Driving Test

On the day of the driving test we will have 50 minutes before the test to get warmed up.

We arrive 10 minutes before the test is due to start this is so that the previous test can get out of the test centre easily.

You will need to pay me for 2 hours of driving lessons for the test day.

The test times in Peterborough are as follows: 8:10am, 9:07am, 10:14am, 11:11am, 12:38pm, 1:35pm & 2:32pm.

The reason why they are odd times is because if the test was 9:00am say, and you were 5 minutes late you could argue with the examiner that you are only 5 minutes late, whereas with 9:07am it is more difficult to argue this.

The car is reversed into a bay where it is easy for you to get out when the test starts.

We can put things in the boot at this stage. There is a toilet in Peterborough and a water dispenser.

The waiting room is large and there is normally a maximum of nine people taking their test, but it is normally four or five.

At the appointed time the examiners come out of the door (they do not all come out of the door at the same time unfortunately) they will normally call out your first name but sometimes both.

It is possible that the examiner is bored and can come across as grumpy, most of the time they are very professional, they do 7 tests a day. Try to see past any grumpiness. They will ask you what you would be doing if you were not doing the test, they do this to help you deal with nerves.

They may talk later about what you said but they will shut up if anything is getting challenging for you.

They will ask to see your licence, they will check this under a UV light to make sure it is genuine.

They will open their clipboard and ask you sign the insurance declaration, (you will have this cover with me).

You will be asked if you would like your instructor to sit in the back on the test, you will then be asked if you would like your instructor to hear the debrief at the end.

If you decide to have your instructor sitting in the back you need to be aware of the extra weight involved, acceleration may not be as quick and you will need to brake earlier.

It is up to you whether you want me to sit in the back, I want you to pass and want you to be as comfortable as possible, if that means you don't want me there then I completely understand.

The advantage of having your instructor in the back is that after the test you can ask him about aspects of the driving. It is hard for me when I do not sit in on tests to be aware of the scenario fully.

The examiner will ask you to lead the way out of the waiting room and towards the car park.

They will lead you to one side of the car park and ask you to read a number plate the other side.

If you cannot read it they will fail you and the test will not continue and you will lose your fee.

You need to read a number plate at 20.5 metres and if you need glasses or contacts to do this then you need to wear these when driving.

You will then be asked to 'pop the bonnet' and then you will be asked the first 'show me, tell me' question.

If you get the 'show me, tell me' wrong you will only get a driver (minor) error, so don't panic (you are allowed 15 driver faults).

The exception is when they ask you a question on the move and you do it when it is unsafe to do so.

They will start with, "when it is safe..."

I find that most people get this correct, the ones that don't say something completely wrong - this is due to nerves.

At this stage I will slip into the back seat behind the driver (if you request me on the test), if you communicate with me I will ignore you.

You will get in and the examiner will ask you the second 'show me, tell me' question.

He will take down my details from my Approved Driving Instructor green badge.

He will explain that the test will last 38 to 40 minutes and this will include a 20 minute independent drive.

He will explain to follow the road ahead unless he directs you otherwise.

He will ask if you want to hear the instructions again.

The independent drive is 20 minutes and he will pull you over to start this, unless it starts at the test centre.

You will not get marked down for clarifying directions during the drive, you will not get marked down for going the wrong way.

4 out of every 5 tests include a Sat Nav element and 1 out of 5 are following signs.

You will also not get marked down for going the wrong way in the rest of the test too.

If the examiner wants you to turn right at the next roundabout for example and you are in the lane to go straight on and you cannot easily get into the right lane, just go straight ahead, disregarding the directions from the examiner, it is his problem to get you back on track.

They are not looking for a perfect drive but a safe drive so you are allowed 15 minor errors.

There are safety critical errors and these are marked as 'serious' or 'dangerous'.

Serious is a potentially dangerous situation, Dangerous is an actual dangerous situation, getting one of these is a fail.

Habitual faults will result in a fail, for example if you fail to check the left mirror before turning left, this will be marked as a driver (minor) fault, but if you do this three or four times then you will get a serious fault.

If you realise you have made a minor fault try not to repeat it for the rest of the test.

Try to put any mistakes or potential mistakes behind you and move forward, that 'serious' error you made may only be a 'minor' to the examiner.

I have had people who have 'beaten themselves up' over errors and the next mistake is serious because they have given up.

They want to see you driving safely at junctions, so observations are the key and acting on what you see.

If you are at a busy junction then don't let the pressure build up as you are waiting, it may not be safe.

Just try to reassess the situation again and again, try not to think about how long you have been waiting as it is not relevant.

I have had excellent drivers pull out at roundabouts because they thought they were waiting too long and the examiner has gone for the dual controls and failed them.

Try to take the manoeuvres at a slow walking pace looking in the direction of travel 80% and mirrors 20%.

They want you to drive slowly so you can see kids, it will not impress them doing manoeuvres quickly.

Learners tend to be concerned with stalling and manoeurvres but nationally it tends to be observation at junctions and roundabouts where people fail.