Cardington Special Test

The Cardington Special Test is a driving test only available to be taken by fully qualified Approved Driving Instructors.

The test gives instructors the ability to measure their own driving skills against a very high required competence. It can also be used when assessing [CPD] Continued Professional Development requirements and can be counted towards it.

Candidates passing at Grade A will receive a certificate which they can display or show to their customers.

What is involved during the test?

The test will be conducted within the locality of the Driving Standards Agency [DSA] Training and Development Centre near Cardington in Bedfordshire. It will be conducted by a DSA Senior Staff Training Officer using the candidates own car. This can be a manual or automatic car.

Adapted vehicles are also suitable where a candidate has declared a physical disability. As with all driving tests, an interior mirror and head restraints must be fitted for both the driver and assessor. Candidates must be able to read a registration plate from a distance of 27.5 metres [67 feet] whilst wearing glasses or contact lenses if normally worn when driving.

The test will last for around 90 minutes on a route covering approximately 25 miles. It requires a very high standard of driving to be consistently displayed whilst driving on all types of road, including a motorway and a variety of road situations.

Candidates must be able to demonstrate a positive, courteous attitude and the ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle, safely, systematically and smoothly. A high consistent driving competence based on concentration, effective observation, anticipation and planning is expected. In particular you must demonstrate.

    Expert handling of controls

    Use of correct road procedure

    Anticipation of the actions of other road users and taking appropriate action

    Sound judgement of distance, speed and timing

    Consideration for the convenience and safety of other road users

Manoeuvres to be covered during the test.

You will also be asked to demonstrate your ability to perform any or all of the following manoeuvres.

    Move away smoothly from a parked position, to include wherever possible, the ability to move off on an

    up hill and a downhill gradient.

    Move away at an angle, having pulled up behind a stationary vehicle

    Overtaking, meeting and crossing the path of other vehicles and taking an appropriate course

    Turning both right and left hand corners

    Stopping the vehicle as if in an emergency

    Driving the vehicle backwards and whilst so doing, enter limited openings to both the left and right

    Reverse park the car [road and car park]

    Turning the vehicle around in the road to face the opposite direction using forward and reverse gears

You are not expected to give any Commentary driving and there is no element of theory testing. At the end of the test, the assessor will advise you of the result and give a brief explanation of any faults recorded. Written confirmation of the result along with a report of the test will be sent to the candidate.

All successful candidates who achieve a Grade A [3 faults or less] pass mark will be sent a certificate.

Test Grades

All tests carried out by the DSA are marked on a four grade, A to D which are;

A  -  Able to demonstrate a high standard of driving competence, to have a knowledge of the principles of good driving and possess the ability to apply them

B  -   A safe and skilful driver who is able to demonstrate the ability to be safe at all times, but lacking the high standard of driving competence required of a Grade A driver

C  -  Able to drive at a level somewhat above that of a learner driver, but lacking in some of the car handling skills of Grade B and not able to demonstrate the high standard of driving competence required of Grade A

D  -  Not able to demonstrate a good safe drive, and involving some degree of potential or actual danger at times