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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

Practical test


The practical driving test for buses and lorries

If you want to drive a lorry or a bus you will need to take a theory and practical driving test. The driving tests are designed to test the skills you will need to be a vocational driver. The practical test involves vehicle safety questions, a test of driving ability and a test of specific manoeuvres.

What will the test include?

At the beginning of the test you will be asked five vehicle safety questions which will be a combination of "show me" and "tell me". For more information about the vehicle safety questions, please see the section below.

You will be examined on your general driving and on set exercises. The set exercises will include:

  • an S shaped reverse into a bay
  • a braking exercise
  • demonstrating the uncoupling and re-coupling procedure if youre taking a test with a trailer

If you take your test in a manual vehicle, you will be asked to carry out a gear-change exercise during the general driving element of your test.

The drive on the road last about 60 minutes and the overall test takes about 90 minutes.

Vehicle safety questions for lorries and buses

These are basic safety checks that a driver should carry out to ensure the vehicle is safe for use. Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, pupils will not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check fluid levels.

As vehicle technology advances, more and more vehicles are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems, which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels and tyre pressures. It will be acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on fluid levels or tyre pressures.

Lorry and passenger carrying vehicles (PCV) (categories C & C1, D & D1)

Drivers seeking vocational licence entitlement should be experienced and technically expert, the assessment criteria reflects this.

Candidates will be asked five questions which will be a combination of show me and tell me. A driving fault will be recorded for each incorrect answer to a maximum of four driving faults. If the candidate answers all five questions incorrectly, a serious fault will be recorded.

For a list of the safety questions you could be asked in your driving test, click on the vehicle safety questions link below.

What happens during the test?

During the driving test the examiner will give you directions which you should follow. Test routes are designed to be as uniform as possible and will include a range of typical road and traffic conditions.

Throughout the test you should drive in the way your instructor has taught you. If you make a mistake, dont worry about it, it might be a less serious driving fault and may not affect your result. The examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

You can make up to 15 driving faults and still pass the test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the test. If at any time your examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.

You are allowed to take someone with you on the test, this person must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.

Driving test standards

All examiners are trained to carry out the test to the same standard, they do not have pass or fail quotas. So as long as you demonstrate the standard required you will pass your driving test.

Weather conditions/ mechanical problems etc

DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. We will arrange another appointment at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. Candidates should call the telephone number quoted on the appointment letter to check whether their test will go ahead.

If the driving test is not completed for reasons attributable to you or your vehicle, you will have to take another test at your own cost. 


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