As a driving school in Helensburgh it comes as no surprise that we take our students for a driving test at the end of their course of lessons.
The Driving and vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) practical driving test is designed to test a candidates ability to control the vehicle and to ensure that what has been learnt over the course of lessons has stuck with them. When you pass, you will be allowed to drive on the public highway without your 'L' Plates and without supervision. The test takes approximately 40 minutes, and is supervised by a DVSA examiner, who will sit in the passenger seat.
The Driving Test • Aim to arrive at the test centre 10-15 minutes early, in order to give your test car a quick check to ensure that things like tyre pressures are correct, and that all lights are in working order. Go into the test centre shortly before your appointment time. You will require your Driving Licence. You will be asked to sign a declaration on the test report form (DL25), which confirms that your test vehicle is insured and that you are a resident in the UK.
•Normally your instructor will wait at the test centre, though he can travel with you in the back of the car if you request his presence. Occasionally, a DVSA assessor will sit in the back of the car. He (or she) is there to assess the examiner, not you, so do not worry about them.
The Driving Test
•As you leave the test centre and walk to your car. Your examiner will stop you, and ask you to read the registration of a car (not your test car) from an approximate distance of about 20.5 metres. (If you normally wear glasses for driving, you should wear them.) The registration plate will be of a standard size and font. If you cannot read the plate (you will be able to try twice then out comes the measuring tape), the test will terminate (and you will lose your fee).
•You will next take part in the 'Show Me/Tell Me' section of the test. You will be asked two questions. One question could ask you to identify a feature of the engine bay and explain how to use it (e.g. "Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid."). Secondly, you could be asked to show the examiner how you would check a certain part of the car is working (e.g. "Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working."). In some cases you will have to physically check, in others you will only need to explain verbally.
• You will be told to sit in the drivers seat and the examiner will join you in the car. He will instruct you to start the car, and the test will commence. Check your mirrors and get underway.
•During the test, you will follow directions given by the examiner, following a set route. (most centres have multiple routes, which can be changed at the examiners discretion, so there is little point in attempting to remember the routes - particularly as each centre has as many as 10 routes.) The route will test your ability to drive sensibly and efficiently.
•On the route, you will also be required to perform one manoeuvre from a list of four. (Turn in the road, Parallel parking, Reverse around a corner or Bay parking) You may also be asked to perform an emergency stop.
The Driving Test
•There will be an 'independent driving' section during the test, this will involve following a set of signs or verbal instructions given by the examiner at the side of the road, usually this will involve two or three turns, then a further stop and new instructions given and a further drive, (in total about 10 minutes).
•The test route will take several types of driving into account - from driving on a dual carriageway, to busy main roads, from national speed limit country lanes to quiet residential streets with a posted speed limit.
•The examiner will give instructions to you in plenty of time, giving you chance to check your mirrors and indicate without being unduly rushed. If you take an incorrect turning - don't worry, unless you have broken a traffic law, such as turned into a no entry road, you should not be penalised. The examiner is testing your ability to drive a car, not to follow instructions. Taking a wrong turn safely is better than realising late, and taking the indicated turn in a dangerous manner, which could cost you the test. If at any time you are unsure of what your examiner requires you to do, don't hesitate to ask. The examiner will appreciate you are likely to be nervous, and will be happy to repeat or clarify any instructions.
•If at any point you think you have made an error, do not give up - carry on driving as you have been taught, as it may turn out that you haven't failed.
•During the test, the examiner will mark faults on the DL25 form. The form has several headings, with spaces for marks and comments, after the test the examiner will identify the faults and mark the test accordingly. Once you have finished the test route, you will return to the test centre. At this stage, you will park the car, and the examiner will inform you that the test is complete. He or she will then take a moment to count up your mistakes. You are allowed up to 15 minor faults - any more, and you earn an automatic fail. Any 'serious' or 'dangerous' faults will also result in an automatic fail.
•If you pass - congratulations! You will be presented with a pass certificate; your driving licence will automatically be upgraded and sent to your home address. •If you fail, do not let it get you down. Work out what went wrong, and aim to improve your driving in the areas that were not satisfactory.
•We provide driving lessons in Dumbarton as standard (as that is the location of the test centre for this area) this enables drivers to gain a sense of 'local knowledge' in driving around a possibly unfamiliar town. (other test areas can be considered at the company discretion)
Nearly 20 years experience of helping people rip up their 'L' plates.