How long is a driving test? Everything you need to know about your driving test

How long is a driving test? Everything you need to know about your driving test

22/12/2021
what do you need for driving test

You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into your driving lessons, now your Practical Driving Test is here! 

We understand that you will probably have some questions about what to expect on the day so we have put together this guide to help you prepare for everything you need to know about a driving test, including how long it is and whether you can use your own car.

Can I use my own car for the driving test?

According to the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), you can use your own car for your driving test as long as it meets the following requirements:

Your car must:

  • be taxed
  • be insured for a driving test (check with your insurance company)
  • be roadworthy and have a current MOT (if it’s over three years old)
  • have no warning lights showing, for example, the airbag warning light
  • have no tyre damage and the legal tread depth (1.6mm) on each tyre – you cannot have a space-saver spare tyre fitted
  • be smoke-free – this means you cannot smoke in it just before or during the test
  • be able to reach at least 62mph and have an mph speedometer
  • have four wheels and a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kg

How long is a driving test?

A driving test is 40 minutes long and split into several sections.

  • Eyesight test: You’ll need to be able to read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate or 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate.
  • ‘Show me, tell me’ questions: You’ll be asked two vehicle safety questions. The ‘tell me’ question will come at the start of your test before you start driving, while the ‘show me’ question will occur while you’re driving.
  • Testing your general driving ability: Here, you’ll be asked to drive in various road and traffic conditions (excluding motorways), and the examiner will give you directions you should follow. In this section, you will be tested on your ability to do one of the manoeuvres from the following; pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths, parallel parking, forward bay parking or reverse bay parking as well as independent driving. The independent driving section should last around 20 minutes, and you will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav or traffic signs.

Can you drive straight after passing your test?

You can drive straight after passing your driving test as long as you have the correct insurance (your learner insurance will no longer be valid) and your car is taxed! It’s common for instructors to drive you home after your test, as you’ve just had a long period of heightened alertness and the excitement of passing your test will help you unwind.

Your examiner will usually deal with sending off your provisional licence to the DVLA so it can be upgraded to a full driving licence. It can take up to three weeks for your new licence to come back, but you don’t need to wait for it to come back before you start independent driving. Be sure to get in contact with the DVLA after three weeks if it hasn’t turned up.

Do you need a driving instructor to take your test?

You don’t need a driving instructor to take your driving test, and you just need to have passed your theory test and have a car that meets the DVLA’s requirements.

What do you need on driving test day?

The day of your driving test has arrived, and it’s only natural that as a learner driver, you will feel nervous. Remember, your Bill Plant Driving Instructor is there to support you and would not have advised you to take your driving test if they did not feel you were ready. You have been under expert guidance, and you are more than ready. Your instructor believes that you are prepared to take AND PASS your driving test and has every confidence in you!

Some people prefer to have driving lessons with their instructor an hour or so before the test; this not only helps to calm those ‘driving test day nerves’ but gets you used to driving a car before the test commences.

This isn’t as silly as it sounds. You are already used to driving the car, it isn’t new, and you have been driving it and executing those driving manoeuvres with ease for some time now; however, it boils down to nerves. Most people benefit from taking at least an hour before the test to drive the car and become familiar in an instant with the car, helping them shed those last-minute nerves that may be lingering. Talk to your instructor about booking the hour before your test and gauge their advice.

Your driving instructor will make sure you get to the test centre at least 15 minutes earlier than your driving test begins.

If you are still nervous ahead of your test, take a look at our top 10 tips to pass your test.

YOU MUST BRING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS TO YOUR DRIVING TEST!

Provisional UK Driving licence

Your provisional licence must be signed. This is the same licence you showed your Driving Instructor in your first driving lesson. Your driving licence serves as photographic proof of your identity. Please note, if you still have an old paper driving licence, you will need to bring a valid UK passport with you to prove your identity.

Pass certificate for your Theory Test

This must be within the two-year deadline from the date you passed the test. If you took your theory test over two years ago, your pass certificate is out of date, and therefore you must re-sit your theory test.

If you’ve managed to lose your theory test certificate, just contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Let them know your name, address, date of birth and driving licence number, and they will be able to send you a letter to bring with you to your test instead of your pass certificate.

Driving Test FAQ’s

How many times can you change your driving test?

You can change your driving test appointment up to 10 times before you need to cancel your test and book a new one.

How long is the average wait for a driving test?

You can book driving tests up to 24 weeks in advance, depending on availability. On average, though, according to the UK Government, due the backlog from the pandemic, the current national average waiting time is around 15 weeks.