Many learner drivers do not give the UK pratical car driving test the credit it is due, as it is one of the toughest examinations in the world that a civilian takes in order to get a full driving licence, and the figures speaks for themselves. Of over 3 Millions tests taken in a year, only 40% of candidates pass!
In order to take the UK practical car skills assessment, the candidate must be over the age of 17, possess a current provisional driving licence, have passed the DSA's driving theory test and be normally resident in the UK, in addition to this you will have to provide the car (majority of learner drivers use their driving instructor's dual controlled vehicle) to be used which must be roadworthy to the DVLA standard and adequately insured (this rules out using a hire car from Hertz, Europacar, ZipCar, etc). Before the start of your test, the DSA examiner will ask you to sign a declaration to this effect.
You must arrive on time for your appointment, if you are more than 5 minutes late, your driving test will not go ahead, you will lose your fee and have to wait 10 days before you can book another practical car test.
DSA UK Driving Test
The DSA practical car driving test lasts about 40 minutes and consists of 2 parts, the eye sight assessment and then the actual practical driving skills test.
Before you are allowed anywhere near your private or driving school car, the DSA examiner will request you read a car number plate from a distance of about 20 metres or 20.5 metres depending on the type of number plate. You will be given up to 3 chances to read the numbers, the 3rd will involve the examiner measuring the exact distance using a tape, and if you still fail to correctly identify the numbers on the DVLA specification registration plate (you can write them down if you have a problem speaking english) then you will not be allowed to do the practical driving aspect, and will be deemed to have failed.
Show Me Tell Me
The test will begin with 2 vehicle safety questions normaly refered to as Show me and Tell me, this could involve you having to open the car bonnet and identifying the engine coolant and how to check it is at the required level for example or knowing how to diagnose if the ABS system is working correctly.
It is important to know that you can't currently fail the driving test if you incorrectly answer both show and tell questions, though you will be given a driver error.
40 minutes with the DSA examiner
Once you've been asked to get into the car and make yourself comfortable, the driving examiner will walk round the car presented for the test to make sure that it is roadworthy. Things that are being looked for are that the tyres are legal, non of the lights or lamps are broken, and the car is displaying regulation 'L' plates. This is one of the reasons why it is important that you read the driving test appointment letter sent to you in the post. I have seen many learner drivers (mostly those using private cars) denied the opportunity of going out because the DSA examiner found a defect in the car which could not be fixed within 5 minutes of it being pointed out. If this happens then you will lose your booking fee and go home empty handed without a pass certificate.
If everything is okay, the examiner will get into the driving test car, complete his/her paperwork, then give you a brief synopsis of what will happen during the next 35 - 40 minutes, you will expected to drive on a variety of roads of different speed limits under various traffic load conditions, carry out at least 2 driving skills manoeuvres and might also be expected to do an emergency stop.
Important Instruction! The examiner will now say 'I would like you to follow the road ahead unless road signs indicate otherwise, If I need you to turn, I will let you know in good time'. You must take note of this, as if you get to a junction and are not giving an instruction, then you need to follow the road ahead or obey the road signs (compulsory left or right turn).
If you are able to complete the 40 minutes of the assessment, driving at the standard required by the DSA, without committing a serious or dangerous error and do not accumulate more than 15 ordinary faults, then you will pass the driving test, otherwise at the end you will hear those dreaded words 'that's the end of the test, I'm sorry to say you haven't passed, would you like me to explain why?'
I hope over the coming days to give you various driving test tips, hints and information that will help you to achieve your goal, hope that you will be able to learn from other learner driver's mistakes and the experience that I have accumualated over the years and finally pass the driving test.
Your comments are welcome, and I will try to answer all queries, but please note that I might be constrained by time and other commitments.
Guarantted driving test passes