When it comes to preparing for your driving test, nothing beats listening carefully to your instructor and good old fashioned practice. But nerves can take over in a test situation, so we’ve provided some advice on what to expect and how to make sure you give it your best shot.
On the day
On the day of your test, the examiner will ask you to read the number plate of a car around 20 metres away. This is to check your eyesight is satisfactory. After that, you will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of safety and maintenance of your car. The examiner will ask two questions such as, ‘What is the minimum legal tyre tread depth?’, or “Can you identify the engine oil and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level?”. For the latter, you would need to lift the bonnet and demonstrate how you would check the level.
After this, the driving begins. This consists of three sections – driving with the examiner telling you where to go, some manoeuvres and independent driving. For the first part, you may need to successfully negotiate junctions, roundabouts, crossroads, dual carriage ways, rural roads and one-way systems, depending on where the test centre is located.
For the second part you will need to demonstrate one or two manoeuvres. The possibilities are a turn in the road, reverse around a corner, parallel parking and bay parking. You may also be asked to perform an emergency stop. Bay parking is often asked for if there are bays at the test centre.
The independent driving elements require you to drive from one place to another without instruction from the examiner as you go and tests your ability to follow road signs safely.
Taking the test
- The main thing to do on the day of your test is to try and stay calm. Nerves always come into play to begin with, but don’t let them cloud your judgement. Listen to instructions from the examiner and take your time at junctions and roundabouts.
- Keep an eye on what other drivers are doing and make it clear that you are using your mirrors. Turn your head slightly to look from the road into your rear view and back again, and remember to check your mirrors when approaching junction.
- Use indicators and check your blind spot if you are moving off from a stationary position on the side of the road.
- Keep a safe distance from the car in front at all times and adjust your speed according to the movement of the traffic. Make sure you to leave adequate space when driving around parked cars or cyclists.
- Complete manoeuvres slowly and with plenty of observation. Check what is going on around you and that you are completing the manoeuvre safely.
- Approach junctions with appropriate caution to give you time to look at what’s going on and to ensure you stop before the line.