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Driving Test: Why You Are Unlikely To Pass In A Convertible

By Stephen Turvil | December 29, 2014


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Driving Examiners Refuse To Test In Convertibles

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A driving examiner can refuse to let a learner take the test in a convertible, citing poor visibility. The argument is that the large rear pillars make it hard to see hazards such as traffic and pedestrians. Cars on the banned list include the MINI Convertible, Ford Ka Convertible and the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. Panel vans fall foul of the same rule. 

Furthermore, if the car has recently had a puncture it must be fitted with a full size spare wheel. Space savers are prohibited as they “are only supposed to be for temporary use”.

Surprising Cars That Can be Used

The test requires the learner to perform a hill start. Success demonstrates proper use of the clutch and handbrake. So, it is perhaps surprising that a learner can use a vehicle with a hill-start assist feature that - without driver involvement – prevents it rolling backwards.  

The learner can also be tested in a vehicle with an electronic handbrake. Its purpose is to switch on and off automatically – again to compensate for errors. Such systems rob the examiner of the opportunity to ensure the driver has mastered the clutch and handbrake.

Interestingly, the learner can also use a hire car if equipped with dual controls. 

Car Test Criteria

A vehicle used for the practical test must: 

  • be insured and taxed
  • be roadworthy and have a MOT (if required)
  • have a seatbelt for the examiner
  • have an interior rear-view mirror for the examiner
  • have a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on type)
  • be a smoke-free environment
  • have 4 wheels
  • be able to reach at least 62mph
  • have a speedometer measuring in mph
  • have no warning lights showing
  • have L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
  • have a maximum authorised mass no higher than 3,500 kilograms.
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