About the Car Driving Test

What to Expect on Test...

The practical driving test slot is 57 minutes in total, with you driving around for 48 -55 minutes. It’s broken down into the following sections:

Eyesight Check

Your instructor should’ve already checked your eyesight. They will have given you advice about this if you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to drive. You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of 20 meters for vehicles with a new-style number plate. You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.

Show / Tell ‘me’ Safety Questions

The examiner will ask you questions about your car. This is nothing to worry about and is usually straightforward.

You’ll be asked 2 safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me questions.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question while you’re driving
  • You can learn more by reading the Drive With HQ Show me and Tell me guide.

Driving in various traffic conditions

For the next part of the test, you’ll actually get behind the wheel and start driving. Your examiner will tell you where to go. They will take you on a route that includes a mix of different traffic conditions, but not on motorways.

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.

You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:

  • Two normal stops at the side of the road
  • Pulling out from behind a parked vehicle (angle start)
  • A hill start
  • Pulling up in safe places

Independent Driving for 20 minutes

Your examiner will watch you driving independently, following traffic signs or a Sat Nav. During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a Sat Nav (80% of tests will be following a SatNav). The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you.

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. You’ll be tested on your ability to drive safely.

Perform One Reversing Manoeuvre

This could either be a forward bay park, pull up on the right, reverse park on the road, reverse park into a bay. See the changes to the driving test manoeuvres.

Stopping. You may also be asked to do a controlled stop or perform an emergency stop too.

Feedback and Result

Once you’ve returned to the test center your examiner will provide feedback on your test. Most importantly, he or she will tell you whether you’ve passed! You’ll only fail your practical test if you make 16 driving faults or commit a serious or dangerous fault.

If you make mistakes during your test​?!!

Due to COVID if you make a serious (major) mistake the examiner will bring you back to the test center. You can carry on if you make mistakes that as classed as driving faults (i.e minors) which do not affect your test result if it’s not serious. The examiner will also stop your test if your driving is a danger to other road users.

Other People On Your Test

You’re driving examiner’s supervisor might sit in on your test to watch your examiner’s performance. If you refuse, your test can be canceled, and you’ll have to book another test and pay again.

Watch the step-by-step guide driving test video to find out what to expect when you take your test. You may want to visit the DVSA website for more information on the practical test.