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What is your assessor looking for during your Driving Test?

Ever wondered what your assessor will be looking for on your Practical Driving Assessment (PDA)? You are in the right place! We want to give you a detailed breakdown of how the assessor will score you on your driving test. For those of you who don't know, the assessor will use an electronic score sheet and it will be broken down into sections, called PDA Items.

Detailed in the DoT resource: ‘Driving Techniques for Safer Drivers’ it explains exactly how the assessor will score, using the PDA Items. Please see below, as we explain them in detail:

What does Flow assess?

This is important and assesses how well you combine your driving skills. The assessor is looking for no pauses, correcting mistakes and automatically adjusting your driving as situations change. Our main advice for flow is gaining experience. Flow comes from experience, therefore make sure you get out in different environments, using different routes. Don't just stick to driving from School to home for instance, mix it up and try alternate routes through traffic. Eventually, your driving will become more natural and this is what you must aim for to avoid errors on flow.

What does Look Behind assess?

Traffic behind is just as important as traffic in front. On your driving test the assessor wants to see you checking your blind spots and mirrors OFTEN.

It should be part of your routine especially when you are slowing down, turning, changing lanes and merging. Keep practicing and it will become second nature!

What does Movement assess?

Movement assesses speed management and smooth driving. The assessor wants to see you control and adjust your speed to the legal limit, whilst stopping at the correct times. The movement section is extremely important during manoeuvres, avoiding jerks and getting the speed down whilst reversing. Keep practicing and your driving will become smoother, the assessor needs to feel comfortable in the car and will begin to score this section immediately after giving you a direction.

What does Vehicle Management assess?

The term ‘Vehicle Management’ assesses whether or not you use the vehicles instruments correctly. They want to see the inside of the vehicle is safe, you are sitting in a good position and they want to see you make any adjustments, such as mirrors. Controlling the vehicle is extra important when it comes to steering, ensuring you are steering with both hands, besides when you are operating controls. The assessor wants to see you prepare the car from when you first get in it.

What does Path assess?

PATH assesses whether or not you stay on track, avoiding major movements. The assessor starts scoring path immediately after giving you a direction. They are looking for how well you steer and where and when you steer. It is common, for those who don’t slow their speed enough will tend to lose track and find the steering is jerky because of quick decisions. Please ensure you are travelling at the correct speed and your steering is smooth whilst practicing.

What does Signal assess?

We’ve reached the last one! SIGNAL assesses whether or not you let other road users know what you are about to do whilst driving. Indicators are massively important, whether you plan to stop or change lanes you MUST let others on the road know that’s what you are about to do. It must be at the appropriate time and be on long enough for others to see. An important tip is before moving from stationary, you must indicate for at least five flashes or five seconds.

I hope this has helped and you now understand how you will be scored on your Driving Test. It is so important you read the resources provided by the DoT, to access more information on your PDA, please read the following:

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