Practical Driving Test

Practical Driving Test

You’ve passed your theory and had ample lessons to make you a confident driver behind the wheel - it’s time to attack your practical driving test.

Despite feeling ready, however, it’s likely you’ll still be feeling fairly nervous; but don’t worry, this is normal. If your instructor has given you the go-ahead to book your test, there’s a good chance it’s because they believe you have what it takes to pass.

Booking your practical driving test

First things first: get the right website. Like your theory test, it’s important that you make life easier for yourself and only book through the official Government website. On there, you’ll need details such as the main number from your provisional driving license.

It’s advisable that you book your practical driving test at a time where nothing else will be on your mind to distract you. So, possibly best to take your test on a day where you’re not working or have other little jobs to take care of, if there is such a time.

Getting ready

It is imperative that even before you’ve left the house, you make sure you’ve got the following: your provisional driving license, your theory test pass certificate and, well, a car. That last one might sound silly, but you will need to do your test in either your instructor’s car or your own if it meets the rules. Most will do the test in the former.

Upon arrival you’ll go through the formalities of making sure everything is how it should be, then you’ll be asked if you wish to take anyone in the car with you. This person can be either your instructor or someone over 16 years old.

Practical Driving Test

Taking your practical driving test

Kicking off the test is an eyesight check and some vehicle safety questions that will usually entail in you showing the examiner where thing are in and around the car. Then it’s time to get out onto the road.

For the first 10 or so minutes of the test, your instructor will give you directions on where to go and will take you on a route to put you in various road and traffic conditions. This is where it’s important to drive as you’ve learnt to with your instructor during your lessons; keep alert, pay attention to road signs and remember that observation is key - so keep an eye on those mirrors.

Following this, you’ll be asked to perform one reversing exercise. This will see you have to reverse round a corner, make a turn in the road or reverse park. An emergency stop may also be asked of you.

The test then moves onto the independent section where you’ll be asked to drive to certain directions, accompanied by a diagram, and you’ll be expected to drive safely on your own accord. Don’t worry if you go the wrong way; this part of the test is all about your ability to drive safely to the pre-determined instructions, but you’ll not be marked down on navigation skills.

Practical Driving Test

Passing or failing your practical test

During your test your examiner will be marking you based on various factors. In terms of marks, it’s not a case of good, average, bad, it’s more about minor errors and major errors.

You are allowed to be given up to 15 minors during the practical test and still pass. As soon as you get a 16th, however, you will be given a fail. A single major fault for doing something seriously or dangerously wrong will also see you fail the test.

If at any time during the test your examiner believes you are becoming a danger to other road users, they will stop the test immediately. Assuming this doesn’t happen, you’ll carry on the test till the end and be told at the test centre whether you have passed or failed.

If it is a pass, congratulations: you are now a fully-licensed driver. Your green license will become a pink license once all the appropriate paperwork has been sent off to the DVLA; this is usually done by your examiner after finalising a few details after the test.

On the occasion that it’s not worked out and you’re given a fail, all is not lost; listen to the feedback from your examiner and keep it in mind for next time. While your test centre will likely be booked up for at least a couple of weeks anyway, you can’t retake your practical test for at least 10 days subsequent to failing.

Have a few more lessons and, with the help of your instructor, learn from any mistakes made and get booked in again.

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