Practical Driving Test
The standard practical driving test costs a DVSA test fee of £62 weekdays, £75 Weekends and bank Holidays, £124 for an extended test if ordered by a court plus the cost of the instructors time and is designed to see if you can drive safely on varying roads and in various traffic conditions whilst showing, through your driving, that you have a sound knowledge of the Highway Code (this is why it’s important to study the Highway Code for your theory test).
To pass the practical driving test you must commit no more than 15 driver faults and NO serious or dangerous faults.
On Practical Driving Test Day.
At the test centre the examiner will call your name and then check your documents (Photo card licence and theory test certificate or your non photo card licence and a passport and your theory test certificate) then ask you to read and sign a residency and car insurance declaration.
They will then ask if you want anyone to accompany you on your practical driving test this person will sit in the back of the car during your practical driving test (but must not make any contribution to the test) and may be with you after the test for the result and feedback (at the end of the test the examiner will ask if you want the accompanying person to stay for this). This person will usually be your driving instructor, but it could also be a relative or friend and must be 16 or over.
If you don’t want anyone to sit in on test you must consider letting your instructor be present for the debrief, as pass or fail, you will need advice on any faults committed.
The examiner may also be required to have a supervisor come along with you on test. This is to ensure the quality of testing and is carried out regularly to ensure standards are met and the testing is fair. They will be watching the examiner not you and will take no part in the test and cannot influence the result in any way. You must agree to the supervisor accompanying your test or your test could be cancelled and you would lose your fee.
The standard practical driving test will last about 38-45 minutes (a court can order an extended test after certain offences and this test is around 70 minutes). Throughout the test the examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.
At the start of the practical driving test, you will have to pass an eyesight check and be asked 1 vehicle safety question (commonly known as show me, tell me questions).
For the eyesight check you must read a car number plate from a distance of 20 metres for a new style number plate eg AB01XXX or 20.5 metres for an old style number plate.
If you have difficulty reading it is acceptable to write down what you see.
If you can’t pass the eyesight test you will fail instantly and the test will not continue any further.
The examiner will then ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you will have to show them how you would carry out a certain vehicle safety check, or one ‘tell me’ question, where you will have to explain to the examiner how you would do the check.
If you get this question wrong it will result in 1 driving fault being marked on the DL25 test marking sheet.
During the test.
During your test the examiner will give you directions that you should follow. You will drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive exactly as you would during a driving lesson.
The practical driving test will include:
- Normal stops
- an angle start (from behind a parked vehicle)
- a hill start
- one show me question whilst driving
And one of the following reversing exercises
- pull up on the right hand side of the road, reverse 2 car lengths, then safely return to the correct side of the road and drive on
- drive forward into a parking bay and, safely, reverse out
- reverse parking into a parking bay
- parallel parking behind another vehicle at the side of the road
An emergency stop is also carried out on 1 test in 3 (extended test will always include an emergency stop).
Your practical driving test will also include around 20 minutes of independent driving. It’s designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions on your own and can be following directions from a Sat Nav, a series of directions given by the examiner at the start of the independent section, following road signs to a destination or a combination of these .
This is not a navigation exercise so don’t worry if you forget where you’re going or make a mistake with route.
As long as whatever you do is carried out safely you will not be marked down and it is ok to ask again or confirm directions (as an example you would get marked down if you indicated right then turned left but not if you indicated left and turned left but the route was actually to the right).
If you make a mistake during any part of the test just try to forget it and carry on because if it’s not a serious mistake it might not affect your result.
Your examiner can stop and terminate your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.
The test isn’t as bad as some would lead you to believe. If you take the time and effort to prepare properly you should have no problem passing.