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The Practical Driving Test

The Practical Driving Test

Pass your Practical Driving Test first time with ELITE Driving School!

Your ELITE instructor will cover a detailed syllabus of lessons based around The National Standards for Learning to Drive to ensure you are fully prepared to be a safe, confident, responsible and independent driver.  You will also be fully ready for your driving test, whether it be at Croydon, Mitcham, Reigate, West Wickham, or any of the other driving test centres within our catchment area.

To book your Practical Driving Test make sure you use the official Government website

The practical driving test is changing on 4th December 2017.  The following explanations are inclusive of these changes.

The Practical Driving Test involves you driving for around 40 minutes on various road types and conditions.  The new test is the same length of time as tests pre 4th December 2017.

The most common question we are being asked is 'Why are the changes to the driving test being made?'   The simple answer is that road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.  They count for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19 years.  Most fatal collisions happen on rural or high-speed roads.  Therefore the DVSA want to see candidates spending more time on these roads during their driving tests, proving they are fully prepared to drive on their own.  The changes to the manoeuvres, meaning there will no longer be a turn in the road or reversing around a left corner, mean that examiners won't need to spend a dispropotionate amount of time on quieter roads.  The revised manoeuvres can be carried out more naturally during the test.   All of these changes bring the learning to drive and testing process in line with The National Standards for Learning to Drive.  These are the guidelines and framework that all learners' lessons should be structured around. 

Eyesight check

The first part of the test is staying the same, and involves the examiner asking you to read a vehicle number plate at a distance of 20 metres (new style plate) or 20.5 metres (old style plate) to check your eyesight. Not being able to read the number plate at the required distance will result in the distance being measured out accurately by another examiner before you being allowed to try a second time. Failing to read it on a second attempt will result in a serious fault being recorded and the test terminated before you even sit in the car, and your test fee lost. An eyesight check is the first thing that your ELITE instructor will do with you on your first lesson, so please make sure if you wear glasses or contact lenses that you bring them with you on your first and every driving lesson. For more information on the eyesight test click here

Show Me / Tell Me Questions

Instead of being asked two safety questions at the start of the test, you will now be asked one simple 'tell me' vehicle safety question at the start of the test. These include how to check that the vehicle lights are working and how they are operated, how to open the bonnet and check the engine fluid levels, and how to operate and check various other items and controls on the vehicle.  You will be asked another 'show me' question during some point of the drive, such as 'when safe to do so, show me how you clean your front windscreen using your screen washer'.  This can happen at any point during the test.

You will receive a driver fault mark for each question answered incorrectly.  

To view these questions in full with a full explanation of the answers click here.

Your instructor will go through the questions with you in more detail, and familiarise you with the controls of the particular type of vehicle that you are taking your lessons in, and therefore you will be taking your test in.

Reversing Manoeuvre

Throughout the drive you will be asked by the examiner to perform one of the following exercises:

  • Forward parking into a bay in a car park, and reversing out 
  • Reverse parking in and driving out of a bay in a car park
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic
  • Parallel park at the side of the road behind a parked vehicle

For these exercises you will be required to deliver smooth and accurate operation of the controls of the vehicle, whilst carrying out effective observations to ensure that you and everyone around you are safe through planning and risk assessment.  Note that the DVSA still recognise the turn in the road and left reverse manoeuvres as valuable manoeuvres to learn to help develop these skills.  

Emergency Stop

1 in 3 candidates may be asked to perform an emergency stop.

For this exercise the examiner will pull you over at the side of the road and explain that shortly he / she will be giving you a signal to stop the car (this signal varies, but each examiner will demonstrate the signal they will give). Once they have given you the instruction they will then ask you to drive on again as normal before shortly giving you the signal.  

As soon as they have given you the signal to stop, you will need to demonstrate that you can stop the car as quickly and safely as possible (as if a child had run in front of the car) and under full control.

Independent Driving

For twenty minutes, around half of the test, you will be asked to drive independently.  This has increased from ten minutes as from 4th December 2017.  During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.  The sat nav will be pre-programmed and set up by the examiner.  Therefore you will not be expected to touch the device.  If you are not sure of the instruction being given by the device you will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation.  This is not a test of your navigation skills, and if you do not follow the exact route you will not receive a fault mark providing you are safe in the route you take.  The device or examiner will help with directions to get you back on route.

One in 5 driving tests won't use a sat nav, and you will instead be asked to follow traffic signs towards a certain destination, the same as tests pre 4th December 2017.