When are you ready to take your practical driving test?

You need to be able to demonstrate a safe and competent level of driving at all times. When you can confidently and consistently deal with all road and traffic conditions and complete each of the set piece manoeuvres first time, you are ready to take the driving test. Most importantly, you should be aware that you may pass the driving test! This means that you will be on your own from then on, no help or guidance from your driving instructor. When you feel confident to be able to do this – have a go

What can you expect on the day?

Whether you go for the driving test in your driving instructor’s car or your own car, the driving test will be conducted in the same way.

  • First you will be asked for your documents by the driving test examiner – you will need your driving licence (with photo ID if you have an older driving licence) and you will need to present your theory test pass certificate.
  • Then you will be asked to sign a declaration form stating that the vehicle is insured for your use on the driving test. This should not be a problem if using a driving school car.
  • You will be asked to lead the way out to your car. You may ask for your driving instructor to accompany you if you wish.
  • Before you get into the car, you will be shown a registration number plate to read at about 20.5m (67ft). If you cannot read the number, the correct distance will be measured and you will be asked again. If you still cannot read the number, the test will have failed the driving test and you will need your eyesight tested.
  • You will then be asked ONE” Show me – Tell me” question. A full list of the possible questions and the correct answers can be found by clicking here.
  • On successful completion of the show me tell me question, the driving test examiner will invite you to make yourself comfortable in the car while he notes down the car’s registration number and checks the car’s roadworthiness.
  • Once the driving test examiner gets in the car, he/she will explain the rules of the driving test to you.
    • Basically, follow the road ahead unless road marking or signs direct your otherwise. If he/she wants you to turn off to the left or right, he/she will give you the direction in plenty of time. If you do not hear or do not understand the direction given, simply ask them to repeat it.
  • The driving test will last for approximately forty (40) minutes and will include the following conditions
    • Urban roads and back roads
    • Main roads possibly of a higher speed limit
    • Dual-carriageways up to national speed limit (70mph)
    • Country roads up to national speed limit (60mph)
    • You will only be expected to perform one (1) of the set piece manoeuvres on the test
      • Park on the Right and Reverse
      • Reverse Parallel Park
      • Reverse Bay Park
      • Forward Bay Park (followed by reversing out)
      • There is approximately a one in four chance of having to perform an emergency stop. This is NOT conducted on every driving test.
    • At several points during the driving test, you will be asked to park in a safe place and then simply pull away again. Possibly on a hill or from behind a stationary obstruction.
    • At some point during the test the examiner will ask the SECOND show me tell me question.
    • There will be approximately 20 minutes of INDEPENDENT DRIVING using a SATNAV or following road signs.
    • At the end of the driving test, the driving test examiner will ask you to switch off the engine and will then inform you as to your success or failure.
    • Regardless of pass or fail, the driving test examiner will ask you if you wish the driving faults to be explained. This is always a good idea, especially if you have not passed, but even if you pass this may still be some useful advice.

How do you take the driving test in your own car?

Although I highly recommend using the services of a professional driving instructor, it is not necessary to use a driving school car for your test. If you are planning to use your own or a family member’s car, you MUST make sure of the following:

  • The car MUST be roadworthy, and preferably clean inside and out.
  • The car MUST be insured for your use.
  • Seatbelts MUST be properly fitted, front and back.
  • Although dual-controls are not required, you should provide a rear view mirror for the driving test examiner to use. You can get these with suction pads from any car accessory shop.
  • The car MUST be displaying L-plates front and back.
  • Finally, please be sure to fill up with fuel before arriving for the driving test!

What happens if you pass?

When you successfully complete the driving test, you will be given a driving test pass certificate. This will need to be sent, along with your provisional driving licence, to the DVLA who will issue you with a full UK driving licence. The price of a full licence is subject to change, so check with the driving test examiner or your driving instructor.

You CAN drive before your full driving licence arrives, but it is a good idea to make a photocopy of your driving test pass certificate in case you are asked!

What happens if you fail?

If the worst happens you will need to take the driving test again. You must wait a minimum of ten working days before attempting the driving test again. You can, if you need, take the driving test an unlimited number of times before finally passing. Just be aware that your theory test pass certificate expires after two years from the date of issue!

If you were unhappy with the result and feel the driving test was not conducted fairly or properly, you may appeal. Ask your driving instructor for advice on this. In very rare cases a free retest may be given but the driving test examiners decision is final and will stand.