The driving test lasts for approximately 38-40 minutes and is normally carried out in the car that you have been having your lessons in. You will normally need to arrive at the test centre and park up about 5-10 minutes before the time of your appointment and wait in the waiting room. The examiner will ask to see your provisional licence and will ask you sign the insurance and residency declaration on their form. They will normally then ask you if you want your instructor or accompanying driver to sit in the back during the test and will then ask you to lead the way to your vehicle.
Having done the eyesight test, when you reach where the car is parked the examiner will ask you one of the vehicle check questions – a “tell me” question where you give a verbal answer as to how you would carry out a safety task.
During the course of the drive there will be normal driving where the examiner will give you instructions on a turn by turn basis. However, a section of the test lasting for about 20 minutes will be “independent driving”. For 4 tests out of 5 this will involve following directions from a satnav. For 1 test out of 5 this will involve following road signs towards a specified destination. If the satnav directions are to be used, the examiner will provide the satnav which will have its own battery and will utilise a secure weighted pad on the dash board.
During the test the examiner will ask you to pull up and pull away safely several times including a start on a hill and pulling out at an angle from behind a parked vehicle. One test out of three includes a ”controlled stop” (emergency stop).
Also during the test you will be asked to carry out a “show me” question from the prescribed list on the move.
You will be asked to do one manoeuvre that involves reversing. This may be:
Reverse parking – either reversing into a parking bay at the test centre or parallel parking in the street; or
Forward parking into a bay – usually in a public car park. You will be asked to drive into a car park and then park (driving forward) in a bay. Usually there will be a bay available with 2 clear spaces either side. You need to finish up fully in the bay and then have to reverse out safely and exit the car park.
Pull up on the right, then reverse for two car lengths and then pull away safely.
At the end of the test the examiner will tell you whether you have passed and will offer to explain any mistakes that you have made with your instructor present if you wish.