practical test explained

Practical Test Explained

You can book your driving test when you’ve passed your theory test.

To pass the driving test you must be able to:

  • drive safely in different road and traffic conditions
  • show that you know The Highway Code by the way you drive

 

From 4th December 2017, the practical driving test will be changing.

There will be 5 parts to the driving test:

  • an eyesight check
  • ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
  • general driving ability
  • reversing your vehicle
  • independent driving

The changes apply to the ‘show me, tell me’ questions, reversing your vehicle and independent driving parts of the test.

The test will be the same for both manual and automatic cars.

How long the test lasts

You’ll drive for around 40 minutes.

Eyesight check

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

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 20.5 metres 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.

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety tasks.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Your general driving ability

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

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes aren’t published, so you can’t check them before your test.

Pulling over at the side of the road

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

  • normal stops at the side of the road
  • pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
  • a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing your vehicle

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 (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic

Independent driving

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

  • directions from a sat nav
  • traffic signs

The examiner will tell you which you have to do.

Following directions from a sat nav

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up for you.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test.

Going off the route

Your test result won’t be affected if you take a wrong turning, unless you make a fault while doing it.

The examiner will help you get back on the route if you do.

If you can’t see traffic signs

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

If you make mistakes during your test

You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your test result if it’s not serious.

The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

 

Driving test faults and your result

There are 3 types of faults you can make:

  • a dangerous fault – this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • a serious fault – something potentially dangerous
  • a driving fault – this isn’t 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 – give the examiner your provisional licence if you want to do this

Apply for your full driving licence within 2 years of passing your test if you don’t want to get your licence automatically.

When you can start driving

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

Contact DVLA if your full licence hasn’t arrived 3 weeks after you applied for it.

If you don’t pass

The examiner will tell you what faults you made.

You have to book another test and pay again. You have to choose a date at least 10 working days away.

 

Using your own car for your test

You can take your driving test in your own car rather than your driving instructor’s if it meets certain rules.

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll have to pay again if your car doesn’t meet the rules.

Rules about the car

Your car must:

  • be taxed
  • be insured for a driving test (check with your insurance company)
  • be roadworthy and have a current MOT (if it’s over 3 years old)
  • have no warning lights showing, for example, the airbag warning light
  • have no tyre damage and the legal tread depth on each tyre – you can’t have a space-saver spare tyre fitted
  • be smoke-free – this means you can’t smoke in it just before or during the test
  • be able to reach at least 62mph and have an mph speedometer
  • have 4 wheels and a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kg

The MAM is the limit on how much the car can weigh when it’s loaded. It’ll be in the car’s handbook.

Things that must be fitted

The car must have:

  • an extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner
  • L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
  • a passenger seatbelt for the examiner and a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on type)

Dashcams and other cameras

You can use a camera fitted for insurance purposes, as long as it:

  • faces outside of the car and doesn’t film the inside
  • doesn’t record audio from inside the car

Manual and automatic cars

You can take the test in a:

  • manual car – these have 3 pedals
  • automatic or semi-automatic car – these have 2 pedals

If you take your test in a semi-automatic car you’ll only be able to drive automatic and semi-automatic cars once you’ve passed your test.

Hire cars

You can take your test in a hire car if it’s fitted with dual controls and meets all the other rules.

Vehicle features

You can use a car with:

  • an electronic parking brake
  • hill-start assist

Cars you can’t use

Some cars can’t be used in the test because they don’t give the examiner all-round vision.

You can’t use any of the following:

  • BMW Mini convertible
  • Ford KA convertible
  • Toyota iQ
  • VW Beetle convertible

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: