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Driving Test News

November 8, 2017 by in category News tagged as with 0 and 1
Home > News > News > Driving Test News

Co-authored by Jeanette Miller and Ashleigh Irwin

I remember when I took my driving test, quite some time ago, someone crashed into my instructor’s car as I did a final practice lesson minutes before I was due to sit the test itself. The adrenalin from being in my first car crash was, perhaps, a good thing as it certainly took my mind off how nervous I was as we neared the test centre! I went on to take the test and despite managing to bump the kerb and turn a corner when in third gear I passed first time! This was also back in the day when the theory test comprised of a few verbal random questions at the end of the practical when still in the car… those were the days!

Things have, thankfully, become a bit more challenging for new “would be” drivers since my days as a learner with the introduction of a written theory test the year after my miraculous experience of passing first time! As of the 4th December 2017, there will be further changes to the driving test as we know it, in England, Wales and Scotland.

The four main areas of change will be:

1. The independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of driving test currently lasts approximately 10 minutes. This part of the test involves independent driving following instructions from an examiner, such as “at the next major junction turn left, then follow the road until you reach a set of traffic lights, then turn right and then at the roundabout take the 1st exit”.

This part of the test will now be doubled in time to take around 20 minutes – which is approximately half of the test.

2. Following directions from a Sat-Nav

This amendment now means that during the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will have to follow directions from a Sat-Nav. This will be provided and set up by the examiner and you can practice with your driving instructor using any model. However, during the test you have to use the Sat-Nav supplied by the examiner.

But don’t worry – it won’t matter too much if you go the wrong way or have to ask the examiner, as long as you don’t make a fault whilst you do it!

However, only 1 in 5 driving tests won’t use a Sat-Nav. You will be required to follow road signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

‘Turn-in-the-road’ and ‘reverse around a corner’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but your instructor will still teach these manoeuvres to you.

You will now be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • Parallel parking at the side of the road;
  • Park in a bay – the examiner will tell you whether to drive in and reverse out, or reverse in and drive out;
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two cars lengths and re-join the traffic.

4. Answering a vehicle safety question whilst you are driving

The examiner will ask two vehicle safety questions during your driving test and these are known as “show me, tell me” questions. “Tell me” is where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task. This will be done at the start of the test before you drive. “Show me” is where you show how you would carry out a safety task and this is asked whilst you are driving.

Who will have to take the new test?

These new requirements will apply to people who may have been unfortunate enough to fail their test the first time and the date you re-take your test falls after the 4th December, or if your test is cancelled or moved around for any reason, and your new test date falls after the 4th December.

Will the test cost more?

It might be music to your ears to know that the pass mark, the length of the test and the cost of taking your driving test will not be changing!

Why are these changes being introduced?

It is said that these changes are necessary to ensure that new drivers have the skillset they will need to help them with their driving throughout their life.

On a more serious note, the changes are also being made to protect and reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions. Most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads, 52% of car drivers now have a Sat-Nav and DVSA would like people to be able to use them safely. These changes are welcomed by the public. Trials of these changes involved over 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors.[1]

The DVSA Chief Executive Gareth Llewellyn said that the DVSA’s priority is to help people through a lifetime of safe driving. Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. It is vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.

So whether you are just starting to take driving lessons, or your test is already booked, it is important to keep in mind these changes and take them in your stride. It may also be worth remembering my own terrible experience and how despite these, things worked out in the end for me – Happy driving!

[1] Improving the car driving test response to consultation

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