Everything you need to know to pass your driving test
Your driving test will cover a bunch of stuff the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have identified as the MINIMUM you need to know to get on the road.
Driving isn’t only about these things – there’s a lot more you’ll have to learn by yourself after you pass. This driving syllabus is the place to start making sure you’re prepared.
What’s in the driving syllabus?
The 5 stages of learning a driving skill:
- Skill introduced
- Skill carried out with direction
- Skill carried out when prompted
- Skill rarely needs to be prompted
- Skill carried out without any prompting
Once you’re at number 5 consistently in every skill, you’re ready to take your test.
Probably the very first thing your instructor will talk to you about, before you’ve even driven a centimetre.
Your cockpit drill is everything you need to check before you drive – things like making sure your seat position is right and adjusting your mirrors. Basically: is everything cool for you to operate the controls safely and comfortably?
You won’t need to go through the whole cockpit drill in your test if you’ve arrived at the test centre in your driving instructor’s car, because everything will be set up.
If you’re doing your driving test in your own car, make sure you’ve been through the cockpit drill before arriving and you have a spare rearview mirror for the examiner. You won’t fail if you don’t have this but it makes a good impression.
DSSSM: doors, seat, steering, seatbelt and mirrors
VEHICLE SAFTEY CHECKS
Your first vehicle safety check(or ‘tell me’ question) will come up at the very start of your driving test. You’ll be asked to explain something.like when you’d use your fog lights).
From 4 December 2017, the second safety question (‘show me’) will happen while you’re driving – like ‘show me how you’d clean your windscreen’.
If you can’t answer both show me, tell me questions, you’ll get a minor. Not a great start.
As you can revise and practice these pre-test, you’re in complete control here. Acing this first part of your test will make you feel a lot better about the rest of it. It also makes a good first impression if you can deliver the answer to your first question confidently and in your own words – your instructor can help you with that.
CONTROLS & INSTRUMENTS
Knowing how to use the buttons and switches in the car is so important for safe driving. You never know when that sudden fog is going to start, or if you’ll need your hazard lights.
Some of these controls will come up in your show me, tell me questions, and it’s not unlikely you’ll need to use them as you’re driving around with your examiner, especially if you wake up to a rainy of foggy day.
At any point in the test, you can ask your examiner if it’s OK for you to pull over to adjust, say, your mirrors. As long as you do it safely, with perfect observation, that’s totally fine.
If you’re doing private practice in your own car, make sure you’re confident with all those controls too.
The basic car controls
- Foot controls: accelerator, clutch, foot brake
- Hand controls: handbrake, steering wheel, indicators, gear stick
You need to be able to use any of these controls instinctively, without having to look at them.
MOVING OFF & STOPPING
In your test, you’ll stop and move off again quite a few times. Each time, you must show the examiner that you’re doing the MSM (PSL) routine. You will also be using the (POM) routine.
Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre (Position – Speed – Look)
- Mirror – use your mirrors to check the position of traffic around and behind you, acting on what you see
- Signal – show others what you intend to do, in good time
- Manoeuvre – a change in speed or position
- (Position – position your car correctly for the move you want to make, reinforcing your intentions
- Speed – adjust your speed so it’s safe for the manoeuvre
- Look) – have a final look to check it’s safe before you start to steer
- Moving off -Moving away from the kerb
- (Prepare – depress footbrake and select drive
- Observe – check the correct mirrors & the blind spot
- Move) – release the footbrake, position the car correctly and gently gain speed