The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) driving test for car drivers is about 40 minutes long. During this time 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 also be required to undertake several set manoeuvres and optionally the emergency stop.
The examiner will require you to undertake one of the following manoeuvres and optionally the emergency stop:
- Reverse parking behind a parked car or into a parking bay
- Reversing round a corner
- Turn in the road
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.
At some stage during the driving test, you will be required to undertake a period of so-called independent driving. You will be asked to follow road signs to a particular place or a series of directions to a given destination, or alternatively be shown a simple map.
This part of the test lasts approximately ten minutes. Again, this section of the test is judged based on driving ability, if you go the wrong way correctly this is not regarded as a problem.
While you are driving the examiner will note any driving faults on the driving test report form.
The driving faults are categorised into minor, serious and dangerous and are recorded against the appropriate headings shown below. Each fault is denoted by a slash ‘/’ in the appropriate box.
At the end of the test the examiner will total up the number of minor driving faults under each heading and overall.
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. Even if you feel you have failed the test you should continue to try, as the test will help you to identify where you need more practice.
Common reasons for not passing the Driving Test:
- Observation at junctions – ineffective observation and judgement
- Reverse parking – ineffective observation or lack of accuracy
- Use of mirrors – not checking or not acting on the information
- Moving away – ineffective observation or control when moving away
- Use of signals – not given, not cancelled or misleading signals
- Incorrect positioning – at roundabouts, lanes and bends
- Reversing around a corner – ineffective observation or lack of accuracy
- Lack of steering control – steering too early or leaving it too late
- Turn round in road – ineffective observation or lack of accuracy
- Inappropriate speed – travelling too slowly
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