3. What happens during the test

There are 5 parts to the driving test:

  • an eyesight check
  • ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
  • general driving ability
  • reversing your vehicle
  • independent driving

The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.

How long the test lasts

You’ll drive for around 40 minutes.

You’ll drive for around 70 minutes if you’re taking an extended driving test because you’ve been banned from driving.

Eyesight check

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, such as AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety checks.

Your general driving ability

You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes aren’t published, so you can’t check them before your test.

Pulling over at the side of the road

You’ll 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:

  • reverse around a corner
  • turn in the road
  • reverse park - either into a parking bay or parallel park at the side of the road

Independent driving

You’ll have to drive for about 10 minutes by following either:

  • traffic signs
  • a series of verbal directions
  • a combination of both

The examiner can show you a simple diagram to help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions.

You can’t use a satnav.

If you can’t see traffic signs

If you can’t 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.

Forgetting the directions

You can ask the examiner to confirm the directions if you forget them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction.

Going off the route

Your test result won’t be affected if you go off the route, unless you make a fault while doing it.

The examiner will help you get back on the route if you take a wrong turning.

If you make mistakes during your test

You can carry on if you make a mistake. It might not affect your result if it’s not serious.

The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.