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Practical Test Facts The practical test is about making sure that those who pass are competent and safe in the basic skills of driving. Before you take it, indeed before you book it, you will have to take and pass the theory and hazard perception.
You MUST take to the test centre:Your valid provisional driving licence, including the paper counterpart if you have a photo-card licence
Your theory test pass certificate.
If you have kept your practical test confirmation letter, then take this also, just in case a problems arise with the computers at the centre.
If you are using your own car, not your driving instructor's, you will need to fulfil further requirements. You can read all about these here taking the driving test is your own car.
If you can't find any of the documents you need you must phone the DSA as soon as possible. If you arrive without the required documentation your driving test will be cancelled and you won't receive a refund.
Glasses: if you need to wear glasses to drive, don't forget them, as you can't legally drive without them.
Practical Driving Test PreparationTraditionally, you will have a driving lesson an hour or two before taking your practical test. This is always a good idea, as it gives you a chance to settle into the car and run through any points you are concerned about.
Like when taking any exam, arrive at the test center in plenty of time, at least ten minutes before your appointment time. You may have to wait to park and you may need to use the toilet. You may also need time to relax and mentally prepare yourself for the exam ahead. A calm attitude is much more likely to get a positive result than a rushed one.
At the Start of the Test At the start of the practical test, the examiner will come out and call your name. You will then be asked to read and sign the insurance and residency declarations while the examiner inspects your documentation. If all is in order, you will then be asked to walk to your car.
Eyesight Test Before getting to your car, the examiner will ask you to stop and read a new style number plate at a 20m or an old-style number plate at a distance of 20.5m. If you fail to do this, the exam will go no further, you will fail.
Show Me and Tell Me Questions At the car, the examiner will ask you two questions from the show and tell question bank. To see all the show me, tell me questions and answers. Fail to answer either question correctly and you will score one minor fault.
The Driving Part of the Test The examiner will now ask you to get into the car and prepare yourself for the driving part of the practical test. Get in and perform a brief cockpit drill. As you have used the car to drive to the test centre, the examiner won't expect you to alter anything but they will expect you to make a visual check to make sure everything is as it should be. Don't forget to put your seatbelt on.
The examiner will then give you the following instructions:
'During the test I would like you to follow the road ahead at all times, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise, or I ask you to make a turn, which I will do in good time. When you are ready, move off.'
You should now start the engine and move off. To be successful and to pass, you must drive safely and demonstrate through your driving that you have a sound knowledge of the Highway Code. Don't worry if you make a mistake, keep calm and continue driving. Unless you make a serious or dangerous fault, or make a less serious mistake a number of times, you won't fail the practical test. How the examiner expects you to drive.
The duration of the test will be up to 40 minutes and will cover a variety of roads and traffic situation. You will have to deal with roundabouts, crossroads, pedestrian crossings and where possible dual carriageways, rural and residential roads. Test centre's do have specific routes that they follow, but these routes are designed to include the widest range of driving possible in that area, and to give a consistent standard of testing across the whole country.
You will have to perform one manoeuvre:
turn in the road
reversing round a corner
You may also have to perform an emergency stop.
If you come to a junction or roundabout and the examiner gives you no instruction, you must follow the road ahead, for example go straight ahead at a roundabout.
If the examiner gives you an instruction which you are unsure about, ask them to repeat it.
Independent Driving The practical now includes a section called independent driving. Its aim is to assess a candidates ability to make their own decisions whilst driving. For a detailed description see our independent driving page.
To Pass The Practical Test: You must drive:
Without committing any serious or dangerous faults
Without committing more than 15 driving errors of a less serious nature.
Dangerous Driving Faults: a fault that results in actual danger. Commit such a fault and you will fail the practical test.
Serious Driving Faults: is when a potentially dangerous incident occurs, when the candidate reveals a recurring driving fault or fails to perform a reversing manoeuvre correctly. Receive a serious fault and you fail the practical test.
Minor Driving Faults: less serious faults, such as hesitating too long at a junction, faults that don't provide any immediate danger. Receive 16 or more minor driving faults and you will fail the practical test.
Top Ten Reason For FailingObservation at Junctions: Ineffective observation and judgment.
Reverse Parallel Parking: Ineffective observation or lack of accuracy.
Use of Mirrors: Not checking or not acting on what is seen.
Reversing Around a Corner: Ineffective observation or lack of accuracy.
Incorrect Use of Signals: Not cancelling or giving misleading signals.
Moving Away Safely: Ineffective observation.
Incorrect Positioning: At roundabouts or bends.
Lack of Steering Control: Steering too early or too late.
Incorrect Positioning: When turning right at junctions and in one-way street.
Inappropriate Speed: Going too slow or being hesitant.
Provisional Driving Licence
You cannot have driving lessons or drive a car on UK roads until your provisional licence has been accepted and is in your possession.
You must be 17 years of age for the licence to be valid (16 years old if you receive the highest rate of mobility allowance).
You can apply for the provisional licence up to two months before your 17th birthday. See DVLA for full information on costs and relevant forms.
Book The Practical Driving Test
It's advised not to apply for the practical driving test until your driving school tells you that you are ready.
You cannot apply for the practical test unless you have taken and passed the theory test.
The waiting time for a practical test can range from two to 12 weeks.
Saturday & weekday evening driving tests are available at some driving test centre's.
Evening exams are available during the summer months only.
You can book the practical driving test:
Online: with the DVSA. To book a practical test you will need a valid UK driving licence number, theory test pass certificate number and a valid debit/credit card.
By Phone: using your credit/debit card. The person who books the test must be the cardholder. You will be given the date and time of your test immediately. Call 0300 200 1122 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Welsh speakers telephone 0300 200 1133. Northern Ireland: booking and enquiries 0845 6006700. When you phone you will need:
Theory test pass certificate number.
Driver number shown on your licence.
ADI code number.
Unacceptable days or periods.
If you can accept a test at short notice.
Disability or any special circumstances.
You will be given a booking number and sent an appointment card with details of the time and date of your test.
By Post: Apply for the practical driving test by filling out form DL26 (postal application for a practical appointment) obtained from: theory and practical centre's, an Approved Driving Instructor, The National booking line on 0870 010 1372, or downloaded from the DSA link above.
The Practical Driving Test Costs £62.00 if you take the test on a weekday or £75.00, if you take the test over the weekend. You will not get a refund if you fail.
To Cancel Your Practical Test To cancel you must give at least 3 working days notice, not counting the day the DSA received your request and the day of your driving test. Check the cancellation date on your appointment card. If you don't give enough notice you will lose your fee.
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