We are often asked, 'How long is a course of lessons?' A favourite reply is 'How long does it take to bake a potato?' For those of you who have ever tried, you need to keep prodding it until you know it's ready.
We have found over the years it is best for instructor and pupil to make a joint decision on when to book the theory test and the driving test. It is of no use to either party if a pupil goes in for it too early or too late. To be honest most of our pupils know full well when they are ready.
Once the driving theory test has been passed we normally book a mock driving test with a different instructor. If the mock test goes OK we will book the driving test shortly afterwards.
The Big Red L Company monitors each of its driving instructors to ensure they don't spin driving lessons out to make more money. We know the national average number of hour's tuition to get up to test standard is about 40 hours. We have an average of less than 35 hours and intend to keep it that way. But we must also point out that some pupils may need many more hours of driving lessons.
It's a bit different to when your parents took their test. Any advice you get from them will need to be checked out with your instructor!
You should arrive 10 minutes before your practical driving test. This will give you time to relax and calm your nerves. Before you leave your house for the test, make sure you have your photo card or ID and your theory test pass certificate. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure you take them with you. Failing to produce any of these items at the test will result in failure and you will not be eligible for a refund.
When it is time for your driving test, the examiner will enter the waiting room and introduce themselves. Both parts of your driving licence will be checked and you will be asked to sign a declaration to say the car you are driving is insured. You can ask for your instructor to sit in the back at this stage. It is also possible that a supervising examiner will sit in the back to examine the examiner. Then you’ll be escorted out of the room and to the car park.
When you get to the car park, you’ll be asked to read a number plate situated around 67 feet (20.5m) away. Should you fail to read the number plate, the test will end and you will have failed. If there is any doubt, the examiner will measure the distance between the number plate and you to make sure it’s not too far away.
Once you have passed the eyesight test you’ll walk to the car. You will be asked two details about car safety and maintenance as a part of the new ‘show me, tell me’ section of the test.
Once you have got into the vehicle, try to relax. Check the positions of your mirrors, make sure your seat is adjusted correctly and put your seatbelt on. The examiner will write down some details about the car, check to see if the car is taxed correctly and check the driving instructors ADI number.
You’ll now be briefed on what you’ll be expected to do in the next 35 - 40 minutes. This will include driving around in various conditions, such as through town, on empty roads and on roads that are of a higher speed limit than 30mph. You’ll also be asked to do some of the test manoeuvres (turn in the road, reverse park, reverse park into a car-park space and reverse around a corner). At some test centres, without car parking spaces, you will not be asked to do a bay park. You are never asked to do the bay parking and the parallel parking in the same test. One in three tests include the emergency stop. After the driving examiner has explained all there is to explain about the test you’re about to take, they’ll ask you to start the car and pull away.
From October 4th 2010 a new element has been introduced to the driving test. Please watch this video to help understand -
From this point onwards, the driving examiner will be studying your performance and recording any mistakes you make. Try to forget that they are there and you’ll feel less nervous. Remember, they’re only there to monitor your driving and give you instructions. They’re not going to ask you to do anything out of the ordinary. All they’ll ask you to do is drive around as you would during your driving lessons.
While on your test, you’re allowed to make a limited number of minor faults. These are faults that do not create any immediate danger to other road users. These minor faults can count against you if you make them too often, or if they are made in conjunction with a serious or dangerous fault. Minor faults are recorded down on the examiners test sheet. If you make 16 or more minor faults, you fail the test. You’re not allowed to make any serious or dangerous faults.
At the end of the test, your examiner will tell you to pull into a parking bay (if there is one) and ask you to turn off the engine. Try to relax while the examiner totals up your score. Once they have, you’ll either be congratulated for passing or you’ll be told you have failed. If you have failed, the examiner will tell you where you’ve gone wrong and will ask if you like would your driving instructor to sit in and listen. This is recommended as they can help you practice those areas in future lessons.
If you passed, you’ll be handed a form to complete and send off. You will need to send off this form within two years of receiving it; otherwise you’ll have to take the test again. Remember, this form is not a driving license. While you wait for your full license, you’ll be able to drive on your own as long as you keep hold of your driver number.
All we want from you is a good drive and for you to gain your independence.
Pass Plus is probably the only time we want to see you back again!
That's the trouble with this job - we keep losing our best customers!