Learning to drive is a big investment both in terms of time and money, you will have spent hours with your driving instructor, possibly even been driving with a family member or friend as well as studying and passing your Theory and Hazard Perception tests. When your instructor tells you that you are ready for your practical test we understand that this can be both exciting and nerve-wrecking. You should be confident in your abilities as our instructors will never put you forward for your test until we believe your are ready. We have helped hundreds of people pass their test over the years and below as some of our tips.
Preparation on the Day of the Test
Get everything read in advance, make sure if you need them you have your glasses, your provisional licence, theory test certificate and any other paperwork you may need. We would also suggest wearing comfortable clothing and footwear. Be prepared, make sure you are not tired and have had something to eat and drink prior to your test.
Your Local Driving Test Centre
Your practical driving test lasts around 40 minutes and will usually be at your local driving test centre. On the day of your test your instructor will pick you up before your test and you will drive to the test centre, for most people we would recommend that you book a driving lesson immediately before your test, just to run through key elements and to help calm your nerves.
The first part of your test is the eyesight test, you will be given three chances to read a number plate from a distance of 20m, if you fail to read the number plate the test will finish.
The Practical Test
There are two sections to the driving test, the first section focuses on various manoeuvres and the second is the independent driving test, where you will be asked to follow a set of directions or follow the road signs to a location.
These can include turning right, emergency stops, roundabouts, traffic lights, reversing around a corner and parking. Your instructor will have helped you perfect these, during your test go at your own pace keeping in mind your instructors guidance.
The Independent Section
The examiner will ask you to follow street signs to a location or use a sat nav to follow directions to a specified location, this part of the test usually lasts for around 20 minutes. This part of the test assesses if you can drive safely and follow the correct procedures. You may or may not be familiar with the area but take you time, go at your own pace and remember what your instructor has taught you. If possible prior to your test your instructor will help you to familiarise yourself with the roads surrounding the test centre.
“Show Me, Tell Me”
The vehicle safety section or “Show Me, Tell Me” questions confirm that you have basic knowledge of vehicle safety. These questions can be asked at any point during your test. Questions can include things should as where you would find information on tyre pressures for the car, where the windscreen washer reservoir is located and how to test the indicators are working correctly.
The Result : Pass or Fail
Think positive during your test, your instructor has confidence in your abilities so follow their guidance. During the test the examiner will give you points for minor or major errors, you are allowed up to 15 minor errors before you fail, or one major error. If the examiner thinks you are too dangerous for the road and may put other road users at risk they will abandon the test.
A lot of students pass their test with no faults and we hope you will be one of those. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have put together some of the most common faults that are made : lack of observation, not using your indicators at the correct time, having a lack of control or awareness.