Driving Test : Independent driving

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The independent driving stage of the test

At some point during the driving test you will have to drive independently for approximately 10 minutes. This will demonstrate to the examiner that you are able to follow verbal route directions or route direction signs, whilst still driving safely. The examiner will test you in one of three ways, these are:

  1. Road Signs
    The examiner will ask you to follow the direction signs to a specific destination until further notice e.g. 'I would like you to follow the signs towards Leeds A62 until further notice.'
  2. Verbal directions
    The examiner will give you a number of verbal route directions to follow. He may also show you a simple diagram of the route, like the one shown below, to help you follow the directions. E.g. 'At the end of the road turn left, at the roundabout follow the road ahead, and then take the second road on the left.'
    Independent driving example
  3. Verbal directions and road signs
    The examiner may give you a combination of both direction signs and verbal directions to follow. E.g 'I would like you take the first road on the left, take the second road on the right and then follow the signs towards Leeds.

If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you. Driving independently means making your own decisions and, just like when driving with friends, this includes deciding when it's safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation on where you're going.

If you go off the independent driving route it won't affect the result of your test unless you commit a driving fault. If you go off the route or take a wrong turn, the examiner will help you to get back on the route and continue with the independent driving.

If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign - you won't need to have a detailed knowledge of the area. If this happens the examiner would say, 'There are no signs here. Just continue ahead please' and then, 'Now, carry on following the signs to ........'

Example of independent stage of driving test: