The new (from October 2010) driving test has two major changes from the 'old' / previous practical test.
The first change is that you are only be required to carry out ONE driving manoeuvre (see details of manoeuvres in the New Driving Test Procedure section below) instead of the previous requirement for two manoeuvres. This is to allow more time for the new INDEPENDENT DRIVING part of the test which is the 2nd and most significant change.
The independent drive part of the test lasts about 10 minutes.
The candidate will be asked to do ONE of the following:
The diagrams may show a simple route path such as, Follow to a road end and turn right - at the next road end turn left- at the roundabout turn right.
During the Independent drive the candidate must still drive correctly as per the rest of the driving test including using correct observations, using mirrors correctly, obeying speed limits, road markings and signs etc etc, but completely independently, unaided and unprompted. MORE DETAILS BELOW IN THE TEST PROCEDURE SECTION.
2) Your eyesight is checked by reading a number plate of a car in the vacinity of the test centre.
3) You will be asked two 'show me tell me' questions relating to your car's maintenance/ safety/ minor controls. An example question is "Show me how you would check the oil level on this car". For full a full list of show me tell me questions, answers, explanations and under bonnet pictures of tuition vehicles please visit WWW.SHOWMETELL.ME - Questions and answers.
4) You will be asked to make yourself confortable in the driving seat and then the examiner will explain how the test will be conducted, and you will be told to drive up to speed limits, and to follow the road straight ahead unless told otherwise.
5) You will be asked to start the engine and either drive away/ out of the carpark or to carry out a reversing manoeuvre into a parking bay in the test centre carpark. If you are asked to perform the reverse bay park manouevre on test it will normally be carried out at the start of the test, but candidates are sometimes asked to perform it at the end of the test on return to the test centre carpark.
6) You will drive along a test route where your examiner will give you clear instructions such as "Take the next turning on the left please".
The test route will involve minor roads and more major roads where the speed limit may be up to the national limit of 70mph. Dual carriageways may be used where they are available. You will NOT be asked to drive on motorways- this is illegal for learner drivers.
You will be asked to park on a number of occassions on test, often before a manouevre etc.
7) If you DID NOT carry out the reverse bay park at the start of the test, you will be asked to carry out ONE driving manouevre. The manouevres are:
8) INDEPENDENT DRIVING- This can be carried out at ANY time during the test.
The examiner will ask you to pull up and park at a safe and convenient location. You will then be asked to either drive independently to a location such as 'Newtown' following road signs and markings, or be given a series of directions and shown a diagram to get to a destination. The diagram will typically have just 3 steps within it- for example-
STEP 1) Turn right at the end of the road.
STEP 2) Turn right at the roundabout.
STEP 3) Turn right at the traffic lights.
A single route may involve long roads in order to cover the whole 10 minute period, or you may be asked to park twice or even three times in succession, each time being given a new separate route, perhaps lasting just 3 or 5 minutes each.
So, you could get one long independent driving route, two shorter routes or even three very short routes, either with diagrams or a mixture of diagrams and following signs.
If you go the wrong way don't panic! The examiner will get you back on course and you will not receive a fault if your driving has been correct and safe. So if you turn left instead of right it is fine if you have signalled left, positioned correctly for a left turn, and the road to the left is not a no entry road etc etc.
If you get lost or can't remember where you were supposed to go don't panic! You can ask where you need to go at any stage, but this is best done in good time so you can select the correct signal and lane etc where necessary. So if you are approaching a roundabout, you could ask the examiner which way to turn and he or she will tell you, and you will not receive a fault for asking. The same would be true for a crossroads or T junction situation etc.
The examiner is not judging your navigation skills, but your ability to drive, position, signal etc independently.
9) You MAY be asked to carry out an Emergency Stop.
10) You will return to the test centre and be asked to park and switch off the engine.
11) You will then be told the result and given a de-brief. During your test the examiner will have noted down any MINOR, SERIOUS or DANGEROUS driving faults. You will fail if you commit one or more serious or dangerous faults, or more than 15 minor faults.