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Practical Driving Test

The Practical Driving Test is designed to show that you can demonstrate through your driving that you can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions, and that you know The Highway Code. The test consists of three parts, which are the Eyesight Check, Vehicle Safety Questions and the Driving Ability.

Eyesight Check

At the start of the Practical Driving Test, your examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle. Your examiner must be satisfied that in good daylight conditions, you can read a vehicle number plate at a minimum distance of 20 metres (or 20.5m for old style number plates). If you need glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate, that’s fine, however you must wear them whenever you drive. If you fail the eyesight check, your test will not continue.

Vehicle Safety Questions

Before you start the engine of your car, it is important to know that it is in good working order. You need to be aware of what you need to check, how to do it and how often to do it.

After your eyesight check, your examiner will ask you two questions about carrying out vehicle checks. You will be asked one ‘Show Me’ question, in which you will be asked to demonstrate how you would carry out a given safety check, and one ‘Tell Me’ question, where you will have to verbally explain how you would carry out a given safety check. Answering one or both questions incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded.

Advice and information on how to carry out vehicle safety checks will be given during your Practical Lessons, so that by the time you take your test, you will be confident and able to answer all the questions.

Examples of the types of questions you may be asked during the Show Me, Tell Me section of the driving test can be found on the DVSA YouTube channel: DVSA YouTube Videos

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Driving Ability

The Driving part of your Practical Test will last about 40 minutes, during which your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

The routes taken during your test will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test you will also be asked to complete an exercise to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will choose one exercise from:

  • Reversing around a corner
  • Turning in the road
  • Reverse parking – either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

Your Practical Driving Test will also include approximately ten minutes of independent driving, which is designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making independent decisions.

Driving Test Results

There are three types of faults that can be marked:

  • A dangerous fault – involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property.
  • A serious fault – could potentially be dangerous.
  • A driving fault – not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault.

You are allowed to make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test, but 16 or more faults will result in a fail. If you commit one serious or one dangerous fault you will fail the test, and if at any time the examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.