About your Driving Test

Don't forget to look at the Myths and Questions at the foot of this page !!

Your Practical Driving Test will start from your local test centre, you will need to bring a car with you, the examiner won't let you use his !!!  (Sounds obvious but people do turn up without a car.)
Most test candidates use their driving instructor's car.

You will start with an eyesight test at 20.5 metres.
You're then asked two 'show me - tell me' questions
You will be driving on the road for about 35 to 40 minutes.
You will have to do one manoeuvre (sorry, your test examiner chooses which one.)
You will have to do a period of Independent Driving.
You will have to complete an uphill start, an angled start and two 'normal stops'
You may have to do an Emergency Stop (emergency stops are now carried out randomly on one test in every three.)

To pass the test you will need to:

Drive in a safe, organised manner throughout the test.
Keep the car under control at all times
Follow the correct road procedures

Drive as you normally do on your lessons. Don't worry about making a fool of yourself on test (many people stress about this) have confidence in your ability. Remember also the examiner has seen it all before (and lots more besides;) I could write several books about all the strange, funny and downright unbelievable things that happened during my 22 years as an examiner.

See below for driving test myths and questions we get asked  

 

 The Examiner

Your Driving Examiner is employed by the Driving Standards Agency, the DVSA. They are are the government agency responsible for driver testing in Great Britain.

Your Examiner is specially trained to assess driving tests to a uniform standard. They conduct every test to a standard format, using the standard test wordings, so everyone's test should be the same.

The Examiner will give you feedback on your test at the end; remember this isn't a discussion on how the test went, it's feedback on mistakes you made, so it's no good trying to argue.

Examiners are regularly supervised by more senior Examiners. That's why you may possibly get a second, more senior Examiner sitting in the back of the car on your test. If this happens don't worry, it's the Examiner being watched not you. No, you can't refuse to have the second Examiner in the back.

There are male and female Examiners, but unfortunately you can't choose which Examiner you get. He/she will talk to you on test if you want, but if you'd rather keep quiet the Examiner will respect your wishes.

 

More Driving Test Stuff 

Your test starts when you sign the insurance declaration in the test centre waiting area. It finishes when the Examiner says "That's the end of the test."

Make sure you take your provisional driving licence with you, or the Examiner cannot conduct the test.

The Examiner is looking for a safe, organised standard of driving, following the standard road procedures.

 

Best of luck on your test.

 

Fiesta training car

 

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The Examiner wants you to pass; It's actually less work and no test reports for the examiner to write if you pass 


Your instructor can sit in the back on test if you wish, but he/she can't advise you when you're driving 

Useful test fact -
On the test, the examiner will use a DL25 driving test report form.
They use the same form for every kind of test DVSA conduct, so there may be items on the form that don't apply to your test, these include 'uncoupling & re-coupling exercise' or 'taxi wheelchair manoeuvre.' 

 Some myths and Questions we get asked

"Can the Examiners only pass a certain number of candidates during the day ?"

The old favourite question !!! No it's a total myth. Examiners are not allocated a number of passes, if you can drive to the required DVSA standard you'll pass. This old story is simply an excuse people use when they fail the test, "he failed me because he'd reached his quota of passes." No, you failed because your driving wasn't good enough !!!

"If you can't read the number plate is it classed as a cancelled test ?"

Actually no it's not recorded as a cancelled test. If you can't read the number plate the examiner will measure the minimum distance of 20.5 metres and if you still can't read it the examiner will record it as a fail. 

"I was told, if you drive too slow you will fail."

This is something I'm often told by pupils. and yes it is possible to fail your test for driving unnecessarily slowly when it's safe to make progress. However it's a subject regularly misunderstood by learner drivers.
The Examiner will expect you to drive at a speed appropriate for the road and traffic conditions at the time. Your job is to assess the road ahead, anticipate any problems and take responsibility for deciding whatever speed is suitable at that particular time. If it's safe for you to progress towards the speed limit you should do so, if it's not safe use your judgement and choose a suitable speed.

"I was told, on the reverse, if you touch the kerb you will fail."

This will depend on the situation at the time and how the kerb gets touched. If you shoot back out of control and bounce off the kerb the Examiner will consider this a serious loss of car control and you will fail. If you gently nudge the kerb with the car under control and taking effective observation, then correct the problem properly, the examiner may well consider it less serious.

"I heard if you fail the test you can appeal and get the decision changed"

Contrary to what many people think, you cannot appeal against the result of a driving test, you can only appeal against the conduct of the test. So if you write in saying "I think I should have passed" your appeal WILL be rejected. Your only grounds of appeal are if the test wasn't conducted properly to DVSA guidelines.

"My friend passed the test after only six lessons"

This is something I seem to be getting told more and more often by pupils. These claims are grossly unfair on normal learner drivers, they are usually made by people who are:
(a) Lying or exaggerating 
(b) Not mentioning the 25 lessons they had with their previous instructor - or
(c) Not mentioning the 40 hours practice they've had in their parent's car

My advice is always this - Don't look at the number of lessons you've had. Pay more attention to whether you are making progress in your lessons. If you're progressing nicely well done: If you're stagnant and don't seem to be getting anywhere - it may be time to change your driving instructor.

"I've read you can't fail the test for stalling"

Another popular misconception. Like we mentioned earlier with reversing, this will depend on the situation at the time and the effect on other road users. Repeated stalling demonstrates a significant lack of car control, also if you stall for example whilst emerging from a junction in the path of approaching traffic this would probably be considered serious.

"I only failed the test because someone pulled out in front of me"

Another old classic. No, you didn't fail because someone pulled out in front of you, you failed because either (a) your actions led to confusion prompting someone to emerge into your path - or (b) someone pulled out and you failed to react properly to the developing hazard. Clearly if someone pulls out and you do absolutely nothing about it this isn't safe.

"I've been told If you cross your hands on the steering it's an instant fail"

When assessing your steering the examiner will be looking for the effect of how you steer on your control of the vehicle. In other words if you're fully in control crossing your hands wouldn't be a major problem, however if crossing your hands causes you to lose control of the car that would be a serious fault.

"I was told you have to hold your hands at the ten - to - two position"

Again this is a control issue, you should hold the steering in the best position that enables you to be comfortable and maintain full control of the steering at all times, however you won't fail for simply not holding the wheel at ten-to-two. The examiner will be more interested in whether the car's under full control when you're steering than where you hold the steering wheel.

"I've read you're more likely to fail if you take your test in your own car."

I've seen this recently on some other websites and to be honest it's total rubbish, but it is a good way for instructors to ensure pupil's pay to use their car. If your driving reaches the required standard you will pass regardless of which car you use. However be sure to check your own car is roadworthy and legal before using it.

"If you've failed you can stop the test and get the examiner to drive back to the test centre"

Yes you can ask for the test to be stopped, but no the examiner won't drive you back to the test centre. Driving examiners are not permitted to drive the candidate's car, so if you stop the test it finishes there and then and the examiner will make his/her own way back to the test centre. Also it's wrong of you to assume you have failed, it's the examiner's job to assess the test and decide the result, so you should continue to try your best and complete the test.

Driving test facts (true stories instructor's hear)

"I came up to some traffic lights and they changed to red, I was a bit close so I carried on through and the examiner failed me.  On my next test I came up to the same lights and they changed again to red so I slammed the brakes on and stopped and the examiner failed me again." 

And rightly so !!!
Approaching traffic lights you should plan ahead and if the lights have been green for some time anticipate they are probably going to change and slow to a speed where you could stop safely if the lights do change. It's called awareness and planning !!

"On my last test the examiner stopped the test because he was scared."

Well I doubt he was scared, but examiner's do have the option of terminating the test if your driving or your actions are so bad he/she considers you are putting yourself, the examiner or other road users in danger.
Ensure your driving is at a good standard and you understand what you are doing before applying for the practical test.

"I only failed my last test on a minor mark"

How many times have I heard this one, lots !!!
I always find this a little worrying because there's clearly a big difference in what the Examiner (the expert) considers a serious fault and what the learner (the novice) considers serious. You cannot fail the test for just a minor fault. If the Examiner considered the fault serious enough to issue a fail, it means you have serious shortcomings in your driving that require further development.

"I only failed my theory test by one mark on the multiple choice"

I've heard this several times. Actually no the pass mark is only 43 out of 50, so you scored 42 and failed by EIGHT marks. Get your books out and do some more studying !!! 


If you have any question or stories please e-mail them to iansaddlers@aol.com