UK driving test wait times and what you can do about it

If you have lived in the UK for at least 12 months and are up to the minimum age for owning a driver’s license, you most likely have checked out the DVSA site to book your driving test. If you haven’t, now might be a good time to.

One of the big problems any learner driver faces during the test process is a long wait time. This waiting period can span from several weeks to months, and that can leave anyone frustrated.

Imagine if you have just concluded your private driver lessons, feeling pumped and ready to take your test within a day or two. Perhaps, as soon you get home or even while on your way, you log into the DVSA site in hopes of booking, tops, next week as your test day. However, unfortunately, what stares back at you is a three months wait time!

This nightmare happens to over 1.6 million learner drivers annually who try to book. Why does this happen, and what can be done about it?

Why the UK driving test takes so long

  1. Much demand

There are many towns in the UK like Wood Green with lots of interested people who have just one or no centres to take their test. Those without centres will have to find neighbouring areas with centres to take the driving test, which increases the number of people taking the test in that area.

As if these aren’t a problem already, the number of people who ace the test yearly is between 43-51.6%. That means almost half of the learner drivers taking the test this year will most likely be taking the same test next year! That’s just more wait time waiting to happen.

1. Shortage of examiners

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as with each passing year, there seems to be a lesser number of examiners you can find in a centre against the growing number of interested test-takers.

The cause of this trend is tied to several factors, including arduous evaluation process for applicants against poor paycheck, no financial incentives for staff who would like to go to other under-staff centres to assist, longer work hours to meet growing demands, disagreement with the DVSA, and much more.

All these issues influence not just a shortage of examiners, but the lack of some craved special services like the weekend test.

2. Closure of centres

Generally, in a town or area, there should be around two or more driving centres. The more functioning centres, the more hands to evaluate your test driving and the lesser the wait time. However, this is not the case.

Check your area, with the growing number of learner drivers, stagnant size of examiners per centre, and the budget cuts, most driving test centres across the nation are finding it difficult to meet up. Some of these centres give in to the pressure and have to relocate their staff to other cities.

An example of this trend can be seen in Greater Manchester, where the number of operating centres keep shrinking and staff relocating to other regions like Chadderton.

Test cancellations

Test cancellation has also turned into a normal practice and experience for centres and test-takers alike. In 2017, over 78,800 tests were cancelled as recorded by the DVSA. This leads to more wait time for those whose tests were cancelled. Sometimes your rescheduled date might go as back as a month.

There are several reasons that can lead to you getting a message from DSVA informing you of your test cancellation. Some include weather or bad light, sick examiner or medical appointment, annual or special leave, and strikes or industrial actions.

In such cases, there is nothing anyone can do, and those looking for cancelled test dates can’t benefit from it.

How do I escape the long wait time?

If you are like the pumped individual mentioned earlier, ready to take your test as soon as possible, then there are only two solutions available:

Find a cancellation

The only way to move your date forward is to find other test takers who have cancelled their appointment for one reason or the other and quickly take their spot. To do that, you have to head to the DVSA website and visit the page that allows you to find dates, log in your details, and check what is available. Repeat the process as frequently as possible until you get one. There are no guarantees, but in time, there are bound to be some options to consider.

Let us do it for you

If you don’t have the time to keep checking and want to get your test early, you can allow Early Driving Test to do it for you. We would keep refreshing the page every five minutes of every day to check for any test-taker cancelled test so you can be the first to take the advantage.

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