What to Expect on Your Practical Driving Test

It’s a big moment, your practical driving test. You’ve probably been preparing for it for months, with many hours of lessons behind you. But now the big day is approaching, and it’s both exciting and scary. Because although you kind of know what to expect, you don’t really know how it’s going to be. So, in this blog, we’re going to talk you through your driving test day, and take away all of that mystery.

What Will Happen on Your Practical Driving Test?

There are three main parts of a UK practical driving test.

Eyesight check

The first part of any practical driving test is the eyesight check. This is to make sure that you can see well enough to drive safely. The benchmark here is whether or not you can read a car number place from 20 metres away.

If you can, it’s on with the test.

If you can’t, then that’s your driving test over. You’ll have to rebook after you’ve visited an opticians.

Show me, tell me

Next, it’s time for the show me, tell me questions. Here, your examiner will ask you to demonstrate your basic understanding of vehicle safety.

So, you will be asked one ‘show me’ question, such as: When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

And one ‘tell me’ question, such as: Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted, so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

Practical driving

For your practical driving test your examiner will select one of a number of predetermined test routes. And you will be asked to perform the following.

  • 20 minutes of independent driving. This will usually involve following directions from a satnav, but occasionally examiners will ask you to follow road signs instead. The important thing to remember here is that if you miss a sign or a turning, don’t panic. Acknowledge it to your examiner and ask if you should take the next turn instead. As long as you are driving appropriately and acting according to your signals, you shouldn’t be marked down.
  • Roadside parking. Your driving lessons should have fully prepared you for this part of your test, where you will be assessed for your typical roadside stops, hill starts, and the ability to pull out from behind a parked car
  • Other manoeuvres. You will also be asked to perform one of three common manoeuvres, including bay parking – and reversing out. Parallel parking at the side of the road. And pulling up on the right-hand side of the road before reversing around two car lengths, and re-joining the traffic.
  • Emergency stop. Not all driving tests include an emergency stop test, but they are a common feature, so be prepared.

What do you have to achieve to pass your driving test?

There is really no such thing as a faultless driving test. But if you are going to pass, you must not gain more than 15 minor faults. And any major faults will be classed as an immediate fail.

Minor faults include: an incidence of poor hand positioning, hesitation, stalling, using the wrong gear, inappropriate clutch use, poor steering, and looking away from the road when changing gears.

It’s important to be aware that if you continually exhibit the same minor fault, this can be classed as a major fault.

Major faults include any action that has the potential to be dangerous, such as: poor observation, manoeuvring without signals, lack of awareness of other drivers.

Your driving test can feel like a really scary deal. And it’s natural to experience nerves in the run up to it. But if you take your time and prepare well, there’s no reason to panic. That licence will soon be yours.  

And remember, if you’re still unsure, just ask your instructor. They’re always there to help you out.

If you’d like to book a mock driving test in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, please get in touch with DGN.

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Thomas Baugh

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