Booking driving test in Winter

Here is some advice for those of you looking for the best time to book their driving test during the winter season here in the UK, don't choose an early morning slot as it could easily be cancelled by snow or other bad weather such as Fog or ice on the road.

See the recent announcement by the DSA below:
Some driving tests may be affected by winter weather over the next few days.

The Met Office has forecast colder weather with snow showers becoming increasingly likely. Some parts of the country may have significant snowfall.

Your driving test

If you're due to take your practical test, follow the advice given on your appointment email or letter. You should call your test centre only if there is snow or ice in your local area on the day of your test.

DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or bad weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. Another appointment will be arranged automatically at no further cost, but compensation is not payable.



A new appointment date is usually sent within three working days. This may take longer when there's a period of prolonged bad weather.

If you haven't heard about a new appointment within seven working days, you can check the status of your booking online at direct.gov.uk/drivingtest.

If your test hasn't been rebooked at that time, you should call our customer service centre.
Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

10 reasons for not passing the driving test

Only one driving test maneuver 4th oct 2010

From the 4th of october 2010, with the introduction of independent driving on the test in the UK, candidates will now only be required to perform one test maneuver during the practical car test.

This new change means that you now have a lesser chance of failing the driving test on a maneuver.



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

DSA driving test is 75 years toay

The driving test is 75 years old on the 1st of June 2010.

It was on the 1st of June 1935 that compulsory driver testing was first introduced in the UK, previous to that tests were conducted on a voluntary basis.

Over the years, the test has undergone many changes, getting longer and more difficult, a seperate theory test was introduced in 1997. The DSA is scheduled to introduce independent driving on the test in october 2010.



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Major Driving Test Faults.

Booking driving test seek advice

If you are booking a driving test it is very important you seek the advice of your driving instructor if you have one for the following reasons.

1. They know the nearest test centres to you, how long it takes to get there and what the traffic conditions are at various times, all of which matter and can have an effect on whether you pass the driving test or not.



2. If you have been taking driving lessons your instructor knows your strengths and weaknesses and can tell if you have a higher probability of passing at which centre.

3. Your instructor will have knowledge of the dsa examiners and can pre warn you of how they deal with candidates, such as those that have a strong face, don't smile or even chat during the test.

4. If you choose to book a test at a centre because you get an earlier date, and you instructor is not very familiar with the area, then he/she might not be able to help you practice on known tricky areas like roundabouts or junction, narrow/busy roads.



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Passing the driving test in London is hard

According to a recent AA survey, people in London take a longer time to pass the driving test compared to learners in any other part of the UK.

The main reasons for failing the test in London, was the busy and complex roads learner drivers had to deal with, in addition to that was the added pressure of impatient car owners hootng or tailgating candidates which didn't help already nervous provisional licence holders.

The DSA continues to stress the importantance of having enough driving lessons in London in order not only to get to the required standard, but also to gain enough experience dealing with the busy traffic and attitude of other London road users quoting 45 hours with an instructor with an additional 22 of private practise.

The video below shows a typical Mill Hill London high street and the dangers a learner has to deal with:



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Top 10 reasons for failing the driving test in London
Pass Driving Test in London Website

Driving Test talking Examiner

If you are one of those that like to talk, I would like to give you an important piece of advice, don't talk to the DSA Examiner during the 40 minutes of the practical car driving test.

There is nothing wrong with chating to the test examiner, but from my experience of learners during driving lessons, they easily get carried away especially if talking about a subject that they really like, and this results in them commiting driving errors serious or not which will still be marked on the DL25 report sheet and might even result in a failure.



It is therefore in your own interest to keep your mouth shut, concentrate on the driving test and get the full UK licence you are after no matter what a nice person the examiner might seem to be, as you can't blame them for failing you if you make a mistake, know your weaknesses, and let someone else do the talking to the examiner, not you.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Driving Test and Potholes

It is almost april 2010, but a lot of the UK roads still have potholes from the january snow driving chaos and this needs to be taken into consideration while being assessed by the dsa examiner.

Things to avoid if you want to pass the driving test when on roads with potholes during your practical car assessment.

1. Don't swerve suddenly to avoid potholes, you need to use MSM before changing direction. If you are scanning the road ahead, you should be able to see the potholes early or notice the action of other road users avoiding them.

2. Avoid breaking suddenly as well without checking your mirrors, as there could be a close following vehicle behind you, and non of your actions during the driving test should affect other road users, and this includes pedestrians.



Don't fail the DSA driving test because of potholes on the road which the local council has not fixed!

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

More Test Tips
Driving too slowly during car test.
Major or Minor driving test faults.

Passing the driving test vs Learning to drive

There is a difference between learning to drive a car, and passing the UK driving test. While you need to learn how to drive a car in order to pass the driving test, just because you have been learning to drive with your dad, mum, a family member or a friend does not mean that you are going to pass the driving test when the time comes for you to face the dsa examiner.

It is also particularly important for foriegn interntional driving licence holders to understand this because you will not pass the driving test if you've just arrived from India for example with 10 years experience on the road, passed the theory test at your first attempt and then put in straight for and book the practical test without first finding out what criteria is required by the DSA examiner. You need more than being able to get from A to B in a car. You need to drive the car in a safe manner, the keyword being SAFE, and you need to know what the DSA means by safe, because you might be surprised by the answer to that question which is why the current UK driving test only has a 40% pass rate.

Learning to Drive a Car



Anyone who knows how to drive will probably be able to teach a complete beginner provisional licence holder how to drive a car, show them how to carry out the 4 manuevers that one might be asked on the driving test, and even convience them that they are now at the standard required, but the truth is that the candidate will most likely fail if they attempt the test without taking advice from a driving instructor mainly because the teacher who taught them to drive only showed them how to drive a car based on his/her standard of driving and not up to date training information from the DSA which a fully qualified, current department of transport approved ADI would possess.
If you want to learn to drive without an instructor, then get your supervisor to get a copy of the book supervising a learner driver published by the AA. This will guide them on how to get you drive at the required DSA test standard, and thus increase your chances of passing the driving test at your first attempt.

Passing the Driving Test
The key to passing the UK driving test is first knowing what the DSA standard is for all the key skills that will be tested during the 40 minutes, get taught these skills to the required standard preferably by someone who can drive consistently at that standard and pass the test themselves, and then practise these skills until you can do them comfortably at the drop of a hat without any help or prompts from your supervising driver.

For example do you know that it is not acceptable as far as the DSA is concerned to use the rear view mirror to check behind the car while carrying out a reversing manuever on the test! Now if your dad had taught you how to drive, it is most likely what you will do unless corrected by a driving instructor!
Do you know when it is appropriate to use the horn during the UK driving test?
Can you adjust your mirrors to carry out the bay parking or reverse round the corner exercise. Can you stop the car during the test if you are really nervous and need to take a quick break to gather your thoughts or a quick sip of water because you are very thirsty.



All these questions and much more advise about the local examiners can be gotten from an experienced fully qualified driving instructor, so make sure you do everything within your power to gain the essential practical as well as theoritical knowledge needed to pass one of the world's hardest driving tests.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

10 common reasons for failing the driving test.

Experience to pass UK driving test

You need experience to pass the current UK practical car test, irrespective of how long you have held a foreign or international driving licence.

The type of experience required is to be able to deal with hazards or situations at the DSA 'safe' standard and not just the way other road users do it, be it here in the UK or your country (africa, india or USA).



If you think that by taking a 2 hour driving lesson with a qualified instructor after 10 years on a pakistani licence you will get everything sorted out, you are not being true to human nature. Habits die hard, and it takes practice consistently to drive at the standard expected by the dsa examiner, so give yourself enough time to prepare if you are really serious about passing the driving test.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Additional Driving Test Information


Top 10 serious driving faults that fail people in the UK test
Pass your test manuevers
Need to guarantee you will pass next time?

1.5hrs Driving Lesson before Test

If you are asking how many hours driving lesson you should have on the day of your practical car assessment with the DSA examiner, I want you to know that 1.5 hours is too much and could affect your ability to pass the driving test.

Most driving instructors will pick you up about 1 hour before the test, and this time is normally utilised just to get you used to the driving conditions on the day, and practice one or two test maneuvers, go over some of the show me and tell me questions you might be asked, and is thus not the time to be learning anything new (its too late for that).



You do not want to arrive for your driving test exhausted or worn out because you've just had a 2 hour session with your instructor. You need to be fresh and able to concentrate, so don't book a 1.5 hour lesson before arriving at the DSA test centre.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Automatic driving test use Handbrake

This is just a quick tip for those of you who want to pass the driving test on the first attempt in an automatic car, to use the handbrake when necessary on the practical test.

I was giving someone a driving lesson in their own private car which had an automatic transmission, and they thought that they never needed to use the handbrake except when the dsa examiner asks her to do a normal stop on the left!



I'm going to give you 2 examples of situations where you should use the handbrake even if you are taking the test in an automatic car.

1. When emerging at a T junction to turn right and you are waiting for a very long queue of traffic, use the handbrake to secure the car so that you don't creep into the junction before it is safe, but more importantly if someone hits you from behind your reflex might make you take your foot off the brake and you are pushed into the path of vehicles in the junction.

2. When you stop for pedestrians at a crossing (zebra, pelican, toucan), use the handbrake to secure your automatic car to protect the people crossing in front of your vehicle.

It only takes a few seconds, and could be your saving grace and help you to pass the driving test!

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

Reversing Test Maneuvers Advice

Here is some short advice you need to take into consideration when carrying out reversing test maneuvers, especially if you are serious about passing the driving test on your first attempt!

You MUST look over your left shoulder through the rear windscreen of the car to see where you are going when carrying out a reversing maneuver during the UK driving test. Using the interior mirror to reverse is not acceptable to the dsa examiner, nor should you be staring in front of the car if the vehicle is traveling backwards.

I'm telling you this from my experience of both sitting in on driving tests, and many lessons used to preparing candidates. Look behind more than in front of the car so you can effectively know that it is safe, particularly if reversing around the corner, as pedestrians will still cross the road behind your vehicle, and you need to STOP and let them get out of your way (all round or 6 point checks are essential here).



All of this is explained in the DSA learning to drive guide shown below which only costs a few pounds (you might even be able to borrow a copy from your local library) and could save you another test fee as well as the extra driving lessons cost!



Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.



More Driving test tips
Top 10 driving test Faults to fail on

Never failed a test in my life

I have seen many people fail to pass the driving test and they seem surprised because they have never failed any test or exam in their life prior to the practical car assessment with dsa examiner, and the effect is more dramatic because they passed the driving theory test first time with flying colours.

The reason why you as an academic scholar should not go into the dsa practical car test with the belief that you will pass first time because you haven't failed an exam or test before is because the UK driving test is not an academic examination, and thus you have no previous experience of this type of test before now. You will be using psychomotor skills, and unless you are lucky enough to have things like flying lessons, ride a motor-bike are in new teritory and need to make sure you get enough practice before booking a driving test.



One of the special skills that is being tested on the dsa car test, is the ability to think on the move, you need to make decisions pretty fast while on the move, this is different from your master's degree exams where you can skip a question, take time to consider the options available or brood over the essay that you are about to write.
On a test manuever, you have limited time to carry out proper observations while the car is moving towards a pedestrian walking on the road, you need to act quickly on approach to a roundabout, deciding when to brake, what gear you are going to use, consider if you need to stop, slow down and give way, etc. It is a whole different game ball, so academics does not come into it at all, so being an A1 oxford graduate doesn't mean you will ace your driving test.

Talk to your instructor, and make sure that you don't under-estimate what is required by the DSA examiner, and only then can you be sure you are adequately prepared and have the best chances of passing with flying colors, achieving the goal of a full british pink driving licence. Remember the theory test is just another academic examination, and therefore no indication of how your psycomotor skills will perform during the 40 minutes test with the dsa examiner.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

More Driving Test Advice


Top 10 reasons for failing the car driving test
Reversing Manouvers Advice.

Dsa cancel test because of Snow?

With the current artic weather going across the UK, many learner drivers looking to pass their driving tests will be wondering if the DSA will cancel the practical test appointments they have if snow falls.

The driving standards agency takes the safety of its examiners, the test candidate and other road users very seriously, and will not put any of them at risk while conducting the test.

For this reason, the DSA will easily cancel the driving test if there is heavy snow that affects visibility, settled snow on the roads, icy roads that causes cars to skid, or abnormally low temperatures.



If you have a test and it has snowed overnight or during the day before your appointment, then you are advised to contact the centre on the number printed on your driving test appointment letter to find out if the assessment will go ahead. You need to know that while the main roads might be driveable, most of the test manouvers are conducted on residential minor roads which are usually unpassable or very unsafe after a snow fall.

I have conducted some driving lessons last december and January 2010 after snow has fallen, but in some cases I had to stick with general driving on the A roads, as I couldn't safe perform any maneuvers, so cars displaying 'L' plates is no indication your driving test will go ahead as planned.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.