Driving Test Changes: You asked, we answered!

Our partners at Driving-Instructor TV have answered some of the top questions they hear from learners, to help you cut through the myths and find out the facts!

Driving Test Changes: You asked, we answered!

Your driving test – get it right and you’ll be free on the road! Our partners at Driving-Instructor TV have answered some of the top questions they hear from learners, to help you cut through the myths and find out the facts!

Q- Whose car will I take my test in?

A- Most people use their instructor’s car but if you have been learning or practising in your own car, then you may feel more confident taking your test in that. Check that your car meets the DVSA’s rules before you go to the test centre, and that you have insurance to cover you during the test.

Q - How many faults am I allowed?

A - Your test will last approximately 40 minutes, taking in a variety of roads and situations. Can you interact safely with other road users? Control the car well? Make sensible decisions? Follow the rules of the road? Then you’ll be fine!

You’ll pass your driving test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults – not that 15 is a target to aim for, of course!

Faults are marked in 3 ways:

  • a driving fault (sometimes called 'a minor') - this isn’t potentially dangerous, but if you keep making the same fault, it could become a serious one
  • a serious fault (sometimes called 'a major') - something potentially dangerous
  • a dangerous fault - this involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public, or property

If you think you have made a fault try to carry on driving normally; it might not be as bad as you think! The examiner will only stop your test if they think your driving is a danger to other road users.

Q – What happens when I first start my test?

At the beginning of the test, the examiner will ask you 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

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check, so if you need glasses then don’t forget them!

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the 'show me, tell me' questions, to check that you know how to carry out basic safety checks. If you get one or both these questions wrong this will be marked as a minor fault. You cannot get a serious fault on the questions.

Q - Is it true they can only pass a certain number of tests per day?

A - No!

Examiners aren't limited to a quota or number of candidates they must pass or fail. If you do not commit a serious or dangerous fault, or make more than 15 errors, then you will pass!

Q - Will I fail if I go the wrong way on the road?

A – No - This is not a test of your navigation skills! Your test will include a 10-minute independent drive in which you will be asked to follow either:

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

If you go the wrong way, or misread a sign then don’t panic! Drive sensibly, follow the rules of the road, and you’ll be fine - The examiner knows the area and will direct you back onto the route.

Q - Will the examiner talk to me while I'm driving?

A - The examiner will talk to you to give you directions. Some examiners will perhaps ask you a couple of questions such as “Do you go to college?” or “What would you be doing today if you weren't here?”, but they won't ask at a point when you need your full concentration to deal with a driving situation. If they are quiet it is not because they are being grumpy or you have done something wrong – they’re just allowing you to focus on your driving.

Q - Can I choose which manoeuvre to do?

A - No. - the manoeuvre is chosen at random by the examiner, so be prepared to be asked to carry out any one of them, and make sure you’ve practised them all!. It is possible to pick up a serious or dangerous fault during a manoeuvre, so take it steady and be very aware of the area all around you.

1 in 3 tests will include an emergency stop demonstration, but this does not count as a manoeuvre.

Q - I heard the driving test is changing in December - is this true?

A – Yes indeed! The driving test is changing from the 4th December 2017, so here’s what to expect:

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

You’ll be asked the ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving, and the ‘show me’ question while you’re driving.


The turn in the road and the left corner reverse will no longer be required once the new changes come into force. The examiner will ask you to do one of the following manoeuvres:

  • 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
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and re-join the traffic

Independent driving

The independent drive will increase from 10 minutes to about 20 minutes, and you will be required to drive by following either:

  • directions from a sat nav
  • traffic signs

The examiner will tell you which you have to do, provide the sat nav and set it up for you. You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test, although any device can be used to practice your skills during your lessons. You will not be faulted for going the wrong way, so don’t panic!

Your driving instructor will help you prepare for whichever version of the test you’ll be taking, but if you want to check out all of the changes then you can see the full details here.

If you’ve got any questions at all, then pop on over to our Facebook page and ask away – we’re here to support you!



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