The UK Driving Test

Today on the blog we are talking about driving in the UK. Did you know December 2017 brings new changes to the driving test? You can check out the changes here! 

To be able to sit a driving test in the United Kingdom you must already hold a UK provisional licence. You must also complete a theory test at one of the Driving Standards Agency theory test centres around the UK. To find your nearest Test Centre click here.

Once you have successfully completed your theory test, you can then apply to take your practical test at a local centre. Most test centres have a waiting period of around 6 to 8 weeks for driving tests

Many are now able to offer weekend tests although the price and demand for them is higher, so you should expect to wait a little longer. From April 2009 the weekday practical test costs £62 and £75 at weekends and weekday evenings (summer only).

The driving test will normally take place at the scheduled time, however occasionally the test is cancelled if an examiner is ill or unavailable, or if weather or traffic conditions will not allow for it. Tests are not conducted in poor light or in the dark. If the centre cancels the test for any reason candidates will normally be prioritised and booked for the next available time.

The standard of driving required in order to pass the test is relatively high compared with many other countries with the current national average for candidates passing the test at just 43%.

The main reason for this low pass rate is that candidates who present for a driving test have often not had enough practical instruction. The DSA advise that pupils who pass the test have had an average of 45 hours professional training with an instructor plus 22 hours of private practice.

Candidates are allowed to commit up to 15 minor driving offences but must not commit any serious or dangerous faults. Most candidates fail for committing either a serious or dangerous driving fault or some for displaying the same minor driving fault repeatedly.

Like with any life skill pupils will learn at different rates, driving is multi disciplinary and pupils will be better at learning some skills than others. Although there are many reasons while candidates do fail tests, there are essentially only three things that are needed to pass:

  • the knowledge
  • the aptitude
  • and the correct attitude.
Pupils will develop a good driver attitude if they display the following characteristics:
  • Confidence – You will build confidence as you practice and develop your driving skills
  • Patience – You should demonstrate defensive driving behaviour and be tolerant of other road users
  • Responsibility – You are responsible for your vehicle when driving and should be aware of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and even your own passengers.
  • Concentration – You must be able to maintain your concentration throughout your lessons and your test. A a new driver you should have breaks at least every 2 hours.
  • Anticipation – Being able to anticipate the road is the hallmark of a good driver. You should start to develop this skill before taking the driving test. You may make particular use of this skill when planning ahead using roadsigns or when you need to change lanes.
Ultimately, you will become a better and safer driver with more experience. You should always try and take extra lessons to improve your skills in areas that you may not have had much practice. Consider taking the Pass Plus course after passing your test as this will help your to develop skills that you will have little or no experience of before your test.