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About the UK Driving Test

The U.K. Driving test is to ensure that anyone that has a licence is competent and safe driver that is aware of the rules of the road. Approximately 10 people die a day in driving related accidents.

When you arrive at the test center to take your driving test, your examiner will ask to see your theory test pass certificate and the photo card and paper counterpart of your signed valid UK provisional driving licence. If you do not have this documentation you will be unable to take your driving test. You will then be asked to sign an insurance declaration to declare that you are insured to drive the car you are using for the examination for test purposes, and a residence declaration to declare that you are a resident at the address that you have provided. If you do not sign the declarations you will be unable to take your driving test

Once the documentation has been signed and checked, your examiner will accompany you to your car. Your examiner will then ask you to read a number plate from a distance of approximately 20.5 metres away. If you cannot read the number plate then you will be unable to take your test. If you require spectacles/contact lenses then you should wear these for your test. If you are unsure if you require spectacles/contact lenses then visit your optician for an eye test prior to your test. If you cannot take your test then your money will not be refunded.

Your examiner may then ask you 2 of the show me tell me questions. If you answer either of these questions, or both of these questions wrong then it will count as one minor fault.

You will then be ready to get into your car. It is advisable that you get familiar with the car prior to taking your test in it, ensure that you know where the indicators are, and that everything is in the correct position for you, i.e. the driver's seat, the mirrors and so on, make sure you make these adjustments before starting the engine. Hopefully it will be the car you have been taking your lessons in. Driving in an unfamiliar car can be very different from what you are used too, especially if you go from driving a car with power steering to a car without power steering for example. If you are not driving the car you learnt in then it is advisable to practice driving in it prior to your test.

You will now be ready to start the practical driving part of the test. Your driving test examiner should use the same terminology as your driving instructor, but if you are unclear on anything they ask you to do then ask for clarification, you will not lose any marks for asking.

The driving test will last for about 35-40 minutes and you will be expected to drive in a variety of road situations, sometime at speeds of up to 70 mph. You should be prepared for this from your driving lessons, however if you do not feel safe driving at these speeds that tell your examiner that you do not feel safe. This may lose you points, but it is better to be safe then to take the risk, especially as it could put not only you and your examiner in danger but other road users. You will also be expected to perform 2 reversing manoeuvres as well as an emergency stop.

The pass rate for the UK Practical Driving test is 43%

Common Reasons For Failure

  • Bad observation at junctions
  • Reverse parking/Reversing round corners, inaccuracy or lack of observation
  • Not checking your mirrors enough
  • Moving away safely, lack of observation
  • Bad positioning of the car at roundabouts or on bends
  • Giving misleading signals
  • Steering too early or too late
  • Driving too slow or being hesitant
  • Nerves
Driving Tests are nerve racking for most of us but it is important to try to not let nerves get the better of you. You should have taken enough lessons to feel comfortable performing all the manoeuvres required to pass your driving test. If you do fail, inform your driving instructor of the areas where you need to improve and schedule some more lessons. Do not rebook your test straight away; it is worth spending the time to take more driving lessons to ensure that you will pass the next time you take the driving test.

Pass criteria for U.K. Driving Test

You must complete the test without:
  • Major: Getting any serious/dangerous faults.
  • Minor: Getting more than 15 driving faults.
© 2009