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Practical Driving Test Advice

Are you ready to take your car practical driving test?

At Julie Murphy's Driving School our patient, friendly female and male driving instructors will teach you how to become a safe driver and let you know when you are ready to take your practical driving test. We pride ourselves on having a very high first time pass rate which reflects on our quality of driving lessons and courses offered. Many of our new pupils have commented on how quickly they learn with Julie Murphy's Driving School compared to their old driving instructor. To find out the current cost of taking your practical driving test click here.

During the practical driving test the examiner is looking to make sure a test candidate fulfils the following criteria:


All the main controls such as foot pedals, gear stick and steering should be handled smoothly. You should:

  • make proper use of the accelerator and clutch to make a smooth start
  • always press down on the clutch before stopping
  • select the correct gear to match the road and traffic conditions
  • change gear in good time but not too soon before a hazard
  • don't allow the vehicle to coast by running in neutral or with the clutch depressed
  • avoid looking at the gear stick when changing gear
  • use the foot brake smoothly and progressively
  • brake in plenty of time for any hazard
  • make full use of the parking brake where necessary
  • steer the vehicle as smoothly as possible
  • avoid harsh steering or steering too early or too late

Moving Away

The test candidate should move away safely, under control, on the level, from behind a parked car and where practicable, on a hill, with the correct observations.

Emergency Stop

Even and progressive braking should be demonstrated. There should be no locking of the wheels. In wet weather conditions the candidate should understand that the stopping distance could be doubled.

Reverse To The Left or Right

Should be executed under full control and with reasonable accuracy. Good all-round observation is essential as is responding correctly to other road users.

Turn In The Road

Must be executed under full control. Good all-round observation is essential as is responding correctly to other road users and good low speed control of the vehicle.

Reverse Parking

Must be executed under full control. Good all-round observation is essential as is responding correctly to other road users.

Use of Mirrors

Mirrors should be used regularly and the candidate must be aware of the presence of others in their blind spots. Early use of mirrors should be made before signalling, changing direction, changing speed and as part of the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine.


The candidate must give signals clearly and in good time to warn other road users of intentions in accordance with the Highway Code. Signals should be cancelled after any manoeuvre has been completed.

Response To Signs and Signals

The candidate must understand and be able to react to all traffic signs and road markings; check when proceeding through green lights, and respond to signals given by police officers, traffic wardens, school crossing patrols and all other road users.

Use Of Speed

Safe and reasonable progress should be made according to the road, weather and traffic conditions, the road signs and speed limits. Candidates should always be able to stop within the distance they can see to be clear.

Following Distance

The candidate must maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead in all conditions, including when stopping in traffic queues.

Maintaining Progress

Appropriate speeds must be maintained and the type of road, the speed limit, the type and density of traffic, the weather and visibility must be taken into account. A safe approach to all hazards should be demonstrated without being over-cautious. All safe opportunities to proceed at junctions should be taken.


The correct procedure must be demonstrated at all types of junctions. The mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine must also be demonstrated as should good all-round observations and safe response to other road users. You should also:

  • judge the correct speed when approaching a junction
  • position your vehicle correctly
  • use the correct lane
  • if turning right, keep as near to the centre of the road as is safe
  • avoid cutting the corner when turning right
  • if turning left, keep over to the left and do not swing out
  • watch for cyclists and motorcyclists coming up on your left and pedestrians who are crossing
  • make effective observation before moving into a junction and make sure it is safe before proceeding


A candidate must show correct response when dealing with other road users including overtaking, meeting oncoming traffic and turning across traffic. Other road users should not be made to slow down, swerve or stop. When overtaking:

  • overtake only if it is safe to do so
  • allow enough room when overtaking a vehicle, cyclists/motorcyclist should be given the same room as a car
  • avoid cutting in too early after overtaking


The correct road position should be maintained at all times according to the type of road, the direction being taken and the presence of parked vehicles. In normal driving conditions you should position the car well to the left.

Clearance To Obstruction

The candidate should allow plenty of room when passing stationary vehicles and other obstructions that may be obscuring pedestrians.

Pedestrian Crossings

The correct type of crossing should be recognised and the correct procedure demonstrated. You should:

  • at zebra crossings slow down and stop if anyone is waiting to cross
  • give way to pedestrians on a pelican crossing when the amber lights are flashing
  • give way to cyclists as well as pedestrians on a toucan crossing and act correctly at puffin crossings

Position For Normal Stops

The candidate should select a safe and legal place to stop without causing inconvenience or obstruction to other road users.

Awareness and Planning

The candidate should think and plan ahead and anticipate the actions of other road users, should demonstrate safe attitudes when dealing with vulnerable roads users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders and think and plan ahead so that they can:

  • judge what other road users are going to do
  • predict how their actions will affect you
  • react in good time

Ancillary Controls

An understanding of the function of all controls and switches, especially those relating to road safety, should be shown. The candidate should be able to access all controls without having to look down to locate them. 

To book your driving test

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How to book

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Learn to drive with Julie Murphy's Driving School

If you have any questions about our driving school or driving lessons and courses, please visit our contact page for details on how to get in touch. Alternatively you can book your first lesson on line.