he practical driving test includes an eyesight check, safety questions, and about 40 minutes of driving which will include a section of independent driving. You can prepare yourself for these by reading the information below.
The test will include an eyesight check (if you fail this, your test will not continue). The eyesight test requires you to read a number plate that is a certain distance away.
After the eyesight test you will be asked two vehicle safety check questions.
Vehicle safety questions
These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.
The examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you’ll have to show them how you’d carry out a vehicle safety check. You’ll also be asked one ‘tell me’ question, where you’ll have to explain to the examiner how you’d carry out the check.
For example, the examiner might ask you to identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell them how you’d check the windscreen washer level.
If you give the wrong answer for one or both questions, you’ll be marked with one driving fault.
As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems. These inform the driver of the state of the engine, fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or Tyre pressures.
What happens during the test?
During the driving test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test, the examiner will ask you to carry out set exercises.
Throughout the test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it, it might be a less serious driving fault and may not affect your result.
You will then be examined on your general driving and on one reversing exercise. The reversing exercise will be chosen from:
Reversing around a corner
Turning in the road
Reverse parking, either on road or into a parking bay
You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.
The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving. You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.
Independent driving explained
Examiners give candidates step-by-step instructions during the test, apart from a section where the candidate will be asked to drive independently. For all other parts of the test, candidates will still get step-by-step instructions.
In the independent driving section of the test, you’ll have to drive independently by either following:
A series of directions
A combination of both
To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show you a diagram.
After the practical test
When the driving test is over, you can call your instructor over (if they didn’t go with you on your test) so that they can hear the result and feedback with you. This feedback is beneficial for your ongoing development whether you have passed or failed.