THE DRIVING TEST
The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars. However, remember that if you pass your test in an automatic you’re unable to drive a manual (unless you go on to take a manual test), but if you pass in a manual you’re also qualified to drive an automatic.
The test lasts for between 38 – 40 minutes and is separated into 5 parts.
THE EYESIGHT CHECK
You need to be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres, for vehicles with a new-style number plate, OR 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate. New-style number plates start with two letters followed by two numbers, eg AB51 ABC. You should wear glasses or contact lenses if you need them (as you always should when you’re driving).
You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check and the test will end.
‘SHOW ME, TELL ME’ QUESTIONS
You’ll be asked two vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety checks.
YOUR GENERAL DRIVING ABILITY
You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.
The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes aren’t published, so you can’t check them before your test. If there is anything that you’re asked to do that you’re unsure of ask the examiner for clarification.
Pulling over at the side of the road
You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
- Normal stops at the side of the road
- Pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
- A hill start
You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.
REVERSING YOUR VEHICLE
The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:
- Reverse around a corner
- Turn in the road
- Reverse park – either into a parking bay or parallel park at the side of the road
This section of the test will involve you driving for between 8 – 10 minutes following either, traffic signs, a series of verbal directions or a combination of both. The examiner can show you a simple diagram to help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions. You are not allowed to use a Sat Nav.
If you can’t see traffic signs
If you can’t see a traffic sign (i.e. because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one, however, if you’re unsure ask the examiner for clarification.
Forgetting the directions
You can ask the examiner to confirm the directions if you forget them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction.
Going off the route
Your test result won’t be affected if you go off the route, unless you make a fault because of it. The examiner will help you get back on the route if you take a wrong turning.
If you make mistakes during your test
JUST carry on if you make a mistake, it may not affect your result if it’s not serious. The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.