Driver testing in Ireland is carried out directly by the RSA, Road Safety Authority. Testing takes place at test centres throughout the country, and in most instances, the test will be arranged for the chosen centre on the application form.
All drivers must take a driving test after they have been issued with two 2-year learner permits. Before you apply for a third or subsequent learner permit for any category of vehicle, you must show evidence that you have applied for, or recently failed, a driving test. You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit in the case of motorcycles, cars and work vehicles.
Applying for the test
Waiting times vary from county to county, so it is advisable to apply for a test about six months before the expiry of your second learner permit. The test is standard and all test centres use the same testing procedures.
Preparing for the test
A driving test is designed to make sure that you:
- Know the Rules of the Road. You can click here for the PDF
- Possess the knowledge and skill to drive competently in accordance with those rules
- Drive with proper regard for the safety and convenience of other road users
Before your driving test, you should study the Rules of the Road. You should also practise driving as much as possible on all types of roads and in all types of traffic situations. This will improve your driving techniques and build your confidence.
On the day of your test, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the test centre with a few minutes to spare. If your first learner permit was issued after 4 April 2011, you should bring your logbook from your Essential Driver Training (EDT). When your name is called and you are brought into the examination room, your test officially begins.
First you will be asked some questions on the Rules of the Road. Next, if you are doing a driving test for categories B (car), EB (car with trailer) and W (work vehicle), you must explain some technical checks.
The instructor will bring you out to your vehicle and will ask how you would carry out a technical check on three of the following: steering, horn, brakes, tyres, lights, reflectors, indicators, engine oil, coolant, and windscreen washer fluid. To get access to some of these parts, you will have to demonstrate how to open the bonnet and close it securely.
Practical test of skills
Your driving test will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The examiner will give you clear instructions throughout the test, but if you don’t understand something, ask them to repeat it. Do not panic if you make a mistake during the test. It may not be as serious as you think and it may not mean you have failed.
You will be assessed in the following situations: moving off, driving in traffic, stopping, reversing round a corner, a turn about, a hill start and parking.
The aspects of your driving that will be assessed include:
- Road positioning
- Overtaking and passing
- Anticipation and observation
- Use of mirrors and signals
- Compliance with traffic lights
- Road signs and road markings
- Proper use of your vehicle controls
You can also expect to make a number of left and right turns, encounter a roundabout and stop at traffic lights. At some point during your test, the examiner will ask you to demonstrate hand signals.
When you return to the test centre, your examiner will bring you back into the examination room to give you the result. If you pass, you will be given a Certificate of Competency, which is valid for two years. Once you have this certificate, you can apply for a full driving licence. If you fail to apply for a full licence during the two-year period, you will have to take your driving test again.
If you fail your driving test, you will be given a detailed list of your mistakes. You should study the list and work on the mistakes before you sit another driving test.
If you are looking to start driving or to apply for a driving test, please contact A New Driver to learn more on how we can help you pass your driving test.