If you’ve been learning to drive in Leeds, you’ll probably be taking your practical driving test at Harehills or Horsforth Test Centre. We spoke with our Leeds-based instructor, Andy, about what learners should watch out for at both of these test centres, so that you can make sure you’ve had plenty of practice on all the trickier aspects of the test routes before the big day.
Out of the two, Harehills Test Centre has more complex routes to contend with and has picked up a bit of a reputation for being particularly tough. Andy tells us that “Harehills has more tricky turns, traffic lights to turn right at and dual carriageways to turn across. Not that you won’t pass if you’re ready, but you’ll need a few extra hours of practice round here I reckon.” So, get that practice in early!
If you’re taking your test here, look out for the Holton Roundabout. The Colton and Holton exits are very close together, so getting the timing right can be difficult. According to Andy, “Learners don’t always leave themselves time to check their mirrors and signal before moving into the left lane, so make sure you get your instructor to go over the timing here with you.”
Another area to watch out for is the Seacroft Roundabout by the big Tesco. There are two roundabouts around 50 yards apart, and you could get asked to turn right at both. If that happens, Andy advises that you exit the first roundabout in the right-hand lane, so that you’re well-placed for approaching the next roundabout - as they’re so close together, changing lanes between the two isn’t easy!
While Horsforth is more straightforward, there are still a few tricky aspects to get your head around. It’s quite hilly, so you’ll need to perfect those hill starts! There are also a few roundabouts near the test centre where you can’t go straight on from the left-hand lane as it’s left turn only. Often, learners don’t read the road markings until it’s too late, and they find themselves in the left lane when they’ve been told to go straight on. Andy explains, “If that happens to you and you realise you’re in the wrong lane, just go left and they won’t fail you. They’ll just direct you a new way to get you back on the test route.”
It’s likely that a 70mph dual carriageway will come up on a test route from Horsforth Test Centre. Andy warns that “learners often get caught out by not making enough progress or not overtaking a slow car in front. If you need to overtake, just make sure that you come back into the left lane afterwards. I’ve known learners to fail for staying in the right-hand lane unnecessarily and holding up traffic behind them. There’s also a crematorium nearby, so if you get caught behind a hearse you’ll definitely need to overtake. Remember not to overtake on the inside though!”