date it was passed and a form of payment, either credit or debit card.

  2. By phone on 03002001122 again you will need your provisional driving licence number, your theory pass certificate number and the date it was passed and a form of payment, either credit or debit card.

  3. Or by post. You can get a form from your local driving test centre or by downloading [Click here], fill it in and post it to Driving Standards Agency, PO Box 280, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE99 1FP. enclosing a cheque made payable to Driving Standards Agency.

The current practical driving test fee for a midweek test is �62.00 and for a weekend or evening test �75.00

On the day of your test we will pick you up an hour before the test is due to commence and have an hour warm up driving lesson. We will practice manoeuvres and anything else you want. We will make our way to the test centre so that we arrive not sooner than ten minutes before the test time, park the car and go into the test centre waiting room with other test candidates taking their test at the same time.

At the appointed time a Driving Standards Agency examiner will come into the waiting room and call your name. He or she will ask for your provisional driving license, both picture card and paper counterpart, to verify that they are correct and that you are who you say you are. You will be asked to sign the top of the examiners test sheet to confirm that the car being used for the test is insured for the purposes of the driving test and that you are a British resident. Once he is satisfied he will ask you to lead the way to the car.

In the test centre car park you will be asked to read a number plate at a distance of 20.5mts (67ft) for the old style number plate and 20mts (65.5ft) for the new style number plate. If you can't read the number plate from the correct distance the test will not go ahead and you will lose the test fee.

When you reach the car the examiner will start the driving test with a vehicle check known as Show Me Tell Me. You will be asked one tell me question where you will be asked a vehicle safety check. For a list of all the questions you could be asked [Click here]. After the show me tell me the examiner will ask you to get into the car and make yourself comfortable and they will make a note of the vehicle registration number and do a quick inspection of the vehicle to ensure that it is road worthy.

The examiner will then join you in the car and make himself comfortable. The examiner will then ask you if you would like them to explain about the test, it will help to put your mind at ease, so say that you would like them to explain. The examiners explanation of the test will be something like this: "The test will last approximately 40 minutes. During that time you will be asked to drive on various roads and traffic conditions. You will be doing one maneuver and possibly a controlled (emergency) stop. During the drive I would like you to follow the road ahead unless traffic signs or road marking tell you to do otherwise or unless I would like you to do otherwise in which case I will give you plenty of notice. During the drive there will be a ten minute period of independent driving". For more information on the Independent Drive [Click here]. The test will then begin and you will be asked to drive from the test centre.

The key points you will be judged on are:-

  • Move away: Safely and under control from the side of the road, on the level, from behind a parked vehicle and if possible on a hill all with correct observations.
  • Emergency stop: promptly and under control.
  • Manoeuvres: Reverse parking (either in a car park into a car parking space, or on the road behind a parked car). Park forward into a car parking space, reverse out and move away. Park on the opposite side of the road and reverse 2 car lengths. All manoeuvres should be conducted with control and good all round observations with the correct response to other road users.
  • Use of mirrors: Regular checks to ensure that you are aware of the presence of other road users and act appropriately to their actions. Early use of mirrors should be made before signaling, before changing direction and before changing speed either slowing down or accelerating as part of the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine.
  • Use of signals: Appropriate and in good time to warn other road users of their intentions.
  • Response to signs and signals: Pupils should understand and be able to react to all traffic signs and road markings and react to signals given by police officers, traffic wardens, school crossing patrols and other road users.
  • Use of speed: Safe and reasonable use of speed according to road signs and speed limits, the road, weather and traffic conditions.
  • Following distance: A safe distance must be maintained from the vehicle in front in all road, traffic and weather conditions including stopping in queuing traffic.
  • Progress: Pupils must show that they can drive at appropriate speed for the road type and speed limit, density of traffic, weather and visibility. All hazards and junctions should be approached safely without undue hesitation, all safe opportunities to proceed should be taken.
  • Junctions: The correct procedure to be applied to all types of junctions with the application of the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine. The correct lanes and observation to be carried out and response to other road users demonstrated.
  • Judgement: You should not make any other rod user slow down, stop or swerve when meeting, overtaking or turning across other traffic.
  • Positioning: Correct position should be maintained at all times according to type of road, the direction being taken and the presence of obstructions such as parked vehicles.
  • Clearance of obstructions: Adequate clearance to be given to parked vehicles and other obstructions.
  • Pedestrian crossings: Pupils should be able to recognise and deal with, safely, different types of crossings.
  • Position for normal stops: Pupils should be able to choose a safe, legal and  convenient place.
  • Planning and awareness: You must show that you can plan ahead and anticipate the actions of other road users and drive with due care and consideration to other road users with special emphasis to venerable road users.

The examiner will mark any driving faults on the test sheet. You are allowed no more than 15 driving faults, no serious and no dangerous driving faults. Should you get more than 3 driving faults in anyone of the above criteria it may be classed as a serious driving fault as it will be seen as a bad habit rather than just a one off mistake.

  • A minor driving fault would be something like a missed mirror check, a badly timed signal or a slight deviation from the normal driving line.
  • A serious driving fault would be pulling out from a junction and causing another car slow down, putting a wheel on the pavement during a reverse around a corner or not using adequate observation whilst reversing into a parking bay.
  • A dangerous driving fault would be pulling of a junction and causing another to brake or swerve harshly (a near miss), driving through a red traffic light or driving too fast for the road, weather or traffic conditions. If the examiner considers that you are too unsafe to continue the driving test, they are quite within their rights to stop the test where ever you are and walk back to the test centre with you.

So how do you pass a driving test?

There's no secret. You just have to know how to drive and prove it to the examiner. All of the above criteria for the driving test can be condensed into one phrase. To demonstrate that you can drive safely, in control and with due care and consideration to other road users. This is what you are taught during your driving lessons. The current pass rate for driving test success is less than 50%. You need to be sure that you are ready before you go to test and that means you should be consistently driving on your driving lessons with little or no help from your instructor. Think of it this way, do you feel confident enough to drive through any major town or city, with no one sat next to you, be honest with yourself. Your instructor will give you all of the advice that they can. If we consider you to be dangerous, and you book your test against our advise, we are quite within our rights not to let you use our car for the test. This may sound harsh but we do have your, the examiner and other road users best interests at heart.

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