Your driving test will last for around 45 minutes.
When you arrive at the test centre the examiner will check your license and ask you to sign a form. This is to ensure that you are who you say you are and that the car is insured for you to drive during your test.
He or she will then check your eyesight before proceeding to the car you will be driving.
Before your drive commences, the examiner will ask you a "tell me" question, this is where you explain to the examiner how you would carry out a safety task. At some point during your test you will also be asked a "show me" question, this is where you show the examiner how you would carry out a safety task (e.g. wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers). The "show me" question can be asked while driving, and can be asked during the independant driving part of your test.
When you are in the car and have ensured your seat and mirrors are correct, you will be instructed to drive on. The drive will last for approximately 35 minutes. It may be slightly longer or shorter, depending on the route chosen by the examiner.
During your drive, all aspects of your driving will be observed. The route chosen will enable you to demonstrate your ability both in town, and on rural roads. You may be asked to execute an emergency stop.
You will be asked to perform a manoeuvre to demonstrate your ability to reverse – this may be:
- parallel park at the side of the road
- park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which)
- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic.
You will be asked to demonstrate your ability to drive independently. For the majority of test candidates this will require you to follow directions from a sat nav. One in five candidates won't use a sat nav and will instead follow a series of instructions, such as “follow the signs for...”. It is up to you to read the road, the signs and lines, and make decisions. The independent driving part of your test will last for approximately 20 minutes.
There is no specific order in which the test will be conducted; the choice of route, manoeuvre, etc. is chosen by the examiner at the time of the test. Your manoeuvre may be at the start of the test, or anywhere along the route. There are no fixed test routes. Although some roads may appear to be favoured because of the specific challenges they offer, you should be able to drive anywhere.
You may be aware of the examiner marking a sheet as your test progresses. Don’t assume you have failed your test because of this; he may only be writing something to chat about later. On return to the test centre, you will be told the outcome of your test, and debriefed on any elements that the examiner noted en route that he feels may need your attention – this happens regardless of a pass or fail.
Should you fail - the marking sheets provide valuable information on what areas you need to improve on.
If you pass – congratulations! The marking sheet and examiner debrief will still provide valuable information which will keep you safe in the future.