Why driving tests have such long wait times

Driving test wait times are one of the biggest bugbears that new drivers experience. Having saved up for and invested in driving lessons only to feel thwarted at the finish line by having to wait weeks and sometimes months to get a test appointment.

There are a variety of reasons as to why this happens and there are solutions to the problem. The DVSA have been developing strategies to deal with the issues surrounding waiting times and have come up with a few solutions.

Shortage of examiners

The DVSA are now training and appointing more examiners after the economic rise has led to more people taking driving lessons. The higher demand has led to fewer testing appointments becoming available. Furthermore, an increased number in retiring testers has resulted in fewer examiners being available. This situation is currently under remediation.

Additional hours

During the Summer months, the DVSA has offered tests during evening and weekend hours at some of its busiest centres. This trial has been successful and has now been running for the second year. Check with your local centre to see if they offer these out of hours tests. Naturally these hours also make a big difference to working people who struggle to get time off work.


Sometimes a driving test is cancelled last minute because the learner driver does not have the correct documents with them. Apart from having your provisional licence, you should also remember to have your theory test certificate. A practical test cannot be undertaken without proof of a theory test pass. However, it has now become impossible to book a practical test without a pass in the theory test, so this obstacle should become obsolete and necessary only in the event of a computer system failure.

Complete your theory test

You cannot apply for a practical test until you have completed and passed your theory test. Once you have this test under the belt, you are then free to make an appointment for the practical test. This is an obstacle to getting a timeous practical test that is easily removed.

Booking the test ahead of time.

Waiting times for a practical driving test will vary according to where in the country you are located. Densely populated urban areas have longer waiting times than rural areas especially in the Scottish Highlands. Your driving instructor will know what kind of waiting tomes to expect in your local area. Once you have had a few lessons, your driving instructor will be able to gauge how long you can expect to need lessons for in able to pass the test. Based on this, they may suggest that you book the test ahead of time so that your appointment is due when you’ve become ready for the test. This is a rough calculation and as the time draws nearer it is possible that your instructor suggests postponing for a little longer.

Check for cancellations

If you find yourself in an area where demand is high, you may decide to use a service that monitors driving test cancellations and books one sooner for you on your behalf. This is an excellent method of drawing your test time closer and increasing your chance of a pass, so that you don’t fall out of practice.