Driving in bad weather is something we all get used to pretty quickly in the UK, but what happens if you have bad weather on the day of your driving test? Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather conditions and you might have to tackle rain, fog or even snow on the day of your driving test. As the winter months are fast approaching, we’ve written a guide to help you deal with every eventuality.
Taking your driving test in the rain
Driving in the rain is something you’re likely to have experienced in your driving lessons, and it’s something which you’ll need to master in order to become a safe driver. If there’s heavy rain on the day of your test, you’ll need to show the driving examiner that you’re capable of driving in the rain and that you can adapt your driving style to the weather conditions.
Remember to leave at least a 4 second gap between you and the vehicle in front in wet weather, as you’ll need to allow yourself enough stopping distance when the road surface is wet.
Visibility is often poor in heavy rain, so you’ll need to decide whether or not you need to put your sidelights or dipped beam headlights on for the driving test. If you think you should have them on, turn them on before you leave the test centre, as part of your cockpit drill.
Don’t forget your windscreen wipers! Make sure you set your wipers to the right setting and that you keep your level of visibility as high as possible.
Taking your driving test in foggy conditions
Having to contend with fog on the day of your driving test is not ideal, but it may well be something you have to deal with. Driving in fog can be a challenge for even experienced motorists, so make sure you know exactly how to respond to poor visibility caused by fog.
If the fog is particularly heavy, call the test centre on the morning of your driving test. There is a chance your driving test will be cancelled if the conditions are deemed too dangerous.
When driving in fog, you’ll need to turn your fog lights on to increase your visibility to other drivers. Your driving instructor will be able to show you where the fog light control is and how to turn it on. You will know your fog lights are on because the fog dashboard warning light will be illuminated.
Adapt your speed accordingly. When driving in fog, you won’t be able to see as far ahead in front. Adjust your speed accordingly, allowing yourself enough time and stopping distance should a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist cross in front of you.
Taking your driving test in snow and ice
If you wake up to snow and ice on the day of your driving test, call the centre as soon as possible to check if your test will be going ahead. Driving on ice and snow can be dangerous, and – if the driving examiners deem the conditions to be unsafe – the DVSA will cancel your driving test.
Ensure you de-ice your car before you drive away. On your driving test, it should be clear already, but make sure your windscreen is fully demisted and that you can see out of all of your windows and in all of your mirrors.
Ice is not always visible. Ensure you slow down and drive gently, with no harsh braking or acceleration.
Choose a high gear and keep revs low. Keeping your car in as high a gear as possible will help you avoid wheel spinning. If you’re driving downhill. however, you should choose a low gear to make the engine do the braking for you.
What if my driving test is cancelled?
You will be able to find out if your driving test has been cancelled because of bad weather by phoning your local test centre on the morning of your test.
The DVSA explain, on the Gov.uk website, that:
“If nobody answers the phone, and the conditions in your area aren’t looking too bad, it’s likely that the driving examiners are:
- checking the local roads to see if driving tests can go ahead
- taking driving tests because the conditions are suitable
However, this isn’t a guarantee that your test will go ahead. Call the test centre again or go there for your test.”
If your driving test is cancelled by the DVSA because of adverse weather conditions, they will reschedule it at no further cost. Don’t assume that your driving test will be cancelled without phoning them or turning up at the test centre for your driving test.