Solent School of Driving

The Driving Test Explained

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The Car Practical Driving Test

The driving test is straightforward and has been designed to see if you: 

Can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions
Know The Highway Code and can show this through your driving ability 

So long as you show the standard required, you'll pass your driving test. There are no pass or fail quotas. 

What you need to take to your driving test 
Documents you must bring

You must bring the following documents with you. If you do not bring the right documents: 

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) may refuse to carry out the test
You may lose your fee

For all types of tests
You must bring your theory test pass certificate (or confirmation) if you are not exempt
You must also bring both parts of your driving licence - the photocard and the paper counterpart.
If you have an old-style paper licence, you must take your signed driving licence and you must also bring a valid passport.

No other form of photographic identification will be accepted. 


The vehicle you use for your driving test
If your vehicle doesn't meet the rules:

Your test will be cancelled
You may lose your fee

Most learner drivers take their practical test in their driving instructor's car. However, you can take the test in your own vehicle if it meets certain rules.

Using a manual or automatic vehicle
You can take your driving test in either a manual or automatic vehicle. However, if you pass your test in an automatic you'll only get a Licence to drive an automatic.For driving test purposes:
Manual vehicles have three pedals – accelerator, brake and clutch
Automatic vehicles have two pedals

How to find out if you can use your own vehicle
If you want to use your own vehicle for your driving test, you need to check:

That it meets the rules on this page if it has a known fault that needs to be checked and fixed by the manufacturer before being used for a driving test

If your vehicle doesn't meet the rules
If your vehicle doesn't meet the rules, you can't use it for your test. If you take a vehicle that doesn't meet the rules:
Your test will be cancelled
You may lose your fee

The rules for vehicles used for driving tests
Don't forget
Your vehicle must be fitted with the following:
An interior rear-view mirror for the examiner
L-plates

The vehicle you use for your test must:
Have four wheels
Be capable of reaching at least 62.5 miles per hour (mph) or 100 kilometres per hour (km/h)
Be fitted with a speedometer that measures speed in mph
Have no warning lights showing - for example, the airbag warning light
Display L-plates ('L' or 'D' plates in Wales) on the front and rear, but not interfering with yours or the examiner's view
Have a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kilograms (kg)
MAM is the maximum weight of the vehicle including the maximum load that can be carried safely while used on the road. This is also known as 'gross vehicle weight'.

What the vehicle needs to have by law
The vehicle you use must:
Be appropriately insured
Display a valid tax disc
Be legal and roadworthy and have a current MOT if it needs one
Be a smoke-free environment

You cannot use a hire car that does not have dual controls for a driving test

What the vehicle must be fitted with for the examiner
The vehicle must be fitted with:
A seatbelt for the examiner
A passenger head restraint - it doesn't need to be adjustable, but must be an integral part of the seat as 'slip on' types aren't allowed
An interior rear-view mirror for the examiner to use - you can buy one from most car accessory stores

Using a hire car for your driving test
You can use a hire car for your test if it meets the following conditions:
It is fitted with dual controls
The vehicle meets all the other rules to be used for a driving test You cannot use a hire car that does not have dual controls for a driving test.

Different size wheels and tyres on same axle
The vehicle you use must have the same size wheels and tyres on the same axle, front or back. You can't take your test in a vehicle fitted with a space-saver tyre. 

Vehicles fitted with an electronic parking brake
You can use your vehicle for your test if it is fitted with an electronic parking brake.

Vehicle faults that need checking before a driving test
You need to check if your vehicle has a known fault that needs to be checked and fixed
You need to check if your vehicle has a known fault that needs to be checked and fixed by the manufacturer.

Vehicles that you can't use for your driving test
You can't use these cars for a driving test:
BMW Mini convertible
Ford KA convertible
Toyota iQ
VW Beetle convertible

Some vehicles don't meet the rules and can't be used for a driving test. This is because the vehicles don't give the examiner all-round vision.Generally they are:
Convertible cars
Panel vans

Makes and models of cars that can't be used
These makes and models of cars can't be used for a driving test:
BMW Mini convertible
Ford KA convertible
Toyota iQ
VW Beetle convertible 

Before you start the driving ability part of your test
Before you start the driving ability part of your test, you'll have an eyesight check and be asked two vehicle safety questions.

The practical driving test eyesight test
How the test works
You have to correctly read the number plate on a parked vehicle - you get up to three chances to get it right
At the start of the practical driving test, your driving examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle.You'll have to read the number plate from a distance of: 
20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
New-style number plates start with two letters followed by two numbers, for example AB51 ABC.

Vehicle safety questions: 'show me, tell me'
You'll be asked two vehicle safety questions. These are also known as the 'show me, tell me' questions.The examiner will ask you one 'show me' question, where you'll have to show them how you'd carry out a vehicle safety check. You'll also be asked one 'tell me' question, where you'll have to explain to the examiner how you'd carry out the check.For example, the examiner might ask you to identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell them how you'd check the windscreen washer level.If you give the wrong answer for one or both questions, you'll be marked with one driving fault.

The driving ability part of your driving testIf you make a mistake
Don't worry if you make a mistake - it might be a less serious driving fault and might not affect your result
The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

Your general driving ability
During your test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. You'll drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive in the way your instructor has trained you.You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Your ability to reverse your vehicle safely
You'll be asked to complete an exercise to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will choose one exercise from:
Reversing around a corner
Turning in the road
Reverse parking - either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

Independent driving section of the driving test
Your driving test will include around ten minutes of independent driving. This is designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions independently.

If you make a mistake during your test
If you make a mistake, don't worry about it as it might be a less serious driving fault and might not affect your result. However, if at any time your examiner considers your driving to be a danger to other road users they will stop your test.

Your driving test result
Your result You'll pass your test if you make:
15 or less driving faults
No serious or dangerous faults

When the driving test has ended, you can call your instructor over if they didn't go with you on your test. This is so they can listen to the result and feedback with you. The examiner will:tell you whether you passed or not explain how you did during the test

The different types of faults that can be marked
There are three types of faults that can be marked: A dangerous fault - involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
A serious fault - could potentially be dangerous
A driving fault - not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault 

The pass mark for the driving test
You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test. If you make 16 or more driving faults, you won't pass your test.If you make one serious or dangerous fault, you won't pass your test.

If you pass your test
If you pass your test the examiner will give you a pass certificate. They will also ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically. Once you have passed you test you can start driving straight away - you don't need to wait for your full licence to arrive.

What the New Drivers Act means for youIf you have just passed your first driving test, the New Drivers Act means you’re ‘on probation’ for two years. If you reach six or more penalty points in that time, you’ll lose your licence. Then, you’ll have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence. This means you’ll be a learner driver again. 

www.solent-driving.com
email:
kevin@solent-driving.com

Kevin O'Neil Crowley D.S.A. A.D.I (Car)
Registered Office: 10 Marine Gardens, Selsey, CHICHESTER, West Sussex, PO20 0LJ
Telephone: 01243 603112, Mobile: 07913 551489