Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Frequency asked questions about learning to drive

How do I apply for and manage my driving licence?
Go to GOV.UK for everything you need to know about driving licences.

What is the eyesight requirement for driving?
You'll have to read a car number plate from a distance of 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate and 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate. For more information click here.

How do I book and manage my theory or practical test?
Call 03002001122 or book online at GOV.UK

What information will I need to hand to book my theory test?
To book your driving theory test you will need your:
-   Valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number.
-   Credit or debit card details.

What information will I need to hand to book my practical driving test?
To book your practical test you will need your:
-   Valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland provisional driving licence number.
-   Credit or debit card details.
-   Theory test pass date and certificate number.

What should I do if I have lost my theory test certificate?
You should contact the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) as soon as possible. They don't issue replacement certificates, but will send you a brief letter containing your certificate number.You'll need to give your name and driving licence number. To find out how to contact the DSA click here.

Will I be able to take the theory test if I have lost one or both parts of my driving licence?

Will I be able to take the practical test if I have lost one or both parts of my driving licence or my theory test certificate?

How long does the theory test pass certificate last for?

Your theory test pass certificate runs out after two years of passing your test. If you have not passed your practical test by then, you'll need to take and pass the theory test again.

How does the 'show me, tell me' part of the practtical test work? 
You will be asked two vehicle safety questions at the start of the test. Also called 'Show me, tell me' questions. The examiner will ask you one 'show me' question, where you will have to show the examiner how you would carry out a vehicle safety check. You will also be asked one 'tell me' question, where you will have to explain to the examiner how you would carry out the check.
If you give the wrong answer for one or both questions, you will be marked with one driving fault.

How does the independent driving part of the practical test work?
During your test you'll have to drive independently for around 10 minutes, by either following traffic signs, a series of directions or a combination of both. 

For more information about the theory test click here
For more information about the practical test click here

What is the pass rate for the driving test?

National pass rate 2011 to 2012
Overall pass rate (all tests taken) 47%
First time pass rate 46.2%

Pass rate at Rhyl test centre 01/04/2010 to 31/03/2011
Overall pass rate 39.3%
First time pass rate 38%

In short the above figures tell you a high level of knowledge and driving is required to pass.  

Why are there variations in pass rates between test centres?
Traffic conditions in some areas are more changeling then in other areas. Also in more affluent areas candidates are more likely to of had private practice which definitely helps.  

Are there any cheap ways or short cuts to pass a driving test?
No the best way to pass the driving test is to learn how to become a good driver and that takes time, commitment and money. 

Does private practice help?
Yes private practice combined with good quality tuition gives you the best chance of passing.

I want to pass my driving test quickly do intensive courses work?
For most people the answer is no, if you’re having a bad day 4 or 5 hours is an awful long time to spend in a car. It’s much better to have 2 or 3 shorter lessons spread over a week. Having a gap in between lessons also gives you time to reflex upon what you have done well and how to improve things you have not done so well.

Will learning the test route by memory help me pass the driving test?
No the road and traffic conditions constantly change; the best way to pass the driving test is to learn how to become a good driver and read the road ahead. There isn’t just one test route anyway and the driving standards agency no longer publishes the routes. 

Is the driving test fair?
Yes it’s as fair as any test can be. All tests really have the same weakness; you can only judged by what you do on the test. In other words you can drive brilliantly just before your test then make a mess of things on your test. No test is perfect but it is the fairest way to judge your ability.

Are nerves a factor in people failing the diving test?
To be honest yes, although nerves can never be used as an excuse for failing, nerves do undoubtedly affect some people more the others. 

Can I bluff my way through a driving test? 
No examiners are highly trained professionals who themselves have past a very demanding advanced driving test. The examiner will identify any weakness in your knowledge or driving.  

How will the examiner judge me?   
Like your instructor examiners drive the car in their mind from the passenger seat. They look at what you’re doing then compare that to what they would be doing in the same situation. The examiner will of course take your inexperience into account when assessing your driving. 

Will I fail if I make a mistake?
No you’re allowed to make 15 minor errors, however you will fail if you make just one seriously or dangerous fault. For a full explanation of the practical test click on the link below.

What should I do if I make a mistake?
Just carry on with the drive and let the examiner decide how he wants to grade any fault. If the mistake is only slight and of a one of nature the examiner may not even classify it as a fault.

Is it an automatic fail if I stall the car?
No just stay calm restart the car and move off safely. Let the examiner decide how he wants to grade the fault.

What’s the main reason for failing the driving test?
Ineffective observations and that includes use of mirrors, is without question the main reason for failure because most other faults have their origins in that one fault. Poor observation equals poor judgement and planning and that equals mistakes. 
How many driving lessons will I need to pass?
According to the Driving Standards Agency's own research, the average number of hours of professional tuition it takes to pass the test is 45 – plus around 20 hours private practice. Remember, this is not a recommendation, this is the average of people who have actually passed their test.

Are you allowed to wear sunglasses on your driving test?
Yes glare from the sun is a major driver distraction. However be aware not all sunglasses are suitable for driving. Click on the link below for more information.

Can I cross my hands on the steering wheel? 
Yes having full control of the vehicle is more important then sticking religiously to the pull push steering method.

Are there any limitations on how many times I can take the theory or practical test?
No except for the cost

Will the way I look or dress go against me on my practical test?
No the driving standards agency is committed to equality and fairness to all. Just make sure nothing you wear interferes with your vision or use of the controls.

When I book my practical test can I ask for a welsh speaking examiner?

What should I do if I have special needs? 
Talk to your instructor and visit the links below for more information.

Should I show the examiner how careful I am by driving everywhere slowly?
No driving to slowly for the conditions can be just as dangerous as driving to fast for the conditions because it adds to congestion. Don’t be afraid to drive up to the speed limit and make progress if safe.

Should I exaggerate my head movements to make sure the examiner knows I am checking my mirrors? 
No all observations should be natural and normal.

I’ve heard examiners are only allowed to pass a limited number of people every month is that true? 

Will I automatically fail if I take a wrong turn?
No as long as you go the wrong way safely following the correct routines it won’t be a problem. The examiner will just put you back on course.

Diamond Advanced Motorist

I Past the Diamond Advanced Driving Test in Bangor on the 26/03/2012 with 2 minor faults. Really pleased about passing even though I didn't pass first time; disappointed but you have to remember it is an advanced driving test so the standard of your driving needs to be very high. In order to continue to use the title Diamond Advanced Motorist I have to retake the test every 3 years, which I think is a good idea because it shows a commitment by me to keep my driving up to a high standard. After all if I can’t maintain my own standards how can I expect to teach a learner how to drive? Also as a driving instructor putting yourself through an advanced driving test every 3 years puts you in the shoes of your students when they take their driving test. Under the pressure of a test it’s so easy to make mistakes you would never normally make, that’s just human nature. I have now past 3 advanced driving tests since 2006.

Seasonal Driving Advice

From the high temperatures of summer to the extreme cold of winter, read advice on how to cope.


Speed is one of the biggest factors in fatal road crashes. Speed limits are there for a reason – find out why
It's 30 for a reason

Mobile Phones

Using a mobile phone, sat nav or any similar device whilst driving means that the driver’s attention is distracted from the road.
Mobile phones and driving

Drug Driving

For those caught while driving under the influence of drugs, the penalties are as severe as for those who drink and drive. Your eyes will give you away

Drink Driving

Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive - and there is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit. It's not worth the risk

Driving in sunglasses

Do you know the rules concerning driving and wearing sunglasses?

Breakdown Advice

If you break down where to stop and what to do