The practical driving test is straightfoward and has been designed to see if you can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions and to know the Highway Code and can show this through your driving ability. The test takes approximately 40 minutes. The test starts with an eyesight test where the candidate is asked to read a car number plate at a distance of approximately 25 meters. If you fail this your test will not continue.

Your test will also include around 10 minutes of Independent Driving. This is designed to assess your ability to drive safely  while making decisions independently.

After the eyesight test there is the “Show me, Tell me” section where the examiner will ask some basic maintenance questions such as identifying the oil level dispstick and explaining how you would check that the level is acceptable.

You will then be examined on your general driving and One reversing exercise. The reversing exercise will be chosen from reversing around a corner, turning in the road (formerly know as the three point turn), parallel parking and reversing into a parking bay, also during the test you may be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

You can make up to a maximum of fifteen driving faults (non serious) and still pass the test, sixteen or more results in failure as does one serious or one dangerous fault. Examiners do not have any pass or fail quotas (a common misconception).

A Dangerous fault is actually dangerous, a Serious fault being potentially dangerous, and if a driving fault ( non serious) is made throughout the test it will then become a Serious fault.

The ten main reasons people fail their driving test are:

  • Observation at junctions - Ineffective observation and judgement.
  • Reverse parking - Ineffective observation or a lack of accuracy.
  • Use of mirrors - Not checking or not acting on the information.
  • Reversing around a corner - Ineffective observation or a lack of accuracy.
  • Incorrect use of signals - Not cancelling or giving misleading signals.
  • Moving away safely - Ineffective observation.
  • Incorrect positioning on the road - At roundabouts or on bends.
  • Lack of steering control - Steering too early or leaving it too late.
  • Incorrect positioning to turn right - At junctions and in one way streets.
  • Inappropriate speed - Travelling too slowly or being hesitant.

But ultimately it is having the right amount of the correct practice that makes all the difference.