When you have passed your driving test you will be legally allowed to drive without supervision. You will not only have to make your own driving decisions, but you will also have to plan your own route and follow either direction signs, verbal directions, or a combination of both.
You must be able to follow directional road signs in order to find your way, particularly in unfamiliar areas. To do this safely you should look well ahead for any signs and act upon them in good time. The earlier you see the signs the more time you have to plan what you need to do to follow your route.
Use your MSPSL drill early and if you need to change lanes do so in good time. If you find you have taken the wrong route or are in a wrong lane you should continue along the route you have taken, find a safe place to stop and turn round. You should not make any late or hurried lane or direction changes.
There may be occasions when you have to ask for directions, so you must be able to listen to, remember, and follow the directions you are given. You may find it useful to write them down or have a street map of the area.
Independent Driving on the Driving Test
During the driving test you will have to drive independently for about 10 minutes. This will demonstrate that you are able to follow verbal directions or road signs whilst still driving safely. The examiner will test you in one of three ways.
1. Road Signs
The examiner will ask you to follow the direction signs to a specific destination until further notice. For example, ‘follow signs for the town centre and railway station’.
2. Verbal Directions
The examiner will give you a number of verbal directions to follow. You may be shown a simple diagram of the route to help you. For example, ‘take the first turning on the right, at the traffic lights turn left, then at the roundabout turn right, third exit’.
3. Road Signs and Verbal Directions
The examiner will give you a combination of road signs and verbal directions to follow. For example,’ take the first turning on the left, at the roundabout turn right, third exit, then follow signs to the town centre.
The Independent Driving Route
It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way. If you ask for a reminder of the route the examiner will confirm them to you. Driving independently means making your own decisions, including deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation on where you’re going.
If you go off the route or take a wrong turning it won’t affect the result of your test unless you commit a serious or dangerous driving fault.
If there are poor or obscured traffic signs the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next sign. You don’t need detailed knowledge of the area. If this happens the examiner will say ‘ there are no signs here, just follow the road ahead’ and then, ‘now continue following the signs to...’
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