HOW IS THE DRIVING TEST CONDUCTED?
You should arrive at the test centre approximately ten minutes before the commencement of your test and wait in the test centre waiting room- have your license at hand and if you have a mobile phone, be sure to turn it off.
The examiners will enter the waiting room at the time of your test and one of them should call out your name. You then will be asked for your driving license and will be asked to sign a declaration that the car being used for the driving test is fully insured. The examiner will then ask you to show him to your car.
Having introduced him or her to you on the way out of the test centre, the examiner will first conduct an eyesight test by way of asking you to read a number plate at the designated distance of 20.5 meters. If you cannot adequately read the number plate at this distance the examiner will not take you on test, so it is vitally important that you are sure your vision is satisfactory. Your driving instructor will check this for you on your first lesson.
Once you have completed the eyesight test, the examiner will ask you two basic maintenance questions from a list.
For one of the questions he will ask you to tell him how you would check something to do with your cars maintenance. This of course only requires a verbal answer.
For the other question he will ask you to show him how you would do something; this requires you to physically show him.
If you fail to answer either one of the questions successfully you will only be penalised with one minor driving fault.
Once you have completed the maintenance questions, you will be asked to get in your car (if you are not so already) whilst the examiner logs the car’s details and checks that all the tyres comply with the legal requirements. ( note: If you are using your own car for the test, the tyres have to be well over the legal limit of 1.6mm tread depth with no cuts or bulges in the side wall of the tyre. Your car also has to have a head restraint and attachable a rear-view mirror for the examiner and standard L plates both front and rear).
Once inside the car, the examiner will explain in brief how the test will be conducted and that he would like you to follow the road ahead, via road markings and road signs, unless indicated otherwise. (Therefore if you approach a mini-roundabout for example during the test and the examiner remains silent, this means that you should follow the road ahead).
He will then ask you to start the car when you are ready and the driving test will begin. You will set out of the test centre and embark upon one of carefully planned out routes. The driving test will last for around 35-40 minutes, during which you cover a variety of typical road and traffic conditions and will be asked to complete one set vehicle manoeuvre. There is also a one in three chance of being asked to perform an emergency stop. The examiner will record your progress throughout the test on the DL25A driving test report form.
This covers the categories that the DSA examiner will be considering whilst observing your driving ability, ranging from all the aspects involved in smoothly controlling a car (e.g. clutch, gears, steering etc.), to how you deal with various junctions, observational skills, reaction to other road users, through to all your manoeuvres etc.
You are allowed up to fifteen minor faults. However, if you are to accumulate three or more minor faults in the same category then the examiner is likely to deem this a habitual problem and so it can amount, at his or her discretion, to constitute a serious fault and result in failure.
You are not allowed any serious or dangerous faults on the driving test; one of either will result in failure.
Also if the examiner feels that you are a real danger to other road users then he or she can terminate the driving test at any moment throughout its duration.
Independent driving became part of the practical driving test in Great Britain on 4th October 2010.
It’s tasking you to drive for about 10 minutes, either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.
To help you be clear about where they’re going, the examiner can show you a diagram too.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if they go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers.
You now only have to do one reversing manoeuvre on the Driving test instead of the two previous to Independent Driving.
You will still need to practice all the manoeuvres because the Examiner on the day will decide which one you should do.
Length of tests and test prices has not changed.
The aim of independent driving is to test your ability to drive unsupervised, and make safe decisions without guidance in unfamiliar driving situations; therefore, you cannot use satellite navigation aids (sat nav).
You can ask for a reminder of the directions while doing the test and the examiner will confirm them to you.
If you go off the independent driving route it won’t affect the result of your test unless you commit a driving fault.
If you go off the route or take a wrong turning, the examiner will help you to get back on the route and continue with the independent driving.
If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign – you won’t need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.
WHAT IS A MINOR, SERIOUS OR DANGEROUS FAULT?
If we take as an example turning right from a major road into a minor road, it should clarify how they judge the severity of a particular fault.
Minor fault: Approaching to turn right from a major road into a minor road, you are looking ahead for oncoming traffic and can see it is clear. You follow the MSPSL routine: checking your mirrors effectively, indicating at an appropriate distance, positioning just left of the centre line, slowing down to an appropriate speed and selecting the correct gear. Before turning you have a careful look into the road to ensure it is safe and clear, yet as you steer into the road, you slightly cut across the corner of the wrong side. This would usually amount to a minor fault as although your positioning was incorrect, due to possibly turning too soon, you had ensured the road you were entering was clear of traffic.
Serious fault: Take the same example but imagine that before turning you hadn’t looked into the road to ensure it was safe and clear. It would be only down to luck that there hadn’t been a car and so it would be deemed potentially dangerous.
Dangerous fault: Again, imagine the same as the serious fault where you hadn’t looked effectively into the road you were entering, but this time there was a car and the examiner had to take evasive action to prevent a collision.
If you pass and have a photo card driving license issued after the 1st March 2004, the examiner will ask you if you would like your full license issued to you automatically. The examiner will take your old license from you and you will be given a pass certificate as proof that you have passed.
Your full driving license will then be sent to you by the DVLA within four weeks.
If you have a license issued to you before 1st March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate are instructions regarding how to go about obtaining your full license.
If you fail, your examiner will explain that they are sorry, but that you haven’t reached the required standard for the driving test. He or she will then offer you feedback and ask whether you would like your instructor to listen in. This is always a good idea as you may find that through nerves and disappointment you will fail to adequately take on board all the information accurately.
You will also be given a copy of the driving test report form detailing your driving errors.
You can book another driving test immediately but will not be able to take another test within 10 days of your original test.
You may worry, what with such long waiting times at particular test centres that you will have a long wait before being able to re-take the driving test. Not necessarily. All the time people cancel their driving test date appointment for a number of reasons, not least because they realise that they have not reached the required standard in time.
When they cancel their date, it will become available for you to pick up. This happens a number of times every day and so if you are regularly checking, you will be able to change your time to the earlier option.
You are allowed to do this a number of times before losing your fee.
THE 10 MOST COMMON REASONS FOR DRIVING TEST FAILURE
• Observation at junctions – ineffective observation and judgement.
• Reverse parking – ineffective observation and/or a lack of accuracy.
• Use of mirrors – not checking or acting upon information.
• Reversing round a corner – ineffective observation or lack of control and accuracy.
• Incorrect use of signals – giving misleading signals or not cancelling after use.
• Moving away safely – ineffective observations.
• Incorrect positioning on the road – particularly at roundabouts or bends.
• Lack of steering control – steering too early or too late.
• Incorrect position to turn right – at junctions or in one-way streets.
• Inappropriate speed – travelling too slowly or with too much hesitation.