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An Overview of the Practical Driving Test

Once you have had enough driving lessons and feel confident in your abilities, the next stage is to take your test. The practical side of this is by far the most nerve wracking but each individual test follows the same set pattern which means you can prepare for it quite confidently. The practical is there to test your driving ability and not to spring any surprises.

This side of the driving test should take about an hour in total, including 40 minutes of driving on the roads around your test centre. When you arrive, you’ll meet your examiner and show them your pass certificate for the theory test and your provisional driving licence. If you do not have these, you will not be able to take the test.

The practical test has five parts:

  1. Testing your vision: You will be asked to read aloud the number plate of another vehicle from the distance of 20 metres. If you cannot read it, you will fail your test immediately.
  2. Car maintenance questions: You must answer two questions about vehicle safety. There is a ‘show me’ question where you must physically show the examiner how you would, for example, find out if your indicator lights are working properly. A tell me question would be explaining to the examiner how you would do something, for example, how you know if there was a problem with the engine. Your driving instructor will have been through all these with you and there are no trick questions to worry about.
  3. Your ability to drive: Once you have completed the above successfully you will be allowed to get into the car. The examiner will give clear instructions and score you as you drive, noting down any issues. Part of this will include pulling over to the side of the road and then driving away again. It may also include demonstrating how you would stop suddenly during an emergency.
  4. Manoeuvres in reverse: You will be instructed to perform one of the three main reverse drive actions. This will be either reversing around a corner, turning your car in the road or parking by driving into a space in reverse.
  5. Driving independently: You will be expected to drive independently for about 10 minutes following directions. This is not a test of your navigation skills so don’t worry if you choose the wrong turning.

How You Are Scored

The examiner is there to spot any errors while you driving, for example, not using your mirror enough or failing to indicate when turning. There are three different types of error:

  • One where you are putting yourself or others in harm’s way, for example, you try to overtake another car at the wrong moment.
  • One which could be dangerous in certain circumstances, for example, you forget to indicate when you pull out into a road.
  • Small mistakes that aren’t dangerous. If you continue to make the same mistake, however, it can become a serious fault. An example would be not leaving enough space between you and the car in front of you.

To pass your test you are not allowed to make any errors in the first two categories but are allowed 15 small mistakes.

Once you have finished the test, the driving examiner will let you know the result of your driving test and you will either have passed or failed. If you have passed they will give you your certificate and you have the option to have your new licence sent to you automatically. This should take about 3 weeks at the most. You can drive from the day after you have passed your test even if you are waiting for your physical licence.

For great driving instruction in and around Manchester contact Freeway Driving School today for great rates, and sensible, experienced, friendly instructors to get you driving as quickly as you are able.