Butler's Driving School - The Practical Test

The practical test starts with an eye sight check. The examiner will ask you to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres. Fail to do this and you will fail the practical test.

If you pass the eye sight check the examiner will then ask you two questions from the Show me, Tell Me question bank. Fail to answer either question correctly and you will score one minor fault per incorrect answer. To view the questions and answers.

The driving part of the test lasts about 40 minutes. You will be required to show you are a safe, competent driver who has a sound knowledge of the Highway Code. The examiner will try to ensure that you cover a wide variety of different road conditions from quiet low speed roads to busy high-speed roads and town or city centre driving.

You will have to perform one of the following manoeuvres & maybe the emergency stop.

  • 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.

During the test the examiner will tell you in good time which way to go. If you go the wrong way do not panic the examiner is testing your ability to drive not your ability to follow directions. It is better to go the wrong way correctly than to go the right way incorrectly. If at any time you are unsure what the examiner requires do not hesitate to check what he or she wants. The examiner appreciates that you may be nervous and will be happy to repeat any instructions or clarify any instructions given.

If you commit 16 or more minor driving faults you will unfortunately fail the driving test. If you commit one or more serious or dangerous driving faults you will also fail the test.

Independent Driving
For about 20 minutes, half of the test, you will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. This will be set up by the examiner, one in five driving tests won't use a sat nav you will follow road signs instead.

The examiner may show you a diagram to help you understand where you'll be going. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way.

The purpose is rather to assess your ability to drive safely whilst at the same time having to make your own decisions in order to reach your target destination. This includes for example deciding when it's safe to pull over and ask for directions. Your result will not be affected unless you commit a driving fault, even if you go off the independent driving route.