Preparing for your Practical Driving Test
You’re in the home straight. All of your driving lessons and effort have led up to this moment: the day you take your practical driving test. By now, the rules of the road should be second-nature and your driving will be top-notch. Your driving instructor will have prepared you for each section of the Practical Test, including specific nuances local to the Eastbourne area.
To book your Practical Driving Test
Similar to your Theory Test, booking your Practical Test will require a UK driving licence number and for you have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 185 days in the last 12 months before the day of the test. If you want your driving instructor involved on the day, you’ll need to include their personal reference number – remember, they can sit in the car with you as you take the test but cannot offer any advice during the test itself.
The test costs £62 to take and you can pay this by credit or debit card.
What happens during the test
You should be prepared for five parts to the driving test:
- An eyesight test (that can be done with glasses or contact lenses).
- ‘Show me, tell me’ questions.
- General driving ability.
- Reversing your vehicle.
- Independent driving.
The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.
It will take around 40 minutes to complete unless you’re taking an extended driving test. In which case, your test will be 70 minutes long.
The eyesight test
For the eyesight test, you’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres for new-style number plates and 20.5 metres for old number plates. New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AB51 ABC.
If you fail the eyesight test, your Practical Test will end immediately and you will be given a fail.
‘Show me, tell me’ questions
As part of your driving test, you will be asked to show and tell the examiner two aspects of vehicle safety. The ‘tell me’ question will happen before you begin driving and the ‘show me’ question will occur during your drive.
We’ve run through the ‘show me, tell me’ questions in more detail in another article.
Your general driving ability
This will assess your driving on various roads and in different traffic conditions – but not on motorways. The examiner will give you directions that you should follow to complete the route. Driving test routes aren’t published, so you cannot check them before your test. However, your driving instructor will have exposed you to various routes and conditions throughout your lessons and you’ll be well-prepared for each eventuality. This means that you should always pick a local driving instructor who knows your surrounding area and local driving test centre well.
There are several manoeuvres that you’ll have to complete during your test. These may include:
- Pulling over at the side of the road.
- Pulling out from behind a parked car.
- A hill start.
- Emergency stop.
- Reversing your vehicle.
- A parallel park.
- Parking in a parking bay – either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out, depending on your examiner’s instructions.
- Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for around two car lengths and rejoining traffic.
Independent driving involves driving for about 20 minutes either using traffic signs or a sat nav. The examiner will tell you which format you’ll have to follow. If using a sat-nav, the examiner will set it up for you. You cannot use your own.
If for any reason a traffic sign is un-viewable (because of foliage, for example) the examiner will step-in and give directions until you can see the next one. If you take a wrong turning, it’s vital not to panic as you won’t have been given a fault. Instead, the examiner will help you get back onto the original route.
If you make mistakes during your test
If you think that you’ve made a mistake during your test, don’t get disheartened as it may not affect your end-result if it isn’t serious. Keep going to the best of your ability. An examiner will only stop your test if they think that your driving is a danger to other road users.
Understanding your driving test faults
There are three different types of faults that you can make, each of differing severity and with various outcomes.
- A dangerous fault involves actual danger to you, the examiner and the public. It will result in an immediate fail and your examiner will stop the test.
- A serious fault (also known as a ‘major’) is something that could be dangerous. You will fail if you get one of these.
- A driving fault isn’t potentially dangerous but if repeated several times during the test, it can become a serious fault. It can also be known as a ‘minor’ and you can have up to 15 of them without failing your test.
Passing your test
You’ll pass your driving test if you receive no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults. When you pass, you’ll be given a pass certificate and told what faults you made, if any.
You’ll also be asked if you want your full driving license to be sent to you automatically. If you do, then you’ll have to give the examiner your provisional licence. If not, you must apply for your full license within two years of passing your Practical Test.
Once you’ve passed, you can begin driving unaccompanied immediately and you don’t have to wait for your full license to arrive as the DVLA will have a record of your pass. However, we recommend taking further lessons if you’re not confident about certain aspects of driving – such as motorway driving. StartnDrive offers motorway driving lessons to those who have passed their Practical Test.
If you don’t pass your test then you’ll have to book another one. This must be a minimum of 10 working days after your initial test – which offers vital time to work on your driving and any faults that were flagged by the examiner.
Getting off to the best start
StartnDrive’s expert driving instructors can work with learners of all levels to build your skills and confidence ready for your practical driving test. We have over 21 years’ experience of teaching driving lessons in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas. Obtaining vital knowledge about the Eastbourne driving tests, routes and questions in the meantime.
The Eastbourne driving test centre is located at 1 Coastguard Cottages, 84 Wartling Road, Eastbourne. BN22 7PT
Contact us now to begin preparing for your Practical Driving Test.