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An explanation of the driving test:

How driving faults are assessed on the test:
Faults are defined as follows: - Minor faults: these are driving faults that do not affect anyone else. A minor fault may be a missed mirror check, or a missed gear change. If the same fault is committed more than 3 times however it is seen to be repetitive and will probably fail you. You are allowed 15 minor faults in total.

Serious faults: these are things you have done that could affect another road user if they had been there. Serious faults could be cutting a right hand corner or not looking behind when reversing. One of these on your test will fail you

Dangerous faults: These are faults that actually cause another road user to brake or swerve. One of these on your test will fail you

Driving tests are expensive, so you need to be sure that you are ready to pass. Alan will work with you and advise you when to put in for your test so that you are ready and able to pass first-time.

On the day of the driving test your examiner will ask to see your driving licence. He will not conduct the test if you cannot produce it.

What you should know about the driving test:

The section provides little known facts about the driving test itself. These are given as bullet points for you to use as a quick glance guide:

The information listed is provided in good faith and is correct to the best of our considerable knowledge, however the driving test is marked by a driving examiner, who like everyone else has personal preferences and opinions. Examiners are given considerable discretion when marking a test and are told to consider the overall drive when deciding whether or not a particular fault will cause a failure. Therefore something that fails one person in one situation may not fail someone else in a different situation. As always common sense should prevail.


Driving test bullet points:

Examiners are trained to watch you until you look in the mirror after giving a direction

Your examiner has probably already made an assessment of your ability before you pull away by looking at the way you do the pre-start checks

Examiners don't like surprises - keep your driving smooth, gentle and predictable

At some point in the test when there is a quiet moment, such as waiting in a queue, your examiner will probably ask you "What would you be doing if you weren't here today?" This appears to be the standard 'bond with the test candidate' question.

If there is an unexpected event, such as a blocked road, while you are on test you may be asked to "turn around by any means" and told that "this won't be counted on your test"

As soon as you leave the test centre, before you reach your car, the examiner wiil normally ask you if he can call you by your first name.

If you can't read a chosen numberplate by the third attempt, the examiner will go back in and get a tape measure to measure out the exact distance required. If you can't read it then you will fail your test. There is only one tape measure per test centre.

Taking the wrong direction and going off route is not a fail

All of the reversing manoeuvres now have an equal chance of being done on test

You will only ever be asked to reverse into a parking bay at the driving test centre. If a test centre does not have its own car park then you will not do the bay park manoeuvre

People who fail on emerging usually do so because they haven't looked left sufficiently before crossing the line

The emergency stop is only performed on one in three tests - people fail on the emergency stop because either they don't brake hard enough or they don't react quickly enough

If you get stuck in a traffic jam you will probably still drive the whole test route - you will just have a longer test.

Getting both maintenance questions wrong will not fail you - you will just get one minor fault.

It is very difficult to fail on a manoeuvre if you have the confidence to stop, take your time and shunt forwards if necessary.

Technically if you commit a dangerous fault the driving test should be terminated at that point, although it is seldom done.

Stalling the car on test is usually only a minor fault, unless it causes problems for someone else, or creates a dangerous situation.

You can be on the lines on a bay park manoeuvre and still pass. You can finish at an angle as long as you are not over the line either side.

Hitting the kerb lightly on a turn-in-the-road will not fail you, and the turn doesn't have to be done in 3 movements

When a driving test is terminated the examiner will get out, tell you to stay with the vehicle, and he will walk back to the test centre.

If you reach the end of a one way street and are supposed to turn right, and you suddenly realise you are in the left lane: you can salvage your test by changing your indicator to left, and turning left. This should only give you a minor fault for 'timing of indicator'

Four minor faults within the same category will normally fail you

If you do not agree with the way your test was conducted you can make an appeal against the result. However if you win the appeal the result will not be changed, you will just get a retest.

Examiners like confident drivers - show him/her that you know what you are doing

You can fail for not using the windscreen wipers if they are needed

The examiner's union is pressing for the banning of non dual-controlled cars on test

Certain cars such as mini convertables are not allowed to be used on test.

Mounting the kerb with your back wheel when turning left is usually only a minor fault

If a manoeuvre is going wrong, or you don't like the way it is going, you can shunt forwards at least twice to alter it.

Many examiners have never been instructors. They take a one month training course to qualify as an examiner.

Test examiners have many more accidents than instructors - an examiner's job is not to keep you safe but to examine.

You can have a friend accompany you to sit in the back on your driving test.

On the parallel parking manoeuvre you can finish with the wheels on full lock right. You don't have to straighten them.

If your examiner mentions a direction (left or right) then generally indicate that way

Examiners should allow you to cross your hands on the steering wheel in some circumstances.

You can change from 3rd gear directly to 5th gear when accelerating

You can fail for not driving up to the speed limit (eg.driving at 45mph in a 60mph limit)

You can use your own car on the driving test

Cars without dual controls tend to get easier test routes

Steering whilst stationary (dry steering) is not a fault

All the driving examiners at a test centre are required to have a test pass rate within 10% of each other.

If the Highway Code enables you to use an unsafe method on a particular road layout then this may be taken off the test route.

Driving examiners often don’t make up their mind as to which test route you are going on until after your test has started.

In a potential accident situation the examiner will not intervene until the last possible moment, and that may be too late. This is because he is afraid of being accused of intervening unnecessarily

Your instructor is assessed by the standard and ability of his pupils that he takes to the test centre.

If a number of examiners have had near misses or accidents at a location on a test route, the route will probably be changed.

Never follow someone else blindly, assuming they know what they are doing. One examiner tells a story of three tests all on the same route, all following one another, and all failing on the same junction. Just because the first one got into the wrong lane, and the other two followed.