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    Learner Lessons - The Practical Test

    The Practical Driving Test is designed to show that you can demonstrate through your driving that you know The Highway Code and can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions. The test consists of three parts, which are the Eyesight Check, Vehicle Safety Questions and the Driving Ability. On December 4th 2017 the practical test changed to include following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres.

    At the start of the Practical Driving Test, your examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle. You must satisfy the examiner that in good daylight you can read a vehicle number plate at a minimum distance of 20 metres (or 20.5m for old style plates). If you need glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate, that’s fine, however you must wear them whenever you drive. If you fail the eyesight check, your test will not continue.

    Why the changes are being made


    Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19. DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

    These changes are being made because:

    • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) - changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
    • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav - DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
    • research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable - they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

    The 4 driving test changes


    1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

    The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner. This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes - roughly half of the test.


    2. Following directions from a sat nav

    During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route - the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

    You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test - you have to use the one supplied by the examiner. You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it. One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

    3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

    The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor

    You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

    • 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 you have to do)
    • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

    4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

    The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test - these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

    You’ll be asked the:

    • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
    • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving - for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

    These videos will help you understand the new requirements:

    How the new test works

    Parking in a bay

    Pull over to the right and reverse

    Vehicle Safety Checks: Show Me Tell Me


    It’s important that your car is in good working order before you start the engine. You need to be aware of what you need to check, how to do it and how often to do it. Advice and information can be found in the car manufacturer’s handbook.

    After your eyesight check, your examiner will ask you two questions about carrying out vehicle checks. You will be asked one ‘Show Me’ question, in which you will have to demonstrate how you would carry out certain safety checks, and one ‘Tell Me’ question, where you will have to explain how you would carry out certain checks. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded.

    Advice and information on how to carry out vehicle safety checks will be given in your lessons, so that by the time you take your test, you will be confident and able to answer all the questions.

    Show Me Questions video: One will be carried out whilst driving on the test

    Tell Me Questions video: One to be asked by the examiner at the start of the test in the test centre car park


    Practical Driving:


    The Driving part of your Practical Test will last about 40 minutes, during which your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

    Test routes will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions. During the test you will be asked to complete an exercise to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will choose one exercise from:

    Reversing around a corner

    Turning in the road

    Reverse parking - either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

    You may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise.

    Independent Driving


    Your Practical Driving Test will also include approximately ten minutes of independent driving; this is designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions independently.

    Practical Driving Test Results


    There are three types of faults that can be marked:

    A dangerous fault – involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property

    A serious fault – could potentially be dangerous

    A driving fault – not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault

    You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test, but 16 or more faults will result in a fail. However, if you commit one serious or one dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.

    By the time you take your test Lynne will ensure you are fully prepared and you can try some mock tests if you would like to. Lynne has a very high first time pass rate for her pupils and is the highest grade of instructor possible with many years’ experience.

    More Information


    The Theory Test

    The Practical Test

    Show Me Tell Me Questions

    Price Guide

    Learner Testimonials