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What's it all about
Now that you have passed your theory it is now time for the practical test, if you are learning with an Approved Driving Instructor he or she will advise you when you are ready for your test (after all they have years of experience and extensive training which will help them make their decision), nothing is gained by going to test to early as it may result in you having to take it several times and will cost you more in the long run, not just in money but also in the time it takes waiting for further test dates to become available, most instructors like myself will try to get you through your test in the shortest amount of time as possible but at the same time making sure you will be safe after passing. Your driving test will last about 40 minutes. Throughout the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving, including when you are carrying out your reversing exercise. You can make up to 15 driver faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault then you will fail your driving test and will have to re-apply.
From 4th October 2010 your practical driving test will include a section of 'independent driving'.
During your test you'll have to drive by either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both and will last for ten minutes. If you go off the independent driving route it won't affect the result of your test unless you commit a driving fault.
On the day
When you arrive at the test centre you will need to wait in the waiting room, remember before the test starts to switch off your mobile phone! Your name will be called out and you will be asked to show the examiner your licence (remember you need to bring along both parts of you licence like you did with your theory test). The examiner will then ask, 'Would you like your instructor/accompanying driver to accompany you on the test and be there for the result and the end of test feedback?'. If you say 'no', the examiner will then ask you if you would like your instructor/accompanying driver to be there at the end of test for the feedback.
The examiner will then say 'Thank you, will you lead the way to your car please', this is the start of your driving test. You will then be asked to complete a eyesight check, the distance you will be required to read a number plate from is 20.5 metres if using an old style number plate or 20 metres if the new-style number plate is used, if you are unable to read the number plate then your test will not continue any further.
After the eyesight test you will be asked two vehicle safety check questions (one show me and one tell me). If you get one or both of the show me tell me questions incorrect this will result in a driving fault and count as one of the fifteen you are allowed. You will then be examined on your general driving including the section of independent driving and on one reversing exercise.
The reversing exercises will be chosen from:
reversing around a corner
turning in the road
During the general driving you may also be asked to carry out an emergency stop exercise. Your test examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to include a range of typical roads and traffic conditions. Throughout the test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, don't worry, keep calm it may not affect your result. The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving and doesn't expect you to be perfect. However if at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped. You are allowed to take someone with you on the test this person must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.
If you need and interpereter
You may bring your own interpreter for your practical test as long as they are over 16 years of age. Your approved driving instructor can be your interpreter.
You will be responsible for arranging your interpreter and for any necessary fees.
After the practical test
At the end of the driving test, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed, and will usually give you a debrief on how your test went.
If you pass...
If you pass and have a photo card driving licence the examiner will ask you if you want him or her to get your driving licence issued to you automatically. If you are happy for them to do so the examiner will take your old licence from you, scan the details and send them electronically to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will then be given a pass certificate to prove you passed your test. DVLA will then send you your new full licence by post within four weeks of you passing your practical test but usually sooner.
If you pass your test but do not want to use this automatic service, or have a provisional licence issued before 1 March 2004, you will be given a pass certificate by the examiner. On the back of the pass certificate it tells you what you need to do next. This involves sending your licence and appropriate fee to DVLA who will then check your application and issue you with a new full licence.
If you fail...
If you fail the test you should ask the examiner for some feedback to help prepare yourself for your next test. Your driving report form will also show you where you made any mistakes. You can take another practical test 10 working days after failing a test.