September 18, 2023

What happens on your driving test?

What happens on your driving test?

what happens on your driving test in uk

What happens on your driving test?

When it comes to taking the driving test, many people get worried or anxious about what is going to happen. However, in reality, your driving lessons should be exactly the same as the driving test.

As you approach your driving test standard in your driving lessons, your driving instructor should be asking you to follow directions, not be prompting you or telling you to slow down etc and you should be able to follow road signs or the sat nav.


That’s exactly the same as will happen on your driving test. The DVSA gives this guidance for your driving test.


There are 5 parts to the driving test:

an eyesight check

‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions

general driving ability

reversing your vehicle

independent driving


The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.

How long the test lasts

You’ll drive for around 40 minutes.

You’ll drive for around 70 minutes if you’re taking an extended driving test because you’ve been banned from driving.


Eyesight check

You’ll have to read a 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 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.


‘Show me, tell me’ questions

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the: tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving

‘show me’ question while you’re driving


Your general driving ability

You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow.

Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test. If you are being trained to follow specific driving routes then this is really bad, as once you pass your driving test, you are going to drive on many many, roads that you have never been on before.

So if you get caught speeding or going the wrong way down a one way street, it is no excuse to stand in a court room and say “Its not my fault, I’ve never been here before!!”



Pulling over at the side of the road

You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:

normal stops at the side of the road

pulling out from behind a parked vehicle

a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.


Reversing your vehicle

The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

parallel park at the side of the road

park in a parking bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)    pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic






Independent driving

You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

    directions from a sat nav

    traffic signs

The examiner will tell you which you have to follow.

They’ll set the sat nav up for you. You cannot use your own sat nav.


If you cannot see traffic signs

If you cannot see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.


Going off the route

The examiner will not give you a fault for taking a wrong turning.

They’ll help you get back on the route if you do.

If you make mistakes during your test

You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your test result if it’s not serious.

Your driving examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.


Other people at your test

Your driving examiner’s supervisor might sit in on your test to watch your examiner’s performance. If you refuse, your test can be cancelled and you’ll have to book another test and pay again.


Your driving examiner will ask if you want someone to:

sit in the back of the car during the test

be with you for the result and feedback


This will usually be your driving instructor, but you can take a relative or friend. They cannot take any part in the test.

They must: be over 16

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