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The practical test of driving ability consists of tests of eyesight, safety questions and driving technique. The test will last for about one hour. You must pass all parts of the test at the same time.

The eyesight test

You must be able to read in good daylight with the aid of glasses or contact lenses if worn, a motor vehicle registration mark containing letters and figures

  • 26.5 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 27.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

If you do not pass the eyesight test, you will not be allowed to take the driving ability element. The test will be marked as a fail and will count towards your three attempts.

'Show me, tell me' questions

You'll be asked 5 vehicle safety questions known as the 'show me, tell me' questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety tasks.

You'll be asked:

  • 3 'tell me' questions at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • 2 'show me' questions while you're driving-for example, showing how to wash the window screen using car controls and wipers

You'll get a serious fault and fail the test if you answer all 5 questions incorrectly, or if you lose control of the car while answering any of the 'show me' questions.

Test of driving ability

The test of driving ability is an advanced driving test and a very high standard of competence is required. You must show that you have a thorough knowledge of the principles of good driving and road safety and that you can apply them. You must satisfy the examiner on all or any of the following subjects:

  • an eyesight check
  • 'show me, tell me' vehicle safety questions
  • general driving ability
  • manoeuvres
  • independent driving

The routes used for the test will include roads which may carry heavy and/or fast-moving traffic; they will also cover a range of road and traffic conditions, including urban and rural conditions.

Your general driving ability

You'll have to show the examiner all of the following:

  • expert handling 
  • use of correct road procedure
  • anticipation of the actions of other road users and the taking appropriate action
  • sound judgement of distance, speed and timing
  • consideration of the convenience and safety of other road users
  • driving in an environmentally-friendly manner

You'll drive in varying road and traffic conditions, including motorways or dual carriageways where possible. You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing your vehicle

  • The examiner will ask you to do 2 of the following exercises:
  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • reverse into a parking bay and drive out
  • drive into a parking bay and reverse out
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car-lengths and re-join traffic 

Independent driving

You'll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

  • directions from a sat nav
  • traffic signs

The examiner will tell which you have to do.

Following directions from a sat nav

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up for you. You can't follow directions from your own sat nav during the test.

Going off route

Your test result won't be affected if you take a wrong turning, unless you make a fault while doing it. The examiner will help get you on the route if you do.

If you can't see traffic signs

If you cant see a traffic sign (for example, if its covered up by trees),the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.

The test vehicle

It is your responsibility to provide a car which is properly taxed and insured. it must be a saloon car or hatchback/estate car in good working condition and with seatbelts in working order. It must be capable of the normal performance of vehicles of its type. It must have right-hand steering, a readily adjustable seat with a head restraint for forward-facing front passenger, and an adjustable interior rear-view mirror for use by the examiner. The car must not display L-plates