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The driving test for provisional drivers is 40 minutes and includes the following:

  • An eyesight check - candidates need read a new style number plate from 20 meters
  • Two vehicle safety questions - widely known as “Show Me, Tell Me”
  • Driving in a variety of road and traffic situations.
  • One of the following manoeuvres:
  1. Driving forward into a parking bay and then reversing out.
  2. Reversing into a parking bay and then driving forward out.
  3. Pulling over on the right hand side of the road, reversing back and then rejoining the traffic.
  4. Reverse parking between two cars (parallel parking)
  • Independent driving for approximately 20 minutes. This is where the candidate is asked to use a sat nav or follow the road signs as specified by the examiner.
  • Controlled stop, also known as the “Emergency Stop”. This can only be performed if it is safe and convenient to do so, therefore not every driving test will involve this. Where possible, the examiner will ask the candidate to pull over and will then introduce the next exercise as the controlled stop. Contrary to popular belief, the examiner doesn’t just randomly shout “STOP!” at any given time throughout the test, without prior warning... The candidate is always pulled over and told about it first.
  • Stopping in a safe a convenient place, then moving off safely. This is performed several times throughout the test and on one occasion the candidate will be requested to move off safely from behind a parked vehicle, this is known as an “angled start”.

Driving test cost and availability

The driving test costs £62 and must be booked at www.gov.uk or by calling 0300 200 1122. If you book through any other means then you are likely to be paying an additional booking charge through a rouge third party agent.

To avoid disappointment always check your driving instructors availability before booking your driving test appointment.

At busy times it is advisable to plan well ahead as waiting times for driving tests may be in excess of 3 months.

Presenting yourself for a driving test

Driving instructor’s have the right to refuse to take a candidate for a driving test if s/he feels that the candidate is not yet a safe driver. Where candidate’s liaise well with the driving instructor and accept their professional opinion then the candidates driving test will be scheduled accordingly, and so driving instructor refusal is uncommon. If refusal occurs then this is normally due to the candidate not liaising with the instructor and thus booking a driving test for a completely inappropriate time-scale. The driving instructor and the DVSA accept no responsibility for losses incurred in such situations.

On the day if your driving test you must be fit and well to drive and not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and must not be on prescribed medication that may cause drowsiness or the inability to drive.

You will need to present your provisional photocard driving licence and your theory test certificate. If you hold an old style paper licence then you will also need to bring your passport. Please see here for further information on documentation.

Candidates must be able to read a new style vehicle number plate from 20 meters (20.5 meters for old style number plates), the examiner will ask you to do this at the beginning of your driving test. If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to do this then you must also wear them throughout the test and in all future driving.

You will be offered the opportunity to have your driving instructor accompany you on your driving test and this is entirely your choice. Some candidates find it a comfort to have their instructor on board whereas others can’t think of anything worse! Driving instructors do not take offence when candidates decline their presence on driving tests, so make sure that you only take your driving instructor if it makes you feel at ease.

Passing Your Driving Test

At the end of your driving test the examiner will tell you that you have passed and will ask for your provisional driving licence. You will be given a pass certificate and the examiner will send your provisional licence to the DVLA for processing. You will receive your full licence in the post within a few weeks. Your pass certificate will act as your driving licence in the meantime and you are therefore legally permitted to drive solo as long as the vehicle is appropriately maintained, taxed and insured.

If you don’t pass....

It is helpful to have your driving instructor listen to the debrief as your examiner will offer to explain the reasons why. There is no limit on how many times you can take a driving test, so don’t panic. Even if it takes you several attempts to pass the test then don’t worry as you will get there in the end. Nerves play a big part on driving tests so it may simply be that you need to calm down.

You are not permitted to take a re-test within 10 working days of your last test, but seeing as waiting times for driving tests appointments exceed this then it doesn’t seem to have any impact. You will be able to go to www.gov.uk and book your next driving test straight away. Use the time wisely until to your next driving test to gain more experience and further your knowledge.

As well as practical driving lessons you may wish to find some video’s on www.youtube.com as this is free and offers a wealth of information. Observing the road from the passenger seat and discussing road situations with the driver is another source of information that is often overlooked. If you can get any practice with family/friends then this can be good experience too, but this involves you being insured, which can get expensive.

If you are determined to be a safe driver and pass your driving test then no matter how many attempts at the driving test you take then you will reach your goal in the end, practice makes perfect!

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