Find out what to do if you think your driving test or lesson is at risk of being cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.
With the so-called Beast from the East currently causing misery on UK roads, Theory Test Pro offers a guide to the impact it and other adverse weather conditions can have on your your test or lessons, and whether bad weather could leave you out of pocket.
Adverse weather & your driving test
For the practical driving test, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency has a clear policy – if the DVSA believes that it is unsafe to drive due to ice, fog, high winds or flooding, it will cancel tests. The question is how should you check if your test has been postponed? If you have any doubts, phone up the test centre on the day using the number found on your booking confirmation email.
If you’re doing your test in the morning, call them as soon as you get up. Alternatively, if your test is in the afternoon, call them late morning because weather conditions can change all the time. You may also want to call your instructor who has probably already phoned the centre to check that you’re good to go.
If your test is still going ahead, then make your way to the centre; remember though that your safety is of paramount importance to the DVSA, so if the weather has worsened by the time you arrive, the test could still be cancelled.
If your test is postponed, the DVSA will automatically book you in for a new test as soon as a slot becomes available. You won’t have to pay for the new test, though if your test is cancelled due to bad weather, out-of-pocket expenses can’t be claimed back.
The agency will send the details of the new test to you within three working days but it can take up to seven days if there is an extended period of bad weather. Remember, you can change the date of the new test if it is not convenient to your own schedule by heading here.
Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that if for whatever reason you can’t get hold of someone at the test centre, you should still go along even if you feel the weather is too bad for testing; if you fail to turn up and your test wasn’t cancelled, you will likely be charged for a new test because you were a no-show.
DVSA has a duty of care when conducting driving tests. When we consider whether or not to go ahead with testing, our main priority is to make sure that it’s safe to do so for the candidate, other road users along the route, and the examiner.
We also want to give all candidates an equal chance to be assessed fairly, to prove they are capable of continuing to learn without further supervision. Letting them take their test in adverse weather conditions may disadvantage them.”
– Neil Wilson, Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency
Bad weather & your driving lessons
Like the DVSA, good driving instructors will have your best interests at heart and will want you, themselves and other road users to be as safe as possible when out on the road. If weather conditions are extreme and the police are advising drivers not to travel unless it’s absolutely necessary, your instructor should contact you to cancel your lesson and rebook it for another day at no extra cost to you.
Your instructor though could decide to take you out for a lesson in adverse weather as long as they – and the police – don’t believe conditions are dangerous. You may feel hesitant about heading out but it’s an excellent opportunity to attain invaluable experience; it means that the first time you experience driving in, say, snow, you won’t be on your own. Instead, you’ll have an expert sat next to you, guiding and advising you on how best to drive in such conditions.
Do bear in mind though that your instructor may not wish to take you out in adverse weather if they feel you don’t have enough confidence or experience yet to deal with road conditions that are out of the norm. If you have any queries, call your instructor; they will be happy to talk about your concerns and offer you their honest opinion about what your current abilities are and how best to proceed.
Finally, once you have qualified, we do recommend gaining more supervised driving in adverse conditions; consider taking a Pass Plus course (more details here) or if you really want to go for it, then check out the many extreme winter driving courses available; how does a spot of Lapland ice driving sound?
You’re going to have to [drive in snow] when you’ve passed, and it makes sense to learn how to do it now while you have the chance. A lot of people never see snow until they’ve passed their tests, then they don’t know what to do and end up crashing.”
– Entry from Diary of an ADI