Foreign International Driving Licence & UK Car Test

If you are an international driving licence holder, and have booked a UK practical car test, here is some important information to help you pass the test.

As a driving instructor who has been doing this since 2003, I've seen a lot of people from different nations (China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa) with international permits come to this country and do the same thing and the outcome is always the same. They take the theory test, and pass both parts including the hazard perception with flying colours, go on to book a practical test without doing any research about what the dsa driving examiner will be expecting including how many mistakes can be made or taking driving lessons with an ADI and end up either not taking the test because their car doesn't meet the requirements or are surprised at the end of the 40 minutes of the practical assessment to be told "That's the end of the test, I'm sorry but you have not passed".

You can not just come to this country with your many years of road experience (no matter where: Japan, Phillipines, Isreal) and expect to pass one of the world's hardest car driving tests without going through the proper preparations. The dsa examiners are looking for more than your ability to move a car from A to B, they want you to be able to drive safely and carry out some pre-defined exercises to a particular standard, something that you might never have done before.

Do you actually know what the DSA's definition of safe is? Every single international driving permit holder that has taken tuition with me has exibited the following unsafe habits: Driving/steering with one hand, never using the handbrake except when parking and about to leave the car, coasting to stop in neutral gear, reversing or doing driving maneuvers using only the 3 car mirrors, breaking the speed limit (even if by only 2mph). If you use any of the above mentioned skills on the UK driving test, you are not likely to pass.

There is a saying, 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do'. If you want to get a full UK driving licence you need to drive the British way, whether you agree with the principles or not, and it is not going to be a matter of just taking one driving lesson to get rid of habits that you have developed over ten years.

international driving licence and DSA UK testDriving Lessons are not necessarilly the only way you can get yourself prepared for the UK driving test, in fact I would recommend that every international driving permit holder who is serious about passing first time to read the DSA (the driving standards agency are the people who conduct the test and thus the ones who will pass or fail you) guide to preparing for the pratical test. With your driving experience, it will not be hard to understand what the requirements to pass are, the real hard work will be in getting rid of your bad habits and being able to drive the proper way for the 40minutes duration time the dsa examiner will be in the car with you.

The best example I've seen of a person with an international permit preparing for the driving test is an American who not only read the dsa book, but had started practising in his car everything that had been suggested for a couple of weeks before booking an assessment lesson with me to confirm he was doing things right prior to going for a practical test booked for the next week in Borehamwood.
On the 2hr lesson, I didn't have much work to do as this person had obviously done his homework, a few minor issues which I gave advice on, and all we did was familiarise ourselves with the local routes, go over show me tell me, and that was it.

The following week I got a text to say he had passed with 2 driving errors, one of which wsa committed at the end in the test centre car park! It doesn't have to cost you a lot of money to pass the driving test, but it will take a lot of your time practising in your car to get to the dsa standard, and there is nothing stopping you from getting confirmation from a good driving instructor that you are on the right track.

DSA Examiner Driving Test Routes

As an instructor over the years I have seen some very good drivers get tripped up at some tricky places on some of the routes by examiners in the NW London area, so I have made these tutorial videos to cover these situations.

Each video covers what I have found out to the toughest route, and has additional tips on other places or things that you should be aware as a driving test candidate. These are offered as complimentary preparation materials to your lessons or private practice sessions.

Hendon Driving Test Routes Video 2015

£7.99 Buy Now

Independent Driving On the Test.
Theory Test Changes
Driving Test Changes.

Mill Hill Driving Test Route Video

£7.99 Buy Now

Borehamwood Test Centre WD6 Route Videos

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