The Practical Driving Test
The driving test is designed to see if you can drive safely and independently, know The Highway Code and can demonstrate this through your driving. It will start with an eyesight check. You must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres (or 20.5 metres with the old style number plate), with glasses if you usually wear them. If you can't read the number plate then you will not be allowed to continue and you will fail the test.
Next you will be asked a "Tell me" question. The DVSA publish their "Show me, Tell me" questions on the government website www.gov.uk
The driving part of your 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 the set exercises.
You will be asked a "Show me" question when you are driving.
You will have to successfully perform one of the following reversing exercises:
Bay Park: Driving into a parking bay and reversing out OR reversing into a bay and driving out.
Parallel Park: Reversing into a space behind a vehicle parked at the side of the road.
Park on the Right and Reverse: Park the car on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic, reverse back and then driving on again, rejoining the flow of traffic on the left hand side of the road.
You might also be asked to perform an emergency stop.
For about 20 minutes during your test you'll have to drive independently by either following directions from the examiners sat-nav (which will be set up for you by the examiner), or a series of directions & traffic signs which the examiner will give you in advance. The examiner may show you a diagram to help you understand where you'll be going. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way.
4 out of 5 tests will use the sat-nav.
The purpose is rather to assess your ability to drive safely whilst at the same time having to make your own decisions in order to reach your target destination. This includes for example deciding when it's safe to pull over and ask for directions.
Your result will not be affected unless you commit a driving fault, even if you go off the independent driving route.
The cost of taking the practical test is £62 if taken on a week day and £75 if taken over the weekend.