It’s a right of passage for almost everyone. The one test that every single one of us can potentially take. The driving test. How many times did it take you to pass? The test has changed a lot over the years. Do you think you would pass if you took it today? If you’re getting ready to take your test for the first time, are you prepared for what lies ahead? Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens on a driving test to help you get ready/make you feel relieved that you’ve already passed!

Before you start driving

The test starts before you even switch on the car. When you get inside the vehicle with your examiner, there will be a quick examination of two key things vital to driving: eyesight and car familiarity.

First, the instructor will ask you to read a licence plate on a vehicle 20 metres away. If you know you need glasses, you should be wearing them in the test. If you don’t and you can’t read the licence plate, then you will be failed. The examiner will also be looking at you to see if you’re squinting. If you are wearing glasses, it will be recorded on your licence that you must be wearing them to drive.

Once the eyesight check has stopped, you will be asked some ‘show me, tell me’ questions. The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions to demonstrate your knowledge of driving beyond the mechanical aspect. This can be a question like ‘tell me how you would check the lights are working on your car’, to ‘show me where the dipstick is’. Your driving instructor should have prepared you for this section.

During the test

The driving part of the test lasts 40 minutes. The examiner will ask you to drive around town, perhaps onto some A roads, but not onto a motorway. They will take you on busy roads and down side streets. There will also be a moment where the driver will ask you to pull over safely, before driving off again. This can happen several times, and will include a hill start.

The emergency stop that was the most famous part of the test before is no longer a definite requirement. The examiner may ask you to make one, but it’s not as big a part of the test as before.

The dreaded manoeuvres

There are three manoeuvres that the examiner can ask you to do. They can ask you to parallel park by the side of the road, to park in a parking bay (either driving in or reversing in), or to ask you to drive on the right side of the road facing traffic and to reverse safely before rejoining traffic. You’ll only have to do one and it’s up to the instructor. Asking them not to do one of the manoeuvres is not a good look.

You’re on your own now

At the end of the test, you’ll be tasked with a 20 minute sequence of driving without the examiner’s input. This can either be taking directions from a sat nav to a specific destination, or to follow traffic signs to a destination. The examiner will have their own sat nav which they will set up for you. This is to see how you drive without the input of the examiner. Don’t worry if you take a wrong turning. The test is to see how you drive, not how good your sense of direction is!

Have you passed or not?

If you have less than 15 minor faults and no serious or dangerous faults, congratulations, you’ve passed! A the end of the test, the examiner will explain the faults you made. If you’ve passed, they will do a bit of admin and then begin processing your licence.

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