If you're just starting out with your driving lessons, you might not have given much thought to where you're going to take your driving test. You might not have even considered the fact that you could take your test outside of your local area. Interestingly enough, that's exactly what some learner drivers opt to do. The question is: why?
We're going to take a look at the main reasons why a learner driver might decide to take their test in a different location. We'll also discuss why this may not be the best course of action, and why it's important to stick to your local area when it comes to learning to drive and taking your driving test.
When you're ready to book your driving test, the first step is to head to the DVSA's booking form. Once you've filled out the necessary details, you can pick a driving test centre to look for tests at. If you've used the DVSA's find your nearest test centre database before, you'll already know which centres are closest to you. Then, it's a case of keeping your eyes peeled for the next available test date.
It's a simple enough process. So, why exactly do learners deviate from their local test centres? Let's find out…
Depending on your local area and the test centre in question, you could be stuck waiting to take your driving test for quite some time. If your local area has only one nearby test centre, for example, it can struggle to keep up with the high demand from local learner drivers. Add in the possibility of your test centre suffering from a shortage of driving examiners, and the waiting times could reach up to 3 months!
If you're keen to get your licence, the idea of waiting months for a driving test is far from ideal. Not only does it leave you further from your goal of driving freedom, but it could also impact your performance during the test. If you wait too long to book your practical, you could end up with a huge gap between your last lesson and the test. This can lead to a shaky start to the test if it's been a while since you were last behind the wheel.
If your local test centre has long waiting times and your patience is wearing thin, you could look at casting your net wider. Have a look at other driving test centres nearby and see what their waiting times are like. Being open to taking your test at more than one test centre in your local area could increase your chances of getting a test date sooner. If you're still not having much luck, why not get PassMeFast to book you a fast-track practical test? We can help you get passed weeks or even months ahead of the DVSA's standard waiting times.
We won't sugarcoat it for you: failing the driving test can be an extremely upsetting experience. It's perfectly natural in these situations to try and pinpoint the reason why you failed. This is where some learners make the mistake of deciding that the test centre is to blame for them not passing.
Though we're certainly not blaming learners for this train of thought, we are keen to point out the flaws in this logic. Switching test centres won't automatically mean you'll pass your driving test. In fact, the test centre probably isn't even the problem. Instead, you might be failing purely because your nerves keep on getting the best of you. Alternatively, it could very well be because you keep failing to address a bad driving habit.
If nerves are the issue, our top 10 tips for relaxing before the test and our guide to combating test day nerves will help. If you keep failing your test because you're accumulating driving test faults in the same areas, a refresher course might be the answer. Spending a few hours with an experienced, local instructor will iron out your bad habits and give you a much needed confidence boost.
When you're gearing up to learn to drive, you may find yourself looking at the stats. If so, you're likely to have discovered that location can have an impact on driving test pass rates. Candidates taking their test in rural areas, for example, have a greater probability of passing. This is often because these areas lack the more complex road and traffic systems of urban areas.
Though pass rates are interesting to look into, they're certainly not indicative of well you'll do on the day of your test. Even if your local test centre has the lowest pass rate in the country, you've still got a chance of passing. Similarly, even if you headed to an area with a 90% pass rate, that's not to say you'll definitely end up passing.
Instead of getting preoccupied with statistics, you should concentrate on completing your lessons. If you're learning with a local instructor, you can take comfort in knowing they'll make sure you're familiar with the area's most challenging road features and traffic systems. If you're still feeling nervous about your area's pass rates, get your instructor to give you a mock driving test or two.
So we've discussed the main reasons why some learners opt to head further afield for their practical—and offered a few solutions along the way. Next, we're going to look at why it's important to take your test in your local area.
Your driving test will involve a driving examiner taking you on a test route around the roads surrounding the test centre. It's for this reason that many DVSA-approved instructors emphasise the importance of learning to drive on the roads around your local test centre. Though you won't be able to memorise your route, familiarity with its roads and traffic systems will undoubtedly give you an advantage during the practical.
If you decide to take your practical at a test centre away from the area you've been practising in, you might struggle a lot on your big day. Not only do you have to deal with the nerves that come with taking the test, you've also got to tackle roads that you've never been on before. That's not to say that knowing the area will result in a guaranteed pass—it just helps you feel more comfortable.
Once you've passed your driving test, you'll be taking to your local roads unsupervised. If you've taken lessons and your driving test in the local area, you'll be well equipped for it. That stretch of road with multiple multi-lane roundabouts one after the other? Pfft, not a problem. That tricky one-way system that sends non-locals into a tailspin? Piece of cake!
If, on the other hand, you decided to take your lessons and test at a rural test centre, despite living in a busy urban area, you could end up completely baffled over the difference in road and traffic systems. The whole point of your lessons is to prepare you for the conditions on the roads you'll be driving on every day. So, if you're located in an urban area, forget about heading further afield—do what's best for future you!
Though rural Scotland might dominate the list of test centres with the highest pass rates in the UK, do you really want to travel all that way just to take your driving test? It's not exactly convenient, is it?
Not only do you have to think about how you'll get there, you've also got to consider whose car you'll be taking the test in. We can't think of many instructors who would be open to driving you all the way there and back! If you decide to take your own car, you'd have to not only bring someone along to supervise you, but also sort out insurance cover. We're willing to bet taking your test in your local area is starting to sound pretty decent right about now.
As we've already mentioned, passing the driving test isn't impossible—even at a test centre with the lowest pass rates around… that is, if you're learning the right way. If you're taking one hour lessons every week, you might find yourself struggling to get to grips with certain driving skills. This is because, in order to build up muscle memory, learners tend to need longer lessons. Or, at the very least, lessons that aren't too spaced apart.
This is where PassMeFast comes in. Our intensive driving courses can help you build up your driving experience in as little as a few days. Depending on your preferences and availability, you can split your course into 2 to 5 hours each lesson. This means you won't have to deal with large gaps between lessons—allowing you to build up your skills and confidence quickly and efficiently.
Our courses are designed to suit all learner drivers. To see what we have to offer, simply head on over to our course prices. Whether you're a beginner or almost a pro, you'll find something to match your needs. If you'd like to be our next happy qualified driver, give us a bell on 0333 123 4949, or book your course online.
We've got an experienced fast-track team that works around the clock to look for ideal test dates for students. One of the ways they're able to do this is through driving test cancellations—when a learner cancels their test, our team is ready to snatch it up for you.
Yep! PassMeFast is more than happy to fast-track your test for you. We'll get you an earlier date that's weeks or even months ahead of standard waiting times.
Though we can't give you an exact date and time for your test, we will definitely beat DVSA waiting times when booking one. We'll find a test date that suits your location and preferences.
Weekend tests are pretty rare for test centres. Though it might not be possible, we'll still try to find one if that is your preference.