The practical driving test

The driving test is designed to see if you are able to drive a car safely and in different traffic and road conditions. The driving test will also determine whether or not you have a good knowledge of the Highway Code. If you do successfully show these all the way through your driving test then you will pass.

There isn’t a minimum number of driving lessons that you must take before you can take your driving test, or the hours of practicing. There are also no pass or fail quotas.

You must have passed your driving theory test before you can take the driving practical test.

You will need to make sure you have your documents ready to take with you and these will include:

  • Your theory pass certificate
  • Your driving license

You must also bring along a valid passport if you have an old style paper license instead of a photo card.

Your test will be cancelled if you don’t bring along these documents and you’ll also lose your fee.

The actual driving test

Before you can take your driving test you will have an eyesight check and then you will be asked 2 vehicle safety questions.

The eyesight check

You will be asked to read a number plate of a distance of 20 metres for vehicles with a new style number plate and also 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old style number plate.

The new style number plates begin with two letters followed by two numbers for instance DC34  HTD

If you don’t successfully pass the eye test then the whole driving test will be cancelled and you will fail.

Show me tell me, vehicle safety questions

You will be asked two vehicle safety questions which are also known as show me tell me questions.

You will be asked one “show me” question by the examiner and then one “tell me” question. The “show me” question will be where you will have to show them how to carry out a vehicle safety check, “the tell me” question will involve you having to explain to the examiner how you would carry out a vehicle safety check.

The driving part

The actual driving test will take around 40 minutes to complete and throughout your test the examiner will be looking for your ability to drive the vehicle safely and up to a good standard. The extended test pass will take around 70 minutes to complete and this is taken if you have been disqualified from driving.

The examiner will give you directions that you then must follow and will involve you driving in many different traffic and road conditions. You must make sure you drive the exact way your instructor has been teaching you. This should include:

  • An angle start
  • Normal stops
  • A hill start

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

You must also show the examiner how well you are able to reverse the car and so the examiner will ask you to carry out one of the following:

  • Turning in the road
  • Reversing around a corner
  • Reverse parking


The driving test will include ten minutes of independent driving. This is designed to test your ability to drive safely while making your own decisions.

If you make a mistake just carry on because if it isn’t a serious one it may not affect the results.

The examiner will end the test if they think you are a danger to others on the road.

Taking someone with you on the test

You can take someone with you on your driving test if you want to this may be your instructor, a friend or family member. They can then:

  • Sit in the back of the car during the driving test
  • Be able to be with you when you have your results

The person going with you must be over 16 and cannot take part in the test at all.

The examiner may or may not bring along their supervisor, they are there to test the examiners performance and they won’t have any say at all in how you are marked during your test.

The test may be cancelled and you could also lose your fee if you refuse the supervisor to go along with you in the vehicle.

Your results

You will successfully pass your test if you:

  • Have 15 faults or less
  • Have no serious or dangerous faults

If your instructor didn’t go with you on the actual test you can now call them over to discuss the results with the examiner. The examiner will tell you if you have passed or not and will explain how you did in the test.

There are different types of faults including:

A dangerous fault

This involves putting yourself, the examiner and the public/property in actual danger.

A serious fault

This is where there could be potentially dangerous consequences

A driving fault

This isn’t potentially dangerous but if you continue to carry out making this fault throughout the test then it could potentially become a serious fault.

If you successfully pass your test the examiner will give you a pass certificate and they will ask if you would like your full license to be sent to you automatically.

You can start driving straight away you won’t have to wait for the license to arrive.

If however you fail your test on the first occasion then don’t worry as after ten days you can take the test again.