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What should I expect on a Practical Driving Test?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 03:07 PM
posted by ABL

The day of  your driving test can be a nerve-racking  experience for anyone – myself included. The key to passing your driving test is to try and remain calm, controlling your nerves as much as possible and staying focused on what you need to do. After a few deep breaths, then it’s time to put all those driving lessons you’ve had into practice.

Now, before you’ve even stepped into the DSA test centre it’s important to remember to bring your photo driving licence (both parts) and your theory test pass certificate with you, as these are need for identification purposes and failure to provide them will result in you not being allowed to take your test. When your allotted test time is due, you will be greeted by your test examiner. They will then ask you to sign for the test and whether or not you would like your driving instructor or accompanying driver to come with you on your test; this is to put some learner drivers at ease and is an opportunity for instructor’s to monitor your overall development and provide you with feedback, although most learners don’t feel this is necessary.

The overall test itself lasts an average of 40 minutes, it sounds like a long time but believe me, it goes by really quickly. You’ll firstly be asked to do an Eyesight check and some ‘Show Me Tell Me’ questions (safety vehicle questions) before the actual driving test commences. Now comes the practical driving test (approximately 30 mins)

It’s really important to listen to your test examiner but, don’t feel alarmed if you get something wrong as you can simply ask the examiner to repeat him/her self (they won’t bite…honestly). In the event that you take an incorrect turning or ‘mess something up’, it’s ok, but make sure you correct it and the examiner might mark you down with a minor fault but, will see that you have realised your mistake and corrected it.

The driving test is designed to give you a realistic driving experience during various road and traffic conditions. You will be asked to drive independently for a duration of about 10 minutes so, you have to follow your examiners directions as well as the traffic signs along the way. 

During your test the examiner will ask you to perform one of three driving manoeuvres, these are selected at random and can include any of the following:                                                                                                            

    •       Parallel parking                                                                            

    •      Turning in the road (3 point turn)                                                    

    •     Left-hand reverse

You will also be asked to pull over a number of times to perform, what’s affectionately known as a Controlled Stop. You will be asked to pull over to the left in a safe place and then, to safely move off again. Your examiner may also ask you to carry out an Emergency Stop (1 out of 3 tests require this), so good practice beforehand is essential.

To achieve a pass you will need to drive to the legal required standard, with no more than 15 driving faults (minors) and no serious faults (majors) whatsoever. If you achieve a pass you’ll be able to legally drive but, do bear in mind that this is just the beginning of your driving journey and safe driving should always be your first priority when behind the wheel.

That said, driving can be a fun experience, enabling you to become more independent and visit many wonderful places. We wish you the best of luck with your practical driving test and always remember to have fun but stay safe : )


Practical Driving Tests are moving closer to home

Monday, July 11, 2011 @ 12:07 PM
posted by ABL

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) recently announced as of June last month that it plans to adapt its driving test delivery, by trialling its services (practical driving tests more specifically) in more local venues such as, local authority buildings, hotels, leisure centres as well as using its existing test centres.

Now do bear in mind that this is only a trial process we’re talking about, but having the option to take your practical driving test in a local  and more convenient location is surely a good thing. The familiar problem facing some test candidates, is ‘Where do I book my driving test’? and having to deal with the hassle of negotiating the locality of their chosen test centre and its surrounding test routes (which are miles away is some cases).

This is all very well but as a learner driver, you want to have the convenience of selecting a test location that is a little closer to home, why wouldn’t you?

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning in his statement said "I want us to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live.

"Our aim is to provide a more local service that is both convenient for candidates and cost effective".

I couldn’t agree more with this decision, as it provides learner drivers with more choice and enables instructors and test examiners to be more widespread and flexible.

The first of these trials are going to be rolled out across seven UK locations, starting with Ashford, Ayrshire, Dumbarton, Louth, Warrington, Wiltshire and at a soon to be decided location in Wales.

Several things are still yet to be known, but as long as the quality of the driving tests is maintained and the examination certification is rigorous and uncompromised, then these will be exciting times for learner drivers, Instructors and examiners alike. More options are becoming available for customers and this is a clear indication of positive changes are still to come. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

Please let us know your thoughts about this issue and leave your comments/questions below –

Keep safe : )