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.
On The Day of Your 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.*See below.
* Your instructor is currently not allowed to be present in the car on test due to Covid-19 rules.
What Happens on 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).
‘Show me,tell me’ questions:
You will be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
You will be asked the ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving‘show me’ question while you’re driving
Your general driving ability:
You will drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.
The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.
Pulling over at the side of the road
You will be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:
normal stops at the side of the road
pulling out from behind a parked vehicle
a hill start
You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.
Reversing your vehicle:
The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:
parallel park at the side of the road
park in a parking bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic
You will have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:
Directions from a sat navigation.
The examiner will tell you which you have to follow.
They will set the sat navigation up for you. You cannot use your own.
If you cannot see traffic signs:
If you cannot see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.
Going off the route:
The examiner will not give you a fault for taking a wrong turning. Providing what you did was safe.
They will help you get back on the route if you do.
The Driving Test
• There will be an 'independent driving' section during the test, this will involve following a set sat navigation route, a set of signs or verbal instructions (usually this will involve two or three turns, then a further stop and new instructions given) and a further drive, (in total about 20 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, do not 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. ( now completed electronically, 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 any 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, and we hope you do, 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. We will work out what went wrong, and aim to improve your driving in the areas that were not satisfactory. Sometimes nerves just get the better of us and most do better next time as they know what to expect.
•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.