It was much simpler in my day. You sat your driving test, and at the end, while you were still shaky from the emergency stop and the three-point turn, the examiner asked you a few random questions from the Highway Code.
Now there's a separate theory test, which has to be passed before you can take the practical test. It's a whole industry. The test is divided into a multiple choice section, and a hazard perception section. To prepare you need three books as 'source material', and you can buy a DVD with practice hazard perception tests. And the test itself costs £35. If you want to see how you'd get on with the hazard perception, there's - what else? - a youtube clip.
My favourite multiple choice question from the practice material is the one that asks what you should do if a shepherd asks you to stop for his flock of sheep. Good to know that driving in Scotland still takes account of country life.
The tests are computer-based, and administered at various centres across the country. My daughter sat her test last week, at the bracing hour of 8.30 a.m., and since it was on my way to work I chummed her as far as the test centre. Rather charmingly for such a high tech enterprise, it's located in a cobbled back street that looks as if a horse-drawn cab might appear at any minute. However the 'to let' sign suggests that it won't be there for much longer.
A section of original pavement has survived towards the top of the hill.
Towards the bottom of the hill there's a section of the original central gutter - much cleaner than it would have been a few hundred years ago.
And the test? She passed - so now it's 'just' the practical part to go. You can start to drive at the age of 17 in the UK, with most people learning on manual vehicles since automatics are still the exception here.