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Taking your Driving Test
The driving test turns confident people to nervous dispositions. You may know people who pass everything with flying colours, only to have to keep repeating their driving test? It can be an expensive business because you pay fees each time.
The test is in two parts: theory test and practical test. You have to pass the theory before you can go on to the practical. The theory test has two parts as well, and you have to pass both on the same occasion. In part one, you have to choose the right answer from a number of choices. In part two, you have to spot the potential hazards (It would be advisable to do the mock theory test before going ahead. You can get these on many formats, phone, computer and you can also get the book).
After you’ve got your theory test under your belt, you can sit the practical part. As you’d expect, it tests your ability to drive and control the car in a normal traffic situation. You also have two questions to answer about the safety of your car.
If you have special needs, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), which deals with driving tests in Great Britain, can make special arrangements for you. Contact the agency on 0115-901-2500 or www.dsa.gov.uk. The DSA Web site has any information you may need before sitting for your test, including details of how to apply in your area. In Northern Ireland, the department to contact is the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (02890-681-831).
If you fail your driving test the first time, you’re in good company – about 1 million other people fail every year. You can try, try, and try again as many times as you like. Once you’ve heard those two lovely little words ‘You’ve passed’, you can throw away your ‘L’ plates and send off to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (0870-240-0009 or https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency) for your full licence. Make sure that you send for it within two years of passing the test, or you’ll have to take it again.
As soon as your full licence arrives in the post, sign it. You’ll have a driver number and be on probation for two years. If you commit an offence or offences and get six points or more on your licence during that time, it will be revoked. Points are recorded on your driver record against your driver number and held on computer by the DVLA.
If you have your licence revoked, it’s a case of back to square one – you’ll be treated as if you’ve never passed a test, and you’ll have to sit it over again. Drivers who pass their test in Northern Ireland have to drive with ‘R’ plates (same as ‘L’ plates, but with the letter ‘R’ in red) attached to the front and back of their cars for the first 12 months. This plate shows that they’re restricted and must not drive at more than 45 miles an hour.