As with the ‘L’ test, you must first pass an eyesight test at 27.5 m (90ft) before being permitted to enter the car to take your practical driving test. Remember, your eyesight deteriorates over time. Don’t leave it until the last minute to get glasses if you need them. They do make a difference !!
Reaching your car, the examiner asks you to ‘get in and make yourself comfortable’. When you do, put your seat belt on as they do not expect you to do the cockpit drill. They record the number plate and check round the vehicle to ensure it is roadworthy. The examiner will refuse to conduct a practical driving test if they cannot satisfy themselves the vehicle is serviceable i.e. tyres, warning lights visible or you can’t prove the vehicle has been rectified if subject to ‘a product recall’.
When an examiner gets into the car they advise you they are looking for a high standard of driving. They tell you to ‘follow the road ahead unless given an instruction to turn left or right’ and ‘read the road signs and markings’. You are expected to demonstrate expert use of the car controls, road procedure, judgement and anticipation.
Before you start the car the examiner checks to see you carry out the safety checks (handbrake in neutral). During the test you are asked to stop approximately ten times to demonstrate your ability to carry out a series of manoeuvres under control, accurately and with effective observation. Included in this will be to:
- Move off straight ahead, at an angle, uphill and downhill
- Reverse round a corner to the left and right (either sharp or sweeping)
- Turn in the road using forward and reverse gears
- Reverse park
- Emergency stop
Be aware!! It is possible for some of us to ‘just scrape through’ the Part 2 Test. This may say more about what you encountered on the route than your ability. One of the most difficult aspects of the practical driving test will be concentration. Most of us cannot ‘turn it on’ for the test. If your style isn’t instinctive you are likely to spend more time thinking about what you are doing inside the car whereas your attention should be focused on what is happening outside.
If your driving style is not instinctive it will show, it’s easy to see if someone is relaxed and driving normally or tense as they try hard to ‘get it right’. You are also much more likely to make mistakes if you are not able to anticipate and react early to anything that will cause you to change speed or direction. The solution is simple! Your trainer will cover every aspect of driving during your driving instructor training programme.
Try to put all of these things into practice every time you get into your car. Use the controls as smoothly as possible and only when necessary. Application of ‘acceleration sense’ – the ability to use anticipation and judgement to avoid the use of the brake as much as possible will be monitored. Be honest with yourself. If you are your biggest critic you will become a very good approved driving instructor. Never put your car where your eyes haven’t been first.