The test itself is normally 35 - 40 minutes long, although sometimes roadworks and other unexpected hazards can mean a much longer test on the odd occasion. You will be expectred to follow the road ahead unless road markings, road signs or of course the examiner indicates otherwise.
You will be asked to read a number-plate at 20.5m. If you need glasses to do this then you will be required to wear glasses for your practical test.
The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test - these are known as the show me tell me questions.
The tell me question which requires an explanation of the task will be carried out at the start of the test.
The show me question requires you to carry out a task while driving, such as operating the windscreen wipers, putting on the lights etc.
During the test you 80% of students will be asked to follow the directions of a sat-nav. The sat-nav used on the test is a TomTom start 52. The examiner will program it for you, so you dont have to worry about that part. 20% will have 20 minutes of independent driving instead of following a sat-nav. If you are asked to do this, you could be given roadsigns to follow, a sequence of instructions given at the side of the road or a combination of the two. If you are given a sequence to follow, you will often be asked if you are okay with having verbal instructions or whether you would prefer a diagram. I tell my students to always ask for a diagram as the verbal instructions will come in addition and it will be a lot clearer than verbal alone and it helps with the occasional examiner that may not be quite so articulate.
You'll get one manouvre out of four on your test. These include the "Parallel Park", "Bay Park backwards" (pulling out of and then going into a bay backwards), "Bay Park forwards" (driving forwards into a bay and back out again), "Pulling up on the right maneouvre", this requires you to pull up on the right, reverse back a couple of car lengths and then move off again afterwards. If you've gone through all your test without a reversing maneouvre then it will be a bay park at the test centre.
You maybe asked to do the "Controlled Stop" (Emergency Stop). It seems that around 20% of my students have been asked to do this on their tests locally. If you are required to so this you will be pulled up on the side of the road first and what you are required to do will be carefully explained to you. Aferwards, the examiner will pull you up on the side of the road and say something like "Thank you very much, I won't ask you to do that again." This makes it very clear that the exercise is over.
You will be given a hill start (pretty self-explanatory) Avon Road Hill and the West Ashton traffic lights are two of their favourite spots and asked to pull up within a car's length of a parked vehicle, but giving yourself enough room to be able to pull out.This is called an angle start.
On your test you will be asked to do some high speed driving where the speed limit changes to the national speed limit. Favourite locations for this is the road between Westbury and Yarnbrook and in the other direction the road between Westbury and Warminster.
You will be asked to traverse a number of junction, roundabouts and areas where there are likely to be some more complicated hazards in the Westbury, Warminster and on the odd occasion in the Trowbridge areas.
The test will finish at the test centre where you started.
The Practical Test