The Practical Driving Test
The driving test is designed to see if you can drive safely, know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving. It will start with an eyesight check. You must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres. If you can't, you will fail the test.
From 4th of December 2017, one "Tell Me" question, will be asked at the beginning of the practical test, while the "Show Me" question during the driving section of the test, the examiner will get you to pull up, and ask you, to demonstrate a "Show Me" while on the move. You can view the questiosn here.
The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving, including when you are carrying out the set exercises.
You will have to perform one of the following reversing exercises:
- parallel park at the side of the road
- park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner. This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes - roughly half of the test.
During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route - the examiner will do this for you.
You can’t use your own sat nav during the test - you have to use the one supplied by the examiner. You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a driver error while doing it.
One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way.
The purpose is to assess your ability to drive safely whilst at the same time having to make your own decisions in order to reach your target destination. This includes for example deciding when it's safe to pull over and ask for directions. Your result will not be affected unless you commit a driving error, even if you go off the independent driving route.
The cost of taking the practical test is £62 if taken on a week day and £75 if taken over the weekend.