The Independent Driving Section of the Practical Driving Test

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The Independent Driving Section of the Practical Driving Test
The practical driving test has been around since 1935, and to keep up with changes in the way we
use our roads, there have been some changes to the test too. In 2010 a new section was added to the
test called “Independent Driving”, where you drive without step-by-step instructions from the
This part of the test lasts for about ten minutes. To start off the examiner will ask you to pull over
to the side of the road somewhere safe. This is something that they will do several times during the
test, when they are going to explain something to you. On this occasion they will inform you that
you are now going to do the independent driving part of the test. They will explain to you where
they want you to go, either giving you a series of verbal directions or expecting you to follow road
signs or maybe a combination of both. They might show you a diagram to clarify the route they
want you to follow. They will then ask you to proceed when you are ready. As soon as you have
checked your mirrors and blind-spot and it is safe to do so, signal and pull back into the
carriageway. Follow the instructions you have been given and drive normally and safely.
If your nerves cause you to immediately forget the instructions that you’ve just been given, don’t
worry. It’s absolutely fine to ask again or to ask for clarification or a reminder. Even if you take a
wrong turning or go off the route, provided you do so safely you will not be penalised. This part of
your test is checking your decision making skills, not your navigation. The examiner will help you
get back on the correct route and then you can continue with the independent driving. If the
examiner has asked you to follow road signs to find your route, and a road sign is obscured by an
overgrown hedge, they will give you directions until you can see the next road sign.
What will the examiner be looking for? Throughout the driving test the examiner will be building
up a picture of your driving skills and your road sense. When driving independently they will
expect you to obey traffic regulations, to be aware of other road users, to be courteous and to suit
your speed to the road and traffic conditions at the time, avoiding undue hesitancy. You will be
expected to choose a proper speed for general driving and to approach junctions and roundabouts at
a sensible speed, using your mirrors and signals correctly at all times. As mentioned above, this
part of the test is to assess your driving skills, not your navigation: if you realise that you are in the
wrong lane, only move across to the correct one if you can check your mirrors, signal, and move
across safely. If it’s too late, just continue and ask the examiner’s advice for getting back on route.
The key to this part of the test is to relax. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate your best driving
skills without constant instructions, to demonstrate that you are a safe driver and able to drive
To find out more about learning to drive in Glasgow contact TX Driver Training now on 0141 764