The car practical driving test

The driving test is straightforward and has been designed to see if you:

  • can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions
  • know The Highway Code and can show this through your driving ability.

So long as you show the standard required, you'll pass your driving test. There are no pass or fail quotas.

What you need to take to your driving test:

  • You need to bring certain documents to your driving test.
  • You also need to bring a car that can be used for the test.

Before you start the driving ability part of your test, you'll have an eyesight check and be asked two vehicle safety questions.

The eyesight check

The examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle to test your eyesight. If you fail the check, your driving test won't continue.

Vehicle safety questions: 'show me, tell me'

ou'll be asked two vehicle safety questions. These are also known as the 'show me, tell me' questions. The examiner will ask you one 'show me' question, where you'll have to show them how you'd carry out a vehicle safety check. You'll also be asked one 'tell me' question, where you'll have to explain to the examiner how you'd carry out the check. For example, the examiner might ask you to identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell them how you'd check the windscreen washer level. If you give the wrong answer for one or both questions, you'll be marked with one driving fault.

The driving ability part of your driving test

Don't worry if you make a mistake - it might be a less serious driving fault and might not affect your result. 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.

Your general driving ability

During your test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. You'll drive in various road and traffic conditions. You should drive in the way your instructor has trained you. You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Your ability to reverse your vehicle safely.

You'll be asked to complete an exercise to show how well you can reverse your vehicle. The examiner will choose one exercise from:

  • reversing around a corner
  • turning in the road
  • reverse parking - either into a parking bay, or parallel parking at the side of the road

Independent driving section of the driving test

Your driving test will include around ten minutes of independent driving. This is designed to assess your ability to drive safely while making decisions independently.

Independent driving and riding section of the practical test

If you make a mistake, don't worry about it as it might be a less serious driving fault and might not affect your result. However, if at any time your examiner considers your driving to be a danger to other road users they will stop your test.

Your driving test result

You'll pass your test if you make:

  • 15 or less driving faults
  • no serious or dangerous faults

When the driving test has ended, you can call your instructor over if they didn't go with you on your test. This is so they can listen to the result and feedback with you. The examiner will:

  • tell you whether you passed or not
  • explain how you did during the test

The different types of faults that can be marked

There are three types of faults that can be marked:

  • a dangerous fault - involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • a serious fault - could potentially be dangerous
  • a driving fault - not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault

The pass mark for the driving test

You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test. If you make 16 or more driving faults, you won't pass your test. If you make one serious or dangerous fault, you won't pass your test.

If you pass your test

If you pass your test the examiner will give you a pass certificate. They will also ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically. You can find out more about this service by clicking on the link below.

Once you have passed you test you can start driving straight away - you don't need to wait for your full licence to arrive.

Claiming a driving test pass

If you don't pass your test, you can take another after ten working days. Working days include Saturdays.

How to book and manage your practical driving test appointment

Feedback on how eco-efficient your driving is

The examiner will give you helpful feedback about how eco-efficient your driving is. You can read tips about greener driving by clicking the link below.

Driving your car: green tips (environment and greener living section)

When driving tests are cancelled or stopped

Sometimes DSA has to cancel or stop driving tests because of things like bad weather or vehicle problems. Find out what happens if your test is cancelled or stopped, and what you need to do when there's bad weather.