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 Driving Practical Test


Here is a guide to what is required when you take your practical driving test.

It is necessary to have passed both components of the theory test before sitting this exam. Passing the practical test then entitles one to hold a full UK driving licence. The practical driving test can be taken in either a manual car or an automatic car; if taken and passed in an automatic, the full licence granted thereafter will be an automatic licence only. You will need to bring with you on the day of the test, your theory test pass certificate, and your provisional driving licence. Current practical driving test is £62 or £75 at weekends, evenings or bank holidays.

Before getting to the car, the examiner will ask the you to read a car's number plate at a distance. The distance required is 20.5 metres for an old-style plate (A999 AFC) and 20 metres for a new style plate (LT16 JVX). If the candidate needs glasses to do this then these must be the ones worn whilst completing the rest of the test. If you fail to read the first number plate correctly, then the examiner will ask you to read a second number plate. If you cannot correctly read the second number plate, then the examiner must use a tape measure to measure the correct distance between you and a third number plate. If you cannot read the third number plate, then you are deemed to have failed and the test will not continue.

The test will last about 38 to 40 minutes. The object of the test is to ensure that you are well grounded in the basic principles of safe driving, and sufficiently practised in them to be able to show, at the time of the test, that you are a competent and considerate driver and are not a source of danger to yourself or to other road users. An eyesight check (see above) will be carried out in the test centre and the drive itself will incorporate about 20 minutes of independent driving on various roads (not including motorways) and in varying traffic conditions  and with the examiner giving you directions that you should follow. You will be asked to complete one manoeuvre


  • parallel park at the side of the road

  • park in a parking bay - either by 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 around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic

and you may have to carry out an emergency stop. You will also be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:

  • normal stops at the side of the road to the left 

  • pulling out from behind a parked vehicle

  • a hill start

These will be the sort of things you would have been practising during your lessons or accompanying driver i.e. parent or partner

The ‘show me’ safety question

This question will be asked whilst  you are driving. It can be asked at any time during the test, including during the independent driving part. The examiner will ask the question in a location which gives you enough chance to demonstrate the safety check. Here’s the instruction they will give to you.

The ‘tell me’ safety question

This will be carried out at the driving test centre prior to going out driving on the road

Independent Driving

The examiner will ask you to pull over before starting the independent driving part of the test. At this point, the examiner will select and start the route if it's using a sat nav. Only 1 in 5 tests will be following traffic signs, and not directions from a sat nav. You can ask to have the voice giving directions to be turned off if you wish. If you have special needs, the examiner will be able to make reasonable adjustments.

You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

  • directions from a sat nav

  • traffic signs (10 minutes)

The examiner will tell you which you have to do.

Following directions from a sat nav device

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up for you. You cannot follow directions from your own or instructors sat nav device during the test.

Going off the route

Your test result won’t be affected if you take a wrong turning, unless you make a fault while doing it. The examiner will help you get back on the route if you do.

If you can’t see traffic signs

If you can’t see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees or road markings are faded), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.



Pull up on the right manoeuvre

If another vehicle pulls up behind the car and stops you  from reversing back, the manoeuvre won’t be completed. The examiner will ask you to drive on, and another exercise will be carried out later in the test. If a vehicle pulls up in front, the exercise will continue.

Parking in a Bay

The examiner will ask you to park in a bay. They'll ask you to either:

  • reverse in and drive out

  • drive in forward to a left or right bay and then reverse out 

Here’s the instruction they’ll give to drive forward into a parking bay.


You DO NOT need to park in a bay where there are vehicles in adjacent bays, and you CANNOT drive through a first parking bay, and then park in a bay directly in front of that. When you reverse out, you cannot drive into any bays behind.

If you make mistakes during your test

You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your test result if it’s not serious. The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Do not take your test until you are ready and confident. Your instructor is the best person to know when the time is right. 

If you are not successful on the day of your driving test then re book your test onto another day as soon as possible, but remember you must leave 10 clear working days until you can actually sit the test itself.                                



GOOD LUCK from Links Driving SchooL

Source for above: DVSA GOV.UK

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