According to a report in the DSA's online despatch magazine, driving examiners have seen an increase in the number of people arriving late for their practical car tests. This is surprising considering the current economic climate where a no show will at least cost a candidate a minimum of £120 (assuming they were using their own car, not taking lessons and excludes holiday or loss of pay due to time off work).
If you arrive more than 5 minutes after your scheduled driving test appointment, it will not go ahead and you will lose your test booking fee, no matter what excuse you give, as the examiners have a very tight schedule and can not risk cancelling the next appointment.
The best time to arrive is about 10-12 minutes before your driving test appointment, this should leave enough time for you to do the bay parking exercise while at the same time not being in the way of any examiners who might be finishing off a car test. You can then take a few minutes to relax and refocus for the next crucial 40 minutes once called by the DSA examiner.
The most common reason a lot of people arrive late is not knowing how long it takes to get to the test centre because they are not local or take into account if there was an incident on the way. Another reason is arriving at the wrong test centre especially when there are 2 close to each other like is the case with Mill Hill and Hendon Test Centre.
Driving Test Advice: Let me give you some good advice when it comes to booking a driving test centre. Do not choose a centre or time just because you can get an early appointment. You should take your test in one of the centres closest to where you normally take driving lessons, not only because you will have a local instructor familiar with the area and what the examiners expect, but it means when you are nearer test standard it will be must easier for your lessons to include test routes without you having to book a 3 hour lesson. I have heard of people in Hackney driving all the way to Mill Hill just because they want to avoid the long wait at Wood Green test centre. Not everyone is able to still learn and remember skills after a 3 hour lesson, and you must remember that to have a good chance of passing the driving test (by avoiding a major driver fault) you need to arrive at the test centre fresh and alert.
Having to drive for 1.5 hours through busy traffic conditions is no good for you as a candidate especially if there is a chance of you arriving late if there is an incident on the way, and the instructor does not have the local knowledge to get round the back streets. It is not in your own interest to arrive for a test stressed, drained or exhausted so make sure you have planned your journey and know what it takes to arrive early at your chosen driving test centre. Do not forget both parts of your driving licence either!
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