The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced four big changes to the UK practical driving test in December 2017.
They came into effect to try and make driving examinations better at assessing the safety of a learner’s driving ability, and to make the test relevant to the 21st century.
Driving tests will now take place on busier, higher-traffic and higher-speed roads. This contrasts the low-traffic, quiet and safe roads that have been traditionally a large part of driving tests. However, because most fatal collisions occur on high-speed roads, this amendment seeks to ensure that learners demonstrate they can drive safely and fluently on them.
New tests will include a part where learners must follow directions from a sat-nav. This revision to the test is arguably very important, considering the modern and digital age that we are in. It was found that 52% of drivers have a sat-nav, so demonstrating that they can follow one confidently makes a lot of sense. The driving examiner will supply the sat-nav (using a TomTom Start 52) and will set the route, and the learner simply needs to follow instructions from the sat-nav to arrive at their destination. But one in five tests will still have the old format, which is following road signs to a destination.
2.Increased Independent Driving
The DVSA want the new UK practical driving test to be more representative of real-world driving conditions. As such, the independent driving part of the test has been lengthened as part of these changes – increasing from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. This gives examiners more time to identify any dangerous driving habits or faults (drivers are permitted to make up to 15 minor faults, but no serious ones). Research has found that the independent driving section makes it easier for new drivers when they are out on the road, so it has been made a more prominent part.
3. Reverse Manoeuvres
There have been two reverse manoeuvres scrapped from the last version of the test. There will be no more turn in the road or reverse around a corner. Drivers will instead be asked to perform one of the following: parallel park, park in a bay (reverse in and drive out or drive in and reverse out), or pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two full car lengths and rejoin traffic. The latter manoeuvre has received criticism from some examiners for being dangerous.
4. Safety Questions
The final change to the UK practical driving test which you should be aware of is an update to the safety questions. Now, learners will be asked a “tell me” question before they start driving (where they must describe the answer) and a “show me” question during the drive (where they must show the examiner the answer).
As of 2018, this is what you can expect to face when taking your practical driving test, or when preparing learner drivers for the test.
Dave Allen Driver Training has been providing local driving lessons in Greater Manchester and currently operate in the following towns: