02 Dec

Is it harder to take your driving test in the winter?

Car Guides

Taking a driving test can be a stressful experience. After all, it’s a rite of passage, and an expensive one at that. Fear of failure can make taking a driving test seem much more stressful than it needs to be. You will pass your test when you are ready to pass, so you shouldn’t get to concerned about whether you fail or not – you can always take the test again. However, some conditions can give the test additional hazards to consider. For example, when you take the driving test might make your test harder or easier to pass.

Taking a Driving Test

The first thing to consider when taking a driving test in the winter is whether it will go ahead at all. The DVSA states that it ‘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’.

This means that if the conditions for your test are not safe, you will not be able to take it. The examiners will only allow you to attempt the test if they are confident that the conditions will not make it unduly dangerous, or unfairly difficult.

There are 5 parts to the driving test:

  • An eyesight check
  • ‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
  • General driving ability
  • Reversing your vehicle
  • Independent driving

Winter Test Hazards

Although you will only be able to take a test if it is safe, there are still a number of potential hazards that you might face if you take a driving test in the winter. The DVSA will announce if a local test centre is going to cancel its tests for a day, so you should check that yours is going ahead.


Snow is perhaps the weather condition that people associate most with winter. However, the chances of you taking your driving test while it is snowing are low. Despite this, there are still a few things you should consider if there is even a possibility of needing to drive in the snow. The key to driving on snow is to be cautious. Different areas of snow can be deceptive, and sink to different depths. Go slowly, and speed up or slow down cautiously.


If you are taking a driving test in the UK, you should have had some experience driving in the rain. However, in winter, the rain is often worse. Coupled with the generally worse visibility in the winter, and rain can present a real hazard. Make sure that you have your lights on if there is any reduction to your visibility, and do not go too quickly. Wet roads can slow braking times dramatically.


Driving in ice is difficult, but knowing the theory is an essential way to reduce your danger when it comes to taking your test. The most important thing to do is not panic. If you start to lose control, or your car moves in a way you did not expect, it is easy to try and over correct. However, make sure that you don’t try too hard to correct your spin, or to brake to stop a skid. These will make the spin or skid worse. Simply try to stop yourself applying any more motion until the car has come to a halt.


It gets dark in the winter. That might seem obvious, but it can have a significant impact on your driving test. If you are taking your test early or late in the day, then you need to account for the reduced visibility. Ensure you are fully familiar with the operation of your lights before you start your test.

Preparing for a Winter Driving Test

You don’t have to take your test if you are uncertain of the conditions. You can rearrange the test, but you are not certain to get a refund on the test. However, it is not a good idea to take the test if you are not prepared. As a result, you need to make sure that you are at least aware of the theory involved in taking a test in the winter. Familiarise yourself with the risks – even if you fail, it is best to be safe!

Winter vs Summer

There are different challenges involved in taking your driving test at any time of the year. However, on the balance, it seems that taking your test in the winter presents more potential obstacles to the learner than in the summer. However, if you can pass your test when presented with so many difficulties, then you will be truly prepared for any circumstance you might need to face when driving independently.

Learner Driver Insurance

When you are learning to drive, you need insurance that is designed for you. Learner Insurance from GoShorty is perfect for learner drivers, whether you are about to take your test, or only just starting out. We cover you for the length of time that you actually need, not a whole year. Only cover yourself for the time you are learning, and save money.


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