Independent Driving

The practical driving test includes a section of "independent driving". In this section of your driving test you will be required to drive for about 10 minutes without step-by-step directions from the examiner. Therefore during this section you will have to follow either;

  • a series of directions
  • traffic signs
  • or a combination of both

To help you understand where you are going, the examiner may give you the option of viewing a diagram. It doesn't matter if you go the wrong way, or if you don't remember every direction - that can happen to the most experienced drivers. Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions, such as when to signal, slow down and when to ask for confirmation about where you are going if you need to.

If you need to ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you.

If you go off the route or take a wrong turn this will not affect the result of the test, unless you commit a driving fault. If do go off route the examiner will help you get back on route and then continue with the independent driving.

If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign.


There are procedures in place if you have any special needs or disabilities. For the independent driving section, this could be asking you which method you prefer - following traffic signs or a series of directions (a maximum of three), which would be supported with a diagram. In some cases this may be shortened to just two directions.

If you speak little or no English the examiner may write the place names down so it is clear to you where you're being asked to drive to.


Q. If I go off route would the test be terminated, would I fail or would it be a fault
A. No. Wherever possible the examiner will get you back on route and continue with the independent driving section. Your test would not be terminated, nor would you fail and going off route does not constitute a fault.

Q. If I need to ask for a reminder of the directions, will the examiner help me out?
A. Yes, the examiner will be happy to confirm the directions to you.

Q. If I am following traffic signs and approach a junction but there are no signs to the destination the examiner specified, how will I know where to go?
A. In this instance the examiner would say something like:"There are no signs here. Just continue ahead please and then carry on following the signs to...". Alternatively ask the examiner in good time if you are unsure.

Q. If I get into the wrong lane or position for my specified destination what should I do?
A. This depends. If it is safe to get into the correct position or lane using the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine then do so. If you are "trapped" in that lane or position by other traffic and it is not safe to move then DON'T and you will have to take a different route, just as you would if you were driving by yourself. The examiner would then direct you back on route. You may say to the examiner "I am in the wrong lane but it is not safe to move over and I need to take a different route".

If you have any further questions please contact me