THE DRIVING TEST
After plenty of professional tuition, you will be guided by your instructor on when to book a practical driving test appointment. This can be booked via the internet or over the telephone. Please ensure that you inform your instructor immediately of your date, time and choice of test centre. On the day of the test you should arrive in good time (at least 10 minutes ahead of your appointment) and with both parts of your driving licence, photo and counterpart (if you have an old style licence, a current passport should also be produced), and confirmation of your appointment.
The driving test is an assessment of your ability to drive safely and lawfully. The test is comprised of three main parts:
- When you arrive at the test centre you will be asked to sign a declaration confirming that your car is suitably insured for the purposes of a driving test, your identity will be carefully checked and you will be given an eyesight test where you will be required to read a car number plate approximately from a distance of 20.5 metres. If you fail this eyesight test, you will be given another opportunity but with the precise distance firstly measured with the assistance of another examiner. Should you still fail, your test will not proceed and you will lose your test fee.
- At the vehicle, you will be asked two questions from the “show me, tell me” list, where you will have to demonstrate you knowledge of basic vehicle checks.
- Finally the drive itself, which will last between 38 and 40 minutes, where you must demonstrate your ability to control the car, obey the law and general road sense. Further details of this phase are set out below.
Move off safely and under control: You will need to demonstrate that you will give the correct observation before moving off and maintain control of the car. If this is on a camber, you should not allow your car to roll back.
Control: You will need to demonstrate smooth control of accelerator, clutch, gears and foot brake.
You must not over-rev the car, the clutch must always be used smoothly and gently with no jerking, the foot brake must be applied progressively, with no sudden or harsh stops. The gears must be used smoothly with the right gear for the right speed, with consideration for eco-friendly driving, and please remember that after each gear change the clutch must be let out to avoid coasting.
Hand brake: The hand brake or parking brake should be used when necessary, i.e. on a camber or on a hill or when stationary for more than a few seconds as a safety precaution.
Steering: When using the steering wheel the preferred is the pull and push system, where you feed the steering wheel through your hands. When making turns, you should ensure that you do not over-steer and go too close to the kerb or under-steer and end up on the wrong side of the road.
Mirrors: Remember, when making any change of direction in your car you must first consult your mirrors as it is essential that you are aware of what is behind or around you before making any movement, i.e. if you are turning left you must look in the middle and left side mirror and when turning right you must look in the middle and right side mirror. When slowing down or speed up you must look in all three mirrors. Please remember that you cannot make any safe driving decision without being aware of what is behind and around you.
Signals: These must be given correctly, i.e. if you are taking the 2nd road on the left you must not signal until you are at least half way past the 1st road. The definition of a well-timed signal is that other road users and pedestrians have time to react to your signal. Signals are necessary whenever there is someone who will benefit.
Clearance to obstructions: When passing stationary vehicles you must leave a safe clearance.
Response to signs and signals: You must always obey traffic signs, road markings such as “give way” and “stop” signs, yellow boxes and “keep clear” signs.
Traffic lights– Always obey traffic lights. Please remember that amber means “stop” unless unsafe to do so and green means you may go provided your way ahead is clear.
Traffic controllers: Sometimes a road will temporarily be controlled by police officers or traffic wardens. You must obey their signals at all times.
Other road users: You must always be aware of other drivers’ signals, such as indicators and brake lights, and react safely and sensibly to what you see. Always take special care with cyclists.
Use of speed: You must always be aware of speed limits and speed limit changes and obey them at all times. Please bear in mind that a limit is not a target and you must drive at a speed that is appropriate for the road and road conditions.
Progress: You must keep up with the flow of traffic, avoiding undue hesitancy and causing problems for fellow road users.
Undue hesitancy: When dealing with junctions, you should not be unduly hesitant and if you can see your way ahead and the road is clear you must proceed.
Following distance: When following other vehicles, the distance between you and them must be well within your overall stopping distance.
Junctions: When approaching a junction you must demonstrate a good knowledge of the MSPSL routine, remembering not to approach the junction too quickly or slowly, with proper observation, correctly positioning the vehicle for either a left or right turn, and not cutting the comer unless unavoidable because of parked vehicles.
Judgement: When crossing the path of other vehicles you must ensure that you do not cause the oncoming driver to adjust speed or position. When meeting other vehicles, you must follow MSPSL. You must not cause anybody to reverse back to let you throuuh and you should not block the road. When overtaking you should overtake only when safe to do so, with clear vision ahead and with full use of your mirrors, and when coming back to your normal driving position you should ensure you do not cause the car that you have overtaken to change its speed.
Positioning: During your normal driving routine you should be driving on the left, approximately 1 metre from the kerb where possible, and you must keep within your lane when driving on a dual
carriageway. Please remember that, dependent on the time of your test, bus lanes may be in operation and, therefore, you must position accordingly.
Position/normal stops: During your test you will be required to stop on the left on a number of occasions. You must ensure that you stop reasonably close to the kerb (approximately the thickness of one of your tyres), you must be aware of any parking or waiting restrictions, you should not block any slip roads or drive ways and avoid parking opposite larger vehicles if possible.
Pedestrian crossings: When approaching any crossing, controlled or uncontrolled, you should always follow your MSPSL routine, surveying the crossing as early as possible and being aware of any activity on or close to the crossing, bearing in mind that once a pedestrian has a foot on the crossing he or she has priority.
Ancillary controls: Please remember that, whilst on test, you are in charge of the car and its controls. Should it start to rain or the light decrease it is your responsibility to turn on the appropriate controls.
If the examiner has to remind von to do so you will fail your test.
Manoeuvres: There are three manoeuvres that you may be asked to perform: reverse around a comer to the left or right; a parallel or bay park; turn in the road. You will only be asked to demonstrate one of these (chosen by the examiner). The examiner needs to establish that you are able to control the car at low speed, with proper observation and due regard for other road users and with reasonable accuracy.
Independent drive: At some stage during the test the examiner will stop you and ask you to demonstrate you ability to drive independently. This will be done either verbally or you will be shown a diagram of what the examiner will require you to do, i.e. proceed to a given destination by following road signs and markings.
Scoring: There are three different types of fault you might incur on a driver’s test: They are as follows:
Driver fault: This means that you have done something that is not quite correct but not important enough to warrant a’ “serious” fault.
Serious fault: This is a fault that will result in your failure. This means that you have either lost control of the ear, caused serious problems for other road users or contravened a traffic law.
Dangerous fault: This is a fault that will also result in failure.
To pass the test you may incur up to 15 minor faults as long as you do not also commit a serious or dangerous fault. N.B. You should be aware, however, that if you commit as many as 4 minor faults of a similar type this could be considered a serious fault, dependent their nature.
You must also complete the test without the examiner having to give you verbal assistance or taking physical action, i.e. taking the wheel or applying the brake.
At the end of the test, the examiner will invite you to ask your instructor if he or she would like to listen to the debrief. If you are unsuccessful, you should listen very carefully to what the examiner says
and make sure you book sufficient lessons to remedy the faults identified. Should you be successful, he will take both parts of your driving licence from you and you will receive a new one through the post in approximately three weeks.