If you’re curious about what happens during a UK driving test, you’re not alone. It’s typical to be apprehensive or concerned about the intricacies of this pivotal moment in your journey towards gaining vehicular independence. However, knowledge is indeed power, and understanding each part of the process can help alleviate some of those pre-test jitters. Once you know exactly how the driving test pans out, it should not only seem less intimidating but also offer you a framework on what to focus on to ace it.
Theory Test: First Step
Before getting behind the wheel for a UK driving test, the first obstacle to surmount is the Theory Test. It includes two parts: multiple-choice questions and hazard perception, both conducted on a computer at a dedicated test centre. The multiple-choice section quizzes you about road signs, highway code rules and safety protocols while hazard perception assesses your ability to identify developing hazards while driving.
Document Check at Start
On your practical driving test day, before you even get into the vehicle, the examiner will check your paperwork. You need to bring your provisional licence and theory test pass certificate. In case of failing to present these documents, your test will be cancelled without refund.
To determine whether you can see well enough to drive safely, an eyesight check is undertaken. Make sure that you can read a car number plate from 20 metres away with or without corrective lenses; otherwise, there could be severe consequences including immediate disqualification of your test.
Show Me, Tell Me Subsection
“Show Me, Tell Me” is an integral part of the driving test where the examiner poses two vehicle safety questions – one ‘show me’ question where you will need to show how to undertake a safety task, and one ‘tell me’ question where you explain how you would carry out another safety task. Incorrect answers will count as a minor fault.
The Independent Driving Portion
You must do roughly 20 minutes of independent driving. Following either traffic signs or a satnav, it is designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions independently. The route cannot be chosen by you, but getting momentarily lost or taking a wrong turn won’t get you failed unless it leads to a critical mistake.
Regular Driving Aspect
Apart from the independent driving section, the remaining part of your test, usually around 30 minutes, sees the examiner directing you around varied roads and traffic conditions. You’re expected to show competent handling of the vehicle in all situations following proper road regulations and courtesies.
Manoeuvres to Demonstrate
You will be asked to demonstrate one manoeuvre out of three possible – parallel parking at the roadside, parking in a bay (either driving in and reversing out or vice versa), or pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for two car lengths then rejoining traffic.
Emergency Stop Practice
In one out of every three tests approximately, candidates will be asked to perform an ’emergency stop’. The examiner tests your alertness and control by asking you to stop as quickly yet as safely as possible when they give a signal.
During your UK driving test, faults are categorised into two: minor and major. Minor faults are allowed up to 15 in number; any more or even one major fault signifying potential serious danger could lead to failing the test.
End Result Declaration
The examiner will tell you the result of your driving test once it has ended and you are both parked safely. If you have passed, you get a pass certificate, furthermore, you can ask for feedback on your faults to improve and learn. In case of failing, do not get disheartened – request feedback to help prepare better for the next attempt.
Sending Off for License
If successful on your UK driving test, the DVLA will be notified. They will send you your new full UK driver’s license by post. This automatic process saves paperwork and post-test administrative duties so that you can focus on enjoying and mastering your newfound freedom.
Reflecting and Learning
No matter whether you have passed or are required to retake the test again, it is an experience to learn from. Make sure to go over any mistakes and better them next time. Most importantly, remember that having a licence does not equate to being an experienced driver, so stay safe and keep learning as you step into the world of driving.