Sit in and observe driving tests

You cannot sit in and observe a driving test at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and social distancing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and driving tests

Driving instructors and supervising drivers are not currently allowed to sit in the back during driving tests. This is to help with social distancing.

This page shows what the rules are when you’re allowed to sit in on driving tests.

Who can observe driving tests

You can observe a driving test if you’re 16 or over, but you cannot take any part in the test.

There are different rules for filming or recording a driving test.

Before the test starts

Turn your phone off or make sure it’s switched to silent.

‘Tell me’ vehicle safety question

You can help the candidate to lift the bonnet if they’re struggling, but do not interfere unnecessarily.

Where you sit

It’s usually least intrusive to sit behind the candidate, However, the best position is wherever it’s the most comfortable, providing you can sit upright with the seat belt correctly fitted.

During the test

When the test has started, you can:

  • take notes to help the candidate
  • change position to improve the candidate’s visibility during the reverse exercises

Do not:

  • answer your phone
  • prompt the candidate by coughing or nudging the back of their seat
  • nod enthusiastically or make excessive eye contact with the candidate - it can be seen as a pre-arranged code

The test will not be stopped if you naturally look left, right and behind you - but try not to put the candidate off.

At the end of the test

Listen carefully to the feedback so that you can give the candidate more detailed feedback later.

Speak to the test centre manager or follow the complaints procedure if you have genuine concerns about how the test was conducted.

Published 15 January 2013
Last updated 5 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added a section explaining that you cannot currently sit in on driving tests because of coronavirus and social distancing.

  2. Removed information about being able to act as a foreign language interpreter following the end of interpreters being allowed on tests on 7 April 2014.

  3. Added a warning that candidates will only be able to take their test in English, Welsh or British sign language from 7 April 2014.

  4. Updated the rule about mobile phones to make it clear that they can be set to silent or turned off.

  5. First published.

  1. Step 1 Check you're allowed to drive

    Most people can start learning to drive when they’re 17.

    1. Check what age you can drive
    2. Requirements for driving legally
    3. Driving eyesight rules
  2. Step 2 Get a provisional licence

  3. Step 3 Driving lessons and practice

  4. and Prepare for your theory test

  5. Step 4 Book and manage your theory test

  6. Step 5 Book and manage your driving test

  7. Step 6 When you pass

    You can start driving as soon as you pass your driving test.

    You must have an insurance policy that allows you to drive without supervision.

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