Promoting safer driving throughout the borough and
targeting the "at risk" groups the travel awareness and
safety team provide pre-driver educational programmes to ensure a
more responsible attitude towards driving and encourage safer
Starting to drive
Before you start to drive:
- You must hold a valid, signed provisional licence
- ensure that any car you drive is properly insured for you to
- Your eyesight is also important. Your instructor will
check your eyesight before you start to drive.
- It is important to learn safe driving practice from the
beginning of your driving career, bad habits are hard to
Frequently asked questions
Why use an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)?
It is unlikely that anyone except an
ADI would have the experience, knowledge and training to teach you
properly. Learning safe driving habits from the start will
improve your own and other road user's safety.
To become qualified,
an ADI must pass a theory test, and strict tests of driving
and instructional ability. All ADI's must maintain a
high standard of instruction.
Fully qualified ADIs display a green
certificate on the windscreen of the tuition vehicle. Trainee
driving instructors are granted a trainee licence so that they can
gain teaching experience before their final qualifying
examination. Their licence is pink.
The standard of instruction of all
ADIs is regularly checked by DSA. This is done by a DSA
Supervising Examiner sitting in on a live lesson. The
instructor is then graded:
- grade 4 is competent
- grade 5 is good
- grade 6 is a very high standard.
Ask your potential instructor for
their grade before embarking on a course of lessons.
Your instructor should explain how
your lessons will be structured and show you the syllabus that you
will have to complete before you take your driving test (the
syllabus is contained in the DSA publication The Official
Take advise from your ADI on all
aspects of driving
- which books to read
- how to practise
- when you will be ready for your test
- further training after you have passed your test
How do I choose an ADI?
It is a good idea to ask friends and
relatives. Look for someone who has a good reputation, is
reliable and punctual and whose car suits you. Ask the
instructor if they have signed up to the Voluntary Code of
Practise, or is there a Company Code, and ask for a copy.
The code of practice has been agreed
with the driving instruction industry and covers instructors'
personal and professional conduct, advertising and their complaints
procedure. For more information, call the DSA
on 0115 901 2500.
What do I do if I am not happy with my ADI?
If you are not happy with your instructor tell him or her why
and discuss the way forward. If you still can't reach an agreement,
find another instructor. If you have any serious complaints about
your instructor, contact DSA on 0115 901 2500.
There is no substitute for learning car-control skills and how
to deal with different road situations with a professional driving
instructor before going out to practise privately. When you
have enough confidence, your instructor will tell you what and
where to practise. Your instructor will also be able to talk to the
person who is going to supervise you. Your accompanying driver must
be 21 or over and have held (and still hold) a full licence for
Practise on as many different types of road as you can, in all
sorts of traffic conditions - even in the dark and on dual
carriageways where there is a higher speed limit. You may be asked
to drive on these types of road during the test. Don't just
concentrate on the exercises involved in the test. When you
practise, try not to slow down other traffic. Most drivers are
tolerant of learners, but don't try their patience too much. Try
not to annoy local residents, for example, don't practise emergency
stops in the same quiet residential streets or reverse around the
same corner over and over again.
To help you study
Highway Code is essential reading. It explains the rules
of the road and gives good advice about best driving
- The Official Theory Test for Car Drivers and The Official
Theory Test for Motorcyclists contain all the questions in the
multiple-choice part of the theory test, together with the answers
- Driving - the essential skills explains the best driving
practices in more detail.
- Official Motorcycling includes details of basic machine
handling for the compulsory basic training course and the full
practical test syllabus.
- Motorcycle riding - the essential
skills is the definitive guide for new and experienced riders.
- The Official Driving Test covers what you will need to do
during the driving test and explains the full test syllabus.
- The Official Guide to Accompanying L-drivers gives very useful
information to anyone who is supervising you while you
- The Driving Test -
Inside View 2 is a video explaining what the examiners
expect to see and gives some practical tips.
- What If is an interactive video and
workbook designed to improve your ability to think ahead to boost
your awareness of hazards. There are separate versions for car
drivers and motorcyclists.
- The Official Theory Test CD-ROM for Car Drivers and
Motorcyclists contains all the questions and allows you to practise
for the multiple-choice part of the theory test.
- RoadSense. In order to help candidates prepare for the hazard
perception (HP) part of the theory test, we have developed a
modular, multi-media training package called RoadSense. We have
designed it for candidates to use with their instructor or trainer,
and it can be incorporated into practical on-road training to
maximise the positive road-safety benefits.
Your instructor will be able to tell you where you can get these
How will I know when I'm ready for my test?
You will be ready for the test when you show that you have
reached the standards set in The Official Driving Test. Learners
who pass first time do so because they are well instructed and get
plenty of practice. They pass because they wait until they are
ready. Your instructor has the knowledge and experience to tell you
when this is.
Unfortunatly the pass rate for the practical car test is 43%.
The reason for such a low success rate is because candidates are
not properly prepared.
You must be able to drive consistently well, with confidence
and without help or guidance from your instructor. If you can't,
you aren't ready for the test. Waiting until you are ready will
save you time and money.
How many lessons am I likely to need?
Research has shown that, on average, people who take about 40
hours' professional training, combined with plenty of extra
practice, stand the best chance of passing their test. Some people
need more lessons and practice than others.
The driving test
The driving test is in two parts - the theory test and the
practical test. You can study for the theory test while you are
learning to drive, but you must pass the theory test before you
apply to take the practical test.
The theory test
Where do I go to take my theory
There are over 150 test centres throughout Great Britain. Most
people have a test centre within 20 miles of their home, but this
will vary depending on the population in your area.
What will I have to do?
The theory test is a computer-based test. Until 13 November
2002 the theory test is a multiple-choice test only. From 14
November 2002 the theory test has a multiple-choice part followed
by a hazard perception part.
For the multiple-choice part, you choose your answers to 35
questions by simply touching the screen. The touch-screen system
has been carefully designed to make it easy to use. You can
practise for up to 15 minutes before the test starts. Only one
question appears on the screen at a time. You can move backwards
and forwards through the questions and go back to questions that
you want to look at again. It is easy to change your answer. The
system will alert you if you have not completely answered a
You will have 40 minutes to complete the multiple-choice part of
the test and you must answer at least 30 questions correctly to
Following the multiple-choice
questions, there will be an optional break of up to three minutes
before the HP part of the test starts.
The HP part is introduced by a short tutorial video that
explains how the test works and gives you the chance to see a
sample film clip. This will help you understand what you need to
You are shown a variety of driving scenes, seen from a
driver's point of view. There are 14 film clips. Each film clip
contains one or more developing hazards. There are 15 scoreable
hazards in total.
You should respond by pressing the mouse button as soon as you
see a hazard developing. Your response will not cause the scene in
the video to alter in any way. However, a red flag will appear on
the bottom of the screen to show that your response has been
Before each clip starts, there will be a 10-second pause to
allow you to familiarise yourself with the new road
You should receive your result at the test centre within 30
minutes of completing the test. You will be given a score for the
multiple-choice part and for the hazard perception part. You will
need to pass both parts to pass the theory test. If you fail one of
the parts, you will fail the test.
What happens if I fail?
If you fail your test you've shown that you aren't fully
prepared. You will have to wait at least three clear working days
before you can take the test again. Good preparation will save you
time and money.
DSA are committed to equal opportunities for everyone,
and provide facilities for candidates with special needs or
These include the
- DSA will give you more time to complete your theory or
- DSA will provide audio versions of the theory test to help
candidates who do not understand or read English, or who want to
take the test in their first language. These languages are
Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi,
Kashmiri, Kurdish, Mirpuri, Polish, Portuguese, Pushto, Punjabi,
Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Welsh.
- DSA will deliver the theory test in British Sign Language by an
on-screen signer if you are deaf or have other hearing
The practical driving test
The driving test is straightforward. You will pass it if you
can show your examiner that you can drive safely, complete the set
exercises, and show, through your driving, that you have a thorough
knowledge of The Highway Code.
All examiners are trained to assess tests to the same
standard. Test routes are designed and approved locally to include
a range of typical road and traffic conditions.
On your test, you need to be able to drive safely and
skillfully in various road and traffic conditions. You will be
given directions clearly and in good time, and asked to carry out
Your examiner wants you to do well and will try to put you at
ease. Drive in the way that your instructor has taught you. If you
make a mistake, keep calm and concentrate on your driving. The
mistake may not mean that you fail your test. In Wales, your test
may be carried out in Welsh if you ask for this when you book
Can anyone come with me on my test?
You can ask for a friend or your instructor to be present
during your test, but they must not interfere in any way. If
necessary, you can bring an interpreter or signer with you, but you
must not use an approved driving instructor for this purpose.
Anyone who comes with you on your test must be 16 or over and wear
a seatbelt if one is available.
How long is the test?
The test will last about 40 minutes.
What do I have to do on my test?
Apart from general driving, the test will include an eyesight
test and special exercises. You'll be asked to carry out two of the
- Reverse round a corner.
- A turn in the road.
- A reverse park (either into a parking space or behind a car on
- You may also be asked to carry out an
What if I don't understand what the examiner means?
Listen carefully to the explanation, but ask if you aren't
sure about anything. Your examiner understands that you may be
nervous and won't mind explaining again.
How does the examiner mark my driving?
Your examiner will assess any mistakes you make and, depending
on how serious they are, record them on the driving test report
form. You will fail your test if you commit a serious or dangerous
fault. You will also fail if you commit more than a certain number
of driving faults. At the end of the test, you will be offered an
explanation of your driving test report. You might like to ask your
instructor to listen while your examiner gives you the
Are the examiners
Are the examiners supervised?
Examiners are closely supervised and a senior officer may sit
in on your test, but don't worry about this. The senior officer
won't be examining you, but will be making sure the examiner is
assessing you properly. They won't interfere with the test, so just
carry on as if they weren't there.
Safe driving after the test
Passing the test is a great feeling but it's only the first
step in learning to drive.
New drivers are at a greater risk of having an accident than
experienced motorists. New drivers account for 10% of all drivers,
but are involved in 29% of all accidents. You are more likely to
have an accident in the first two years after passing the test than
at any other time.
It is important to remember that safe driving is not just
about passing the test but is about safety - your own as a driver
and the safety of your passengers and other road users. You need to
know how to drive safely, how to stay alive and how to avoid
killing or injuring others. We make no apology for saying this. As
a driver, you are responsible for making decisions that can affect
other people's lives as well as your own.
Once you have passed your test, you are on probation for two
years. If you get six or more penalty points during this time, you
will lose your licence. You will have to reapply for a provisional
licence and have to take all the tests again. Since the New Drivers
Act was introduced in 1997, over 53,500 drivers have lost their
Improve your driving
This scheme is made up of six modules covering driving in and out
of town, and driving in all weather, at night, on dual carriageways
and on motorways. You do not have to take another test and at the
end you will receive a certificate from us that may entitle you to
a motor-insurance discount from certain insurance companies.
There are various advanced driving courses to improve your driving
and road-safety awareness. If you complete one of these, you may
also get cheaper insurance.
For additional information please
use the links below:
Could you picture your local community with every school child
walking or cycling to school and where all
residents buy their weekly shopping at the local
shops. How relaxed would you feel knowing
that friends and family would be safe walking or
cycling in your neighbourhood, would it improve your quality of
Saving you money, improving your health and quality of
life, walking and cycling are positive choices.
Last Updated on 2/10/2012