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Driving Test Marking Criteria

What the examiner will look for on your driving test.

During your practical driving test, the examiner will record your performance on the Driving Test Report (DL25) form (now filled out electronically in an app on a tablet that the examiner brings to the test). This details the various items under which you will be assessed. These cover every aspect of your driving, for example: correct use of the vehicle controls, moving off safely, observation at junctions, response to road traffic signs, control and observation during the reversing manoeuvres. For each driving fault you make during the test, you will be assessed as to the severity of the fault, and marked accordingly under the appropriate category on the test report. Driving examiners will categorise any driving faults into three distinct types:

  • Driving fault / Minor fault: This is a mistake that has been noted, but was fairly trivial in nature (given the road conditions at the time), e.g. a late signal to turn left but there was no road users adversely affected.
  • Serious fault: A fault that has been displayed of a more severe nature, e.g. a lack of understanding as which lane to use at a roundabout.
  • Dangerous fault: Putting yourself or another road user at risk, e.g. trying to turn right whilst a vehicle is overtaking. 

For a standard learner driver test, you will pass your driving test if you accumulate no more than 15 minors faults and no serious or dangerous faults. Any one (or more) serious or dangerous faults would result in test failure, even if you had little or no minor faults. An examiner will take into account the spread of minor faults, so if for example you accumulate many faults under the same category, e.g. use of mirrors, the examiner can take an overall view that there are too many inconsistencies in that aspect of your drive and mark a serious fault.

Below is an explanation of the driving test marking criteria.

Click here to view the DL25 Driving Test Report.

Driving test report (DL25) explained

1(a) Eyesight Test 

At the beginning of the test the examiner will ask you to read a vehicle registration number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres (new style number plate) or 20 metres (old style number plate). If you require glasses or contact lenses, then they should be worn at all times during the test.  

1(b) Highway Code / Safety

This part of the driving test will not apply to candidates that have taken and passed the theory test. If you did not need to take a separate theory test (for example, if you are taking a test for a specialised vehicle) you may be asked some questions on the Highway Code and other motoring issues, including identifying some traffic signs. 

If applicable (for a more specialised vehicle test) - you should know the location of safety features such as a fire extinguisher, fuel cut-off switch and emergency door, and should be able to operate these.

2 Controlled stop

The examiner may require your to perform a simulated emergency stop. You would be briefed (whilst stationary) that you are required to do this. The stop will need to be safe, prompt and under full control and without locking the wheels of your vehicle. Remember to take into consideration the road conditions, and in particular, if the roads are wet, it will take you roughly double the distance to stop safety than it would take otherwise in dry conditions. 

3, 4 and 5 Reverse exercises

Reversing is an essential driving skill. You will be asked to perform some reversing manoeuvres (normally two). For a learner test, these are selected from reversing round a corner into a side road on the left, reversing into a parking bay, and a reverse parallel park. Other tests may have additional manoeuvres such as reversing into a side road on the right. Throughout any manoeuvre, you must display competent control of your vehicle with a good level of accuracy, and show show awareness and consideration to other road users. 

6 Turn in the road

This exercise involves turning the vehicle in the road, to face the opposite direction, using forward and reverse gears. You will need to demonstrate your ability to control the car at low speed, make good use of the width of the road, and throughout have due regard to other road users and pedestrians. 

7 Vehicle Checks

You will be asked some basic safety checks about your vehicle. For example, checking fluid levels, brakes, steering, lights and tyres. More information of these check can be found here. 

8 Taxi manoeuvre

(Taxi tests only.) You will asked to turn your car around using whatever means are available (without using a driveway or mounting the pavement), taking effective, all round observation throughout, showing consideration to other road users and pedestrians. The control of the vehicle should be smooth and steady. 

9 Taxi wheelchair

(Taxi test only.) You will be asked to erect wheelchair ramps, install the wheelchair and an imaginary wheelchair occupant into your vehicle and secure the wheelchair ready for a journey. You must then demonstrate the procedure to release the wheelchair and occupant from the vehicle. 

10 Vehicle and trailer combinations

(For tests with trailer combinations only.) 

You will be asked to uncouple and recouple your vehicle safely. You will need to drive the towing vehicle to a designated position prior to recoupling. 

11 Precautions

Prior to starting the engine, you will be expected to perform the cockpit drill to make sure you vehicle is safe to drive and you can operate all the controls comfortably. 

12 Control

Throughout the test, you need to demonstrate your ability to use the main controls of your vehicle correctly, smoothly and safely. These controls include the accelerator, clutch, gears, footbrake, parking brake and steering wheel. Additional specific control elements apply to the drivers of different vehicle categories. 

All controls should be used smoothly to ensure less wear and tear on your vehicle and a smooth ride for your passengers. The accelerator and clutch must be operated correctly to ensure your vehicle moves away smoothly and under control. The clutch should always be depressed fully just before stopping. Gears should be selected to correctly match the vehicle speed, and should be changed, if necessary, in good time, but not too soon before hazards. You must not allow you vehicle to coast by travelling in neutral or with the clutch depressed. You should not look down at the gear stick whilst operating. Your footbrake should be operated smoothly and progressively, braking in plenty of time to deal with hazards. Use the handbrake when parked up, or whenever necessary to avoid the vehicle rolling forwards or backwards. Steering should be smooth and controlled and correctly timed.

13 Move off

You will be asked to move off in a variety of situations. You will be required to move away from roads with a flat, uphill or downhill gradient, and also moving away at an angle behind a parked vehicle. 

14 Use of mirrors - Rear observations

You will be expected to make appropriate use of all the mirrors fitted to you vehicle. Mirrors should be checked before signalling, changing direction or changing speed through strict use of the Mirrors Signal Manoeuvre (MSM) procedure. 

15 Signals

Only signals shown in the Highway Code should be used. Do not beckon other road users or pedestrians. Signals must be given clearly and in good time to let other road users and pedestrians know your intentions. Make sure you cancel a signal after the intended manoeuvre is completed. 

16 Clearance to obstructions

You must ensure that you give plenty of room when passing stationary vehicles and obstructions to allow for doors opening, pedestrians stepping out behind vehicles or vehicles moving away without warning. You should be prepared to slow down or stop as necessary. 

17 Response to signs/signals

You will be tested on your ability to correctly read and interpret road signs and to act accordingly. You need to deal with traffic lights correctly and make sure that the road ahead is clear before proceeding through a green light. You must obey signals given by traffic controllers including police officers and school crossing patrols. You should act appropriately to signals given by other road users. 

18 Use of speed

You should make safe, good progress along the road, as appropriate to the road, traffic and weather conditions. Your speed must take into account road signs and speed limits. You should, at all times, be able to stop safely and well within the distance you see to be clear. 

19 Following distance

You must always keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front, taking into account the weather conditions which affect stopping distances. When stationary in a queue of traffic, you should leave sufficient space in case the vehicle in front rolls back or you need get pass because the vehicle in front cannot move away. 

20 Maintain progress

You must drive at an appropriate speed subject to the speed limit, road and traffic conditions, keeping up with the flow of traffic when correct to do so. Driving too slow makes you a hazard for other road users and can put both you and other drivers at risk. You should approach hazards safely and under control without being over cautious or unduly hesitant. Make sure you proceed at junctions and traffic lights as soon as it is safe and correct to do so. 

21 Junctions (including Roundabouts)

Approach junctions at a suitable speed so that you can enter safely if it is appropriate to do so, or stop smoothly to give way if necessary. You must position your vehicle correctly, using the appropriate lane, for the turn you are making. Take effective observations at junctions being careful to check for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians and only proceeding if it is safe and correct to do so. 

22 Judgement

You should only overtake if it is legal and safe to do so. Do not overtake if you cannot see the road clearly ahead (e.g. approaching a bend) or are approaching a junction. When overtaking, give good clearance. Be careful overtaking more vulnerable ready users such as cyclists and motorcyclists - they might wobble or swerve in the road - so allow as much room as you would with other vehicles. Do not cut in too quickly after overtaking. If your side of the road is obstructed you should be prepared to give way to oncoming vehicles. Make sure that when passing stationary vehicles, or turning into a junction, you have enough time to safely complete the manoeuvres without causing another road user to unnecessarily stop, slow down or swerve. 

23 Positioning

For a clear road, maintain a correct driving position in the road at all times. Position correctly as necessary for the direction you are taking. Where lanes are marked, keep centrally in your lane and do not straddle lane markings. Do not change lanes unnecessarily. 

24 Pedestrian Crossings

You should be aware of the different types of pedestrian crossings and act accordingly if you encounter them. Always slow down and stop if there someone on the crossing. At zebra crossings, be prepared to slow down and stop if there is someone waiting to cross. At a flashing amber light (pelican crossing) give way to anyone on the crossing. Obey the traffic signals at toucan and puffin crossings. You need to give way to cyclists in addition to pedestrians at toucan crossings. 

25 Position / Normal stops

When ask to pull up, choose a safe, legal and convenient place to stop, reasonably close to the edge of the road. Make sure that your stopping position does not create an unnecessary obstruction or hazard. 

26 Awareness / Planning

You must display a good awareness of other road users. Always think and plan ahead in good time so that you can deal with hazards and other road users safely. Try to predict the actions of road users and how that might affect you and adjust accordingly in plenty of time. Be particularly wary of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. Anticipate the road and traffic conditions and plan in good time - avoid reacting at the last moment.

27 Ancillary controls

You should safely use the ancillary controls of your vehicle when necessary. These include windscreen wipers, demises and heaters. 

28 Eco Safe Driving (if applicable)

(Currently only applicable to certain categories of test.) 

You should drive with regard to the principles of Eco Safe Driving. Use your control smoothly and avoid harsh acceleration and braking. 

29 Health Declaration

If your health status has changed since you last applied for a driving licence, you must, by law, declare any change. 

30 Residence

Normal residence means the place where you normally live and have personal or occupational ties. If you have moved to the UK from another European Country or European Economic Area (EC/EEA), you should not take a driving test or obtain a full licence unless you have lived here for at least 185 days in the last 12 months and are still living in the UK at the time of your licence application (you may be asked to provided evidence of this).

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